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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:37 pm 
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Chemotherapy and Your Nails: How to Care For Them

We expect chemotherapy to affect one’s hair but it is easy to forget that our nails will be similarly altered. Chemotherapy works by slowing or stopping the division of cells--all growing cells, including the ones in our nails. Nails show the effects of chemotherapy by becoming dry, discolored, brittle and they can possibly fall off.

Mary Gail Mercurio M.D. told breastcancer.org that she sees a variety of changes to the nails during chemotherapy. “These include the development of a line in the nail that actually reflects the timing of the chemotherapy," she said.

"Often there will be multiple lines and indentations reflecting the different cycles of chemotherapy.”

She went on to say that these changes are temporary and will grow out as the nail begins to grow again. Additionally, because during chemotherapy the nail does not adhere as tightly to the bed below, extra care must be taken to keep the nail from being pulled off. It is very important to maintain good hygiene to prevent bacteria from getting underneath the nail and causing an infection.

How to take extra care:

1. Wear rubber gloves: During chemotherapy, the skin on our hands can become dry and easily damaged. Wearing gloves while washing dishes, using cleaning products or working in the garden will protect them from this exposure.

2. Bring you own tools if you go for a manicure: Even though salons are supposed to sterilize their instruments, it is better to be extra cautious and bring your own to avoid an infection.

3. Avoid getting nail wraps: It is not recommended that one have artificial nails placed during this time because it is easy for moisture, bacteria or a fungus to get trapped under the nail. Use clear nail polish instead for strengthening but avoid acetone based nail polish removers.

4. Keep cuticles moisturized and healthy to avoid infections: Use a quality lotion or cream to keep cuticles smooth. It is best to just push cuticles back against the nail to keep them tidy, do not trim them. If you must trim a badly torn cuticle, make sure to use a scissor cleaned first with disinfectant and wear a Band-Aid for extra protection if necessary.

http://www.empowher.com/skin-hair-amp-n ... -care-them


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:52 am 
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My Tricks That Make Living With Cancer More Bearable

I don't consider myself particularly vain, but my fingertips and hands have reached a level so dreadfully distracting that I feel like I can't be seen in public. I have Band-Aids on four of my fingers because they are cracked so deeply. The skin is just peeling off – leaving red circles all around my cuticles. I have to take make-up and blot out the red marks, otherwise they would need Band-Aids too. I even try to hide my hands under the table so no one will see them. I wish it were the 1950s because then I could walk around with cute white gloves like June Cleaver and no one would notice.

When I shower, my fingertips hurt so much that they feel like they are on fire as I am rinsing the shampoo from my hair. So I came up with a trick I thought I would share. It helps when I wear rubber gloves in the shower. It's a pretty goofy feeling – but what can I do?

Now I feel like a complainer, which I really am not. Cancer just sucks.

It's little tricks like the rubber gloves that help make the world of living with cancer a little more bearable. And while I consider myself pretty knowledgeable, I learn new tricks every day. For instance, during a lunch the other day with another cancer warrior, I found out that I may be entitled to a handicapped parking sticker. I have never thought of having a handicap sticker to be a good thing, but you know what, those $11 parking fees at the medical center really add up. A handicap sticker will entitle me to discounted rates and free parking at meters. I guess cheap parking is another way to ease the pain of cancer.

I also learned that if you ask your insurance to cover a wig for you to wear when your hair falls out from chemo, you have a good chance of being denied coverage. However, if you refer to a wig as a cranial prosthesis – bingo, you’re covered. Is that not crazy? Of course the insurance company would never tell you that.

Having cancer is hard enough by itself, so why do patients have to dig,dig,dig for information? And speaking of information (bad information that is), I recently met a woman who had a significant history of breast cancer in her family. She told her doctor that she thought she should be tested for the BCRA genes (the breast cancer genes), and the doctor told her that if she had the test, her insurance company could drop her because she was at high risk. That is not true. It is illegal to drop any one from insurance if they opt to have this test.

If it's not a lack of information it's misinformation! Isn't cancer hard enough? I guess that's why we have to all chip in and share our experiences – because like I’ve said before, having cancer is a full-time job.

Please join me in this fight by joining Men for Women Now. We will send you updates on upcoming events, relevant news and ways that you can help. It will allow me to stay in touch with more of you so that together we can make a meaningful difference.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/06/2 ... -bearable/


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:44 am 
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Molecular glue to impart cutting edge to chemotherapy

Toronto, June 23 (IANS) When you drop a cake of soap into a sink full of greasy water, the grease recoils and retreats to the edges of the sink.

