Brain Tumour Survivor

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:32 pm 
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Brain cancer survivors lead the way at Relay For Life

TWO students at the Calen District State College share a special bond.

Logan Lindsay and Rebecca Attard are both brain cancer survivors.

Next month they will turn their stories into something positive by leading their teams at the Cancer Council Queensland's Pioneer Valley Relay For Life.

Rebecca was seven when she was diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumour.

Now in Year 12, she is the school captain.

She said she would dance at her graduation ceremony later this year.

"People have supported me throughout my journey," she said.

"Many people have had it worse than me. I want to give back."

Rebecca is focusing on achieving a good OP result.

"I want to do medical imaging at uni," she said.

"I had to do many MRIs during my treatment. I want to be able to help other people, too."

At Relay For Life, three ceremonies are held for participants.

The opening cancer survivors' lap celebrates the journey of individuals, the candlelight ceremony remembers people who have lost their battle with cancer and the closing ceremony reminds people about the fight against cancer.

Logan's mother Casey Lindsay said her son had been free from cancer for four years now.

"He is my little superstar," she said.

"Logan will dress up as Iron Man.

"We will all dress up as superheroes.

"He was only a baby when he was diagnosed."

http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/new ... e/2344846/


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:54 am 
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Fake cancer patient Vanessa Barry escapes having to repay $20,000 to family and friends after lying about brain tumour

A FAKE cancer patient who duped friends and family out of $20,000 for her “treatment” has escaped with 75 hours community work and will not have to repay the money.

Vanessa Barry, 20, blew the $22,784 on clothes and shoes and had not repaid the money because there was no record of who donated and how much.

Frankston Magistrates’ Court heard Barry convinced her friends and family she had a brain tumour because she enjoyed the attention and sympathy, but became trapped in a web of lies which spiralled out of control.

Defence counsel Regena Sommers said Barry was now working as a door-to-door salesperson for a child sponsorship organisation, with her employer having full knowledge of her crime.

Magistrate Andrew McKenna made no order for restitution of the donations in sentencing Barry to a nine-month community corrections order with conditions that she perform 75 hours of community work and undergo mental health assessment and treatment.

Mr McKenna said the deception stemmed from a combination of factors, including Barry being misdiagnosed with a terminal illness and failing to tell loved ones she was later cleared of any medical issues.

Instead she researched her feigned illness - a tumour known as meningioma - on the internet, cut her hair and created false documents to support her claims and keep the lie continuing.

Family and friends organised “A Night for Noo” fundraiser, which was held at Frankston Football Club in November 2012 and raised $22,784 after costs to assist with medical expenses.

The court heard she gave a speech thanking people for their support but did not associate with many people that night because of her guilt.

But family members who drove Barry to supposed medical appointments became suspicious after she claimed they had been cancelled or that she was lost.

Barry pleaded guilty to obtaining property by deception, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment, after confessing to police in January.

She said she had resolved not to use the ill-gotten gains but gradually spent the money on shoes, clothes and other personal items.

Ms Sommers said her client accepted the funds raised on her behalf but did not have a "master plan to obtain money".

The magistrate sentenced Barry without conviction due to her good prior character.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-or ... 9c21c79668


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:43 pm 
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Time running out for Yasmin Pallier of Stanthorpe who needs surgery to remove an aggressive brain tumour

FOR Yasmin Pallier, the difference between life and death is literally $80,000.

That is how much the surgery to remove the aggressive tumour in her head will cost.

Time is running out for the 32-year-old who has been given six months to two years to live without the operation.

“Because we haven’t got the money, we have to go on the public waiting list which is six months long,” she said.

Yasmin’s mother Michelle said she understood the pressures on the system, but: “At the end of the day if you don’t have the money, you don’t get the operation. The rich would get it. This I can’t swallow.”

It’s not the first time money has been at the centre of a life-and-death decision for Yasmin. She was first diagnosed with a benign brain tumour in 2006 at the age of 25. It was removed in the public system and in 2007 she had a secondary mass removed. By 2011, more tumours were found and her Brisbane-based neurologist told her it was inoperable and to get her affairs in order. “I was only 29, I had two boys,” she said.

