Cancer Research

Researchers have revealed the structure of a protein complex,
MATα2 and MATβ,
that bind to each other and promote the reproduction of tumor cells in liver and colon cancers.

Both of these types of cancer are significant. In 2012 alone, liver cancer was responsible for the second highest mortality rate worldwide, with colon cancer appearing third in the list. 

This structural data discovery opens up additional research opportunities into drugs that can act on the binding of these proteins, thereby possibly inhibiting cancer cell growth.

Researchers have found that the loss of a protein called p62 in the cells and tissue surrounding a tumor can enhance the growth and progression of tumors. The study suggests that therapies targeting the tumor micro-envirnonment may be as important as targeting the tumor itself. 

The findings contribute to the increasing acknowledgement that the cells and tissue surrounding a tumor, the stroma, are an integral part of cancer initiation, growth, and expansion. 

After the age of 10, a dog develops cancer almost every second of the day - about 5 percent of the elderly dog population per year. If you have the financial means, a few therapies derived from human medicine are available for dogs but a truly successful form of therapy by which antibodies inhibit tumor growth has not been available for animals so far. 

Scientists at the inter-university Messerli Research Institute of the Vetmeduni Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna, and the University of Vienna have developed, for the first time, antibodies to treat cancer in dogs. As in humans, cancers in dogs have complex causes. The interaction of the environment, food, and genetic disposition are the most well known factors.

Researchers have identified a biomarker that predicts whether glioblastoma – the most common form of primary brain cancer – will respond to chemotherapy.  

"Every patient diagnosed with glioblastoma is treated with a chemotherapy called temozolomide. About 15 percent of these patients derive long-lasting benefit," said Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, vice-chairman of Academic Affairs, Division of Neurosurgery, UC San Diego School of Medicine and the study's principal investigator. "We need to identify which patients benefit from temozolomide and which another type of treatment. All therapies involve risk and the possibility of side-effects. Patients should not undergo therapies if there's no likelihood of benefit."

Recently findings could help to reduce health care charges while also protecting childhood cancer survivors from heart ailments caused by drug therapy. 

The paper reviewed data from patient histories to show that current standard medical guidelines for protecting childhood cancer survivors from drug treatment-related heart disease and heart failure later in life through periodic heart scans (echocardiographs) are overly cautious.

According to the data, the frequency of such post-cancer screenings can be safely reduced for low-risk patients – with large cost-savings and little reduction in overall quality of patient care.

The gene Metadherin - MTDH - which is implicated in promoting the spread of breast cancer tumors, only stimulates tumor growth when the protein made by the gene interacts with a second protein known as SND1, according to a paper in Cancer Cell.

Invasive breast cancer strikes 1 in 8 women and causes roughly 40,000 deaths each year in the United States. About 20 percent of women with breast cancer go on to develop tumors that spread throughout body, are resistant to chemotherapy, and are often fatal.

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.