Cancer Research

Circadian clocks regulate the timing of biological functions in almost all higher organisms. Anyone who has flown through several time zones knows the jet lag that can result when this timing is disrupted.

Now, new research by Cornell and Dartmouth researchers explains the biological mechanism behind how circadian clocks sense light through a process that transfers energy from light to chemical reactions in cells.

Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard for detecting colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Research presented today at Digestive Disease Week® 2007 (DDW®) discusses contributing factors that could prevent patients from getting optimal results from their colonoscopy, including age of the patient, location of the screening and proper technician training.

Scientists have identified yet another risk from a high-salt diet. High concentrations of salt in the stomach appear to induce gene activity in the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori, making it more virulent and increasing the likelihood of an infected person developing a severe gastric disease.

"Apparently the stomach pathogen H. pylori closely monitors the diets of those people whom it infects. Epidemiological evidence has long implied that there is a connection between H. pylori and the composition of the human diet. This is especially true for diets rich in salt," says Hanan Gancz, of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest of today's cancers due to limited tools for early diagnosis and few effective treatments. Research presented today takes a closer look at pancreatic cancer and the conditions that may lead to it, such as chronic pancreatitis, to evaluate the progress made to date, as well as the promising new applications of technology that will improve survival rates in the coming years. DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.


The use of peginterferon alone, or in combination with ribavirin, points to a cure for hepatitis C, the leading cause of cirrhosis, liver cancer and the need for liver transplant, a Virginia Commonwealth University researcher said today.

Mitchell Shiffman, M.D., professor in the VCU School of Medicine, and chief of hepatology and medical director of the Liver Transplant Program at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, is one of the lead investigators in the study, which was presented at the 38th annual Digestive Disease Week conference in Washington, D.C. VCU was among about 40 sites worldwide studying pegylated interferon alfa-2a, manufactured by Roche Inc.

Researchers at Harvard University and Princeton University have made a crucial step toward building biological computers, tiny implantable devices that can monitor the activities and characteristics of human cells. The information provided by these "molecular doctors," constructed entirely of DNA, RNA, and proteins, could eventually revolutionize medicine by directing therapies only to diseased cells or tissues.

This work is a crucial step towards building biological computers, tiny implantable devices that can monitor the activities and characteristics of human cells.


Peering into the body and visualizing its molecular secrets, once the stuff of science fiction, is one step closer to reality.

The research team is reporting that by looking at images from radiology scans - such as the CT scans a cancer patient routinely gets - radiologists can discern most of the genetic activity of a tumor. Such information could lead to diagnosing and treating patients individually, based on the unique characteristics of their disease.

Imagine if a naturally occurring chemical in your body could help make you feel more calm and relaxed – but it would only work during the long days of summer.

The same chemical would, instead, make you aggressive and nasty when you were exposed to less daylight during the winter.

That's exactly what occurs for a specific species of mouse, according to a new study at Ohio State University.

The use of targeted nanoparticles offers promising techniques for cancer treatment. Researchers in the laboratory of Mark E. Davis at the California Institute of Technology have been using small interfering RNA (siRNA), sometimes known as silencing RNA, to "silence" specific genes that are implicated in certain malignancies.

One of the primary challenges associated with this type of therapy is delivering the therapeutic agent into the body and then to the tumor in a safe and effective manner. By using targeted nanoparticles, researchers have demonstrated that systemically delivered siRNA can slow the growth of tumors in mice without eliciting the toxicities often associated with cancer therapies.

Northwestern University researchers have discovered that a recently identified genetic marker for prostate cancer is linked to a highly aggressive form of the disease.

These findings ultimately will aid the development of a simple blood test to predict who is susceptible to this aggressive cancer, Northwestern researchers said. Knowing which patients carry this genetic marker also will guide doctors in how they treat the cancer.