Saturday, October 14, 2017

Newly approved breast cancer drug may work for lung cancer


This image shows autophagic vesicles containing
mutant K-Ras formed in the membrane of human
pancreatic cancer cells after exposure to neratinib –
Image courtesy VCU.
CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 14, 2017 – Researchers have found that a recently approved breast cancer drug may block the action of a trio of cancer-causing genes, known as Ras, which are implicated in a number of other cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer.

The drug neratinib was designed to inhibit enzymes produced by two other genes, EGFR and HER2, which make enzymes that regulate cancer cell growth and resistance to chemotherapy.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Do expensive new cancer drugs really improve survival?


CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 4, 2017 – That’s the question a group of British researchers at King’s College in London asked for a study published today in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The study looked at the clinical data for cancer drugs approved by the European Medicines Agency, the European version of the US FDA, between 2009 and 2013. They found that of the 68 drugs approved during that period, 39 (57%) were approved on the basis of surrogate endpoints. This is essentially an endpoint that is substituted for an actual outcome. This is done to speed approvals of certain drugs.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nearly all Americans take at least one step to prevent cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 23, 2017 – Cancer prevention, an idea the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have been preaching for decades seems to have taken hold, according to a new survey by the Mayo Clinic.

The annual Mayo Clinic National Health Checkup survey released last week shows that 95 percent of respondents take at least one preventive measure to avoid cancer. Started last year, health checkup survey aims to provide a quick pulse on consumer health opinions and behaviors at multiple times throughout the year.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Diet and lifestyle play a major role in colorectal cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 16, 2017 – Nearly half of all colorectal cancer can be prevented with exercise and dietary changes, research shows, and a new study confirms that exercise and whole grains lower the risk while alcohol, red meat, processed meats and obesity increase the risk.

The new study by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund confirms earlier research. Led by Dr. Edward Giovannucci, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health the study was published in the AICR’s own newsletter. It analyzed data from 99 previous studies that involved a total of 29 million people, including more than 250,000 diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Zika virus kills brain cancer, may be potential treatment


Brain cancer stem cells (left) are killed by Zika
virus infection (right). – photo courtesy
Washington University 
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 9, 2017 – The Zika virus kills brain cancer stem cells and may be an effective treatment for glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer, say researchers from Washington University and the University of San Diego School of Medicine.

The findings, published Sept. 5 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine showed laboratory results of glioblastoma tumors removed from patients that the researchers infected with two strains of Zika virus.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

FDA approves first 'living drug' therapy for cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 31, 2017 – The US Food and Drug Administration approved the first treatment for cancer based on genetic engineering of the patient’s own immune system.

While it has been referred to as gene therapy, the new treatment does not actually change or replace the genes that cause the cancer, rather it alters genes of the immune system to better recognize and eliminate the cancer. In that sense it is the first FDA-approved gene therapy in that it reprograms the patient’s own cells to attack the cancer.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Imaging technique detects tumor oxygen levels in prostate cancer


CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 26, 2017 – A new imaging technique using a combination of light and sound to check the oxygen levels in prostate tumors could lead to a non-invasive way to determine how aggressive the cancer is.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Researcher getting closer to liquid biopsy for cancer

Scientists have developed a blood test that identifies tiny bits of cancer-specific DNA in blood that accurately identified more than half of 138 people with relatively early-stage colorectal, breast, lung and ovarian cancers.

The research performed on blood and tumor tissue samples from 200 people with all stages of cancer in the U.S., Denmark and the Netherlands, appears in the Aug. 16 issue of Science Translational Medicine

Saturday, August 12, 2017

FDA approves two drugs for certain types of AML

A scanning electron 
microscope image 
from normal circulating 
human blood. – Wikipedia

CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 12, 2017 – The FDA approved two new drugs for treatment of specific types of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rapidly progressing cancer that forms in the bone marrow.

Vyxeos was approved for two types of AML, newly diagnosed therapy-related AML called t-AML, and myelodysplasia-related changes changes called ALM-MRC. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Targeted radiotherapy reduces side effects of breast cancer surgery


CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 7, 2017 – Targeting the tumor site with radiotherapy after surgery to remove breast cancer resulted in fewer long-term side effects five years later, according to a new British study.

The researchers at 30 radiotherapy centers across the UK, led by The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, studied more than 2,000 women aged 50 or over who had early stage breast cancer that was at a low risk of coming back. The results of the study were published in the Aug. 2, 2017 The Lancet.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Agent makes tumors glow for surgeons

Image courtesy Penn Medicine
CANCER DIGEST – July 29, 2017 – Using a combination of imaging technologies and an agent that makes tumors glow, surgeons identified and removed more cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients than they would have using preoperative PET scans alone, researchers report.
The study by researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania combined pre-operative PET scans with a molecular imaging technique during surgery using a contrast dye that is taken up by tumors and makes them glow. The glowing tumors are then easier for surgeons to see and remove.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Can CAR T-cells overcome glioblastmas?

