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Tiny Transistors Scout for Cancer -- Service 2003 (325): 3 -- ScienceNOW
By raja at 2007-01-27 04:24

Nanotechnology is a field still largely in its infancy but promises a revolutionary influence in a variety of different fields right from the food industry to aerospace to everything. It refers to the design of materials and devices in the scale of nanometers. Being able to manipulate matter at such extremely small scales leads to several benifits in the larger scale like for example stronger fibers for bullet-proof vests or faster computer chips. A very good description of nanotechnology can be found here. The level of funding for nanotechnology in the Unites States and the rest of the world has grown exponentially in the past several years and will continue to grow.

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Cheap, safe drug kills most cancers - health - 17 January 2007 - New Scientist
By raja at 2007-01-27 03:37

Researchers at The University of Alberta in Edmonton (Canada) have recently found that Dichloroacetate (DCA) which had previously been used to treat metabolic disorders like lactic acidosis (high levels of lactic acid in the blood) can be employed effevtively against cancer. DCA activates oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria and inhibits the usage of pyruvate by glycolysis. One of the important features of many types of cancer is its preference in using the process of glycolysis for its energy needs. Cancer cells prefer glycolysis and do not 'like' mitochondrial activity because of the role of mitochondria in a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death). Also when cancers grow rapidly in conditions lacking adequate oxygen, glycolysis will still work well. The strategy that allows DCA to kill cancer cells without affecting healthy cells exploits this affinity of most types of cancers for glycolysis. For more information read the following article and follow the links.

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Novel EGFR antibody outperforms cetuximab in mouse model of lung cancer
By Dross at 2007-01-27 00:28


Antibodies that selectively bind and destroy cancer cells represent some of the most promising cancer therapy approaches being developed today. Several of these antibodies have reached the market, including cetuximabtermterm (Erbituxterm, ImClone Systems), which targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFRtermtermterm) protein. However, a study conducted at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Ludwig Center at Dana-Farber/Harvard Medical School now suggests that antibodies binding a particular protein conformation, caused by hyperactivation, might have distinct therapeutic advantages over antibodies, like cetuximab, that bind to wild-type (normal) target proteins.

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Chemicals In Brown Algae May Protect Against Skin Cancer
By Dross at 2007-01-26 10:03


Substances extracted from a marine seaweed may protect against skin cancer caused by too much sun, new research suggests. The animal study indicates that chemicals called brown algae polyphenols (BAPs), which are found in a type of brown marine seaweed, might protect against skin cancers caused by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Garry D. Stoner UVB radiation in sunlight is thought responsible for 90 percent of the estimated 1.3 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in the United States annually. Researchers applied the BAPs to the skin of hairless mice and fed it to the animals in their diet. In both cases, the substances reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 60 percent and their size by up to 43 percent. They also reduced inflammation.

read more | 1324 reads

Stem cells cultured from human bone marrow behave like those derived from brain tissue
By Dross at 2007-01-26 00:57

There are certain subjects which are very...touchy for scientists, particularly the bans that have been placed on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Interestingly though, as the following article states, bone marrow cells have been shown to be able to differentiate into nerve cells when placed in the brain and here these specialists discuss future hopes of clinical trials. I am aware of one center in Ecuador, the Junta De Beneficiencia de Guayaquil, that has been performing these types of stem cell collection plus intraspinal injection with paralyzed victims and seeing success. I will post a video of these patients shortly. They do this for heart patients as well, for around $10,000. Disclaimer: American Medicine is sought after worldwide for precisely the checks and balances that go into our clinical trial systems, so keep that in mind before considering off shore treatments. For some, inlcuding my father's case, we were ready to do anything/take a bone marrow transplant from wherever it was available.

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Possible Development of PML from Rituxan Treatment
By HCat at 2007-01-25 11:26
Rituxanterm (Rituximabtermterm)
Audience: Oncologists, Rheumatologists, other healthcare professionals, and consumers
Indication: Treatment of CD20-postive, B-cell, non-Hodgkins lymphomaterm and for moderately-to-severely-active rheumatoid arthritis when there has been inadequate response to other treatments.
[Posted 12/18/2006] FDA and Genentech informed healthcare professionals of important emerging safety information about Rituxan. Two patients died after being treated with Rituxan for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Rituxan is approved for the above indication and is prescribed off-label for other serious diseases and conditions such as SLE. The cause of death was a viral infection of the brain called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) that is caused by reactivated JC virus which is present in about 80 percent of adults. Physicians should maintain a high index of suspicion for the development of PML in patients under treatment with Rituxan.
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INGN 241 in Combination with Avastin Results in Complete Tumor Regression in Lung Cancer
By HCat at 2007-01-25 10:42

    AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 24, 2007--Introgen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:INGN) announced today the publication of data in Molecular Therapy, the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy, highlighting the results of a preclinical study with INGN 241 in combination with Avastinterm(R) (Bevacizumabtermterm). Synergistic activity resulting in a curative therapeutic effect was seen in the treatment of lung cancer following the combination of the two agents. In contrast, treatment with Avastin alone demonstrated only minor tumor regression and no animals were cured of their cancer. The study was conducted at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center by Introgen's collaborator Dr. Rajagopal Ramesh, associate professor, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

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Calculated risk
By Dross at 2007-01-25 09:56


A simple blood test may be able to identify those most at risk for developing head and neck cancer as a result of smoking. This was the finding of a recent study by Prof. Zvi Livneh, Head of the Weizmann Institute's Biological Chemistry Department, Dr. Tamar Paz-Elizur of the same department, and their research team that worked in collaboration with Dr. Rami Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv-Sourasky Medical Center, Prof. Laurence Freedman of Sheba Medical Center and Prof. Edna Schechtman of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.


Livneh's research deals with repair mechanisms for DNA, the material of genes. Cells maintain sophisticated repair systems to prevent the accumulation of mutations that might lead to cancer. In these systems, molecular detectors scan the DNA for injury. A sort of local operation is then performed to cut out and dispose of the damaged segment and replace it with a new one. In their study, which appeared in Cancer Research, the scientists asked whether a reduced individual ability (non-inherited) to repair DNA damage increases chances of getting head and neck cancer. Smoking damages DNA and is known to be a major cause of this disease, which can affect the throat, mouth and larynx.

read more | 2127 reads

Vical Highlights Transition to Phase 3 Trial With Allovectin-7(R) for Metastatic Melanoma
By Dross at 2007-01-25 01:24


Vical Incorporated presented today the process followed by the company in advancing its Allovectin-7(R) cancer immunotherapeutic from a successful Phase 2 trial into a Phase 3 pivotal trial designed to support regulatory approval. The detailed process was described by Alain P. Rolland, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Vical's Senior Vice President of Product Development, in a presentation titled "Transitioning Plasmid-based Products from Phase 2 to Phase 3: Allovectin-7(R) Case Study," at the Phacilitate Cell and Gene Therapy Forum in Baltimore, Maryland. The company announced earlier this month the initial treatment of the first patient in the Phase 3 pivotal trial of Allovectin-7(R) as first-line therapy in chemotherapyterm-naive patients with recurrent Stage III or IV metastaticterm melanoma. The trial, known as AIMM (Allovectin-7(R) Immunotherapeutic for Metastatic Melanoma), will be conducted in accordance with a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) completed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at up to 50 clinical sites. AnGes MG, Inc., will fund the clinical trial through a combination of sponsored development and purchases of Vical common stock. "Through the SPA process, we reached agreement with the FDA on a feasible Phase 3 trial design with what we believe are achievable endpoints providing a clear path to approval," said Vijay B. Samant, Vical's President and Chief Executive Officer. "The Phase 3 AIMM trial will allow head-to-head comparison of our Allovectin-7(R) immunotherapy against chemotherapy in a protocol designed to reveal the potential advantages of our product candidate. The primary endpoint is a comparison of objective response rates after six months, which will allow completion of at least two full Allovectin-7(R) treatment cycles. We are now focused on enrolling patients as quickly as possible and completing the trial in strict adherence to the protocol."

read more | 1374 reads

New drug therapy to combat GVHD in stem-cell patients shows significant reduction in deaths
By Dross at 2007-01-24 07:26


Gastrointestinal graft-vs.-host disease is a common and potentially deadly side effect for patients who undergo an allogeneic stem-cell transplant to treat certain blood cancers. Now, new research from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center shows that adding a widely used topical corticosteroid to the standard treatment for GVHD kept the disease in remission and significantly reduces deaths one year after therapy.


A reformulation of beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) into two different pills specifically releasing the drug into the stomach and mid-small intestine prevented relapse of gastrointestinal GVHD and allowed those patients to be on a shorter treatment course of high-dose prednisone. Mortality was reduced by 46 percent a year following the start of treatment in a multi-center Phase III clinical trial, according to findings published today in the online edition of the journal Blood.

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Surgery and adjuvant therapy may work for pancreatic cancer
By Dross at 2007-01-24 02:31