Neither Ms Pellier nor her mother accepted the diagnosis, so they went to Dr Charlie Teo, the Sydney neurosurgeon who opens his doors to those who have been given no hope.

“He (Dr Teo) said he would do it but we needed $60,000.”

Yasmin was not privately insured, so the community in Molong, where Michelle works, raised $29,000.

Ms Pellier’s in-laws chipped in the rest and the operation was a success.

But now the insidious tumour is back and this time growing at a deadly rate.

“If it’s type three and I don’t have it out I have six months to two years to live. The only option is I come up with the money for him (Dr Teo) to have a go,” she said.

Dr Teo agrees it’s an expensive business for those not insured. More than half of his patients have been told their brain tumours are inoperable.

“I don’t do the money side, but I do know it’s expensive if you don’t have private health insurance, because my hospital is not very generous, even though I discount patients, the hospital won’t,” he said.

Ms Pellier stays with her mother at Manildra so she can attend medical appointments but lives in Stanthorpe in Queensland.

She could go on the public waiting list, but because she is based in Queensland, Dr Teo said he would be prevented from operating.

“If you are a public patient and you’re from out of state and even if I said I will do your operation free of charge as I do, the hospital won’t allow me to do it. And they won’t allow me to do it for a very good reason because they do not get reimbursed for out-of-state patients, it’s a state-funded hospital,” he said.

“People like Yasmin need to raise money for me to operate on them in the private system because I can’t operate on them in the public system.”

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/quee ... be6c8838dd


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:42 am 
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Tumour drove Bristol girl Lauren to GCSE success

LIKE many Bristol 16-year-olds, Lauren Pratt opened her GCSE exam results last week to find she attained a clutch of excellent grades.

But unlike her classmates it was a life-threatening brain tumour that drove the teenager from Hanham to success.

Unknown to her at the time, when she was aged 11 doctors told her parents she had the cancerous tumour and had just two months to live.

The next day she was placed on an operating table at Frenchay Hospital, for what she thought was just an operation to "get rid" of her recurring headaches.

After a nine-hour operation doctors removed the tumour, leaving the youngster temporarily unable to see, hear, talk, walk or eat.

But, even though some of her motor skills will never repair, in the months and years that followed she was determined to stay near the top of her class and studied hard to get good grades.

Last week she picked up A* grades in English language and media, A grades in maths, English literature, business studies and drama and B grades in double science and religious education.

She told the Bristol Post: "I think this brain tumour made me realise life's most useful qualities.

"I try not to think about the negatives. I try and think about the positives. It kind of opened my eyes.

"You don't get something for nothing. You don't get things given to you. You have to work for it."

To overcome physical setbacks, Lauren used digital media to study, learning online from YouTube, videos and pod casts.

She was "statemented" at her school, John Cabot Academy in Kingswood, meaning scribes could write her answers down in tests or she could type on a laptop.

Because she worked so hard, sometimes she would come home from school exhausted and simply crash out on the sofa.

The work paid off, with grades so good what when she first received them she thought she had been sent her predicted grades by mistake.

She said: "My mum was crying. My step-mum was crying. My dad said 'Wow, I'm proud."

Lauren's plan now is to study A levels in English language, media studies, business studies and maths and, after university, strive for a career in marketing, advertising or journalism.

She is eternally grateful for the "absolutely amazing" care she received from staff at the Barbara Russell Unit at the former Frenchay Hospital.

Lauren believes what happened to her has left her a more caring, compassionate person.

To that end, next year she is doing a skydive to raise money for Bristol Children's Hospital.

She said: "If I hadn't had the tumour I wouldn't be doing it. Having lived what I have lived through, I realise it needs to be done and you need to make a difference. Maybe there's a reason it happened.

"I know I would have got those grades. But my attitude would have been 'I'll wing it, I'll be fine'.

"The tumour taught me that to get the best things in life you need to work for them.

"Now I realise that I'm going to use that in life."

