Cancer Research

Rats with erectile dysfunction, or ED, that were injected with a gene therapy vector containing either of two nerve growth factors were able to regain normal function after four weeks, according to a study conducted by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers.

A unique examination of one treatment center’s use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in new breast cancer patients has found MRI to be superior to mammography in finding additional tumors in a breast in which cancer has already been diagnosed, and in detecting new tumors in a patient’s supposedly healthy breast.

In the first scientific study of its kind, shark cartilage extract, AE-941 or Neovastat, has shown no benefit as a therapeutic agent when combined with chemotherapy and radiation for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, according to researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women; according to the American Cancer Society, more than 213,380 will be diagnosed in 2007 and more than 160,390 will die from the disease. Non-small cell is the most common type of the disease, accounting for about 80 percent of all lung cancers, says Charles Lu, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology.

Malignant melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. Nearly 60,000 new cases of melanoma are expected in 2007, and 8,100 deaths are expected to occur.

Higher levels of a protein called S-100 in patients with melanoma may correlate with a higher risk of having the disease return, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

A drug described by some people as a “genius pill” for enhancing cognitive function provided relief to a small group of Rochester breast cancer survivors who were coping with a side effect known as “chemo-brain,” according to a University of Rochester Medical Center study.

Sixty-eight women, who had completed treatment for breast cancer, participated in an eight-week clinical trial testing the effects of modafinil (Provigil). All women took the drug for the first four weeks. During the next month half of the women continued to receive the drug while the other half took an identical looking placebo pill.

Researchers have identified novel genetic mutations that are linked to hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, with these mutations being due to both independent mutational events and common ancestry, according to a study in the June 6 issue of JAMA.

Last year, a groundbreaking international project found that a group of Japanese patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer survived longer —and had a higher rate of side effects — than U.S. patients with the same diagnosis,.when both groups were given two well-known drugs for the disease.

Flaxseed, an edible seed that is rich in omega 3-fatty acids and fiber-related compounds known as lignans, is effective in halting prostate tumor growth, according to a study led by Duke University Medical Center researchers. The seed, which is similar to a sesame seed, may be able to interrupt the chain of events that leads cells to divide irregularly and become cancerous.

"Our previous studies in animals and in humans had shown a correlation between flaxseed supplementation and slowed tumor growth, but the participants in those studies had taken flaxseed in conjunction with a low-fat diet," said Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., a researcher in Duke's School of Nursing and lead investigator on the study.

The doctoral thesis Potencial terapéutico de nuevos fármacos antitumorales. Estudio sobre líneas celulares epiteliales (Therapeutic Potential of New Antitumor Drugs. A Study on Epithelial Cell Lines) has allowed for the development of six new drugs to fight colon and breast cancer more effectively than other currently used drugs. The study was conducted at the Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology at the University of Granada by Octavio Caba Pérez, member of the research group "Avances en Biomedicina" (Progress in Biomedicine), under the direction of professors Antonia Aránega, Juan Antonio Marchal and Fernando Rodríguez.

Aspirin didn’t pan out. Neither did two other potential anti-aging agents. But a synthetic derivative of a pungent desert shrub is now a front- runner in ongoing animal experiments to find out if certain chemicals, known to inhibit inflammation, cancer and other destructive processes, can boost the odds of living longer.

University of Michigan scientist Richard A. Miller reports early results from a mouse study his lab and two others are conducting for the National Institute on Aging. The study, now in its fourth year, will test as many as two dozen possible anti-aging agents in animals in the next five years.