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Role of sugar uptake in breast cancer revealed

December 18, 2013 3:56 pm | News | Comments

Metabolism was lost in the shadows of cancer research for decades but has recently been reclaiming some of the spotlight. Now, Mina Bissell, distinguished scientist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Life Sciences Div. and a leading authority on breast cancer, has shown that aerobic glycolysis is not the consequence of the cancerous activity of malignant cells but is itself a cancerous event.

New drug, study method show breast cancer promise

December 13, 2013 12:22 pm | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A novel and faster way to test cancer drugs has yielded its first big result: An experimental medicine that shows promise against a hard-to-treat form of breast cancer. The method involves studying drugs in small groups of people to quickly separate winners from duds. Bringing a new cancer drug to market usually takes more than a decade and tests in thousands of patients, and costs more than $1 billion.

Team identifies mechanism of cancer spread

December 13, 2013 9:59 am | News | Comments

Cancer involves a breakdown of normal cell behavior. Cell reproduction and movement go haywire, causing tumors to grow and spread through the body. A new finding by Univ. of Pennsylvania scientists has identified key steps that trigger this disintegration of cellular regulation. Their discovery—that a protein called Exo70 has a split personality—points to new possibilities for diagnosing cancer metastasis.

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Sensor tracks zinc in cells

December 10, 2013 7:21 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Zinc is found in every tissue in the body. The vast majority of the metal ion is tightly bound to proteins, helping them to perform biological reactions. Tiny amounts of zinc, however, are only loosely bound, and may be critical for proper function in some organs. Yet the exact roles the ion plays in biological systems are unknown. A new optical sensor tracks zinc within cells and should help researchers learn more about its functions.

Study says many lung cancer tumors prove harmless

December 9, 2013 4:34 pm | by LINDSEY TANNER - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Harmless lung cancer? A provocative study found that nearly one in five lung tumors detected on CT scans are probably so slow-growing that they would never cause problems. The analysis suggests the world's No. 1 cause of cancer deaths isn't as lethal as doctors once thought. In the study, these were not false-positives—suspicious results that turn out upon further testing not to be cancer.

Gene therapy scores big wins against blood cancers

December 7, 2013 11:02 am | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

In one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years, doctors are reporting unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients' blood cells into soldiers that seek and destroy cancer. A few patients with one type of leukemia were given this one-time, experimental therapy several years ago and some remain cancer-free today.

New technique improves accuracy, ease of cancer diagnosis

November 22, 2013 8:31 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers have demonstrated a technique that, by measuring the physical properties of individual cells in body fluids, can diagnose cancer with a high degree of accuracy. The technique, which uses a deformability cytometer to analyze individual cells, could reduce the need for more cumbersome diagnostic procedures and the associated costs, while improving accuracy over current methods.

Biologists identify new cancer weakness

November 14, 2013 3:37 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

About half of all cancer patients have a mutation in a gene called p53, which allows tumors to survive and continue growing even after chemotherapy severely damages their DNA. A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologists has found that tumor cells with mutated p53 can be made much more vulnerable to chemotherapy by blocking another gene called MK2.

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New statistical tools being developed for mining cancer data

November 13, 2013 9:50 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice Univ., Baylor College of Medicine and the Univ. of Texas at Austin are working together to create new statistical tools that can find clues about cancer that are hidden like needles in enormous haystacks of raw data.

Researchers manipulate virus to create possible new cancer treatment

November 11, 2013 3:01 pm | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Purdue Univ. researchers have successfully eliminated the native infection preferences of a Sindbis virus engineered to target and kill cancer cells, a milestone in the manipulation of this promising viral vector. The achievement also demonstrates the ability to use methods of manipulation previously only applied to proteins.

‘Tumor-on-a-chip’ technology offers new direction

November 7, 2013 10:59 am | News | Comments

A two-year collaboration between the Chan and the Rocheleau labs at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering has led to the development of a new microfluidics screening platform that can accurately predict the way nanoparticles will behave in a living body.

Resistance is futile

November 1, 2013 7:40 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug given to more than half of all cancer patients. The drug kills cells very effectively by damaging nuclear DNA, but if tumors become resistant to cisplatin they often grow back. A new study offers a possible way to overcome that resistance. The researchers found that when cisplatin was delivered to cellular structures called mitochondria, DNA in this organelle was damaged, leading to cancer cell death.

Physicists decode decision circuit of cancer metastasis

October 24, 2013 10:19 am | News | Comments

Cancer researchers from Rice Univ. have deciphered the operating principles of a genetic switch that cancer cells use to decide when to metastasize and invade other parts of the body. The study found that the on-off switch’s dynamics also allows a third choice that lies somewhere between “on” and “off.” The extra setting both explains previously confusing experimental results and opens the door to new avenues of cancer treatment.

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Optical technology helps surgeons see cancer tissue

October 22, 2013 8:21 am | News | Comments

OnTarget Laboratories LLC has teamed with partners in academia to test a novel optical imaging technology developed at Purdue Univ. that could help surgeons see cancer tissue during surgery. The technology is based on the over-expression of specific receptors on solid cancerous tumors and enables illumination of the tumor tissue during surgery.

One-two punch knocks out aggressive tumors

October 22, 2013 7:58 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

An aggressive form of breast cancer known as “triple negative” is very difficult to treat: Chemotherapy can shrink such tumors for a while, but in many patients they grow back and gain resistance to the original drugs. To overcome that resistance, chemical engineers have designed nanoparticles that carry the cancer drug doxorubicin, as well as short strands of RNA that can shut off one of the genes that cancer cells use to escape the drug.

Nanotech system, cellular heating may improve treatment of ovarian cancer

October 18, 2013 11:09 am | News | Comments

The combination of heat, chemotherapeutic drugs and an innovative delivery system based on nanotechnology may significantly improve the treatment of ovarian cancer while reducing side effects from toxic drugs, researchers at Oregon State Univ. report in a new study. The findings, so far done only in a laboratory setting, show that this one-two punch of mild hyperthermia and chemotherapy can kill 95% of ovarian cancer cells.

Rice team rises to big data breast cancer challenge

October 18, 2013 9:28 am | News | Comments

A colorful wheel developed by Rice Univ. bioengineers to visualize protein interactions has won an international competition for novel strategies to study the roots of breast cancer. The winning BioWheel by the Rice laboratory of bioengineer Amina Qutub was chosen, topping 14 academic and industry participants in the HPN-DREAM Breast Cancer Network Inference Challenge.

Maximizing broccoli’s cancer-fighting potential

October 17, 2013 8:19 am | News | Comments

Spraying a plant hormone on broccoli—already one of the planet’s most nutritious foods—boosts its cancer-fighting potential, and researchers say they have new insights on how that works. They published their findings, which could help scientists build an even better, more healthful broccoli.

Gold-plated nanobits find, destroy cancer cells

October 16, 2013 8:56 am | by Blaine Friedlander, Cornell University | News | Comments

Comparable to nanoscale Navy Seals, Cornell Univ. scientists have merged tiny gold and iron oxide particles to work as a team, then added antibody guides to steer the team through the bloodstream toward colorectal cancer cells. And in a nanosecond, the alloyed allies then kill the bad guys, cancer cells, with absorbed infrared heat.

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.

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.

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