Now, what if the sink was a cancer cell, the globs of grease were cancer-promoting proteins and the soap was a potential drug?

Such a drug could force the proteins to the cell’s membrane (the edge of the sink) – and make the cancer cell more vulnerable to chemotherapy, says a new research.

‘This is a totally new approach to cancer therapy,’ says Professor Patrick Gunning, University of Toronto’s department of chemical and physical sciences, reports the journal Angewandte Chemie.

‘Everything prior to this has targeted functionally relevant binding sites. Our approach inhibits the mobility of cancer-promoting proteins within cells essentially, it’s like molecularly targeted glue,’ Gunning said.

The ‘glue’ is shaped like a dumbbell: at one end is an anchor that sticks to the membrane, and at the other is a molecule that binds to the cancer-promoting proteins, according to a Toronto statement.

The anchor is a cholesterol molecule that is well known to stick to cell membranes. The protein recognition molecule is fairly picky about what it will bind to, reducing the risk of drug-related side effects.

‘We are really excited about the potential for this type of drug,’ says Gunning, who developed the concept along with his counterpart Claudiu Gradinaru and James Turkson at the University of Central Florida.

http://www.inewsone.com/2011/06/23/mole ... rapy/58269


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:11 am 
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Daily dose of soup drives cancer away

KUALA LUMPUR: Three years ago, eight year-old Yin Pei-ying suddenly felt a sharp pain in her abdomen and failed to pass urine. Upon diagnosis, a tumour was detected in her body and she was found to have suffered from the third stage of bladder cancer.

The happy family of four was immediately shattered by the bad news. 41 year-old mother Chen Jin-yu, in particular, was heartbroken to see her daughter enduring the severe side effects of chemotherapy treatments. Chen knew that she could not collapse. By relying on her knowledge in plants and traditional Chinese medicine, she developed a “cancer-fighting diet”. Everyday, Chen would boil soups for her daughter to help her build up her strength, as well as relieve the discomfort caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. The girl did not let the family down. She defeated cancer within nine months and currently, she is on the path of recovery.

Housewife Chen and her husband Yin Long-jia (42 years old) have a son and a daughter together. They are 10 year-old Yong-sheng and Pei-ying.

During an interview with Guang Ming Daily, Chen claimed that Pei-ying had always been healthy before she was diagnosed with the disease at five. Initially, Chen brought her to see a doctor but her abdominal pain did not improve but turned for the worse. While passing urine, her stools were discharged at the same time.

“We immediately sent her to the Ampang Hospital but it failed to come up with a diagnosis. Constantly complaining of pain that resulted in cramping all over her body, Pei-ying also saw her blood pressure soar to 170, more than double the normal blood pressure of kids her age at 80 to 90. However, the doctor only administered morphine for pain relief when she felt excruciating pain,” Chen said.

Morphine for pain relief

She added, Pei-ying felt groggy in hospital and upon waking up, she would complain of pain. The doctor would then inject her with another dose of morphine to make her sleep. That continued for 10 days, causing Pei-ying to shed 3kg to 14kg.

“Later, the hospital transferred Pei-ying to the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital for a check-up, in which she was diagnosed as suffering from the third stage of bladder cancer. A 10cm tumour was detected in her body,” Chen said.

As the massive tumour wrapped around her uterus, ovary and urinary tract, an immediate operation to remove it was deemed unsuitable. Pei-ying must first undergo chemotherapy treatments and wait for the tumour to shrink by half before she could go under the knife.

Completely clueless about cancer treatment, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the family could do nothing but follow the hospital’s professional advices.

After the first chemotherapy treatment, Pei-ying experienced side effects like hair fall, fever and severe mood swings but Chen did not know how to comfort her hot-tempered daughter. Pei-ying was made to remain in hospital for half a month for blood transfusion and observation. She was only allowed to go home after her fever subsided.

Chen knew that it was impossible to endure the suffering on behalf of her daughter and hence, she decided to help her in her diet.

