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First antisense drug provides benefit to subset of chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients
By Dross at 2007-02-15 06:24

    The first "antisense" drug to be tested in chronic lymphocytic leukemiaterm (CLL) shows benefit in a phase III clinical trial for a specific subset of patients - those who are still sensitive to a chemotherapyterm drug often used to treat this cancer. Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, reporting in the early on-line edition of the March 20 Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that the agent, oblimersen (trade name: Genasense) produced a four-fold increase in "CP/nPR," a clinical response defined by no definitive evidence of disease, in patients who were sensitive to the chemotherapy drug fludarabine, compared to patients who no longer responded to fludarabine. "The results make sense because oblimersen is designed to work alongside chemotherapy," says the study's lead author, Susan O'Brien, M.D., professor in the Department of Leukemia. "We found in this study that oblimersen enhances sensitivity to chemotherapy, and so we think it deserves further study in a population of CLL patients who are sensitive to chemotherapy agents," she says. CLL, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, is the second most common type of leukemia in adults.

read more | 1442 reads

Study shows liver an excellent target for cancer gene therapy using viral vectors
By Dross at 2007-02-15 06:21

    A featured paper in the February 14 issue of Nature Cancer Gene Therapy demonstrates that cancer cells in the liver are excellent targets for gene therapy using adenoviral vectors, based upon a fundamental new understanding of the differences between cancerous and normal liver cells. The findings signal a new way to treat cancers that have spread to the liver, such as metastaticterm cancers of the colon and breast. The research team, led by Tony Reid, M.D., Ph.D., of the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), reports that in normal liver cells there is only one receptor or doorway the vector uses to enter the cell. This doorway is located at the base of normal liver cells, hidden from the blood vessels.

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Phase I Trial of Rigel' Aurora Kinase Inhibitor Begins
By HCat at 2007-02-15 02:04

    Announced February 13th on Rigel's site, the second of several phase I studies to evaluate the safety and initial efficacy of the candidate R763 in different types of cancers is starting. The trials will tests the inhibitor in solid tumors, hematological malignancies, and in combination with standard therapies.

    Merck Serono licensed development and commercialization rights to R763 and Rigel's Aurora kinase program in October 2005. Aurora kinases are a family of kinases (proteins that put phosphate groups on other proteins) that regulate mitosis (cellular division). It is thought that these kinases are deregulated in cancer, and culture cell studies have shown Aurora kinases have anti-tumor effects.

read more | 3435 reads

MIV-160 Drug Being Developed in China
By HCat at 2007-02-14 10:38

    Medivir, a Swedish company, has licensed the development of its HIV drug MIV-160 to the Chinese company Guangdong Lantai Viewland Parmaceuticals.

    MIV-160 is a reverse transcriptase inhibitor but not a nucleoside analog. The compound is in current clinical trials. It has been shown to be effective against certain resistant strains of HIV.

This article can be found here.

read more | 1485 reads

TAX 324 Phase III Study Shows Docetaxel Increases Survival in Head, Neck Cancer
By HCat at 2007-02-14 02:20

    Marshall R. Posner, MD, medical director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston reported at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) on the randomized Phase III TAX 324 Study Group. 501 patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinomaterm of the head and neck (SCCHN) (oral cavity, oropharynx, larynx and hypopharynx) were the focus of the study.


    In the study, patients receiving docetaxel in combination with cisplatin and 5-FUterm as induction (neoadjuvant) therapy, followed by chemoradiotherapy and surgery were compared to those not receiving docetaxel. The results showed an impressive 70.6 months median overall survival in patients who took docetaxel compared to 30.1 months for those not receiving docetaxel in their treatment. There was a 30% reduction in mortality rate for those patients receiving docetaxel. There was an absolute three-year survival improvement of 14% in the docetaxel group as well. Progression-free survival (PFS) was also significantly greater with the docetaxel regimen with two-year PFS at 53% compared to 42%.

