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X-rays linked to increased childhood leukemia risk
By Dross at 2010-10-04 21:00

Berkeley – Diagnostic X-rays may increase the risk of developing childhood leukemiaterm, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health.

read more | 1 comment | 2700 reads

Molecular science could further improve leukemia survival, say St. Jude researchers
By Dross at 2008-03-22 04:28

The dramatic increase that has occurred in the cure rate for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemiaterm (ALL) will be difficult to replicate in older patients without considerable additional research, according to an article by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital authors that appears in the March 22 issue of the Lancet.

In order to raise the survival rate of adolescents and adults with ALL, researchers will need a more thorough understanding of the biology of this form of leukemia, including the role that genes play in therapies, according to Ching-Hon Pui, M.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Oncology and a leading ALL researcher. Currently, adolescents treated for ALL do not fare as well as children; and among adults with ALL, only 30 to 40 percent are cured.

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Columbia University Medical Center to Develop MicroRNA-based Diagnostics for Leukemia
By Dross at 2007-12-14 00:30

REHOVOT, Israel and NEW YORK, Dec. 13 -- Rosetta Genomics, Ltd. (NASDAQ:ROSG) and Columbia University Medical Center announced today they will collaborate to develop microRNA-based diagnostic tests, early detection as well as prognosis, for Diffuse Large Cell Lymphomaterm, Transformed Follicular Lymphoma, and for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemiaterm. Three types of Non- Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

"We are constantly expanding our pipeline with new diagnostic and therapeutic programs, both cancer and non-cancer related, in order to maximize our leading position in microRNA intellectual property and proprietary technologies", noted Amir Avniel, President and CEO of Rosetta Genomics. "We are very excited to be collaborating with a leading research institution such as Columbia University Medical Center, and hope more collaboration will follow."

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MGH researchers confirm that bone marrow restores fertility in female mice
By Dross at 2007-08-01 08:24

A new study from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers confirms that female mice that receive bone marrow transplantation after fertility-destroying chemotherapyterm can go on to have successful pregnancies throughout their normal reproductive life. The report in the August 1 Journal of Clinical Oncology verifies that donor marrow can restore fertility in female mice through an as-yet unidentified mechanism. While donor-derived egg cells or oocytes were observed in the ovaries of marrow recipients, all pups born were from the recipients’ own eggs.

“Consistent with our past work, cells derived from the donor bone marrow are getting into the ovaries and developing into immature oocytes,” says Jonathan Tilly, PhD, director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology ( at MGH, the study’s senior author. “Although these oocytes derived from marrow cells don’t appear competent, at least thus far, to make fertilizable eggs, marrow does contribute something that allows a resumption of fertility in female mice sterilized by chemotherapy.”

read more | 1797 reads

Pre-cancerous blood diseases can be products of their environment
By Dross at 2007-06-15 00:13

When blood-forming stem cells misbehave, causing pre-cancerous conditions that can sometimes even progress to leukemiaterm, the problem might not always lie with them. Rather, two studies in the June 15 issue of the journal Cell, published by Cell Press, reveal that a bad environment might be to blame.

Both reports show that defects in the bone marrow—where blood cells are made—can spawn such pre-cancerous blood disorders in mice. Previously, such myeloproliferative syndromes were thought to be rooted in the blood cells themselves.

“We show that the bone marrow microenvironment can make the blood cells become abnormal, like a type of pre-leukemic disease,” said Louise Purton, who is affiliated with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Such pre-cancerous conditions are often difficult to treat in humans, she added, mainly because not much is known about what causes the blood cells to act out.

read more | 3476 reads

Bone marrow microenvironment can contribute to blood cell disorder
By Dross at 2007-06-15 00:02

Disorders of blood cells may begin in the biological environment where the cells develop, not just with the cells themselves, according to a study from researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center (Peter Mac) in Melbourne, Australia. In the June 15 issue of Cell, the investigators describe finding that genetic alterations in the bone marrow of mice can cause a type of myeloproliferative syndrome, an overproduction of certain blood cells that also occurs in human patients.

“Previously all myeloproliferative syndromes have been considered to be intrinsic to the blood cells themselves,” says Louise Purton, PhD, of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine, formerly of Peter Mac, who led the study. “This discovery may help us find better therapies for these disorders, which can be quite difficult to treat, and also for some leukemias.”

read more | 1 comment | 3802 reads

Inherited genes linked to toxicity of leukemia therapy
By Dross at 2007-05-12 02:45

Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered inherited variations in certain genes that make children with acute lymphoblastic leukemiaterm (ALL) susceptible to the toxic side effectsterm caused by chemotherapyterm medications. The researchers showed that these variations, called polymorphisms, occur in specific genes known to influence pharmacodynamics (how drugs work in the body and how much drug is needed to have its intended effect).

