Cancer Research

The May 26th 2014 issue of Chemical&Engineering News reported on a promising drug with a future to be determined by the courts.

Cancer researcher Wafik S. El-Deiry of Pennsylvania State University and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and colleagues found TIC10 in a search of a free National Cancer Institute database and pinpointed its anticancer activity.

They found that the compound stimulates gene expression of a tumor suppressor protein called TRAIL. TIC10 stands for TRAIL-inducing compound 10.

The Penn State group patented the compound with the top structure:

See U.S. 8673923.

Long-term follow-up results from a phase 1b immunotherapy trial combining drugs for advanced melanoma patients has shown encouraging results — long-lasting, with high survival rates — according to a presentation at the 2014 annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago. 

There is good news for cancer survivors - their numbers continue to grow.

There are currently 14.5 million cancer survivors in the USA and that will grow to almost 19 million by 2024, according to the second edition of Cancer Treatment&Survivorship Facts & Figures, 2014-2015 and an accompanying journal article published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Cancer rates have been decreasing for 10 years and the number of cancer survivors is growing, even with an aging population. This is due primarily to earlier cancer detection and more effective treatments.

As targeted therapies become more available, increasing opportunity exists to match treatments to the genetics of a specific cancer - but oncologists have to know these genetics in order to make the match, which requires molecular testing of patient samples.

As government increasingly takes control of health care, the standard for such non-essential  tests is going to be set far higher for poor people but there were still be more of them, so oncologists are going to have to make sure that patients' samples are properly tested, helping to pair patients with the best possible treatments. 

Circumcision is performed for various reasons, including those that are based on religion, aesthetics, or health, but a paper
in BJU International adds to a growing list of advantages to circumcision; it finds rhat the procedure may help prevent prostate cancer in some men.  

A retrospective study used large population-based data to compare the risk of hospitalization for six common chemotherapy regimens.  The work gives in the Journal of Clinical Oncology gives oncologists a new understanding of the toxicity levels of specific chemotherapy regimens used for women with early stage breast cancer, according to the authors from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

 There have been several prior publications in the health services research field addressing chemotherapy toxicity using claims data, but they don't outline specific chemotherapy regimens. 

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered a signaling pathway in cancer cells that controls their ability to invade nearby tissues in a finely orchestrated manner. The findings offer insights into the early molecular events involved in metastasis, the deadly spread of cancer cells from primary tumor to other parts of the body. The study was published today in the online edition of Nature Cell Biology.

Feed a cold, starve a...cancer?

 A new paper in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment says that the triple negative subtype of breast cancer – one of the most aggressive forms – is less likely to spread, or metastasize, to new sites in the body when mice were fed a restricted diet. 

Years ago, calorie restriction was touted as a way to live longer - left out of media stories on the subject were details like that it only worked in mice that were weaned on a starvation diet from birth - but claiming an epigenetic treatment for cancer is relatively new. This decade, everything is attributed to epigenetics so calibrate accordingly.

Much like using dimmer switches to brighten or darken rooms, biochemists have identified a protein called CFIm25  that can be used to slow down or speed up the growth of brain tumors in mice. 

More than 60 years ago, Otto Warburg said that cancer cells differ from normal cells in the metabolic pathway they use for the oxidation of sugar.

Rather than the typical series of oxidative steps that take place in the citric acid cycle, cancer cells metabolize sugar via the glycolytic pathway irrespective of whether oxygen is present or not.

Writing in a new paper for The EMBO Journal, researchers believe that the reason for this difference in colon cancer is changes in the Wnt signaling pathway, an essential communication pathway operating in these tumors.