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Tumour-dro ... story.html


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:49 am 
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Funding go-ahead for research into fatal children's brain cancer

A new research project testing new drugs on the deadliest form of childhood brain cancer has been given the green light, in what could lead to major breakthroughs in treatment options for sufferers.

Researchers at the Children's Cancer Institute plan to test potential new drug treatments on diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) tumour models to see if they are effective in shrinking tumours.
DIPG is one of the most deadly paediatric brain cancers.

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation's head of research strategy, Michelle Stewart, said DIPG was particularly difficult to treat because tumours were located within the brainstem, making it often impossible to operate, and radiotherapy was often the only treatment that could prolong survival.

Ms Stewart said radiotherapy however was often associated with severe side-effects and most children died within a year.

"Recently, the good news is, there have been advances in the way DIPG is researched and those advances mean that we are a lot closer to finding drugs that might be effective," she said.

"For the first time, there is hope for patients with DIPG. This is a massive improvement in hope and potentially survival for these patients.

"This will mean it will leapfrog the traditional research pathway because these drugs are already in use in other diseases and cancers and hopefully speed something up so we could actually have some treatment options for DIPG patients."

Brain cancer kills more Australian children than any other disease, according to Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Only two in 10 people diagnosed with brain cancer will survive for at least five years.

Ms Stewart said it was hoped the new research could see results in about three years.

"Once those results are firmed up, we think it'll be pretty quick before they get it into patients and they might even be able to do it faster than that," she said.

The research project is expected to cost about $90,000 and has been co-funded by Cure Brain Cancer and the Campbell Edwards Trust.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-new ... 077er.html


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:38 pm 
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'It's soul-destroying': Cheyenne Tozzi opens up about supporting her sister Tahnya during her battle with depression

When she is not jetting across the globe being her fashionista self, spending time with family is important to Cheyenne Tozzi.

And the 25-year-old has now opened up about supporting her older sister Tahnya, 28, through her battle with depression.

‘Tahyna’s really sensitive and she’s strong now,’ Cheyenne told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday, a week after her actress sister opened up about her personal demons.

‘I think when you’re young and you’re going into acting, modelling and all those kinds of things, it’s soul-destroying if you’re not amongst the right people or if you’re pushed in a certain direction,’ Cheyenne said.

Highlighting the importance of having a strong support network, the blonde beauty added: ‘I think for any person doing that, always maintain that kind of home base otherwise you’ll float off into the fairies and you’re not who you want to be.’

‘Even with all the success in the world, if you don’t have that grounding you’ll never be happy for real.’

In a recent interview with blog More Than A Pretty Face, Tahnya who has divided her time between Australia and the US for almost 10-years - revealed that constant rejection in the business led her on a downward spiral.

'It is hard. I know so many actors who can put on a front and even drown it out with drugs or alcohol or sex or whatever,' she told the publication.

'I never had any of those outlets, so I beat the s**t out of myself and completely destroyed my self-confidence.'

It has also been a tough time for the Tozzi sisters as their 57-year-old mother Yvonne has been through an emotional roller coaster of illness diagnosis' in the last decade.

About ten years ago, Yvonne was diagnosed with bowel cancer but managed to overcome the illness with regular chemotherapy.

However the Tozzi family was devastated again when she was found to have four or five brain tumours in May last year.

In early April of this year an ecstatic Cheyenne made the announcement that the family was celebrating when her mother was given the all clear after undergoing surgery treatment.

'She’s doing really good,’ Cheyenne told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

‘Charlie Teo, who is the best brain surgeon in the whole world, he really just got her good and he did really well.’

The model revealed the brain tumour diagnosis was ‘a bit of a slap in the face’ for the family after Yvonne had already battled cancer.

But with Yvonne having recovered now, Cheyenne is looking on the bright said, saying: ‘She’s doing really well health wise and it’s really nice to see a big smiling face.’

As an ambassador for 30 Days Of Fashion And Beauty, Cheyenne will hit the opening night red carpet in Sydney on Thursday.

‘It feels awesome,’ she told Daily Mail Australia of her ambassador gig.