CANCER DIGEST – July 21, 2017 – Glioblastoma, the aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer Senator John McCain was diagnosed with this past week, has been shown to be resistant to most current treatments.

In a study also reported this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine 
researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania used T cells genetically modified to kill cancerous glial cells called glioblastoma. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

FDA panel recommends approval for gene-altering therapy


CANCER DIGEST – July 15, 2017 – A FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended approval of a gene-altering therapy for a deadly form of childhood leukemia. If given final approval, it would be the first such drug in a new class of therapy called CAR T-cell therapy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cup 'o Joe may cut risk of death

CANCER DIGEST – July 11, 2017 – The evidence for the health benefits of coffee continue to grow, now for the first time a study shows a survival benefit for coffee drinkers.

The study, which was published in the July 11 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine. The ongoing study begun in 1993 has more than 215,000 participants and bills itself as the most ethnically diverse study examining lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Focused lung cancer screening cost-effective

CANCER DIGEST – June 30, 2017 – Focusing on high-risk people and expanding the scope to other tobacco-related diseases make lung-cancer screening programs cost-effective, researchers say.

In a cost-of-care-study Canadian researchers found that focusing on high-risk people could reduce the number of people who need to be screened by more than 80 percent, and calculated the cost of screening to be $20,724 (in 2015 Canadian dollars) per year of life saved; this means

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Promising new drug for relapsed AML


Bone marrow aspirate showing
acute myeloid leukemia, arrows
indicate Auer rods – Wikipedia
CANCER DIGEST – June 24, 2017 – Researchers have found a drug that inhibits a particular mutation in a deadly form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with promise of producing longer survival.
The sub-type of AML has a mutation in a gene called FLT3, found in about 30 percent of patients’ leukemia cells.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Drug Improves overall survival in older patients with thyroid cancer

Illustration courtesy of Cancer Research UK
CANCER DIGEST – June 17, 2017 – A drug used to treat thyroid cancer that is resistant to standard therapy has been shown to increase survival in older patients, according to researchers.

Most cases of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) are 
successfully treated with radioiodine therapy. The thyroid absorbs nearly all of the iodine in the human body, consequently, patients with DTC are given radioactive iodine, which concentrates in thyroid cancer cells, killing them with little effect on the rest of the body. The treatment can be curative, but about 15 percent of DTC patients have cancers that are resistant to the therapy.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

No survival benefit from surgery for advanced breast cancer

CANCER DIGEST – June 10, 2017 – A new Austrian study could change treatment for women diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer that has spread throughout the body.

Based on several analyses of past studies, current therapy starts with surgery to remove the main breast tumors followed by chemotherapy to try to kill the remaining tumors dispersed throughout the body, or hormone therapy to block or prevent hormones from feeding further tumor growth, called hormone therapy.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Where your fat is carried can predict cancer risk



CANCER DIGEST – May 27, 2017 – Scientists have found that carrying fat around your middle could be as good an indicator of cancer risk as body mass index (BMI), according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer.

This is the first study comparing adult body measurements in such a standardized way for obesity-related cancers. The study combined data from more than 43,000 participants who had been followed for an average of 12 years and more than 1,600 people were diagnosed with an obesity-related cancer.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Nanovaccine shows promise for variety of cancers

Laser light is scattered by nanoparticles
in a solution of the UTSW-developed
nanovaccine. – Photo courtesy UTSW
CANCER DIGEST – May 17, 2017 – In another approach using nanotechnology to boost the body’s immune system to attack cancer, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center, have shown in a proof-of-concept study that a nanovaccine extended survival in mouse models of a variety of cancers.

The study published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology showed effective anti-tumor action in tumor models of melanoma, colorectal cancer, and HPV-related cancers of the cervix, head, neck and anogenital cancers.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Reprogramming T cells on the fly to fight cancer


Dr. Matthias Stephan
CANCER DIGEST – May 10, 2017 – The idea of using the body’s own immune system to halt cancer has a long history of research approaches. One of the most promising in that vein over the last decade has been immunotherapy, and most recently the use of T cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors or CAR T cells.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Follow-up colonoscopy could substantially cut cancer risk


CANCER DIGEST – April 29, 2017 – As much as you might hate it, undergoing that follow-up colonoscopy might cut your risk of colorectal cancer by half, a new analysis of colonoscopy data shows.

British researchers looked at data for more than 250,000 patients and identified approximately 12,000 people who were diagnosed with intermediate-risk adenomas across 17 UK hospitals. These patients were monitored over an eight year period, and the incidence of bowel cancer was compared in those who had a follow-up colonoscopy with those who had not.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Researcher closing in on less invasive colon cancer test

Manasi Shah, Ph.D.
CANCER DIGEST – April 22, 2017 – If you’ve ever undergone a colonoscopy, you know why researchers are looking for a less invasive way to screen for colorectal cancer. 

