Cancer Research

A study of triple-negative breast cancer raises the prospect that some patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Melanoma is one of the worst, most metastatic cancers known today.

Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have discovered more than 40 genes that predict the level of aggressiveness of melanoma and that distinguish it from other cancers with a poor prognosis. The discovery will help to identify unique aspects of melanoma that could contribute to determine the risk of developing metastasis in patients with this disease. It explains why a drug, also described by CNIO, is being used to selectively attack the melanoma tumor cells.  

What is the function of these genes? Strangely, the factors that are increased in melanoma share a common mechanism: the formation of vesicles called endosomes.

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major cause of disability and death worldwide. An estimated 8.6 million people fell ill and 1.3 million people died from the disease in 2012, according to the World Health Organization. Although TB is curable, adherence to therapy is difficult as treatment requires taking antibiotic drugs for at least six months and sometimes up to two years. Poor adherence to medication and other factors have resulted in drug-resistant strains, and currently no effective TB vaccine exists.  

A new paper describes a type of tuberculosis (TB) treatment that involves manipulating the body's response to TB bacteria rather than targeting the bacteria themselves, a concept called host-directed therapy.

Cancer care has had lots of known side effects but one goes less discussed - the "financial toxicity", which is the expense, anxiety and loss of confidence confronting those who face large, unpredictable costs, often compounded by decreased ability to work.

Writing in Cancer, a team of University of Chicago cancer specialists describe the first tool to measure a patient's risk for, and ability to tolerate, financial stress. The researchers named their patient-reported outcome measure COST (COmprehensive Score for financial Toxicity) and uses
11 questions, assembled and refined from conversations with more than 150 patients with advanced cancer. 

Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki has described a very interesting case of a cancer patient named Daniel. Daniel was a fit man in his mid 30's and was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Within two months it had spread to his lymph nodes and within one year had sprouted secondary cancers in his lungs and liver. During this time Daniel could no longer play basketball and lost over 30 pounds. The cancer then spread to his right hip causing severe pain. The consulting doctor decided to treat the hip pain (tumor) with a high dose of radiation hoping that the damage to the tumor would provide pain relief. The doctor then booked a 3-month follow up appointment not really expecting Daniel to be alive. Three months later, Daniel not only showed up but had gained 11 pounds and was pain free.

A new study finds that seminal fluid - semen - contains biomarkers for prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men. 

University of Adelaide research fellow and lead author Dr Luke Selth says the commonly used PSA (prostate specific antigen) test is by itself not ideal to test for the cancer.
But the results in Endocrine-Related Cancer show that their new test finds presence of certain molecules in seminal fluid and indicates not only whether a man has prostate cancer, but also the severity of the cancer.

Why, as we age, are we more vulnerable to cancer? 

You don't think of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - one of the atomic bomb testing facilities - when you think of breast cancer research, but they know cell mutations.

A new paper in Cell Reports by LBL researchers found that, as women age, the cells responsible for maintaining healthy breast tissue stop responding to their immediate surroundings, including mechanical cues that should prompt them to suppress nearby tumors. The disease is most frequently diagnosed among women aged 55 to 64, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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.