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Study identifies key protein for cell death

May 14, 2013 10:49 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

When cells suffer too much DNA damage, they are usually forced to undergo programmed cell death, or apoptosis. However, cancer cells often ignore these signals, flourishing even after chemotherapy drugs have ravaged their DNA. A new finding may offer a way to overcome that resistance: A team has identified a key protein involved in an alternative death pathway known as programmed necrosis.

Huge drug cost disparities seen in health overhaul

May 13, 2013 3:11 am | by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Cancer patients could face high costs for medications under President Barack Obama's health care law, industry analysts and advocates warn. Where you live could make a huge difference in what you'll pay. To try to keep premiums low, some states are allowing insurers to charge patients a hefty share of the cost for expensive medications used to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other life-altering chronic diseases.

Eli Lilly ends development of lymphoma drug

May 10, 2013 1:06 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Eli Lilly and Co. said Friday it will stop development of an experimental cancer drug after it failed in a late-stage clinical trial. The company was studying enzastaurin as a treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a cancer that affects a type of white blood cell. Lilly said patients who were treated with enzastaurin did not survive longer than patients treated with a placebo.

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Turn out the light: Switch determines cancer cell fate

May 3, 2013 8:10 am | by Anne Ju, Cornell University | News | Comments

Like picking a career or a movie, cells have to make decisions—and cancer results from cells making wrong decisions. At the cellular level, wrong decisions can be made right. A team has discovered that colon cancer stem cells, a particularly malignant population of cancer cells, are able to switch between the decision to proliferate or to remain constant—and this “switch” is controlled by a little-studied molecule called microRNA.

Computer algorithms find genetic cancer networks

May 2, 2013 10:44 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, using powerful algorithms developed by computer scientists at Brown University, have assembled the most complete genetic profile yet of acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive form of blood cancer.

Decoded: Molecular messages that tell cancer to spread

May 2, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

Cancer cells are wily, well-traveled adversaries, constantly side-stepping treatments to stop their spread. But, for the first time, scientists at the University of Michigan have decoded the molecular chatter that ramps certain cancer cells into overdrive and can cause tumors to metastasize throughout the body.

Team finds markers related to ovarian cancer survival, recurrence

April 29, 2013 1:34 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Illinois have identified biomarkers that can be used to determine ovarian cancer survival and recurrence, and have shown how these biomarkers interact with each other to affect these outcomes. The team used data from the Cancer Genome Atlas, which contains information about ovarian cancer patients’ age, survival, cancer recurrence, treatment, tumor stage, tumor grade, and genomic expression.

Tests on cancer cells shows them as “squishy”, yet tactically strong

April 29, 2013 8:06 am | News | Comments

To get a better understanding of metastasis, more than 95 graduate students, post docs and professors in a variety of laboratories across the U.S. subjected two cell lines to a battery of tests and measurements using more than 20 different techniques. The work has enabled a comprehensive cataloging and comparison of the physical characteristics of non-malignant and metastatic cells.

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Physicists, biologists unite to expose how cancer spreads

April 29, 2013 8:03 am | News | Comments

Cancer cells that can break out of a tumor and invade other organs are more aggressive and nimble than nonmalignant cells, according to a new multi-institutional nationwide study. These cells exert greater force on their environment and can more easily maneuver small spaces.

Nanodiamonds could improve effectiveness of breast cancer treatment

April 16, 2013 7:50 am | News | Comments

Doctors have begun to categorize breast cancers into four main groups according to the genetic makeup of the cancer cells. Which category a cancer falls into generally determines the best method of treatment. But cancers in one of the four groups—called "basal-like" or "triple-negative" breast cancer (TNBC)—have been particularly tricky to treat. Researchers have developed a potential treatment for TNBC that uses nanodiamonds.

Study reveals how melanoma evades chemotherapy

April 9, 2013 11:04 pm | News | Comments

Nitric oxide (NO), a gas with many biological functions in healthy cells, can also help some cancer cells survive chemotherapy. A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reveals one way in which this resistance may arise, and raises the possibility of weakening cancer cells by cutting off their supply of NO.

Cancer-killing treatment has no side effects

April 4, 2013 9:21 am | News | Comments

Cancer painfully ends more than 500,000 lives in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The scientific crusade against cancer recently achieved a victory under the leadership of University of Missouri Curators’ Professor M. Frederick Hawthorne. Hawthorne’s team has developed a new form of radiation therapy that successfully put cancer into remission in mice. This innovative treatment produced none of the harmful side-effects of conventional chemo and radiation cancer therapies.

