Other cancers

Saturday, December 16, 2017

New drug shows promise in a variety cancers

Stock photo courtesy Wikipedia
CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 16, 2016 – A new drug that targets the protein made by a mutation of a gene common to many cancers has shown activity against a variety of tumor types, according to researchers.

The study presents the early results of an first phase clinical trial that aims to establish safe and effective doses of the drug, called ulixertinib. Such phase I clinical trials test a range of doses to determine first whether the drug can slow or halt the progress of the cancer and determine the side effects as well. The study results appear in Cancer Discovery, the journal of the American Association of Cancer Research. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

When is the cost of treatment too high?

CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 24, 2017 – Unfortunately, that’s a question that too many cancer patients face every day. As the cost of newer and sometimes more effective treatments soar into the thousands of dollars per month more and more patients are making choices that reduce the effectiveness of those treatments.

In a recent National Cancer Opinion Survey, by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), 27 percent of Americans who have cancer or have a family member with cancer have taken steps to lower their treatment costs. Such steps include skipping appointments, refusing treatment, not filling prescriptions, skipping doses or splitting doses, all are actions that can reduce the effectiveness of treatment.

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 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 Medicineshowed laboratory results of glioblastoma tumors removed from patients that the researchers infected with two strains of Zika virus. 

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, 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. 

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, 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. 

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.Continue reading
Saturday, January 14, 2017Malaria 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
CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 14, 2017 – 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.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

First viral treatment for brain cancer


Beth Rogers is flanked by her daughter Amanda Keith 
and J.D. Day, M.D., who performed her surgery.
CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 11, 2016 – It has been two months since an Hazen, Arkansas woman became the first person in the US to undergo a new viral treatment for glioblastoma, a particularly deadly form of brain cancer, and so far, it is so good.    
“That is so neat,” Beth Rogers said in a press release of being treated so close to home. “I’m just hopeful through this trial that I’m going to help them find better treatment for glioblastoma because we’ve got to do something. And I’m proud that it’s being done in Arkansas at UAMS.”Continue reading

Saturday, August 27, 2016

New test may identify primary tumor



Epigenetic tests, such as the Epicup
may be used to identify primary
tumors.
CANCER DIGEST -- Aug. 26, 2016 -- In an article published in The Lancet Oncology, researchers at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), ​​show that a newly-developed test, called an epigenetic test, can determine the tissue type of the primary tumor, which would allow doctors to develop more specific treatments for it.

In patients with cancer, initial diagnosis most often includes the detection of the primary or original tumor and the presence or absence of metastasis, or the spread of cancer cells from the original tumor that are growing in other tissues. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Universal cancer vaccine can attack any cancer

CANCER DIGEST – June 7, 2016– German scientists have reported inching closer to a long sought universal vaccine that will attack cancer, any cancer.

Research groups around the world for decades have been pursuing the vaccine approach, which will rev up a cancer patient’s immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer cells.

  0 commentsWednesday, May 18, 2016

Being physically active may lower your cancer risk

Higher levels of leisure-time physical activity may lower your risk for 13 types of cancers, according to a new study published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Steven C. Moore, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md., and coauthors pooled data from 12 U.S. and European cohorts (groups of study participants) with self-reported physical activity (1987-2004). They analyzed associations of physical activity with the incidence of 26 kinds of cancer.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Higher levels of vitamin D leads to lower cancer risk


CANCER DIGEST – April 7, 2016 – Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that the higher the levels of a marker for vitamin D in the blood, the lower the risk of cancer. The findings are published in the April 6, online issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

The new  study aimed to determine what level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood was required to effectively reduce cancer risk. 25-hydroxyvitamin D is the main form of vitamin D in the blood. Vitamin D has been linked to lower risk of cancer since the 1980s, but what the level needs to be to provide the protection has been controversial.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cancer drug receives FDA Priority Review for kidney cancer


CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 10, 2016 – Patients with a type of kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body despite surgery and chemotherapy may soon have a new treatment option. 
The FDA granted Priority Review for a drug called lenvatinib (Lenvima®) for treatment in combination with the drug everolimus for kidney cancer that has failed to respond to surgery and prior chemotherapy.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Blood test could change cancer diagnosis


CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 13, 2015 – A new test of blood platelets can be used to detect, classify and pinpoint the location of cancer by analyzing as little as one drop of blood. 

