Cancer Research

It's a trick almost everyone knows: to open a locked door, slide a credit card over the latch.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) used a similar strategy when they attempted to disrupt the function of MYC, a cancer regulator thought to be "undruggable." The researchers found that a credit card-like molecule they developed somehow moves in and disrupts the critical interactions between MYC and its binding partner.

MYC is a transcriptional factor, meaning it controls gene expression. When MYC is overexpressed or amplified, the unregulated expression of genes involved in cell proliferation, a key step in cancer growth, follows. MYC is involved in a majority of cancers, including Burkitt's lymphoma, a fast-growing cancer that tends to strike children.

Obstructive sleep apnea, in which people stop breathing for short periods while sleeping. Breathing pauses last from seconds to minutes and may occur 30 times per hour, after which normal breathing then starts again, often with a snoring or choking sound.

About five percent of adults have some form of sleep apnea. It can ncrease the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and arrhythmias. It is most prevalent in obese people and some studies have also postulated that obstructive sleep apnea may be linked to cancer because of low levels of oxygen in the blood. 

Mutations in a gene named
CTR9 gene
that helps regulate when genes are switched on and off in cells have been found to cause rare cases of Wilms tumor, the most common kidney cancer occurring in children.

Since President Richard Nixon declared a War on Cancer over 40 years ago, survival rates have improved dramatically and cancer rates have even gone down, despite claims that everything from DDT to nuclear energy to genetically modified foods would cause a cancer epidemic.

Yet not all cancer survival has improved. Pancreatic cancer still has  the lowest survival rate of the 21 most common cancers, and in 40 years just over 3 percent of pancreatic cancer patients survive for at least five years, only a fraction more than the 2 percent who survived that long in the early 1970s.

BRCA1/2 genes are the most important breast cancer risks but after that, women with mutations in the PALB2 gene have on average a one in three chance of developing breast cancer by the age of seventy, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In a study run through the international PALB2 Interest Group a team of researchers from 17 centres in eight countries led by the University of Cambridge analysed data from 154 families without BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, which included 362 family members with PALB2 gene mutations. The effort was funded by the European Research Council, Cancer Research UK and multiple other international sources.

A paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation helps explain why brain tumors occur more often in males and frequently are more harmful than similar tumors in females.

Glioblastomas, the most common malignant brain tumors, are diagnosed twice as often in males, who suffer greater cognitive impairments than females and do not survive as long. The researchers found that retinoblastoma protein (RB), a protein known to reduce cancer risk, is significantly less active in male brain cells than in female brain cells.

Women who recently used birth control pills containing high-dose estrogen and a few other formulations had an increased risk for breast cancer compared to women using some other formulations did not, according to new data published in Cancer Research.

If you go by stories of epigenetics and the microbiome, we are on the verge of curing all disease. There hasn't been this much hype since human embryonic stem cells and the human genome project were going to cure all ailments in 2000.

But behind the hype there is some science, it is just figuring out what is epigenetics, what is genetics and then what is instead epidemiological matching of correlation and causation that is the struggle.

It isn't the tumor that kills up to a third of cancer patients, according to a new study, it's the indirect effects triggered by a process that is heavily studied not to fight cancer, but to fight obesity: the conversion of white fat tissue into brown fat tissue.

Cachexia, also called wasting syndrome, is the name for extreme thinness and weakness due to atrophy. In their paper, researchers argue that if it is possible to reduce the transformation of fat tissue, the symptoms of cachexia will improve, although they do not completely disappear. The authors demonstrate this by blocking mediators of inflammation, a process linked to cachexia, specifically, to the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6.

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) has expressed concern that the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation could make cancer research impossible and add a significant burden to both doctors and cancer patients.

The proposed wording of the regulation stipulates 'explicit and specific patient consent', meaning that researchers would have to approach patients every single time research is planned in order to consult their data or use tissue samples stored for research purposes.