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02.12.2007 - New medical technique punches holes in cells, could treat tumors
By Dross at 2007-02-13 21:58

BERKELEY - A large animal study has shown that certain microsecond electrical pulses can punch nanoscale holes in the membranes of target cells without harming tissue scaffolding, including that in the blood vessels - a potential breakthrough in minimally invasive surgical treatments of tumors. The study on pigs, the first large animal trial for the irreversible electroporation (IRE) technique, is described in the February issue of the journal Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment. IRE was developed at the University of California, Berkeley, which holds a number of patents on the technology. Boris Rubinsky holding IRE device Boris Rubinsky holds an irreversible electroporation device that could soon be used for minimally invasive treatments of tumors in humans. (Bart Nagel photo) "I've been working in this area of minimally invasive surgery for 30 years now," said Boris Rubinsky, UC Berkeley professor of bioengineering and mechanical engineering and lead author of the paper. "I truly think that this will be viewed as one of the most important advances in the treatment of tumors in years. I am very excited about the potential of this technique. It may have tremendous applications in many areas of medicine and surgery." Rubinsky co-authored the paper with Dr. Gary Onik, director of surgical imaging at Florida Hospital Celebration Health. They founded Oncobionic two years ago to commercialize IRE. Oncobionic is in the process of being sold to AngioDynamics, a New York-based manufacturer of medical devices for minimally invasive surgery.

read more | 1215 reads

Simple 2-gene test sorts out similar gastrointestinal cancers
By Dross at 2007-02-13 21:54

    A powerful two-gene test distinguishes between a pair of nearly identical gastrointestinal cancers that require radically different courses of treatment, researchers report this week in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "This simple and accurate test has the potential to be relatively quickly implemented in the clinic to benefit patients by guiding appropriate treatment," says senior author Wei Zhang, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pathology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The analytical technique employed to tell gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) from leiomyosarcoma (LMS) with near perfect accuracy will have wider application in more individualized diagnosis and treatment of other types of cancer, study co-authors from M. D. Anderson and the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle conclude.

read more | 1349 reads

Nexavar shown to significantly extend survival for patients with advanced liver cancer
By Dross at 2007-02-13 21:52

Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NYSE: BAY) and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ONXX) today announced that an independent data monitoring committee (DMC) has reviewed the safety and efficacy data from the companies' pivotal Phase 3 trial in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinomaterm (HCC), or primary liver cancer. Based on this planned interim analysis, the DMC has concluded that the trial met its primary endpoint resulting in superior overall survival (OS) in those patients receiving Nexavartermterm (sorafenibterm) tablets versus those patients receiving placebo.

read more | 1678 reads

Breast cancer survival rates improved by novel drug sequence, say researchers
By Dross at 2007-02-13 21:49

    Changing the way women are treated for breast cancer could improve their overall chance of survival, according to research published today in the Lancet. The new paper shows that switching to a drug called exemestane, two to three years after commencing standard therapy with the drug tamoxifen, can cut the risk of death for certain women by a further 17% compared with using tamoxifen alone. Postmenopausal women with early-stage hormone-sensitive primary breast cancer are usually treated with tamoxifen for five years, once they are free of disease, to reduce the risk of their cancer recurring. This therapy was once viewed as the 'gold-standard' treatment and it has been shown to cut the risk of death by 34%. Over recent years, increasing numbers of these women have been receiving treatment with tamoxifen followed by Aromatase Inhibitors such as exemestane. The Intergroup Exemestane Study (IES), which involved women from 37 different countries, has been examining the benefits of taking tamoxifen for two to three years and then switching to exemestane for the remainder of the five-year period. This new research is the first to show that early benefits of the tamoxifen and exemestane treatment sequence are maintained after treatment has stopped. The study, which was led by researchers from Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research, was funded by Cancer Research UK and Pfizer. The majority of breast cancer cases are hormone-sensitive, meaning that the cancer cells respond to oestrogen and die when they are deprived of the hormone.

read more | 1230 reads

Mice Cloned from Skin Cells
By Dross at 2007-02-13 09:43

Healthy and viable mice that survive until adulthood have, for the first time, been cloned from adult stem cells. Scientists from Rockefeller University, including Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Elaine Fuchs, used cells called keratinocyte stem cells, which represent a new model system for cloning. Keratinocytes come from the skin, making them a particularly attractive stem cell source because of their ready accessibility. One day, they could be used to tailor therapies, as well as to better understand and treat diseases. Fuchs and her colleague Peter Mombaerts published their laboratories' findings online February 12, 2007, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

read more | 1022 reads

Early switch to an aromatase inhibitor increases survival
By Dross at 2007-02-12 21:49