Using this new method, researchers have been able to identify cancer with 96 percent accuracy, according to a study at UmeĆ„ University in Sweden recently published in the journal Cancer Cell.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Blood test for cancer? Maybe

Dr. Diana Bianchi
CANCER DIGEST – July 13, 2015 – Genetic tests for abnormal chromosomes associated with Downs syndrome and other defects in the fetus, may also detect underlying conditions in the mother, including cancer according to a new study. 

The study reports on the accidental findings from a case series of eight women who had abnormal noninvasive prenatal testing results. While their fetuses had normal chromosomes, later genetic analysis showed that the abnormal findings were due to a variety of undiagnosed cancers in the mothers.

Vitamin D and weight loss linked to reduced inflammation


Lead author Catherine
Duggan, Ph.D
CANCER DIGEST – June 24, 2015 – For the first time, researchers have found that weight loss, in combination with taking vitamin D, has a greater effect on reducing chronic inflammation than weight loss alone. 

Chronic inflammation is known to contribute to the development and progression of several diseases, including some cancers. Led by Catherine Duggan, Ph.D., researchers in the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA published their findings online ahead of the July issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cancer doctors publish tool to help compare treatment values

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today published an initial version of what it hopes to develop into a standardized tool to help patients and their doctors assess the value of cancer treatment options based on clinical benefit, side effects, and for the first time cost. 

While cancer patients have long been confronted with discussions of complicated treatment options with varying degrees of effectiveness and side effects. Seldom is

Friday, May 22, 2015

Imaging technique identifies early metastasis in lymph nodes


Upper left: A sPA signal cannot
be obtained if the gold nano-
particles have no targeting anti-
body -- and thus cannot be
captured by metastatic cells
(drawing bottom left).
Upper right: A strong sPA signal
is obtained from gold nanoparticles
with a targeting antibody that are
captured by the metastatic cells
(drawing bottom right).2
CANCER DIGEST – May 22, 2015 – Researchers at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Engineering have developed a highly sensitive and accurate imaging technique for visualizing cancer cells in the lymph nodes. 

The non-invasive screening method could one day reduce the need for the current practice of surgically removing lymph nodes to determine whether metastatic cancer cells have invaded the lymph nodes. 

The new imaging technique – so far tested only in mice – offers a rapid and effective tool to non-invasively identify very small numbers of these cells, known as micrometastases, thus detecting cancer’s spread at its earliest stages, which is critical for timely treatment. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Compliance and follow-up boosts survival in head and neck cancer


CANCER DIGEST – May 8, 2015 – Treatment compliance and post-treatment follow up care makes a big difference in five-year survival of people with a form of head and neck cancer, a new study shows.

Researchers led by Michael W. Deutschmann, MD of the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, followed 332 patients for an average of 45 months after treatment for head and neck squamous cell cancer. The five-year survival rate for this cancer is a little above 50 percent.

Monday, April 13, 2015

HPV vaccine for boys could prevent oral cancer, save money


Imagae: courtesy CDC
CANCER DIGEST – April 13, 2015 – The vaccine that prevents cervical cancer in girls may save healthcare dollars if comprehensive vaccination of boys were implemented to prevent oral cancers in boys.

A new study suggests that vaccinating 12-year-old boys against the humanpapilloma virus (HPV) may be a cost-effective strategy for preventing oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer, a cancer that starts at the back of the throat and mouth, and involves the tonsils and base of the tongue.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Words of war and cancer



CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 18, 2014 – War and enemy metaphors are the most common metaphors found in new reports about cancer, and they pervade public discussion about the disease. The entire effort to find a cure for cancer, in fact, has been called a “war on cancer,” since President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act in 1971.

But are such metaphors actually keeping us from taking the steps that can prevent more than half of all cancers? 

Monday, November 10, 2014

New drug shows promise for people with BRCA1 or 2 cancers


CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 10, 2014 – People with certain cancers that stem from mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene may soon have another treatment option to slow the cancer progression.

In an early stage clinical trial of the twice-daily drug olaparib, 26 percent of patients had their tumors shrink or disappear for up to 7 months. The phase II trial was designed to determine whether tumors responded to the drug. Whether the drug significantly increases survival will need to be tested in larger phase III studies.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Increasing tobacco exposure linked to rise in oral cancer virus infection


CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 7, 2014 – People with higher levels of the tobacco-related chemicals in their blood and urine were more likely to have the herpes virus that causes oral cancers, a new study shows.