‘I did it a few years ago with my sister and now it’s nice to be invited to celebrate fashion and beauty,’ she added.

The model gave a hint of what she’ll be wearing for the runway show events sponsored by Priceline, saying: ‘There’s going to be Australian designers and lots of Swarovski and diamonds.’

If you feel you need help with depression or anxiety, or you think you may someone who is suffering from the illness, visit http://www.beyondblue.org.au

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/ar ... ssion.html


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:15 pm 
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Miracle motivator! Man told he would NEVER walk again becomes personal trainer

A 22-year-old who was told he would never be able to walk again has shocked medics by becoming a personal trainer.

At just nine years old Adam Low was given the devastating news that he had a life-threatening brain tumour, after suffering with headaches for more than three months.

Sunderland-based Adam said: "When they discovered it they operated on it the very same day, they were worried because of how long it had gone unnoticed, and how much it must have grown."

And after being rushed into surgery to have the cancerous lump removed he was told he might never be able to walk again.

"The operation removed 90 per cent of the tumour, but left me with balance problems and double vision, which means I have to wear an eye patch to keep one eye covered," he said.

“I had to teach myself to walk again from scratch - it took a good two years”

"They told me that I would never walk again. I was absolutely gutted - I loved sport, I loved playing football.

For the next two years the schoolboy was confined to a wheelchair, but after watching his friends race around and play football in the park brave Adam was determined to defy their predictions.

"I had one hour's physio every other day but I would practise a good five to six hours every day," he said.

"I had to teach myself to walk again from scratch - it took a good two years.

But Adam's determination paid off and after years of hard work he was on his feet again.

"As soon as I started walking again, I noticed changes in myself, and I wanted to help others who had difficulty with fitness," he said.

So after finishing school he launched his own business - Adam Low Personal Training.

"I did my first qualification about four years ago when I was 18, ever since then I have been doing more," he said.

"My initial plan was to help people with disabilities but I thought there wouldn't be enough, so I started to help people who wanted to lose weight as well."

Inspirational Adam now hosts fitness classes, intense cardio sessions and goes to the gym himself five times a week.

"My balance is still not perfect; when I'm walking I sometimes stumble," he said. "But I've learnt to live with it and correct it and to just get on with it.

"Now the goal is inspire others to overcome their biggest challenges," he added.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/real-life/39 ... al-trainer


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:49 am 
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Half of Cancer Deaths Are Preventable, Report Stresses

If knowledge is power, then this tidbit should fire you up: More than half of the cancer deaths in the U.S. are preventable. That’s according to a weighty annual report released on Tuesday by the American Association for Cancer Research.

“The important part here is that it points out gaps that we have in translating knowledge into action by much of the population,” Dr. Ernest Hawk, spokesperson for the AACR, told Yahoo Health. Because even though so many people already understand that behaviors from smoking to tanning can increase their cancer risks, not everyone heeds the warnings. “Part of it is human nature,” said Hawk, who also heads the division of cancer prevention at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “But we can at least keep sharing the knowledge.” The best three-pronged approach to this end, he said, includes educating the public, improving cancer screening access throughout the population, and adopting public health policies. The policies could focus, for example, on creating smoke-free environments or restricting youth access to tanning beds.

The report lists some notable points about cancer prevention, including the following:

•Tobacco use is responsible for almost 30 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.

•Ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning devices causes the majority of skin cancers.

•Developing a personalized cancer-screening plan with your physicians is part of a healthy approach to living.

•About 1 in 5 cancer diagnoses worldwide is attributable to persistent infection with a pathogen. Infection with many known cancer-causing pathogens can be prevented by vaccination or treatment with medicines.

•Up to one-third of all new cancer diagnoses in the United States is related to being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, and/or poor dietary habits.

Other topics covered in the 122-page report include treatment updates, clinical trials and other research breakthroughs, the expanding use of genomic information, and news on the rising numbers of Americans — 4 percent of the entire population, in fact — who are cancer survivors today.

https://www.yahoo.com/health/half-of-ca ... 98267.html


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:49 pm 
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Painter who discovered talent after surviving brain tumour captures beauty of Manchester city centre

Manchester United fan Michael Ashcroft has painted the town more than red.

