Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DNA bits can ID most likely fatal prostate cancers

Dr. Janet Stanford, led an
international team that
identified gene variants
linked to lethal prostate
cancer. (Photo by Suzie
Fitzhugh, courtesy
Researchers have identified inherited gene variations that provide doctors with a way to predict which prostate cancers need to be treated aggressively and which may be safely watched.

Led by Dr. Janet Stanford, co-director of the Program in Prostate Cancer Research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, the researchers analyzed DNA in blood samples from 1,309 prostate cancer patients in the Seattle area. They found 22 bits of DNA, called single-nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs that are significantly associated with prostate cancer-specific mortality. When they then compared them with a similar Swedish study, they identified five of these SNPs in common, suggesting that these five SNPs are valid markers of prostate-cancer mortality. The study was published Aug. 16 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Virtual colonography less cost-effective than stool tests

Virtual colonoscopy is more effective than not screen-
ing, but more costly and less effective than stool test
with sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy.
(photo used by permission of RSNA)
MADISON, WI – (Cancer Digest) –There’s no perfect colorectal cancer screening method, but if cost-effectiveness is one of your considerations, the least invasive is also the least cost-effective, according to a new study.

Led by Dr. David Vanness, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, the researchers compared the cost-effectiveness of CT colonography for colorectal cancer screening in average-risk asymptomatic subjects in the United States aged 50 years. The study was published this week online in the journal Radiology.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First long-term success for gene therapy cures leukemia

In the study the researchers used a disabled lentivirus to
introduce a gene into T-cells that would produce a protein 
on the cell surface that would lock on to the leukemic cells.
(Image provided by the National Institutes of Health)
For the first time a patient’s own cells have been successfully re-engineered to kill leukemia cells over a long period of time, researchers in Pennsylvania report.

In this first successful use of gene therapy to treat cancer, two people with advanced stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia have seen their cancers eliminated for more than a year, and a third has been living with the cancer held in check for that long.  Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, is a common form of leukemia that causes over-production of non-functioning B-cells, the blood cells that normally protect the body with antibodies.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Updated old test accurately IDs colon cancer

Newer versions of the fecal occult
blood test is 90 percent accurate in
identifying colon cancer. (photo
courtesy Andrew Scott, Wikipedia)
A newer version of the inexpensive stool test proved to be 90 percent accurate in identifying colon cancer, according to a new study, Reuters Health reports.
The new test called the immunochemical fecal occult blood test, or iFOBT, has replaced the older version of the test but there have been few studies comparing it to the "gold standard" colonoscopy.  The new study led by Dr. Yi-Chia Lee of National Taiwan University Hospital was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal online Aug. 2, 2011 ahead of the print edition.