While previous studies have shown higher risk of oral infection with the HPV16 virus among smokers, this study looked at HPV16 infection among people who have tobacco-linked chemicals in their blood or urine, regardless of how they are exposed to tobacco including second-hand smoke. The new study appears in the Oct. 7 issue ofJAMA.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Combination treatment boosts melanoma treatment


OncoLetter YouTube – Sep 29, 2012
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 25, 2014 – Patients with advanced stage melanoma had their cancer growth halted for an average of almost 10 months when treated with a combination therapy compared to a little more than 6 months for those treated with a single chemotherapy drug.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wild berry extract may boost effect of pancreatic cancer drug

CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 18, 2014 – In a laboratory study, extract of chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) appeared to increase the number of cancer cells killed following an application of a common chemotherapy drug used for a number of cancers.

The study used a well-known line of pancreatic cancer cells (AsPC-1) in the laboratory and tested how well the cells grew when treated with either the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine (Gemzar®) or different levels of commercially available chokeberry extract alone, and when treated with a combination of gemcitabine and chokeberry extract.


The researchers at King's College Hospital and the University of Southampton, UK, found that a dose as little as 1 ug/ml (microgram per milliliter) over 48 hours was effective in increasing the cancer cell-killing effectiveness of the gemcitabine. At the same time, the berry extract had no effect on the normal cells lining the blood vessels indicating that, however the extract was spurring cancer cell death, it was not by preventing new blood vessel formation. The researchers published their findings in the online version of the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

"These are very exciting results. The low doses of the extract greatly boosted the effectiveness of gemcitabine when the two were combined,” Lead Researcher Bashir Lwaleed said in press release. “In addition, we found that lower doses of the conventional drug were needed, suggesting either that the compounds work together synergistically, or that the extract exerts a ‘supra-additive’ effect. This could change the way we deal with hard to treat cancers in the future. "

The team believes that clinical trials are now needed to explore the potential of naturally occurring micronutrients in plants, such as those found in chokeberry.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Throat cancer patients with HPV may not need neck surgery


CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 17, 2014 – Patients with neck cancer, who are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), are significantly more likely to have the cancer shrink completely from radiation therapy before neck surgery than those with who had not been infected by the virus.

Researchers reviewed the medical records from 396 patients whose neck (oropharyngeal) cancer had spread to at least one lymph node. Within 180 days after completing radiation therapy, 146 patients underwent neck surgery. For 99 patients, their records indicated whether or not their tumors had likely been triggered by HPV, the same virus associated with both cervical and head and neck cancer.


People who tested positive for HPV (measured by the presence of a protein called p16) were less likely to have a recurrence of their cancers, regardless of whether or not the tumors had completely disappeared following treatment. After they analyzed all other factors they found that the patients' HPV status was the strongest predictor of whether or not they were alive at the end of the study.

The study was led by Thomas J. Galloway, MD, attending physician and director of clinical research at Fox Chase, who presented the findings today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. He concluded that throat cancer patients who are positive for HPV may safely avoid neck surgery following radiation therapy.
Read more …

Thursday, September 4, 2014

FDA grants accelerated approval to Keytruda for melanoma


CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 4, 2014 – The FDA granted fast-track approval to the first of a new class of drugs that promise to hold the key to turning off cancer cells’ ability to evade the body’s immune system.

The drug, pembrolizumab, was approved for treatment of advanced melanoma that is no longer responding to other drugs. It works by blocking a protein called PD-1, which cancer cells produce to restrict the immune system’s ability to attack melanoma cells. 

Marketed under the brand name Keytruda by Merck, it is intended for use following treatment with ipillmumab, an immunotherapy drug that acts on a gene mutation, BRAF V600, which triggers signals inside cells to rev up growth.

The FDA granted Keytruda breakthrough-therapy-status because Merck has demonstrated through preliminary clinical evidence that the drug may offer a substantial improvement over available therapies. It allows patients access to the drug while the company conducts clinical trials to confirm the early results.

