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Breast
First step towards switching off breast cancer and leukaemia
By Dross at 2008-08-08 20:32
 

Australian scientists have identified a way to 'switch off' a molecule, a key player in the molecular processes that trigger breast cancer and certain forms of leukaemiaterm.

The molecule, known as Gab2, operates downstream of a major breast cancer oncogene, HER2, the target of the drug Herceptin.

A research team from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, led by Professor Roger Daly, has found a novel way of blocking signals to and from Gab2, preventing it from fulfilling its role in cell proliferation. The finding is published online today in the EMBO Journal.

In 2002, Professor Daly identified the important role of Gab2 in breast cancer. His task since then has been to work out exactly how Gab2 functions, and how to stop it.

read more | 2917 reads

2 different breast cancer screening strategies are equally effective
By Dross at 2008-07-31 22:44
 

An organized population-based breast cancer screening program in Norway and an approach to screening that relies on physician- and self-referrals in Vermont are equally sensitive for detecting cancer, researchers report in the July 29 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. But the recall rate for abnormal mammograms was lower in Norway.

Breast cancer screening in the United States is usually initiated in response to a physician's recommendation (known as "opportunistic screening"), and women are advised to have annual screening mammograms. By contrast, breast cancer screening programs in Norway and in some other European countries regularly send letters to all women in a specific age range inviting them to have a screening mammogram. The Norway program aims for women to be screened every two years. The differences between the two approaches make it relatively difficult to compare their effectiveness, and few studies have aimed to do so previously.

read more | 1412 reads

Scientists from the University of Navarra find 5 genes involved in the metastasis of breast tumours
By Dross at 2008-06-20 22:56
 

The identification of five genes involve in the metastasistermterm of breast tumours to the lung is the principal finding of a scientific team made up of two bodies from the University of Navarra, the Applied Medical Research Centre (CIMA) and the University Hospital of the University of Navarra.

Doctor Alfonso Calvo, researcher in the area of Oncology at the CIMA, led the work with the special collaboration of Doctor Ignacio Gil Bazo, cancer specialist from the University Hospital. The study made up a significant part of Mr Raúl Catena’s PhD thesis.

For this research, recently published in the scientific journal Oncogene, a transgenic mouse model which presented a greater tendency for developing metastasis was employed. The increase in what is known as the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGFterm) in its mammary glands triggered profound changes in the tumoural structure, which enabled the malignant cells to leave the tumour and invade the lungs.

read more | 1705 reads

Improving understanding of cell behaviour in breast cancer
By Dross at 2008-06-20 01:03
 



The invasion and spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body, known as metastasistermterm, is a principal cause of death in patients diagnosed with breast cancer. Although patients with early stage, small, breast tumours have an excellent short term prognosis, more than 15 to 20 per cent of them will eventually develop distant metastases, and die from the disease. Vascular invasion — through lymphatic and blood vessels — is the major route for cancer spreading to regional lymph nodes and to the rest of the body.

read more | 1 comment | 1205 reads

Team discovers new inhibitors of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells
By Dross at 2008-06-17 20:24
 

Researchers have discovered a new family of agents that inhibit the growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells. The finding, described today at a meeting of the Endocrine Society, has opened an avenue of research into new drugs to combat estrogen-dependent breast cancers.

“This cell-based study is exciting because it suggests these compounds are likely to be effective in tumors that remain dependent on estrogen for growth but are resistant to current therapies,” said principal investigator David J. Shapiro, a professor of biochemistry in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois.

Although multiple factors contribute to the development of breast cancer, estrogens play a key role in the growth of many tumors. More than 80 percent of breast cancer tumors in women over age 45 are activated by estrogen by way of a protein called an estrogen receptor. When estrogen binds to the receptor, this “estrogen-receptor complex” latches on to DNA and prompts it to transcribe the RNA blueprints for new proteins that promote cell growth, migration and division.

Current therapies for estrogen-receptor-positive (ER-positive) breast cancers include the use of drugs, such as tamoxifen, that interfere with estrogen’s ability to bind to the estrogen receptor. Over time, however, ER-positive breast cancer tumors become resistant to tamoxifen. In some resistant tumors, tamoxifen even begins to act like estrogen and actually stimulates tumor growth.

