Archive for August, 2011

Breakthrough in breast cancer treatment: Researchers starve cells

August 31, 2011

An Indian origin researcher along with other colleagues have indicated that the most common breast cancer uses the most efficient, powerful food delivery system known in human cells and blocking that system kills it. This method of starving cancer cells could provide new options for patients, particularly those resistant to standard therapies such as tamoxifen. Human estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells thriving in a Petri dish or transplanted onto mice die when exposed to a drug that blocks the transporter, called SLC6A14.

The compound they used is alpha-methyl-DL-tryptophan, already used in humans for short periods when the get a PET scan in certain areas of the brain. When the researchers treated estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells with it or put it in the drinking water of the mice with the cells, rapid growth stopped and the cancer cells died. The study has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Read more…



Electric jab in your arm that fights skin cancer.

August 30, 2011

A hand-held device that delivers a ‘turbo-charged’ vaccine into muscles is being used to treat cancer. The device fires a skin cancer vaccine into the arm or leg, using electricity to boost the treatment’s potency 100-fold. Researchers who developed it say it could potentially help with a number of other cancers, including lung, throat, liver, stomach, prostate, ovarian and bladder.

The device treats cancer using a special vaccine. Traditional vaccines, such as those used to prevent infectious diseases, contain harmless versions of the disease-causing microbes — these harmless microbes stimulate the immune system to recognise invaders. Researchers have employed the same technology for cancer treatments, in effect producing a vaccine to the disease. Instead of training the immune system to seek out viruses and bacteria, the vaccines prime it to find and destroy cancer cells.  Read more…


Breakthrough breast cancer scanner detects lumps without using X-rays

August 29, 2011

Scientists have developed a new type of scanner that is claimed to be more effective at detecting breast cancer than conventional mammograms. The new machine finds tumours in the breast without the need for radiation by using infra red beams and thermal energy.

In a major trial of more than 2,500 people, the technology was found to be 92 per cent effective at detecting breast cancer in women compared to just 80 per cent for traditional mammograms that use X-rays. Results of the study are due to be published soon in the leading medical journal Radiology. Scientists at Real Imaging – the Israeli inventors -have discovered that women with breast cancer produce different signals on the surface of their skin which is detected by the machine without coming into contact with the breast. Read more…


Repeat HPV Test Improves Specificity of Cervical Screening

August 27, 2011

Repeat testing for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) using self-sampling of vaginal fluid may increase specificity of cervical cancer screening and reduce unnecessary treatment in women aged 30 to 65 years, according to the results of a prospective study reported in the August issue of theBritish Journal of Cancer. Testing for high-risk [HPV] in primary screening for cervical cancer is considered more sensitive, but less specific, in comparison with [Papanicolaou]-smear cytology. Women with persistent HPV infections have a higher risk of developing cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2+ (CIN2+) lesions.

The study goal was to assess the improvement in specificity for detecting histologically confirmed CIN2+ lesions associated with short-time repeat testing for high-risk HPV in women aged 30 to 65 years, using self-sampling to obtain the primary sample for HPV analysis. Of 8000 women aged 30 to 65 years who had not attended organized screening for at least 6 years, 8% (669) could not be contacted or had undergone hysterectomy. The rest of the women were offered self-sampling of vaginal fluid at home, and the samples were sent for HPV typing. About 3 months after the initial HPV test, women who tested positive for high-risk HPV in the self-sampling test were asked to undergo a follow-up HPV test and a cervical biopsy.

This study provides valuable additional data which can help inform improvements in the cervical screening programme in future — especially when screening will be increasingly taken up by women who have been vaccinated against HPV. It’s important that we reduce the number of women going through unnecessary procedures so that we can minimise any associated anxiety, and also make colposcopy services and screening more efficient. Read more…


World-first project on rare cancers

August 26, 2011

While the “big five” of lung, prostate, breast, bowel and skin cancer make up 60 per cent of all diagnoses, more than half the cancer deaths are caused by less common or under-researched types of the disease. The Forgotten Cancers Project hopes to collect data from 15,000 participants – 1000 sufferers of each of the 15 rare strains – to build a research platform.

