Cancer Research

Too little or too much of an enzyme called SRPK1 promotes cancer by disrupting a regulatory event critical for many fundamental cellular processes, including proliferation, according to a paper in Molecular Cell.

The Sun newspaper in the UK has a "check 'em Tuesday" campaign - a weekly call for women to examine their breasts. Readers are even asked to send in photos to prove compliance and can even sign up for a text message reminder.

It sounds like concern for readers and it is, except it doesn't help and may even hurt, according to Glasgow general practitioner Margaret McCartney in BMJ.

McCartney argues that teaching women to examine their breasts regularly "has been shown not to reduce deaths from breast cancer and actually increases the chances of a benign biopsy result." She says it is "unfair to tell women that regular self examination will save their lives when it may simply incur anxiety and have the potential to harm."

Laboratory tests conducted at Texas A&M AgriLife Research have found that treatments with peach extract inhibit breast cancer metastasis in mice, likely due to the mixture of phenolic compounds present in the peach extract, they write in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

In the western hemisphere, breast cancer is the most common malignant disease for women, he said. In the U.S. last year, the American Cancer Society estimated about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer among women. Most of the complications and high mortality associated with breast cancer are due to metastasis.

Daniel H. Conrad, professor of microbiology and immunology at the
Virginia Commonwealth University
 School of Medicine, and colleagues have uncovered a new connection between allergy and cancer that could potentially lead to therapies involving common antihistamines. 

In the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, their study found that histamine, a component of the immune system that responds to allergens and foreign pathogens and is also linked to inflammation, plays a role in protecting tumors from the immune system. By blocking the production of histamine in animal models, the researchers were able to interrupt a process that promotes melanoma growth. 

Archaeologists have found the oldest complete example in the world of a human with metastatic cancer in a 3,000 year-old skeleton. 

 Cryoablation, also called cryosurgery and cryotherapy, is an energy-based, minimally invasive surgical technique that has been investigated to treat a variety of diseases including cancer. It involves freezing the diseased tissue to subzero temperature to induce irreversible damage.  

A new paper finds that in combination with free doxorubicin (fDOX) and nanoparticle-encapsulated doxorubicin (nDOX) nanodrug-based chemotherapy, cryoablation provides an effective strategy to eliminate cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) the root of cancer resistance and metastasis. 

A faster and less expensive form of radiotherapy, called Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), for treating prostate cancer may come with a higher rate of urinary complications.

The standard external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer is currently intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Stereotactic body radiotherapy delivers a greater dose of radiation per treatment than IMRT so  patients receiving SBRT can complete an entire course of treatment in one to two weeks, compared to seven to nine weeks for IMRT. 

The most popular test for ovarian cancer reports false-positives in 94 of 100 diagnosed cases but researchers from the University of Copenhagen and University College London have developed a method able to halve that. 

When fully developed, the new test will spare a significant number of women from unnecessary worry and further testing. Furthermore, global health care providers stand to save substantial sums – just by including a test on a certain sugar molecule in tandem with the currently prevailing diagnostic test.

Low oxygen conditions often persist inside tumors, but they are sufficient to initiate a molecular chain of events that transform breast cancer cells from being rigid and stationery to mobile and invasive.

A recent study highlighted the importance of hypoxia-inducible factors in promoting breast cancer metastasis.

It's not often that cancer research gets compared to gridlock traffic in New York City but it makes some sense. If we are driving from Florida, we might take I-95 to get there, but if we are driving from California, we would take I-80. It's a matter of circumstance and then some variables based on choice.

John McDonald, a professor in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
, says that cancers also have lots of routes to get to the same disease and that assessing the route to cancer on a case-by-case basis might make more sense than the way it is done now.