“Tamoxifen is useful in that it is very effective at blocking recurrence of breast cancer in patients for whom the entire tumor is removed,” Shapiro said. “But for patients who still have existing tumors, eventually those tumors will become resistant.”

Shapiro’s team sought to target other steps in the pathway of estrogen action. Using a technique they developed that can quickly determine whether the target DNA is – or is not – bound by the estrogen-receptor complex, the team was able to screen a long list of potential therapeutic compounds to see if they inhibited the binding of the complex to the DNA. They then tested these agents in ER-positive breast cancer cells.

The team identified several compounds that reduce the binding of estrogen-receptor complex to the regulatory regions of genes that are normally activated by this complex. These agents effectively retarded production of the proteins that promote the growth and proliferation of ER-positive breast cancer cells.

“These small molecules specifically block growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells with little or no effect on other cells,” Shapiro said. “This work sets the stage for further development and testing of these inhibitors.”

The collaboration included researchers from the University of Colorado, the University of North Carolina, and the departments of molecular and integrative physiology and of chemistry at Illinois.

1020 reads

Doctors can unmask deceptive high-risk breast tumors using genetic profile
By Dross at 2008-05-22 03:12
 

St. Louis, May 21, 2008 — A unique genetic signature can alert physicians to high-risk breast tumors that are masquerading as low-risk tumors, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and collaborating institutions. Although these tumors are apparently estrogen-receptor positive — meaning they should depend on estrogen to grow — they don't respond well to anti-estrogen therapy.

Until now, doctors had no way to know these tumors would be unresponsive because their pathology is deceptive — the tumors appear to be more easily treatable estrogen-receptor-positive tumors, but they rapidly lose their estrogen receptors. The researchers demonstrated that the chance for cancer recurrence in such patients is significantly higher, and standard post-operative care with long-term anti-estrogen therapy is often not effective. The genetic signature defined by the researchers will permit doctors to identify their high-risk patients and direct them to more effective therapy.

read more | 1220 reads

Breast cancer more aggressive among obese women
By admin at 2008-03-14 19:41
 

PHILADELPHIA – Women with breast cancer have more aggressive disease and lower survival rates if they are overweight or obese, according to findings published in the March 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“The more obese a patient is, the more aggressive the disease,” said Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. “We are learning that the fat tissue may increase inflammation that leads to more aggressive disease.”

read more | 3029 reads

Drugs like aspirin could reduce breast cancer and help existing sufferers
By Dross at 2008-03-07 00:23
 

Anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin may reduce breast cancer by up to 20 per cent, according to an extensive review carried out by experts at London’s Guy’s Hospital and published in the March issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

But they stress that further research is needed to determine the best type, dose and duration and whether the benefits of regularly using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) outweigh the side effectsterm, especially for high-risk groups.

“Our review of research published over the last 27 years suggests that, in addition to possible prevention, there may also be a role for NSAIDs in the treatment of women with established breast cancer” says Professor Ian Fentiman from the Hedley Atkins Breast Unit at the hospital, part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

read more | 3 comments | 1458 reads

High levels of estrogen associated with breast cancer recurrence
By Dross at 2008-03-07 00:21
 

Women whose breast cancer came back after treatment had almost twice as much estrogen in their blood than did women who remained cancer-free – despite treatment with anti-estrogen drugs in a majority of the women –according to researchers in a study published in the March issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The findings suggest that high levels of estrogen contribute to an increased risk of cancer recurrence, just as they lead to the initial development of breast cancer, said the study’s lead author, Cheryl L. Rock, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

read more | 1581 reads

New target for cancer therapy may improve treatment for solid tumors
By Dross at 2008-03-04 01:50
 

Targeting and killing the non-malignant cells that surround and support a cancer can stop tumor growth in mice, reports a research team based at the University of Chicago Medical Center in the March 1, 2008, issue of the journal Cancer Research. The discovery offers a new approach to treating cancers that are resistant to standard therapy.