In the largest single-institution retrospective study to date, researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center have shown that giving patients both radiation and chemotherapyterm after completely removing invasive pancreatic cancer may improve overall survival rates. The study's lead author, a radiation oncology resident in Rochester, Michele Corsini, M.D., presented the findings Saturday, Jan. 20, at the 2007 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. The American Cancer Society reports that while the incidence of pancreatic cancer has decreased over the last few years, it remains the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death. Pancreatic cancer, which has a very poor prognosis, killed more than 32,000 people in the United States last year. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve the prognosis of patients with cancers such as this," says Robert Miller, M.D., co-primary investigator and a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic. "Our findings show that surgery should be complemented by both radiation and chemotherapy for best results." In the study, the team of surgeons, oncologists and radiation oncologists from Mayo's Arizona and Minnesota campuses examined the records of 472 consecutively-treated patients. The patients all had surgery with negative margins (some healthy tissue cut out around the cancerous cells), between 1975 and 2005, to remove pancreatic adenocarcinomaterm. They excluded patients who had metastaticterm cancer, tumors that could not be removed or were not removed entirely (positive surgical margins), or indolent (slow growing) tumor types. Ultimately 454 patients were included in the final comparison of patients who received adjuvant therapyterm with those who had not. More than half (274) received concurrent radiation and chemotherapy following surgery and 50 percent survived two years, with 28 percent surviving at least five years. The researchers report more than one-third (180) received no additional therapy after surgery, and the comparative survival rates were significantly less, at 39 percent and 17 percent in two and five years, respectively. Additional chemotherapy after concurrent radiation and chemotherapy seemed to have an even greater effect on survival (61 percent and 34 percent survived two and five years), but only 28 patients received that combination, not enough for the researchers to draw a firm conclusion about its effectiveness. Drs. Miller and Corsini and their fellow researchers think these findings are important to clinicians worldwide. "While long-term outcomes with pancreatic cancer are generally poor," Dr. Corsini says, "our findings show that including both chemotherapy and radiation following surgery may significantly improve patient survival rates." Mayo currently uses a treatment strategy for most patients that includes a combination of radiation and chemotherapy after surgery.

read more | 11 comments | 4255 reads

Adding radiation decreases breast cancer recurrence
By Dross at 2007-01-23 22:43


Radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery for breast cancer reduces recurrence and prevents development of additional breast tumors in older women with early stage breast disease, according to a new study. Published in the March 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study suggests that women also benefit from the recommended five years of tamoxifen treatment for hormone responsive tumors. Among women over 65 and treated with breast conserving surgery, the risk of local or regional recurrence increased up to 3.5 times if they did not receive radiation after their surgery. Great strides have been made in breast cancer treatment. Breast conserving surgery in combination with radiotherapy and mastectomy provide women with two good options for their initial treatment. Augmenting surgery with hormone modulating drugs, such as tamoxifen, further improves survival and reduces recurrence. Women over 65 are at the highest risk for breast cancer and make up half of those diagnosed. However, they are less likely to receive standard therapy, particularly radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery, than younger women. Making treatment recommendations for older patients, who may have more comorbidities than younger patients, is complicated by under-representation of older women in clinical trials and prognostic studies.

read more | 5 comments | 1794 reads

Identification of Target Genes for Therapy in Laryngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma
By HCat at 2007-01-23 10:37

    Researchers from Helsinki, Finland have conducted a gene copy number and RNA expression analysis of 20 laryngeal cancer cell lines and primary tumors. The common causes for head and neck squamous cell carcinomaterm (HNSCC) are tobacco and alcohol but clinical biomarkers for HNSCC management as well as molecular targets for therapy are lacking. This paper is rather technical but a vital step in elucidating the molecular mechanisms in HNSCC and providing new drug targets, since there has been no improvement in survival rates in the past 25 years for larynx cancer. This study focuses on squamous cell carcinoma, the most common type of malignant head and neck tumors. CCND1 and EGFRtermtermterm, as well as loss of tumor-suppressor genes are known to play an important role in the development of HNSCC. The HNSCC samples used show gene copy number changes either through deletions of DNA or duplications of DNA.

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New test predicts blood cancer's sensitivity to experimental cancer drug
By Dross at 2007-01-23 04:51


BOSTON -- A test developed by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists is the first to identify which malignant blood cells are highly vulnerable to a promising type of experimental drugs that unleash pent-up "cell suicide" (apoptosis)  factors to destroy the cancer. The researchers demonstrated that chronic lymphocytic leukemiaterm, CLL, which is diagnosed in 10,000 Americans each year, is an easy mark for the new drug because the cancerous cells are strongly dependent on a particular survival molecule, Bcl-2, that keeps the self-destruct signals at bay. They showed that the investigational drug neutralizes the Bcl-2 action, unleashing molecules that trigger suicide in the cancer cells, a process known as programmed cell death or apoptosis.

read more | 1171 reads

Possible Therapeutic Peptide for Hepatocellular Carcionoma
By HCat at 2007-01-22 10:43

    It is known that forkhead box m1 (FOXM1) transcription factor is essential for initiation of carcinogen-induced liver tumors. Researchers from the Chicago have targeted FOXM1 in a mouse model which bears HCC by using a cell penetrating alternative reading frame (ARF) peptide treatment (a selected part of the whole protein). The treatment of the mice with ARF showed a significant reduction in tumor growth and tumor cell replication. The ARF peptide can inhibit FOXM1, which is responsible for liver (hepatocyte) DNA replication and cell division/growth (mitosis).

read more | 2646 reads


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