Cancer Research

Melanoma patients with high levels of a protein that controls the expression of pro-growth genes are less likely to survive, according to a study led by researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published online in the journal Molecular Cell.

The research team found that the protein, called H2A.Z.2, promotes the abnormal growth seen in melanoma cells as they develop into difficult-to-treat tumors. H2A.Z.2 is part of the chromosome structure that packages genes, and has the ability to switch them on off. Having high levels of this protein aberrantly activates growth-promoting genes in melanoma cells.

Some brain tumors are notoriously difficult to treat. Whether surgically removed, zapped by radiation or infiltrated by chemotherapy drugs, they find a way to return.

The ability of many brain tumors to regenerate can be traced to cancer stem cells that evade treatment and spur the growth of new tumor cells.

But some brain tumor stem cells may have an Achilles' heel, scientists have found. The cancer stem cells' remarkable abilities have to be maintained, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a key player in that maintenance process. When the process is disrupted, they found, so is the spread of cancer.

This month marks the 10-year anniversary of the first successful total marrow irradiation (TMI) using the TomoTherapy System, first performed at City of Hope in Duarte, California. Since then, numerous centers around the world have adopted the approach, once considered to be impossible because of limitations inherent to conventional radiation therapy systems.

TMI is an advanced form of total body irradiation, which has traditionally been an important part of bone marrow transplants (BMT). People with certain types of cancers or other diseases including leukemias, lymphomas and multiple myeloma may undergo a BMT as part of their treatment. Before the transplant, chemotherapy and/or radiation may be given to neutralize any cancer in the marrow.

The advent of online social networks has led to the rapid development of tools for understanding the interactions between members of the network, their activity, the connections, the hubs and nodes. Science 2.0 was founded with that as one of its four pillars. But any relationship between lots of entities, be it users of Facebook or the genes and proteins in our bodies, can be analyzed with the same tools.

Now a paper shows how social network analysis can be used to understand and identify the biomarkers in our bodies for diseases, including different types of cancer.

Researchers have discovered that a rabbit virus can deliver a one-two punch, killing some kinds of cancer cells while eliminating a common and dangerous complication of bone marrow transplants. For patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and multiple myeloma, a bone marrow transplant can be both curative and perilous. It replenishes marrow lost to disease or chemotherapy but raises the risk that newly transplanted white blood cells will attack the recipient's body.

Now researchers say the myxoma virus, found in rabbits, can do double duty, quelling the unwanted side effects of a bone marrow transplant and destroying cancer cells.

Women aged 50-69 years who attend mammography screening reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent compared to women who are not screened - according to a major international review of the latest evidence on breast cancer screening. Overall, women who are invited to attend mammography screening have a 23 percent risk reduction in breast cancer death (owing to some attending and some not), compared with women not invited by routine screening programs.

In the UK, this relative risk translates to around eight deaths prevented per 1,000 women regularly attending screening, and five deaths prevented per 1,000 women invited to screening.

Cancer has overtaken cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, as the UK's No 1 killer--but only among men, reveals research published online in the journal Heart.

Cardiovascular disease is still the most common cause of death among women, and kills more young women than breast cancer, the figures show.

The researchers used the latest nationally available data (2012-13) for each of the four UK countries and the Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2014 report compiled for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to quantify the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, and find out how it's treated, how much it costs, and how many deaths it causes.

Esophageal cancer rates in men have increased by 50 percent since the early 1980s, with new United Kingdom cases reaching almost 6,000, according to the latest figures which show that the number of men diagnosed with esophageal cancer has rapidly risen from around 2,700 cases three decades ago to 5,740 cases in 2012.

Given the changes in population size this equates to a 50 percent increase from 15 to 23 cases per 100,000 people. In women, the increase is much smaller with around 10 percent more now developing the disease compared to the 80s. Now 2,802 women are diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  Esophageal cancer rates in women for 2012 are 9 per 100,000. 

A new study found that esophageal cancer patients treated with proton therapy experienced significantly less toxic side effects than patients treated with older radiation therapies. 

The researchers looked at nearly 600 patients and compared two kinds of X-ray radiation with proton therapy, which targets tumors while minimizing harm to surrounding tissues.  found that proton therapy resulted in a significantly lower number of side effects, including nausea, blood abnormalities and loss of appetite. 

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men and is predicted to result in an estimated 220,00 cases in the United States in 2015.