Many solid tumors develop elaborate mechanisms to prevent recognition and elimination by the immune system. Due to their genetic instability they often discard the tumor antigen-presenting cell-surface structures that alert the immune system that these cells are harmful. Without these “flags,” the white blood cells fail to recognize and kill infected or cancerous cells. These tumors then often grow rapidly and resist treatment with chemotherapyterm or efforts to boost the immune system's response to the tumor.

read more | 1383 reads

Unsuspected protein determines resistance to breast cancer treatment
By Dross at 2008-02-05 01:43
 

A new research approach has identified a previously unsuspected protein as a key player in the resistance to particular forms of breast cancer therapy. The study, published by Cell Press in the February issue of Cancer Cell, significantly advances the understanding of the molecular response to breast cancer therapies that target estrogen signaling.

Most breast tumors express estrogen receptor and are dependent on estrogen signaling. Drugs that target this characteristic, such as tamoxifen, have had a major impact on breast cancer therapy as they interfere with the ability of estrogen to activate its receptor and, as a result, limit cellular proliferation.

read more | 1 comment | 1338 reads

Study finds widespread vitamin and mineral use among cancer survivors
By Dross at 2008-02-01 21:37
 

SEATTLE – Use of vitamin and mineral supplements among cancer survivors is widespread, despite inconclusive evidence that such use is beneficial, according to a comprehensive review of scientific literature conducted by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and published Feb. 1 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Can vitamin and herbal supplements reduce the adverse effects of cancer treatment, decrease the risk of cancer recurrence or improve a patient’s chances of survival? We don’t really know. Research into these matters has been minimal,” said senior author Cornelia (Neli) Ulrich, Ph.D., an associate member of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division. “While supplement use may be beneficial for some patients, such as those who cannot eat a balanced diet, research suggests that certain supplements may actually interfere with treatment or even accelerate cancer growth,” she said.

read more | 1 comment | 1253 reads

New Genetic Barcoding Technique Identifies Dozens of Targets for Cancer Drugs
By Dross at 2008-02-01 02:59
 

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators have invented a quick and relatively inexpensive method for identifying genes that are indispensable for the growth and survival of colon and breast cancer cells.

The approach employs a massively parallel cellular system that simultaneously screens thousands of genes. Researchers can use information from the genetic screen to assess the relative impact of each gene on the growth and survival of tumor cells.



“We're examining as many genes as we can, and eventually every gene in the genome, to figure out which ones are deleterious to tumor cells.”
Stephen J. Elledge

read more | 2273 reads

Further breakthroughs for breast cancer patients
By Dross at 2008-01-19 02:50
 

Researchers at the Tenovus Centre for Cancer Research at Cardiff University have made a breakthrough in breast cancer treatment that could help save the lives of women who become resistant to breast cancer drugs such as tamoxifen.

While drugs such as tamoxifen have been a huge success in treating breast cancer, for a significant proportion of sufferers the drugs either fail to work, or after an initial successful response the patient relapses as the cancer acquires or possesses resistance to the drug.

However the researchers have discovered that inhibiting the activity of a certain protein in the cancer could prevent or even reverse the resistance to tamoxifen. The researchers noticed that when breast cancer cells grown in the laboratory develop resistance to tamoxifen, they show a large increase in the activity of a protein known as Src – and by stopping this activity resistance to tamoxifen can be prevented and even reversed.

read more | 1309 reads

SGX Initiates Phase I Trials for SGX523 for Breast, Colon, Prostate
By Dross at 2008-01-17 02:02
 

SGX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SGXP) today announced that it has opened enrollment in two Phase I studies, with the first patient being treated on January 14, 2008. The Phase I studies are designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile of SGX523, an internally developed, orally-bioavailable, small molecule inhibitor of the cMET receptor tyrosine kinase.

The Phase I clinical trials are open-label, dose escalation studies of SGX523 administered orally to patients with advanced cancer who have either failed standard therapy or for whom no standard therapy exists. The studies are designed to explore two dosing regimens in parallel. The continuous dosing trial will have continuous uninterrupted twice daily dosing with patients being evaluated every 28 days for continuation of treatment. The intermittent dosing schedule will implement twice daily dosing on a 14 days on/7 days off therapy schedule, cycling every 21 days. In both protocols, patients may continue on therapy for up to 12 months as determined by the patient's response and tolerance to SGX523.

read more | 2350 reads

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