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Small bits of genetic material fight cancer's spread

October 15, 2013 2:08 pm | by Tara Thean, Princeton Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers at Princeton Univ. have found that microRNAs, which are small bits of genetic material capable of repressing the expression of certain genes, may serve as both therapeutic targets and predictors of metastasis, or a cancer’s spread from its initial site to other parts of the body.

Can thermodynamics help us better understand human cancers?

October 14, 2013 8:40 am | News | Comments

When the "war on cancer" was declared, identifying potential biomarkers that would allow doctors to detect the disease early on was a significant goal. To this day, progress depends on understanding the underlying causes and molecular mechanisms of the disease. In a new study, researchers analyzed the gene-expression profiles of more than 2,000 patients and were able to identify cancer-specific gene signatures for certain cancers.

Football-shaped particles bolster body’s defense against cancer

October 14, 2013 7:58 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Univ. have succeeded in making flattened, football-shaped artificial particles that impersonate immune cells. These football-shaped particles seem to be better than the typical basketball-shaped particles at teaching immune cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells in mice.

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The Cancer Genome Atlas exposes more secrets of lethal brain tumor

October 11, 2013 8:27 am | News | Comments

When The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) launched its collaborative approach to organ-by-organ genomic analysis of cancers, the brain had both the benefit, and the challenge, of going first. TCGA ganged up on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), with more than 100 scientists from 14 institutions tracking down the genomic abnormalities that drive GBM. Five years later, TCGA revisited glioblastoma, producing a broader, deeper picture of the drivers.

Gilead Sciences stops successful cancer drug study

October 9, 2013 5:02 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Gilead Sciences said Wednesday it stopped a late-stage clinical trial of a cancer treatment because it was clear the drug was working. Gilead was studying idelalisib as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The company said an early analysis of data from the study showed that patients who were treated with idelalisib had a longer time before the resumption of disease progression or death.

A better way to make antibody-guided therapies

October 8, 2013 8:12 am | News | Comments

Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute have devised a new technique for connecting drug molecules to antibodies to make advanced therapies. Antibody-drug conjugates are the basis of new therapies on the market that use the target-recognizing ability of antibodies to deliver drug payloads to specific cell types. The new technique allows drug developers to forge more stable conjugates than are possible with current methods.

Analysis of little-explored regions of genome reveals dozens of cancer triggers

October 4, 2013 8:24 am | News | Comments

A massive data analysis of natural genetic variants in humans and variants in cancer tumors has implicated dozens of mutations in the development of breast and prostate cancer, a Yale Univ.-led team has found. The newly discovered mutations are in regions of DNA that do not code for proteins but instead influence activity of other genes.

Cell-detection system promising for medical research, diagnostics

October 3, 2013 8:33 am | News | Comments

Researchers are developing a system that uses tiny magnetic beads to quickly detect rare types of cancer cells circulating in a patient's blood, an advance that could help medical doctors diagnose cancer earlier than now possible and monitor how well a patient is responding to therapy.

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Liquid biopsy could improve cancer diagnosis, treatment

October 1, 2013 8:27 am | News | Comments

A microfluidic chip developed at the Univ. of Michigan is among the best at capturing elusive circulating tumor cells from blood—and it can support the cells' growth for further analysis. The device, believed to be the first to pair these functions, uses the advanced electronics material graphene oxide. In clinics, such a device could one day help doctors diagnose cancers.

U.S. approves first pre-surgical breast cancer drug

September 30, 2013 1:12 pm | by MATTHEW PERRONE - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A biotech drug from Roche has become the first medicine approved to treat breast cancer before surgery, offering an earlier approach against one of the deadliest forms of the disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Perjeta for women with a form of early-stage breast cancer who face a high risk of having their cancer spread to other parts of the body.

“Vicious cycle” shields, spreads cancer cells

September 17, 2013 8:16 am | News | Comments

A “vicious cycle” produces mucus that protects uterine and pancreatic cancer cells and promotes their proliferation, according to researchers at Rice Univ. The researchers offer hope for a therapeutic solution. They found that protein receptors on the surface of cancer cells go into overdrive to stimulate the production of MUC1, which covers the exposed tips of the elongated epithelial cells that coat internal organs to prevent infection.

FDA panel backs drug for early-stage breast cancer

September 12, 2013 2:52 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Government cancer experts say a drug from Roche has shown effectiveness as a new option to treat breast cancer before tumor-removing surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13-0, with one abstention, that the benefits of Perjeta as an initial treatment for breast cancer outweigh its risks.