The award-winning artist has captured the vibrancy of the city and Rio Ferdinand’s Rosso restaurant will be the venue for a preview of his latest 30-piece exhibition.

His work, in the style of American artist, Edward Hopper, reveals how neon-lit bars and cutting-edge design sit next to historic buildings, with the sheen of rain on pavements never far away.

“Reflections of Manchester” is all the more remarkable considering it was a near-death experience which brought out Michael’s potential to the full.

Michael, 45, said: “Growing up as a lad in a small rural Lancashire village I always had a pull towards the city with its tall buildings, fine architecture, neon lights hustle and bustle, or the buzz that a city creates.

"I would always feel excited going into town with butterflies and nervous anticipation. I still have it today.

“Alongside it I always had a fascination with street lamps, high contrast, reflections, neon lights and I guess that was part of the city but even now looking back throughout my childhood I remember being drawn to strong contrasts in everyday life."

He added: “My love for cities, lights and atmosphere has always been there but it took a life changing experience in 1998 to bring it out fully. Being diagnosed with a brain tumour at 28 years old was a real bolt out of the blue.

“It took a long time to get over the initial diagnosis and operation but what it did do was reconnect me with art which I had always been interested in as a hobby.

“I had a natural flair for it inherited from my mother and it just came easy to me.

“I had spent a lot of time in Manchester after being diagnosed and I grew to love it. It became my second home. It’s funny but I thought I would turn away from Manchesterbut it made me feel closer.

“By now I had taken art back up and now I also had the subject, Manchester!

“By the end of the 90’s Manchester was picking itself up from the devastating impact the bomb had on the city and in some ways so was I.

"I grabbed onto its coat tails and we both went on a journey back to health."

A one-off preview of the artist’s work take place on October 9 at Rosso and the exhibition will continue at the Colourfield Gallery, Poynton, from October 11 to 23.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/ ... er-7812090


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:40 pm 
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Cancer therapy thinks small to deliver the heat to stubborn tumours

When Ben Lipps stepped down as chief executive of Fresenius Medical Care, the German maker of kidney dialysis equipment, in 2012 after 14 years at the helm, he was planning to settle into a relaxed retirement in California.

Yet within six months, the 73-year-old American was back in charge of another German healthcare company, MagForce – one of several developing cancer treatments based on nanotechnology.

“I had bought a nice place in Palm Springs to retire to, but decided I would much rather be doing something,” he recalls. The 1.3-acre estate was hastily put on the market and snapped up last February by actor Leonardo DiCaprio for $5.2m.

Having pioneered some of the critical technology behind kidney dialysis earlier in his career, Mr Lipps was attracted back to the healthcare frontline by what he saw as the potential for a similar breakthrough in cancer treatment.

MagForce’s NanoTherm therapy involves injecting minute iron particles into tumours and using a magnetic field to heat them up to a temperature that either destroys the cancer cells or renders them more susceptible to radiotherapy or chemotherapy. “We’ve known for two decades that heat kills tumours but nobody could work out how to deliver the heat,” says Mr Lipps.

MagForce believes it has found the answer with its NanoActivator machine, which is being tested in three German university hospitals with plans to start treating private patients commercially next year at a price of €23,000 per course.

The technique is among a range of nanotechnologies being experimented with in cancer treatments – using microscopic particles to deliver highly-targeted therapies to hard-to-reach tumours.

MagForce’s iron particles are 12 nanometres (nm) in diameter. By comparison, a typical human hair is 80,000nm across. Other companies are working on an even tinier scale. UK-based Midatech is developing nanoparticles made of gold and measuring as little as 1.4nm to deliver precision cancer drugs. “It’s like throwing Velcro balls at the walls of the tumour,” says Jim Phillips, Midatech chief executive.

Both MagForce and Midatech are targeting an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme which kills 90 per cent of patients within five years. Such tumours are hard to treat, in part because of the difficulty of delivering drugs through the notoriously impenetrable blood-brain barrier – but nanomedicines can break through.