For breast cancer patients taking tamoxifen, switching to an aromatase inhibitor within three years significantly improves survival rates, according to a new study. Published in the March 15, 2007 issue of CANCER (, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study reveals that the clear survival benefit was also achieved without an increased risk of death from other causes,  a significant risk associated with tamoxifen. Hormone modulating therapies have made a significant impact on the survival rates of women with estrogen-sensitive breast cancer over the last two decades. The drugs are used as adjuvant to primary surgical treatment for a period of five years. Tamoxifen was the first estrogen modulator shown to increase survival and reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. However, tamoxifen is associated with increased risk of death from other causes, such as strokes and endometrial cancer.

read more | 6 comments | 2236 reads

Emerging research heralds new era of breast cancer management
By Dross at 2007-02-12 21:48

    Aggressive research currently underway brings hope of dramatic advances in breast cancer management, according to a new review. Published in the March 15, 2007 issue of CANCER (, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the review reveals that new approaches in breast cancer imaging, investigations into the timing of chemotherapyterm, and research on breast cancer vaccines may lead to exciting new nonsurgical tools for the physician treating breast cancer patients. These new tools may significantly alter current screening and treatment paradigms used by surgical oncologists, as well improving the care of patients.

read more | 961 reads

Study Indicates Increased Second Solid Cancers After Stem Cell Transplantation
By HCat at 2007-02-10 00:45

    A statistical review of case files from 926 patients in British Columbia, Canada was conducted by Genevieve Gallagher, MD and Donna Forrest, MD. The patients had received allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (allo-HSCT) mainly from bone marrow (87%) and peripheral blood (12%).
Allogeneic means taken from different individuals but the same species.

    Patients had received allo-HSCT treatment for a variety of diagnosis, mainly (95%) including AML, ALL, CML, MS, lymphoproliferative disorder, and multiple myeloma. Risk factors that were analyzed in the study included Donor/recipient sex combination, graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD), and age. The analysis looked for patients who developed a second solid malignancy after transplantation, and then correlated risk factors that would indicate an increased chance of developing a second solid malignancy.

read more | 2376 reads

Leukemia - Unraveling the complex regulation of stem cells: implications for aging and cancer
By Dross at 2007-02-09 22:05

AS in other articles submitted today, research is finding both internal and external factors effect the health of blood stem cells in the bone marrow. Many centers were testing the use of forteo, an osteoparosis medication, in order to increase the density of the matrix the cells live in. Now further research, reviewed in this article at Nature, is beginning to match interior and exterior cell events. The authors summarize how these regulatory mechanisms facilitate various aspects of normal stem cell biology and extend the discussion to their involvement in aging and tumorigeneisis, two biological phenomena intimately tied to stem cells. They speculate that aberrant epigenetic events and altered miRNA expression profiles in aged stem cell populations play important roles in carcinogenesis.

read more | 1552 reads

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Scientists Discover New Gene that Prevents Multiple Types of Cancer
By Dross at 2007-02-09 21:55

A decades-old cancer mystery has been solved by researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). "We not only found a critical tumor suppressor gene, but have revealed a master switch for a tumor suppressive network that means more targeted and effective cancer therapy in the future," said CSHL Associate Professor Alea Mills, Ph.D.


The study, headed by Mills, was published in the February issue of Cell. Specifically, Mills' discovery identifies CHD5, a protein that prevents cancer, as a novel tumor suppressor, mapping to a specific portion of chromosome 1 known as 1p36. When CHD5 is not functioning properly the machinery within our cells that normally prevents cancer turns off. The ability of CHD5 to function as a master switch for a tumor suppressive network suggests that this gene is responsible for diverse forms of human cancers. After locating the region where the tumor suppressor resided, the Mills team identified which genes in that area were responsible for tumor suppression.

read more | 1264 reads


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