Cancer vaccine begins Phase 1 clinical trails

September 10, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

A cross-disciplinary team of scientists, engineers and clinicians announced that they have begun a Phase 1 clinical trial of an implantable vaccine to treat melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer. The effort is the fruit of a new model of translational research being pursued at Harvard Univ. that integrates the latest cancer research with bio-inspired technology development.

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FDA approves Celgene drug for pancreatic cancer

September 6, 2013 7:07 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal regulators have approved Celgene Inc.'s drug Abraxane to treat late-stage pancreatic cancer. In experimental trials, the drug extended the lives of patients by a little less than two months more than those treated with the current standard drug.

Blind mole-rats are resistant to chemically induced cancers

September 4, 2013 8:35 am | News | Comments

Like naked mole-rats, blind mole-rats live underground in low-oxygen environments, are long-lived and resistant to cancer. A new study demonstrates just how cancer-resistant they are, and suggests that the adaptations that help these rodents survive in low-oxygen environments also play a role in their longevity and cancer resistance.

NEETs are prime suspects in breast cancer proliferation

August 21, 2013 8:19 am | News | Comments

Two proteins have been identified as prime suspects in the proliferation of breast cancer in a study by an international consortium of researchers. The research may offer a path to therapies that could slow or stop tumors from developing. The research found that reducing the expression of a pair of proteins known as NEETs significantly reduced cancer cell proliferation and breast cancer tumor size.

Biophysicists zoom in on pore-forming toxin

August 15, 2013 7:43 am | News | Comments

A new study by Rice Univ. biophysicists offers the most comprehensive picture yet of the molecular-level action of melittin, the principal toxin in bee venom. The research could aid in the development of new drugs that use a similar mechanism as melittin’s to attack cancer and bacteria.

Researchers use nanoparticles to fight cancer

August 15, 2013 7:30 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Georgia are developing a new treatment technique that uses nanoparticles to reprogram immune cells so they are able to recognize and attack cancer. The human body operates under a constant state of martial law. Chief among the enforcers charged with maintaining order is the immune system. The immune system is good at its job, but it's not perfect.

Innovation could improve personalized cancer-care outcomes

August 14, 2013 5:21 pm | News | Comments

A recent invention at Purdue Univ. could improve therapy selection for personalized cancer care. Researchers have created a technique called BioDynamic Imaging that measures the activity inside cancer biopsies, or samples of cells. It allows technicians to assess the efficacy of drug combinations, called regimens, on personal cancers.

Immunomedics reports positive study of cancer drug

August 14, 2013 12:23 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of Immunomedics jumped Wednesday after announcing that its treatment for a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma helped to extend the lives of patients that used it in combination with another drug. The company said patients with newly diagnosed follicular lymphoma responded well to a combination of its epratuzumab and Roche's drug, Rituxan.

Cancer: Unraveling a mechanism behind cellular proliferation

August 14, 2013 9:58 am | News | Comments

A hallmark of cancer is uncontrolled and sustained cell division. One particular overactive protein, STAT3, is implicated in this malfunction. Scientists have recently discovered a complex mechanism that regulates this protein’s activity in healthy cells.

New evidence that cancer cells change while moving throughout body

August 13, 2013 8:04 am | News | Comments

For cancer patients, it’s not the primary tumor that is deadly, but the spread or “metastasis” of cancer cells from the primary tumor to secondary locations throughout the body that is the problem. That’s why a major focus of contemporary cancer research is how to stop or fight metastasis. Studies suggest that metastasizing cancer cells undergo a major molecular change when they leave the primary tumor—a process called EMT.

Feds, family reach deal on use of DNA information

August 9, 2013 8:13 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Some 60 years ago, a doctor in Baltimore removed cancer cells from a poor black patient named Henrietta Lacks without her knowledge or consent. Those cells eventually helped lead to a multitude of medical treatments and lay the groundwork for the multibillion-dollar biotech industry. Now, for the first time, the Lacks family has been given a say over at least some research involving her cells.

Gold nanoprobes hold the key to treating killer diseases

August 7, 2013 12:14 pm | News | Comments

Stem cell therapy is in its infancy, but has the potential to change the way we treat cancer and other diseases by replacing damaged or diseased cells with healthy ones. Identifying the right cells to use is the challenge, and scientists in the U.K. have found a way to use gold nanoprobes with surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy to differentiate the nearly identical cells.

Catching cancer early by chasing it

August 1, 2013 4:18 pm | News | Comments

Reaching a clinic in time to receive an early diagnosis for cancer—when the disease is most treatable—is a global problem. And now a team of Chinese researchers proposes a global solution: have a user-friendly diagnostic device travel to the patient, anywhere in the world.

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