A similar concept is being developed by BTG, the FTSE 250-listed UK company, to treat liver cancer using tiny glass beads that deliver doses of radiation or chemotherapy directly to the tumour and stop blood flow to the cancerous tissue.

For all the promise of such techniques, getting them to market and gaining widespread adoption is still a challenge.

“Ours is a hybrid product,” says Mr Lipps, explaining the struggle MagForce has faced to advance its NanoTherm treatment. “It’s too much like medtech for pharma and too pharma for medtech.”

However, after some setbacks, he believes the therapy is ready for take-off. It has already secured European regulatory approval because, classified as a medical device rather than a drug, it did not need to go through lengthy clinical trials. Those tests that have been carried out show an increase in median survival of brain tumour patients from 15 months to 23 months when treated with NanoTherm.

MagForce is also developing the treatment as a therapy for prostate cancer, aided by a recent $14m investment from Mithril Capital led by Peter Thiel, the German-born technology entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal. The company’s Frankfurt-listed shares have more than doubled in value in the past year.

Mr Lipps says that, despite the futuristic image of nanotechnology, MagForce’s approach is more straightforward than the new generation of genetically targeted personalised medicines under development.

“For the genomics guys, this is not exciting,” he says.

“This is just physics.”

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fd390bb6 ... z3EVzbMXVt


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:31 pm 
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Discovery of 'Sonic Hedgehog Protein' Could Prevent Brain Tumour Development in Children

The breakthrough discovery of a protein called Sonic Hedgehog could help researchers prevent the progression of medulloblastoma, the most common brain tumour in children.

The protein induces DNA damage, which causes the cancer to develop.

Sonic Hedgehog belongs to a family of proteins that gives cells the information needed for the embryo to develop properly. It also plays a significant role in tumorigenesis, the process that transforms normal cells into cancer cells.

"Our team studied a protein called Boc, which is a receptor located on the cell surface that detects Sonic Hedgehog," explains Lukas Tamayo-Orrego, co-author of the study at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal.

"We had previously shown that Boc is important for the development of the cerebellum, the part of the brain where medulloblastoma arises, so we decided to further investigate its role."

Frédéric Charron, director of the Molecular Biology of Neural Development research unit at the IRCM who led the research, said that the study showed the presence of Boc is required for Sonic Hedgehog to induce DNA damage.

"In fact, Boc causes DNA mutations in tumour cells, which promotes the progression of precancerous lesions into advanced medulloblastoma," he added.

"Our study shows that when Boc is inactivated, the number of tumours is reduced by 66 per cent," said study co-author Frederic Mille. "The inactivation of Boc therefore reduces the development of early medulloblastoma into advanced tumours."

Medulloblastoma is a highly malignant primary brain tumour and although children have a better survival rate than adults, it ranks among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in children.

Childhood medulloblastoma is more common in males than females, a feature which is not seen in adults, according to the cancer charity Macmillan.

Current treatments include surgery, as well as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Although the majority of children survive the treatment, radiation therapy damages normal brain cells in infants and toddlers and causes long-term harm.

"As a result, many children who undergo these treatments suffer serious side effects including cognitive impairment and disorders," states Dr Charron.

"Our results indicate that Boc could potentially be targeted to develop a new therapeutic approach that would stop the growth and progression of medulloblastoma and could reduce the adverse side effects of current treatments."

The research was published in the scientific journal Developmental Cell.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/discovery-soni ... en-1468348


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:48 pm 
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Brain barrier opened for first time to treat cancer

For the first time, doctors have opened and closed the brain's protector – the blood-brain barrier – on demand. The breakthrough will allow drugs to reach diseased areas of the brain that are otherwise out of bounds. Ultimately, it could make it easier to treat conditions such as Alzheimer's and brain cancer.

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a sheath of cells that wraps around blood vessels (in black) throughout the brain. It protects precious brain tissue from toxins in the bloodstream, but it is a major obstacle for treating brain disorders because it also blocks the passage of drugs.