Keytruda showed its potential effectiveness in 173 clinical trial participants with advanced melanoma whose disease progressed after other treatments failed to halt it. All participants treated with either of two doses of Keytruda  responded. In the half of the participants who received Keytruda at the recommended dose of 2 mg/kg, approximately 24 percent had their tumors shrink. This effect lasted at least one to almost nine months and continued beyond nine months in most patients. A similar percentage of patients had their tumors shrink at the 10 mg/kg dose.

The most common side effects of Keytruda were fatigue, cough, nausea, itchy skin (pruritus), rash, decreased appetite, constipation, joint pain (arthralgia) and diarrhea, and has the potential to damage the lungs, colons and hormone-producing glands such as the liver, but this did not occur often. 



Monday, September 1, 2014

Invisible blood in urine should spark further testing in those over 60


Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site 
via Wikimedia Commons
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 1, 2014 – Invisible blood in urine may be clue to bladder cancer that could make all the difference in successfully treating the disease, new research shows.

The study examined data from 26,000 people and found that one in 60 people over the age of 60 who had invisible blood in their urine found by laboratory testing, turned out to have bladder cancer. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Bacteria used to shrink tumors

Video credit: © AAAS/Carla Schaffer
CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 13, 2014 – Researchers have shown that injections of a weakened version of a bacterium that thrives in a very low oxygen environment can shrink tumors in rats, pet dogs, and a human patient.

The microbe, Clostridium novyi, is commonly found in soil and lives only in oxygen-poor environments, which makes it ideal for adaption to oxygen-starved cells in tumors that are difficult to treat with chemotherapy and radiation.
Wednesday, August 11, 2014
Bee, snake and scorpion venoms may be promising next cancer therapy
Courtesy Publications Division of the American
Chemical Society.

CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 11, 2014 – Venoms may be the newest approach to be used in targeted therapies say researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In a report presented at the 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Dipanjan Pan, Ph.D outlined

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Making tumors glow to improve cancer


Photo courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania
CANCER DIGEST – July 29, 2014 – Between 20 and 50 percent of cancer patients who undergo surgery end up with recurrence of their cancer, indicating that the surgeon missed some of the diseased tissue from the site. Identifying the edges of a tumor can be difficult to do during a procedure, and typically surgeons have to rely on visual examination of the tumor and feeling for differences with their fingers.

Monday, July 28, 2014

One third of cancer patients are killed by a 'fat-burning' process


Video courtesy – CNIO
CANCER DIGEST – July 28, 2014 – Transforming “bad” fat into “good” fat is currently one of the most researched processes of the body, thanks to the obesity epidemic. The bad fat is white and stored throughout the body, but in a process not fully understood, that stored fat is turned into good fat or brown fat that is burned for energy. While spurring that process is sought as a means to reduce obesity and diabetes, researchers in Spain 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Incidence of head and neck cancer higher for those with diabetes


YouTube – courtesy Orange County Cyberknife
Oncology Center in Orange County
CANCER DIGEST – July 24, 2014 – A database analysis of 89,089 patients appears to show that diabetes increases the risk of head and neck cancer, according to a study in today’s JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.

The researchers at the Tainan University of Technology, Taiwan, used their country’s Longitudinal Health Insurance Research Database to examine the risk of head and neck cancers in patients with diabetes. While they did not distinguish between type 1 and type 2 in the study, all of the patients were newly diagnosed and the highest incidence of head and neck cancer was among those 40 to 65 years old. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Parasite in cats shows promise for a potent cancer vaccine


A single nonreplicating cps parasite
inside a tumor cell – 
Norris Cotton
Cancer Center
CANCER DIGEST – July 22, 2014 – A parasite that is only able to reproduce and complete its lifecycle in cats’ intestines has been adapted to make a potent anti-cancer vaccine. Using the parasite commonly found in cat feces, researchers at Norris Cotton Cancer Center have developed a vaccine that uniquely spurs the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a single-celled parasite 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cell discovery could lead to blocking cancer spread


Migrating embryonic neural crest
cells (credit: Prof. Roberto Mayor)
CANCER DIGEST – July 7, 2014 – Cancer that spreads, or metastasizes, to other parts of the body is often deadly. How tumors spread, however, or more specifically, how cancer cells enter the blood or lymph systems to be transported elsewhere has long been a mystery. Researchers at the University College London (UCL) reported today in the Journal of Cell Biology that they have discovered that cells can change into a liquid-like state to easily move through blood and lymph vessels. 

