Cancer Research

Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia recently created a model of proline dehydrogenase, an important cancer-preventing enzyme in the human body, and analyzed how it works. A paper detailing their results was published today in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered inherited variations in certain genes that make children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) susceptible to the toxic side effects caused by chemotherapy medications. The researchers showed that these variations, called polymorphisms, occur in specific genes known to influence pharmacodynamics (how drugs work in the body and how much drug is needed to have its intended effect).

New scientific evidence is helping to build a compelling case for oncolytic viruses as a first-line and adjunctive treatment for many cancers.

Reovirus, a non-pathogenic virus under development at Calgary, Alberta-based Oncolytics Biotech, has shown powerful anti-cancer activity against cultured tumor cells, in animal models, and in human clinical trials. Oncolytics' proprietary reovirus formulation, Reolysin®, is active against numerous cancers, including intractable sarcomas and melanomas.

Recent studies also indicate that reoviruses work synergistically with standard anti-cancer drugs, providing significantly stronger responses than either agent alone. Credit: Oncolytic Biotech


People who use Swedish moist snuff (snus) run twice the risk of developing cancer of the pancreas. This is the main result of a follow-up study conducted by Karolinska Institutet researchers amongst almost 300,000 male construction workers. The study is published today online in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.

Most women 55 years and younger who have heart attacks don't recognize warning signs, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's 8th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke.

Women younger than 55 years represent less than 5 percent of all hospitalized heart disease patients, but because so many heart attacks occur in the United State each year, even this small percentage affects a large number of people. Young women with heart disease account for about 40,000 hospitalizations each year. Diseases of the heart in young women account for about 16,000 deaths annually, ranking it among the leading causes of death in this group, according to authors.

A fundamental genetic mechanism that shuts down an important gene in healthy immune system cells has been discovered that could one day lead to new therapies against infections, leukemia and other cancers. Results of a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study on the mechanism, called a somatic stop-codon mutation, are being reported today in the online journal PLoS ONE.

A new vaccine aimed at preventing cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent effective against the two types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. Results of a nationwide study of the vaccine will be published in the May 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.




Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide, resulting in nearly half a million diagnoses and 240,000 deaths each year. Every day in the United States ten women die from cervical cancer, according to Kevin Ault MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine, and one of the study authors.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have conclusive evidence that human papillomavirus (HPV) causes some throat cancers in both men and women. Reporting in the May 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers found that oral HPV infection is the strongest risk factor for the disease, regardless of tobacco and alcohol use, and having multiple oral sex partners tops the list of sex practices that boost risk for the HPV-linked cancer.

An international team, led by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the publication of the first genome of a marsupial, belonging to a South American species of opossum. In a comparison of the marsupial genome to genomes of non-marsupials, including human, published in the May 10 issue of the journal Nature, the team found that most innovations leading to the human genome sequence lie not in protein-coding genes, but in areas that until recently were referred to as "junk" DNA.

Temple University School of Medicine researchers have developed a new biosensor that sniffs out explosives and could one day be used to detect landmines and deadly agents, such as sarin gas.

To create the biosensor, Danny Dhanasekaran and colleagues genetically engineered a yeast strain with mammalian (rat) olfactory signaling machinery and genetically linked it to the expression of green fluorescent protein. Into these yeast cells, they cloned individual rat olfactory receptors. When the olfactory receptor "smells" the odor of DNT, an ingredient in the explosive TNT, the biosensor turns fluorescent green. The research team is the first to identify, clone and sequence this novel olfactory receptor.