Scientists find new gene markers for cancer risk

March 27, 2013 2:37 pm | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

A huge international effort involving more than 100 institutions and genetic tests on 200,000 people has uncovered dozens of signposts in DNA that can help reveal further a person's risk for breast, ovarian or prostate cancer, scientists reported Wednesday. The potential payoff for ordinary people is mostly this: Someday there may be genetic tests that help identify women with the most to gain from mammograms, and men who could benefit most from PSA tests and prostate biopsies.

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Scientists find new gene markers for cancer risk

March 27, 2013 12:28 pm | by MALCOLM RITTER - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A huge international effort involving more than 100 institutions and genetic tests on 200,000 people has uncovered dozens of signposts in DNA that can help reveal further a person's risk for breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer, scientists reported Wednesday.

Nanotechnology research study turns brain tumors blue

March 27, 2013 11:46 am | News | Comments

Researchers from Georgia Tech and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta have developed a technique that assists in identifying tumors from normal brain tissue during surgery by staining tumor cells blue. The technique could be critically important for hospitals lacking sophisticated equipment in preserving the maximum amount of normal tissue and brain function during surgery.

Scientists find chemical that might control cell behavior

March 14, 2013 10:09 am | News | Comments

Most people who are killed by cancer are victims of the spread of the original cancerous tumor, which is why researchers vigorously search for drugs that can prevent metastases. In a finding that could help accelerate that effort, researchers have found a chemical compound that appears to control cell migration and adhesion, two important characteristics of metastatic cancer cells.

FDA approves imaging drug for cancer lymph nodes

March 13, 2013 1:45 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new imaging drug to help doctors locate lymph nodes in patients with breast cancer and skin cancer. The drug Lymphoseek from Navidea Biopharmaceuticals Inc. is a radioactive imaging agent that is intended to help determine if breast cancer or melanoma has spread to a patient's lymph nodes.

Rapid cancer detection built on a chip

March 8, 2013 3:39 pm | News | Comments

Early detection is vital for the effective treatment of cancer. In many cases, tell-tale biomarkers are present in the bloodstream long before outward symptoms become apparent. The development of an inexpensive and rapid point-of-care diagnostic test capable of spotting such early biomarkers of disease could save many lives. A research team in Japan working on developing such a test has now produced their most sensitive microRNA detector yet.

Traceable nanoparticles may be the next weapon in cancer treatment

March 5, 2013 8:58 am | by Karin Söderlund Leifler and Peter Larsson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Therapeutic and diagnostic in function, so-called “theranostic” particles have been developed by a team in Sweden. These small particles can be loaded with medicine and could be a future weapon for cancer treatment. Because the particles can be seen in magnetic resonance images, they are traceable.

WHO: Small cancer risk after Fukushima accident

February 28, 2013 10:22 am | by MARIA CHENG - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

People exposed to the highest doses of radiation during Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in 2011 may have a slightly higher risk of cancer but one so small it probably won't be detectable, the World Health Organization said in a report released Thursday.

Chemists find help from nature in fighting cancer

February 27, 2013 7:52 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Inspired by a chemical that fungi secrete to defend their territory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemists have synthesized and tested several dozen compounds that may hold promise as potential cancer drugs.

One-two punch strategy against bacteria, cancer

February 11, 2013 4:44 pm | News | Comments

Cancer researchers from Rice University suggest that a new man-made drug that’s already proven effective at killing cancer and drug-resistant bacteria could best deliver its knockout blow when used in combination with drugs made from naturally occurring toxins.

Nanoscale vehicle battles cancer

February 6, 2013 3:38 pm | News | Comments

A tiny capsule invented at a University of California, Los Angeles laboratory could go a long way toward improving cancer treatment. Devising a method for more precise and less invasive treatment of cancer tumors, the team has developed a degradable nanoscale shell to carry proteins to cancer cells and stunt the growth of tumors without damaging healthy cells.

Scientists build harness for powerful radiation cancer therapy

February 5, 2013 8:24 am | News | Comments

Low-energy radiation particles, known as beta particles, are often used in radiation treatments for cancer patients. For years, scientists have been studying how to use alpha particles, which are far higher in energy, for the same treatments. The challenge has been finding ways to focus these powerful particles on target cancers without hurting other tissues. A collaboration of scientists have recently created a gold nanoparticle that can transport powerful alpha particles directly to tumors for treatment.

Improving the accuracy of cancer diagnoses

December 26, 2012 8:41 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Tiny calcium deposits can be a telltale sign of breast cancer. However, in the majority of cases these microcalcifications signal a benign condition. A new diagnostic procedure developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Case Western Reserve University could help doctors more accurately distinguish between cancerous and noncancerous cases.

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