Colonoscopy is currently the gold standard for detecting cancer, but it is a 2-day procedure that is expensive and dreaded by many. Patients need to drink a disagreeable laxative preparation to clean out the colon one day before the doctor threads a flexible colonscope through the intestines to look for and removing suspicious polyps

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Immunotherapy combination shows promise in advanced melanoma


CANCER DIGEST – April 15, 2017 – A new treatment  regimen using an immunotherapy drug combined with an engineered virus injected directly into a melanoma tumor have shown promising results in an early safety trial of the combination.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Long-term aspirin use continues to show benefits

Yin Cao, MPH, ScD
CANCER DIGEST – April 9, 2017 – The evidence supporting the benefits of low-dose daily aspirin to prevent cancer continues to grow. In a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting taking place in Washington, D.C. this week, a large long-term study of nurses shows that the overall risk of dying was 7 percent lower for women and 11 percent lower for men who had regularly taken aspirin.

The Nurses’ Health System Study began in 1976 and has followed more than 280,000 nurses since that time using repeated questionnaire and follow-up assessments since the study began. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Computer analysis detects cancer from blood


CANCER DIGEST – March 29, 2017 – Researchers have developed a computer program that can detect cancer and identify where in the body the cancer is located, from a patient's blood sample.

The program works by looking for specific molecular patterns in cancer DNA that is free flowing in the patients' blood and comparing the patterns against a database of DNA associated with different types of cancer. DNA from tumor cells is known to end up in the bloodstream in the earliest stages of cancer and offers a unique target for early detection of the disease.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Broccoli mystery solved?


Photo courtesy of Oregon State University
"Eat your broccoli." It is a maternal edict that is getting support from researchers looking into why broccoli seems to be good for us.

The compound found in abundance in broccoli is called sulforaphane, a compound known to help prevent prostate cancer, but how it does that has remained a mystery until now. Researchers at Oregon State University have found that sulforphane, suppresses the production of a particular piece of genetic material that is found at high levels in prostate cancer.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Study shows women taking hormones for menopause have lower risk of dying


CANCER DIGEST – March 10, 2016 – Women using hormone replacement therapy to relieve the symptoms of menopause faced a 30 percent lower risk of death compared to women not using hormone therapy, according to a single-center study that will be presented March 17 at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session. The study also showed lower levels of atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the heart's arteries among women taking the hormones. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lifetime weight gain associated with higher risk for stomach cancer


Used under license: copyrightKurhan
CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 16, 2016 – People who are overweight in their twenties and become obese later in life may be three times more likely to develop cancer of either the esophagus (food pipe) or upper stomach, according to a study published in the Feb. 15, 2017 British Journal of Cancer .


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Breast cancer blood test may predict survival


cMethDNA test
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins
Kimmel Cancer Center
CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 5, 2017 – A blood test that spots cancer-linked DNA in women with advanced breast cancer correctly predicted that most of those patients with higher levels of the tumor markers died significantly earlier than those with lower levels.

The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists, who developed the test and led the study, say the results, if confirmed in more studies, suggest that the DNA detector, called cMethDNA, could be widely used to identify breast cancers at higher risk for recurrence and track the success or failure of treatment. Results of the study were published online Nov. 21, 2016 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

ACA increased colorectal cancer screening


The study’s coauthors are Brett Lissenden, a fifth-year
student in UVA’s economics Ph.D. program, and Aaron
Yao, an assistant professor in the Department of Public
Health Sciences. (Photo by Dan Addison, University
Communications)
CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 21, 2017 – The Affordable Care Act increased cancer screenings, and especially increased colorectal cancer screenings between 2011 and 2013, say researchers at the University of Virginia.

One of the main goals of the law that came to be known as Obamacare was to reduce healthcare costs in part by increasing coverage for prevention care on the theory that treating certain diseases such as cancer is less expensive when caught early when the disease is more treatable.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Malaria drug may be cancer treatment


A new study by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer
Center researchers shows that chloroquine – a drug
currently used to treat malaria – may be useful in
treating patients with metastatic cancers.
A drug used to treat malaria may be useful in halting the spread of cancer cells, researchers say.

In a study published in the January 2017 Cell Reports, researchers at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer center showed in both mouse models and in cancer patients in a clinical trial that the drug chloroquine triggers the production of a protein, called Par-4, a protein that plays a key role in tumor cell death and metastasis.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Promising drug may halt spread of deadly skin cancer


CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 6, 2017 – A potential new drug may block the spread of melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer, by up to 90 percent, say researchers at the University of Michigan.

The drug developed originally to treat scleroderma, a rare but often fatal autoimmune disease, was found to be effective in blocking the genetic mechanism that triggers melanoma’s spread to other parts of the body.