A further 15,000 people who have a family member suffering from a rare type of cancer will also be targeted. The Cancer Council launched the initiative, which it said was the first epidemiological-based research project in the world focusing on less common cancers, today to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Daffodil Day, its largest annual fundraising event. The 15 target cancers for the project are bladder, bone, brain, gallbladder, kidney, leukaemia, liver, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, oesophageal, pancreatic, small intestine, stomach, thyroid and uterine cancer. Read more…

Ovarian cysts may not lead to cancer: study

August 25, 2011

Finding ovarian cysts on an ultrasound scan isn’t a cancer sentence for women who are middle-aged and older. Women with so-called “inclusion cysts” weren’t at higher risk for ovarian cancer or, for that matter, breast or endometrial tumors, researchers found.

Data for the new study came from the Ovarian Cancer Screening, which includes more than 200,000 women aged 50 to 74 years. About half of those are getting ultrasound screening exams at regular intervals. In the first year, screening identified 1,234 women with inclusion cysts, and 22,914 with normal ovaries, according to the report. The results add to evidence challenging the long-held belief that such cysts, which are sacs filled with fluid or other soft tissue, would trigger cancer. Read more…

Saffron may help prevent liver cancer

August 24, 2011

A NEW study has found that saffron, a commonly used spice that add flavour and colour to foods, provides a significant chemo preventive effect against liver cancer in animal models. When saffron was administered to rats with diethylnitrosamine (DEN), induced liver cancer, an inhibition of cell proliferation and stimulation of apoptosis was observed.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or liver cancer, is the fifth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. Prior studies have shown that saffron, a naturally derived plant product, possesses antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. The research team administered saffron to the animals at 75mg/kg, 150 mg/kg, and 300 mg/kg per day two weeks prior to DEN injection and continued the regimen for 22 weeks.Results show saffron significantly reduced the number and the incidence of liver nodules, with animals receiving the highest dose of saffron showing complete inhibition of hepatic nodules. Read more…

Health meet raises crucial queries

August 22, 2011

Association of IT Dealers (AIT) organised AIT Health Day with the theme ‘Health is the Real Wealth’ in association with Narayana Hrudayalaya at Mazumdar- Shaw Cancer Center, Narayana Health City.Dr Satish Kumar, endocrinologist gave an insight into the various aspects of diabetes and how to control it, briefly touching upon the different hormones and their functions.

Dr Moni Abraham Kuriakose, oncologist, spoke about how cancer is caused and the different types of cancers. He also spoke about the factors which are under our control to ward off cancers. Dr Vijeendran, physiotherapist, gave an interesting presentation on fitness and stress management. With slides, he brought out in a vivid manner how lifestyles have brought about lack of fitness, and also made all the attendees do some simple exercises to release stress. Dr Sanjay Mehrotra spoke about the heart and the factors which affect heart functioning. He stressed on weight reduction, especially paunch reduction, as an important factor in reducing risk of heart disease. He explained in great detail why Indians are more prone to diabetes and heart diseases, which was an eye opener for all.

The well-known heart surgeon Dr Devi Shetty took the crowd through a presentation on the status of health in India and the requirement of doctors which is in dearth in our country and providing medical facilities to the poor and needy, and also insurance programs. Read more…

Powerful form of ecstasy drug kills blood cancer cells

August 20, 2011

Researchers  have identified a new form of ecstasy that kills blood cancer cells in a test-tube within 24 hours. When the drug attaches to the cancer it causes the cells to self-destruct. Its a clean way to destroying the cancer. The cells kill themselves and all the bad parts are naturally removed, so there are less side-effects compared to chemotherapy. Researchers identified a version of the ecstasy drug that is 100 times more powerful than the recreational version. The work is published in Investigational New Drugs.

Preliminary work suggests the new modified drug causes fewer nasty side-effects which ecstasy-users experience, including neurotoxicity. The link between ecstasy and cancer was discovered more than six years ago, when Researchers group saw the blood cancers were making very similar chemicals to the ones ecstasy targets in the brain.  The new version of the drug they have created is extremely efficient at attacking the cancer. Read more…

Sniffer dogs detect lung cancer

August 18, 2011

Sniffer dogs can be used to reliably detect lung cancer, according to researchers, they found that trained dogs could detect a tumour in 71% of patients. However, scientists do not know which chemical the dogs are detecting, which is what they say they need to know to develop a screening programme.

It was first suggested that dogs could “sniff out” cancer in 1989 and further studies have shown that dogs can detect some cancers such as those of the skin, bladder, bowel and breast. It is thought that tumours produce “volatile chemicals” which a dog can detect. Researchers trained four dogs – two German shepherds, an Australian shepherd and a Labrador – to detect lung cancer. Three groups of patients were tested: 110 healthy people, 60 with lung cancer and 50 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a narrowing of the airways of the lungs. Read more…