Friday, April 30, 2010

Small progress in treating lung cancers reported at European conference

SEATTLE – (Cancer Digest) – In a pair of studies presented at the Second European Lung Cancer Conference, held this week in Geneva, researchers confirm that specific molecular features of lung tumors are  key to identifying patients most likely to benefit from new targeted therapies such as erlotinib (Tarceva®) and gefitinib (Iressa®).

In a presentation by Dr. Robert Pirker of the Medical University of Vienna, Pirker noted that while such "personalized" therapies promise to improve survival, they will require a change in the way patients are diagnosed and assessed before treatment. It will require closer coordination between pulmonologists, pathologists, biologists and oncologists.

In the second presentation, Dr. David Carbone, of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and Canadian colleagues demonstrate a method of identifying patients who will benefit from such drugs when other methods of doing so are hampered by insufficient tissue samples available for testing.

FDA approves PROVENGE, now the hard part

SEATTLE – (Cancer Digest) – The FDA today approved Dendreon's PROVENGE® for treating men with advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, but produces no symptoms and does not respond to hormone blockade therapy.

Now the hard part comes for these men. Questions of who gets the treatment will surely spark further intense debate about healthcare in the U.S. The individualized treatment depends on Dendreon's laboratory ability to grow each patient's immune cells, and until greater capacity is built, Dendreon can accommodate only 2,000 patients per year. Only 50 hospitals, initially, will be able to offer the treatment, and if you are one of the lucky ones, the cost is estimated at about $93,000 for one course of the treatment that has been shown to extend survival of advanced cancer by a few months at best. How it all plays out will be interesting to watch.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Use and costs of imaging rising faster than cost of cancer care

DURHAM, N.C. –  (Cancer Digest) – The cost of imaging cancer is rising at double the rate of increase for overall costs of cancer care, a new study of Medicare patients shows.

Led by Michaela Dinan, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, researchers analyzed usage and costs for all types of imaging associated with cancer care over a five-year period.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Prostate vaccine expected to open new cancer treatment

SEATTLE – (Cancer Digest) – If the FDA approves Dendreon's PROVENGE® therapy for advanced prostate cancer as is expected at it's May 1 meeting, it will mark a the first new class of cancer therapy in decades. In addition to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, doctors will be able to add vaccines to their anti-cancer arsenal.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Heavy alcohol consumption speeds aging

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cancer Digest – Aglets are those plastic sheaths wrapped around the ends of your shoelaces that make it easy to thread them through the eyelets and protects them from becoming frayed.

Nature provides a similar protective tip to chromosomes, called telomeres. As we age, with each successive division of our cells the telomeres are progressively shortened, thus forming a built in biological clock. Cancer researchers have long studied telomeres because of the tendency of cells to develop cancerous mutations as the telomeres become frayed with age.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Zeroing in on density and breast cancer risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cancer Digest – Breast density and cancer risk have been the topic of intense research efforts in recent years. At this week's 101st meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) scientists presented a trio of studies aimed at quantifying the risk of cancer linked to breast density and, just as importantly, finding a safer way to measure breast  density.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Volume isn't only factor to consider for colon surgery

CHICAGO - April 19, 2010 (Cancer Digest) - Patients undergoing colon surgery of all kinds appear to have increased odds of death if their procedure is performed at a teaching hospital, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Surgery.

Led by Dr. Awori J. Hayanga of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School the large population study showed a slight increase in the number of deaths among patients undergoing intestinal surgeries of all types at teaching hospitals.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vitamin and calcium supplements may cut breast cancer risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 18, 2010 (Cancer Digest) -Women who took vitamin and calcium supplements appeared to have a 30 percent to 40 percent reduced the risk of breast cancer, a new study shows.

Dr. Jaime Matta, professor in the Ponce School of Medicine, Puerto Rico, presented the findings today at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010.