The findings, made during a study of 240 children, are important because these side effects in ALL can be life-threatening and interrupt delivery of treatment, increasing the risk of relapse. The new insights gained in this study could help individualize ALL chemotherapy according to a patient's inherited tendencies to develop toxic reactions to specific drugs.

read more | 1407 reads

Translocation Kidney Cancer after Chemotherapy in Childhood
By Dross at 2007-04-22 22:28

This article out of Johns Hopkins reviewed the risk of renal cell carcinomaterm occurring as a secondary malignancy after chemotherapyterm in childhood. It is known that children who survive cancer are at the risk of developing another malignancy 20 times more likely than the general population. This study described the clinical, pathologic, cytogenetic, and molecular data on six translocation renal cell carcinomas that arose in five patients who had received chemotherapy.

At the time of diagnosis, the children were between the ages of 6-22 years. Histologically, the tumor showed typical features that are described for translocation renal cell carcinomas. At the molecular level, three of the tumors contained the ASPL-TFE3 fusion; two contained Alpha-TFEB and one contained PRCC-TFE3. The time span between chemotherapy and the diagnosis of these renal cell carcinomas ranged from 4-13 years. The indications varied and including acute promyelocytic leukemiaterm, acute myeloid leukemia, bilateral Wilms' tumor, systemic lupus erythematosus, and a conditioning regimen of bone marrow transplantation secondary to Hurler's syndrome. This latter patient also received radiation.

read more | 3776 reads

Knocking Out Survival Protein Could Aid Leukemia Treatment
By Dross at 2007-04-22 00:44

An effective way to fight leukemiaterm might be to knock out a specific protein that protects cancer cells from dying, a new study shows.

The findings suggest that a drug that can block this “survival protein” might on its own be an effective therapy.

But such a drug used in combination with several existing drugs might also offer an effective one-two punch against drug-resistant forms of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The two forms of cancer kill about 20,500 Americans yearly.

read more | 2003 reads

Scientists identify cells responsible for relapse after treatment in common childhood cancer
By Dross at 2007-03-29 22:16

Approximately 20% of children with ALL will experience a relapse of their disease following treatment. Of these, most will never be cured.

"We have previously shown that these relapses were due to small numbers of cells which survived the treatment administered to the patient," said Prof Norris.

"However, it has been unclear whether these cells developed resistance to chemotherapyterm during the course of treatment or if they were already present in the child at the time their cancer was diagnosed."

The findings of this study demonstrate that relapse in ALL patients can result from a minor, but intrinsically resistant subpopulation of cells, present from the time of diagnosis. Undetected at diagnosis because of their very small numbers, this population of leukaemiaterm cells remained in the patient’s body throughout the disease and continued to thrive even after the major population of sensitive leukaemia cells were destroyed and the patient appeared to have gone into remission.

read more | 1191 reads

Study of leukemia survivors gives hints for better care
By Dross at 2007-03-22 03:19

Results from the longest follow-up study ever done of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemiaterm (ALL) survivors show the importance of long-term monitoring of former patients to identify complications they are at risk for developing later in life and to modify current treatments to reduce those risks, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. ALL is the most common cancer in children and adolescents—with about 3,000 new cases diagnosed yearly in the United States.

The St. Jude study showed that adults who had received treatment for ALL during childhood are at increased risk for developing a secondary neoplasm during the next 30 years. Secondary neoplasms are new tumors that develop after successful treatment of an initial cancer.

read more | 1 comment | 1539 reads

Major Gene Study Uncovers Secrets of Leukemia
By Dross at 2007-03-08 09:11


The St. Jude team used microarrays, postage-stamp-sized chips that contain DNA fragments, which allowed researchers to investigate more than 350,000 markers called single nucleotide polymorphisms. Single nucleotide polymorphisms are individual variations in the DNA that are spaced across the human chromosomes. Single nucleotide polymorphisms function as flags for researchers, allowing them to detect specific deletions of DNA in a gene or increases in the number of specific genes at a level of detail that was previously unattainable. The St. Jude group used this approach to analyze leukemiaterm samples from 242 pediatric patients with ALL. This identified an unexpectedly high frequency of mutations involving genes that function as master regulators of normal B-cell development and differentiation.

read more | 1766 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.

read more | 2319 reads

Phase 1 study of low-dose prolonged exposure schedules of the hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (decitabine) in hemat
By admin at 2006-12-28 09:46

New Results from Kantarjian. Dosing levels for use of decitabine are still an ongoing question. Here Kantrajian et al. present new results from a phase one study of lowered but prolonged doses versus the standard 15mg/m2 for five days. Their results show a greater efficacy at the current 15mg/m2 dose.

[via Phase 1 study of low-dose prolonged exposure schedules of the hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (decitabine) in hematopoietic malignancies -- Issa et al. 103 (5): 1635 -- Blood]:

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