Several teams have opened the barrier in animals to sneak drugs through. Now Michael Canney at Paris-based medical start-up CarThera, and his colleagues have managed it in people using an ultrasound brain implant and an injection of microbubbles.

When ultrasound waves meet microbubbles in the blood, they make the bubbles vibrate. This pushes apart the cells of the BBB.

With surgeon Alexandre Carpentier at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, Canney tested the approach in people with a recurrence of glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumour. People with this cancer have surgery to remove the tumours and then chemotherapy drugs, such as Carboplatin, are used to try to kill any remaining tumour cells. Tumours make the BBB leaky, allowing in a tiny amount of chemo drugs: if more could get through, their impact would be greater, says Canney.

The team tested the idea on four patients by implanting an ultrasound transducer through a hole already made in their skulls during tumour-removal surgery. They were then given an injection of microbubbles and had the transducer switched on for 2 minutes. This sent low-intensity pulses of ultrasound into a region of the brain just 10 millimetres by 4 mm. Canney reckons this makes the BBB in this region more permeable for about 6 hours. In this time window, each person received normal chemotherapy.

Since July, they have performed the technique once a month on each of the four patients. It will be a few months before Canney can determine the effect on tumours.

An MRI scan showed that a marker chemical, injected along with the microbubbles, was crossing the BBB. "We hope this means the chemotherapy drug is doing the same thing," says Canney, who presented his observations last week at the Focused Ultrasound symposium in North Bethesda, Maryland.

There may be an additional benefit. Animal models of Alzheimer's suggests that merely opening up the barrier – with no added drugs – results in a reduction in the protein plaques associated with the disease. It may be that when the barrier opens, immune cells can mount an attack.

A similar immune response might help attack cancerous cells, Canney suggests. "We think we will have a significant effect on these tumours."

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2 ... EjStsfqFpA


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:23 pm 
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Drug target discovered for aggressive childhood brain tumour

US scientists have successfully used an experimental drug to prolong the lives of mice with an aggressive form of childhood brain cancer.

The disease, known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), is particularly hard to treat as tumours form in the brainstem – a region of the brain vital to controlling essential body functions such as breathing and heartbeat.

The location of these tumours makes them inoperable, and radio- and chemotherapy are also largely ineffective.

DIPG is also very rare, with around 20-30 children affected each year in the UK. This leaves experts with a small number of samples to study, making the hunt for new treatments a real challenge.

In the latest study, published in Nature Medicine, scientists at Northwestern University in the US have discovered a potential way of targeting a gene fault that has been found in most patients with the disease.

Commenting on the US team's findings, Dr Chris Jones, a Cancer Research UK expert in childhood brain tumours from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said: "The researchers have taken advantage of the unique biology of these tumour cells and suggested a way to overcome a specific internal 're-wiring' seen in the cells of most DIPG patients."

This 're-wiring' is a fault found in the H3F3A gene, which produces a type of protein called a histone, and has an important role in the development of DIPG.

Histones are protein molecules within each cell that act like spools for DNA to wrap around inside the nucleus.

Crucially, the fault in the H3F3A gene prevents the resulting protein from undergoing a chemical tagging process called 'methylation', which can control how genes are switched on or off.

Study leader Dr Rintaro Hashizume proposed that restoring methylation might offer a way to slow tumour growth and progression.

To test this the team worked with mice carrying tumours formed from DIPG cells. And they treated the mice with a drug that had previously been found to increase methylation when treating immune disorders.

The results showed that mice given the experimental drug – called GSKJ4 – for 10 days survived significantly longer than those that did not receive GSKJ4.

Dr Hashizume said: "We are so excited by these findings.

"We've identified a compound that may be useful for treating DIPG patients with this mutation."

While Jones agreed that new treatments for the disease were sorely needed, he stressed that the research was still at an early stage.

"Finding new ways to treat DIPG is one of the most difficult challenges in oncology. And these findings could lead to new drugs being developed in the future," he said.

