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pHLIP, a novel technology to locate and treat tumors
By Dross at 2007-05-02 06:26

Research teams at Yale University and the University of Rhode Island have demonstrated a new way to target and potentially treat tumors using a short piece of protein that acts like a nanosyringe to deliver “tags” or therapy to cells, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers show that, the protein fragment, called “pHLIP” (pH (Low) Insertion Peptide) can be injected into the abdomen of a mouse, find its way into the blood and then specifically accumulate in tumors. Within 20 hours after injection of labeled pHLIP, the molecules had passed through the bloodstream and accumulated in mouse breast tumors grown to different “stages” on the leg of a mouse.

read more | 783 reads

Fat tissue-derived hormone leptin increases e-cadherin expression, obesity-breast cancer link noted
By Dross at 2007-04-30 01:32

Being obese increases the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, shortens the time between return of the disease and lowers overall survival rates. Italian researchers speaking at Experimental Biology 2007 in Washington, DC, now report evidence on how leptin, a hormone found in fat cells, significantly influences breast cancer development and progression in mice. This new understanding, says Dr. Sebastiano Ando, establishes a new mechanism for the link between obesity and breast cancer and suggests new targets for drugs that could intervene in that mechanism.

Dr. Ando’s presentation on Sunday, April 29 is part of the scientific program of the American Society of Investigative Pathology.

read more | 1320 reads

New hereditary breast cancer gene discovered
By Dross at 2007-04-25 23:36

A new hereditary breast cancer gene has been discovered by scientists at the Lundberg Laboratory for Cancer Research and the Plastic Surgery Clinic at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden. The researchers found that women with a certain hereditary deformity syndrome run a nearly twenty times higher risk of contracting breast cancer than expected.

Several research teams around the world have long been searching for new hereditary breast cancer genes, but thus far few have been found.

"Our findings are extremely important, providing new knowledge of hereditary cancer genes and how they can cause breast cancer. The discovery also makes it possible to uncover breast cancer in women who have a predisposition for Saethre-Chotzen malformation syndrome," says Göran Stenman.

read more | 801 reads

Neither abortion nor miscarriage associated with breast cancer risk
By Dross at 2007-04-24 21:37

Neither induced abortion nor spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) appears to be associated with breast cancer risk in premenopausal women, according to a report in the April 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Women younger than age 35 who carry a pregnancy to term appear to have a reduced lifetime risk of breast cancer, according to background information in the article. Pregnancy may accelerate breast cell differentiation, the process by which cells take on specialized roles. "An incomplete pregnancy may not result in sufficient differentiation to counter the high levels of pregnancy hormones that may foster proliferation," the rapid growth and division typical of cancer cells, the authors write. "However, these biological mechanisms are uncertain, and a prematurely terminated pregnancy may not affect breast cancer risk at all."

read more | 756 reads

Mammograms for women in their 40s should be based on individual
By Dross at 2007-04-04 00:03

Should all women in their 40s be routinely screened for breast cancer? Not necessarily, according to the American College of Physicians. In a new set of guidelines for clinicians of 40-something patients, the group recommends that mammography screening decisions be made on a case-by-case basis. It advises clinicians to discuss the benefits and harms of screening with the patient, as well as each woman's individual cancer risk and preference about screening.

The organization based its recommendations, which will be published in the April 3 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, on a rigorous review of evidence showing there is variation in the benefits and harms associated with mammography among women in their 40s. The American College of Physicians is the leading professional organization for internal medicine specialists, with a membership of 120,000.

read more | 4 comments | 906 reads

MRI and Contralateral Breast Cancer
By Dross at 2007-03-28 22:39

Up to 10 percent of women newly diagnosed with cancer in one breast develop cancer in the opposite breast. Results of a major clinical trial show that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are highly effective tools for quickly identifying these opposite breast cancers, detecting diseased tissue that other screening methods missed.

In the new trial, conducted by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) and funded by the National Cancer Institute, researchers wanted to determine whether MRI could improve doctors’ ability to identify these opposite breast cancers right at the initial diagnosis – boosting the chances for swift and successful treatment.

read more | 1704 reads

AGD - New Saliva Test May Help Dentists Test for Breast Cancer
By Dross at 2007-03-22 03:20

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in the United States.  In 2006, the American Cancer Society estimated that there would be 212,920 new cases of invasive breast cancer, and in that year, 40,970 women would die from it.  Many women’s lives could be saved if this cancer was diagnosed earlier, and early diagnosis could be achieved if there were more and easier opportunities to do so.

Sebastian Z. Paige and Charles F. Streckfus, DDS, MA, the authors of the study, “Salivary analysis in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer,” published in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal, researched a new method of diagnosis.

read more | 1093 reads

Physicians May be Obstacles to Breast Reconstruction
By Dross at 2007-03-22 03:12

Significant differences in plastic surgery referral practices by general surgeons treating newly diagnosed
breast cancer patients partially explain the low rates of breast reconstructive surgery in the United States,
according to a new study.  Published in the May 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American
Cancer Society, the study suggests that only one quarter of general surgeons refer most breast cancer patients for a
reconstruction consultation at the time of treatment planning.

Despite the fact that insurance covers the procedure, only 16 percent of breast cancer patients treated with a

read more | 1 comment | 1078 reads

Study questions 'cancer stem cell' hypothesis in breast cancer
By Dross at 2007-03-13 22:17

BOSTON -- A Dana-Farber Cancer Institute study challenges the hypothesis that "cancer stem cells" – a small number of self-renewing cells within a tumor – are responsible for breast cancer progression and recurrence, and that wiping out these cells alone could cure the disease.