The researchers say a molecule called lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) changes cells from a solid to a liquid-like state, allowing cells to flow between tissues in the body. Lead author of the study, Professor Roberto Mayor, of UCL, called the discovery a milestone in understanding cell development and cancer biology. 

“We have found a way to stop the movement of embryonic cells by blocking LPA signals,” he said in a press release. “It is likely that a similar mechanism operates during cancer invasion, which suggests a promising alternative in which cancer treatments might work in the future, if therapies can be targeted to limit the tissue fluidity of tumors.”

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Low-dose aspirin may lower risk of pancreatic cancer


VOA YouTube report on 2011 Oxford Study
of aspirin and cancer risk
CANCER DIGEST – June 26, 2014 – Men and women who took low-dose aspirin regularly had a 48 percent reduction in risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to a Yale study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The longer a person took low-dose aspirin, the lower his or her risk for developing pancreatic cancer. Protection against pancreatic cancer ranged from 39 percent reduction in risk for those who took low-dose aspirin for six years or less, to 60 percent reduction in risk for those who took low-dose aspirin for more than 10 years

Study subjects were recruited from the 30 general hospitals in Connecticut between 2005 and 2009. They were interviewed in person to determine when they started using aspirin, the number of years they used aspirin, and the type of aspirin they used. A dose of 75 to 325 mg of aspirin per day was considered as low-dose aspirin. The results confirm earlier studies showing a protective effect from aspirin for a variety of cancers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Vaccine makes pancreatic cancers susceptible to immunotherapy




Pancreatic cancer YouTube
CANCER DIGEST – June 18, 2014 – Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed and tested a vaccine that triggered the growth of immune cell nodules within pancreatic tumors, potentially making them vulnerable to immune-based therapies. 

In their study described in the June 18 issue of Cancer Immunology Research, the researchers tested the vaccine in 39 people with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC), the most common form of pancreatic cancer. The vaccine, called GVAX, created structures called tertiary lymphoid aggregates within the patients' tumor; structures that help regulate immune cell activation and movement. The aggregates appeared in 33 of the 39 patients treated with the vaccine. The aggregates could shift the immunologic balance within a tumor, setting up an environment to activate good T cells to fight the cancer. The disease becomes resistant to standard chemotherapies and is particularly lethal, with fewer than 5 percent of patients surviving five years after their diagnosis.

Wednesday, June 12, 2014

Bacteria boosts survival in pancreatic cancer immunotherapy

Smitha Krishnamurthi, MD, Case Western Reserve
University, describes the CRS-270/GVAX trial
YouTube by Targeted Oncology
Cancer Digest — June 12, 2014 — Researchers at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Health care is one of 11 centers studying a new pancreatic cancer immunotherapy that uses modified bacteria to boost the immune response to advanced pancreatic cancer.

In a recently completed early phase trial of 93 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, those who received the combination regimen of CRS-207, GVAX and cyclophosphamide survived an average of 6.1 months compared to 3.9 months for those who received only cyclophosphamide and GVAX. CRS-207 is a modified bacteria, called Listeria that has the effect of increasing the immune response to the cancer. The GVAX is vaccine that causes the tumor to grow nodules that make the cancer susceptible to the immune system’s cancer-killing cells. The immunotherapies were well-tolerated, with no serious treatment-related adverse side effects.

Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials is among the first 11 centers in the United States participating in the study. The drug was developed by Aduro BioTech, Inc., a clinical-stage immunotherapy company located in Berkeley, Calif. A total of 240 patients are expected to be treated at more than 20 clinical trial sites in North America.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cancer drug may boost cancer-killing virus


Balveen Kaur, PhD, conducted
the study combining bortezomib
and viral therapy
CANCER DIGEST – June 16, 2014 – Adding a low-dose of a targeted drug used to treat a type of bone marrow cancer to a cancer-killing virus therapy might increase the effectiveness of such viral therapy, an early laboratory and animal study shows. Researchers at Ohio State University tested the combination of a herpes virus engineered to kill cancer cells and boretezomib (Velcade®) an FDA-approved drug that targets cell complexes that breakdown proteins in cells. They published their findings in the journalClinical Cancer Research. The study is a long way from human trials, but is a first step needed to show that a treatment strategy is worth pursuing. In the series of experiments in laboratory cultures of cancer cells, and in animal models of human tumors, the combination treatment suppressed brain tumor growth by 92 percent relative to comparison tumors, with six of eight tumors completely eradicated 23 days after treatment. Similar outcomes were seen in models of head and neck cancers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New molecular ‘truck’ can deliver imaging or cancer-killing agents to tumors