"But so far the results have only been shown in experiments in the laboratory, and many obstacles remain. Further studies will be needed to develop this into a new treatment for the children who desperately it."

http://phys.org/wire-news/177841478/dru ... umour.html


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:40 pm 
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Dunsborough schoolgirl Deni Atkinson has shrunk her brain tumour by a third, after proton therapy

DENI Atkinson was just 15 when doctors discovered a tumour the size of a golf ball in her brain.

Now, not only has she managed to stop the tumour in its tracks, the inspirational teen is helping raise money for medical research.

Ms Atkinson spent three months in the US last year undergoing ­proton therapy, after a seven-hour operation revealed her tumour was largely inoperable.

Doctors said she needed radiotherapy, but feared the only treatments available in Australia would cause terrible side-effects – leaving the Dunsborough family no option but to head overseas.

Her mother, Carmen Atkinson, said her WA doctor was “amazed” by the results.

“Her results have been so positive,” she said. “He was so excited.”

Proton therapy allows radiation to target the tumour without damaging healthy brain tissue.

Ms Atkinson, 17, estimates it’s shrunk her tumour by a third. The non-cancerous tumour was stunting her growth and caused chronic fatigue. She still suffers from fatigue and takes naps to get her through the school day but has grown 6cm since returning from the US.

In that time, she’s also raised $20,000 for the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research by cycling in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

She plans to take part in the event again next year.

To train for the 200km course, she rode the 24km between her home and school and back every day – despite having to adhere to a strict diet of between just 800 and 1000 calories a day.

Ms Atkinson said she wanted to teach young people how to support friends who are suffering from serious illness, as well as help fund research for those struggling with conditions of their own.

“I rely on research and a lot of other kids do as well,” she said.

“When I go and ask for donations, even if someone puts in $2, it makes you feel really good. ”

Make-A-Wish Australia is sending Ms Atkinson to Melbourne next month when she hopes to meet her tennis idol Roger Federer at the Australian Open.

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/special ... 22b13dae3a


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:22 am 
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Groundbreaking Study Reveals The Main Reason Most People Get Cancer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Plain old bad luck plays a major role in determining who gets cancer and who does not, according to researchers who found that two-thirds of cancer incidence of various types can be blamed on random mutations and not heredity or risky habits like smoking.

The researchers said on Thursday random DNA mutations accumulating in various parts of the body during ordinary cell division are the prime culprits behind many cancer types.

They looked at 31 cancer types and found that 22 of them, including leukemia and pancreatic, bone, testicular, ovarian and brain cancer, could be explained largely by these random mutations – essentially biological bad luck.

The other nine types, including colorectal cancer, skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma and smoking-related lung cancer, were more heavily influenced by heredity and environmental factors like risky behaviour or exposure to carcinogens.

Overall, they attributed 65 per cent of cancer incidence to random mutations in genes that can drive cancer growth.

“When someone gets cancer, immediately people want to know why,” said oncologist Dr. Bert Vogelstein of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, who conducted the study published in the journal Science with Johns Hopkins biomathematician Cristian Tomasetti.

“They like to believe there’s a reason. And the real reason in many cases is not because you didn’t behave well or were exposed to some bad environmental influence, it’s just because that person was unlucky. It’s losing the lottery.”

Tomasetti said harmful mutations occur for “no particular reason other than randomness” as the body’s master cells, called stem cells, divide in various tissues.

Tomasetti said the study indicates that changing one’s lifestyle and habits like smoking to avoid cancer risks may help prevent certain cancers, but may not be as effective for others.

“Thus, we should focus more research and resources on finding ways to detect such cancers at early, curable stages,” Tomasetti added.

The researchers charted the cumulative number of lifetime divisions in the stem cells of a given tissue – for example, lungs or colon – and compared that to the lifetime cancer risk in that tissue.

Generally speaking, tissues that undergo more divisions – thus increasing the probability of random mutations – were more prone to tumors.

The study did not cover all cancer types. Breast and prostate cancer were excluded because the researchers were unable to ascertain reliable stem cell division rates.

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/r-bio ... ses-2015-1


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