Instead, the scientists report in the March issue of Cancer Cell that they have identified two genetically distinct populations of cancer cells in samples of human breast tumors – one of the types being a cell recently proposed by other scientists to be a true breast cancer stem cell.

"If the breast cancer cells were all coming from a single cancer stem cell, you might be able to cure the disease with just one drug," said Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber, senior author of the paper. "But our findings suggest that the tumor cells come from a ‘stem-like’ progenitor cell, and then diverge genetically, so I think you have to treat both cell types."

read more | 2578 reads

Study aims to find which breast cancer patients need chemotherapy
By Dross at 2007-03-13 22:06

Most postmenopausal women with small breast tumors don’t need chemotherapyterm to reduce their recurrence risk after lumpectomy.

To try to determine who does, a test that measures a tumor’s aggressiveness based on its DNA will be tested nationally in more than 10,000 of these women.

“The dilemma physicians have with these patients is, because they have such small tumors, it’s hard to tell who needs chemotherapy,” said Dr. Thomas A. Samuel, Medical College of Georgia hematologist/oncologist specializing in breast cancer and a study principal investigator.

read more | 980 reads

Breast cancer survivors experience long-term heart disease risk from radiotherapy
By Dross at 2007-03-07 05:20



Women who were treated with radiation for breast cancer during the 1980s may be at an increased risk for heart disease compared with the general population, according to a new study in the March 7 Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Despite this increased risk of heart disease, radiation therapy has been previously shown to improve the chances of surviving breast cancer.

Breast cancer patients treated with radiation therapy during the 1970s are thought to have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but those treatment procedures are now considered obsolete. However, studies on the association between more modern radiation therapies and cardiovascular disease in breast cancer survivors have been inconclusive.

read more | 1525 reads

Depression in moms with breast cancer may exacerbate related anxieties in their children
By Dross at 2007-03-06 00:26

A woman's breast cancer diagnosis can wreak as much havoc on her emotions as it does on her physical health. Mothers who experience bouts of depression during their battles with breast cancer may find that the effects reach beyond their own psyches to those of their children. According to data analyzed by University of Pittsburgh researchers and reported this weekend at the American Psychosocial Oncology Society's Fourth Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, children of depressed breast cancer patients were more likely to be concerned or anxious about their mother%' cancer and its implication for their families. While children's emotional responses to their own illnesses are well-documented, this study, "The Effect of Depressed Mood in Mothers with Breast Cancer on Their Childrens' Illness-Related Concerns," is the first to examine the relationship between childrens' concerns and a mothers' cancer-related depression.

read more | 1062 reads

Genetic Breast Cancer test gets FDA approval
By Dross at 2007-02-28 23:38

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new genetic test that could help patients with early-stage breast cancer predict their chance of relapse within 5 or 10 years, information that could save many patients from the discomfort of unnecessary chemotherapyterm.

The MammaPrint test, developed by Agendia in the Netherlands, measures the activity of 70 genes to create a genetic profile of an excised tumour. This profile is converted into a prognostic index of recurrence or metastasistermterm, which can then be used in conjunction with other information, such as medical history, to determine the most suitable course of therapy. Although the test accurately predicted which women were at a low risk of recurrence around 95% of the time, only 23% of women predicted to be at a high risk experienced recurrent disease. Steven Gutman, head of the FDA's Office of In vitro Diagnostic Device Evaluation and Safety cautioned: "This information has to be used very carefully by physicians. It is a complex test and requires use by people who know their business" (, 9 February 2007). But he acknowledged that the test could help tailor treatments to individual patients: "I think it's better than no information at all. It does provide a risk profile for patients" (http//, 9 February 2007). Genetic tests for breast cancer, the most widely used of which is the Oncotype DX test, are already on the market in the US, but MammaPrint is the first such test to be approved by the FDA under a scheme that the agency might extend to all such diagnostics. "This test clearance takes into account the development of these innovative technologies and ensures public health by carefully evaluating their performance," said Gutman (, 9 February 2007).

read more | 2 comments | 1747 reads

Creating New Life Forms That May Help Eradicate Cancer Affecting Women
By Dross at 2007-02-27 01:43

NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J., -- Instead of using the usual cancer-fighting modalities, surgery, chemotherapyterm, or radiation, researchers from a drug development company called Advaxis, have embarked on a novel approach to fighting cancer: Engaging the immune system to attack cancer in the same the way it would a flu vaccine, by creating new life forms. Dr. Vafa Shahabi, Advaxis' Director of Research and Development, reports that because the human immune system is not designed to fight cancer on its own, she and her colleagues are trying to harness its power through a new kind of life form: specifically a family of vaccines, which they call Lovaxin. The vaccines are comprised of new strains of bacteria created in Advaxis' laboratory that are programmed to kill off specific cancers.

read more | 1461 reads

Drug Industry Increasingly Influences Breast Cancer
By Dross at 2007-02-25 12:34

Breast cancer treatment trials supported by the pharmaceutical industry are more likely to report positive
results than non-sponsored studies, according to a study to be published in the April 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-
reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. In addition, there are significant differences in the design
of trials and types of questions addressed by pharmaceutical industry sponsored trials compared to non-
sponsored trials. The study is the first to examine the impact of the pharmaceutical industry on breast cancer

Research and development (R&D) is critical to developing new therapies. The drug industry is a significant

read more | 1999 reads

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