Cancer Research

Cancer cells in neuroblastoma contain a molecule that breaks down a key energy source for the body's immune cells, leaving them too physically drained to fight the disease, according to new research.

Scientists have discovered that the cells in neuroblastoma - a rare type of childhood cancer that affects nerve cells - produce a molecule that breaks down arginine, one of the building blocks of proteins and an essential energy source for immune cells. 
Around 90 cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed each year in the UK, mostly in children under five years old.

How much does diet affect the cancer patient? Do "antioxidants" really play an important role in health - or are they causing more cancers than they cure? And what exactly is the relationship between obesity and cancer?

The latest Special Issue in ecancermedicalscience collects four original articles from experts in cancer and metabolism, addressing the hottest areas of research in this rapidly developing field.

"In our clinical practice, cancer patients often ask 'Doctor, is there something specific I should eat or avoid eating?'" says Guest Editor of this Special Issue, Dr Luca Mazzarella of the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Cancer can be caused solely by protein imbalances within cells, a study of ovarian cancer has found. The discovery is a major breakthrough because genetic aberrations have been seen as the main cause of almost all cancer. 

A new study by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), the National Cancer Institute, and the Chulabhorn Research Institute has found that blocking the activity of a key immune receptor, the lymphotoxin-beta receptor (LTβR), reduces the progression of liver cancer. The results, published today in the online edition of Gut, could provide new treatment strategies for the disease, which is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

The rate of Australians dying from cancer is on a steady, downhill trajectory, thanks to powerful advances made in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. New data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows a promising outlook for those diagnosed with cancer.

Deaths from all cancers combined fell from 199 per 100,000 people in 1968, to 167 per 100,000 in 2012 - a decline of 2.6 deaths per 100,000 people per year.

“This confirms that we are steadily making improvements in most cancers, in terms of survival,” said Professor Timothy Hughes, Cancer Theme Leader at SAHMRI.

“And it’s coming from better prevention, better screening and better therapy.”

In Mexico, breast cancer has been adequately controlled, and is no longer considered a risk of death when it’s diagnosed.

The disease is more common among women in the capital and the northern states, and is first in incidence of malignant neoplasms in females. It represents 11.34 percent of all cancer cases, and the increase is negligible. But in the United States the increase is five percent per year.

Around half of all breast cancer patients could one day benefit from having the cheap and widely-available female hormone progesterone added to their treatment, according to a paper by UK researchers published in Nature. 

Children with a rare type of cancer called Wilms' tumor who are at low risk of relapsing can now be given less intensive treatment, avoiding a type of chemotherapy that can cause irreversible heart problems in later life.

The move follows the results of a Cancer Research UK trial, published in the Lancet, showing that the drug doxorubicin can be safely omitted from treatment without affecting patients' chances of survival.

Researchers have built a simulation to show how cancerous tumors manipulate blood-vessel growth for their own benefit.

Like all cells, those in tumors need access to the body's fine network of blood vessels to bring them oxygen and carry away waste. Tumors have learned to game the process called angiogenesis in which new vessels sprout from existing ones, like branches from a tree.

But some details have been hidden until now.

New research at Rice University shows how tumors create chaos in the development of neighboring blood vessels, causing them to grow too quickly and not form properly. Credit: Marcelo Boareto/Rice University

A mutation found in most melanomas rewires cancer cells' metabolism, making them dependent on a ketogenesis enzyme, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered. The finding points to possible strategies for countering resistance to existing drugs that target the B-raf V600E mutation, or potential alternatives to those drugs. It may also explain why the V600E mutation in particular is so common in melanomas.

The growth-promoting V600E mutation in the gene B-raf is present in most melanomas, and also in some cases of colon and thyroid cancer. Drugs such as vemurafenib are available that target this mutation, but in clinical trials, after a period of apparent remission, cancers carrying the V600E mutation invariably develop drug resistance.