A new class of imaging agents is taken
up readily by nearly all human cancers. 
– YouTube courtesy University of
Wisconsin
CANCER DIGEST – June 11, 2014 – Scientists at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) report that a new class of tumor-targeting agents can seek out and find dozens of solid tumors, including brain cancer stem cells that currently resist treatments. Cancer cells that lack the enzymes needed to absorb a certain cell membrane component, which is easily processed by normal cells, preferentially take up the agent, called alkylphosphocholine, or APC for short. Like a molecular truck, APC can be ‘loaded’ with either radioactive or chemical agents used to image tissues, or it can be loaded with a cancer-killing radioisotope. The results showed APC was taken up by 55 of 57 different cancers, in both animal and human subjects. The researchers reported their findings in today's issue of the journal ScienceTranslational Medicine.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Promising device may detect pancreatic cancer earlier


YouTube courtesy Mayo Clinic Florida
press release
CANCER DIGEST – June 8, 2014 – Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida have developed a promising tool for detecting pancreatic cancer, which could lead to earlier treatment. In a feasibility study published in the journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the researchers showed that an optical blood oxygen sensor attached to an endoscope is able to correctly identify pancreatic cancer 92 percent of the time and correctly rule out cancer 86 percent of the time. The device measures changes in blood flow in the tissues close to the pancreas. Tumors tend to increase blood flow in nearby tissues in order to extract oxygen needed to grow. The researchers tested the device in a group of 14 patients already diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 10 patients without cancer. They are now conducting larger studies in the U.S. and Europe to see if their findings are confirmed. Currently 90 percent of pancreatic cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage when there is no effective treatment. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014


FDA requires warnings on sun tanning devices

CANCER DIGEST – May 29, 2014 – The FDA today announced that it has reclassified tanning beds and sunlamps as posing a “moderate-risk” for skin cancer, up from the previous classification of “low-risk.” The order also requires that sunlamp products carry a visible black-box warning on the device that explicitly states that the sunlamp product should not be used on persons under the age of 18 years. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning experience a 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. This risk increases each time they use a sunlamp product. In addition, certain marketing materials for sunlamp products and UV lamps must include additional and specific warning statements and contraindications.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


New FDA-approved drugs offer hope for melanoma

YouTube courtesy of Hashem
AL-ghaili
CANCER DIGEST – May 22, 2014 – Since 2011 the FDA has approved two  melanoma drugs, Zelboraf (vemurafenib) and Tafinlar (dabrafenib), and a combination treatment using Mekinist (trametinib) and Tafinlar, which have shown in clinical trials to shrink tumors in about half of melanoma patients. In another clinical trial using Zelboraf and Yervoy (ipilimumab) patients lived longer than if they had received conventional chemotherapy.  Yervoy is a new class of immunotherapy approved for melanoma that cannot be treated with surgery. It blocks a normal protein that thwarts certain immune system cells, called T cells. Yervoy helps the T cells recognize the cancer cells and attack them. All of these drugs appear to work in people whose tumors have a specific gene mutation, called BRAF V600E. By blocking the mutated gene the tumor stops growing and the T cells are able to kill the cancer cells.



Monday, May 19, 2014

Oral bacteria may indicate pancreatic cancer

ASM video from press release
Cancer Digest – May 19, 2014 – Researchers have been looking for decades for a way to detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage when it might be treatable. Pancreatic cancer kills 40,000 people a year in the U.S. largely because symptoms don't appear until it is too advanced for effective treatment. The catch has been knowing what to look for. Researchers at the University of California San Diego have found that ratios of particular types of bacteria in saliva may be indicative of pancreatic cancer. In an analysis of 131 patients, 14 with pancreatic cancer, 13 with pancreatic disease other than cancer, and 22 with other forms of cancer, they found that only the pancreatic cancer patients had two particular oral bacteria, and they had lower levels of three other bacteria than other people. The study was presented at the 2014 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston.

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