Beetroot and burdock root soups for good appetite

As Pei-ying became hot-tempered, experienced poor appetite and inability to sleep two or three days after chemotherapy treatments, Chen decided to prepare soups boiled from beetroot and burdock root, the main ingredients in her diet plans. Chen added, beetroot has detoxification property, can stabilize emotions, lead to good appetite and enable one to sleep soundly. Burdock root, on the other hand, can enhance blood generation. With these soups, Chen managed to improve her daughter’s appetite without having to spend a lot on expensive health care products. Having eaten well and slept soundly, Pei-ying garnered the strength to fight cancer for one year.

Chen said, Pei-ying was operated on to remove the tumour after the second chemotherapy treatment, followed by another seven chemotherapy sessions. While having her fifth chemotherapy treatment, she received 35 radiotherapy treatments. Pei-ying was originally scheduled to complete the treatments in one year but she needed only nine months to complete the processes.

Recalling the treatments, Chen disclosed that she usually avoided creating any disturbance after every chemotherapy treatment. She would not force Pei-ying to take food but her daughter was required to drink water, especially beetroot soup.

“Every time after drinking beetroot soup, not only did her emotion stabilize but she also managed to sleep soundly. Having enough sleep is essential for patients fighting cancers,” Chen said.

Revealing methods to benefit patients

Chen said, beetroot is mostly consumed in juice form but children may dislike the taste of raw beetroot. Therefore, she decided to boil it into soup.

“Being rich in protein and having blood generation property, burdock root can prevent the need for blood transfusion. My daughter needed blood transfusion in the event of infection and fever, which concerned me the most as they affected the progress of treatments,” Chen said.

Before and after every treatment, Chen prepared beetroot and burdock soups for her daughter. As a result, Pei-ying managed to clear every assessment before undergoing treatments. She only needed blood transfusion in her first chemotherapy treatment and during her operation.

Chen revealed her diet plans after seeing many parents who are clueless about their children’s condition. Each time when the children fail to clear assessment, they receive blood transfusion which essentially delays their treatments. Chen hoped that her diet plans can serve as a reference for families with cancer-stricken members. To date, more than 20 cancer patients have “benefitted” from her recipe.

Don’t purposely hide children’s illness

Apart from the diet, Chen believed that parents must have the right attitude by not hiding the fact that they have cancer-stricken children. On the contrary, they should constantly consult doctors about their children’s diseases and search for useful information.

According to Chen, the children will not have the courage to face the world if their parents are playing the hiding games.

“We can tolerate their behaviours due to the sufferings they have to go through, but we cannot indulge them too much as they will become excessively willful. I was not over-protective of Pei-ying for fear of infection. Instead, I allowed her to lead a normal life but I would pay particular attention to her diet and hygienic aspect,” she said.

According to her, isolating sick children would only increase their psychological burden. Only with right attitudes and healthy body can they battle cancer smoothly.

Chen also thanked her neighbours and friends for extending their help to her family when Pei-ying was undergoing treatments. Their support and donations enabled the family to keep fighting with courage.

Body weight dropped to 11kg

Pei-ying lost her appetite and was almost fully dependent on glucose for survival after receiving treatments. As a result, she lost 6kg to a mere 11kg in just a month. Heartbroken, Chen decided to search for ways to encourage her to eat so that she could get stronger.

“After reading some books and newspapers, I realized that patients suffer a lot when undergoing treatments. Not only do the drugs destroy cancerous cells, they also kill normal cells and severely affect the immune system. In order to battle cancers in the long run, patients must have a strong body. For me, only eating enables one to gain strength,” she said.

Based on her little understanding on traditional Chinese medicine and herbs, she started searching for information. Coupled with some observation on Pei-ying, Chen finally found a recipe that could restore her appetite.

“Many say that patients must not simply take any food during treatments but I have the opposite view. In fact, chemotherapy will seriously affect the appetite and getting children to eat is a difficult task. Moreover, I put my daughter on a diet of vegetables and plant-based food which are beneficial.”

Preparing to face walking difficulty

Having completed her treatment, Pei-ying is now into the third year of recovery. During this period, the soups prepared by Chen allow her to enjoy stable health and she is expected to overcome the disease smoothly.

Though Pei-ying managed to keep her uterus, ovaries and urinary tract, the only regret is that her spine was affected by the disease. Both of her legs are weak and she has started to face difficulty in walking.

Despite this, Chen is grateful that Pei-ying managed to survive the ordeal. The girl may not be able to walk in the future but Chen will face the situation with courage.

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/59481


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:44 am 
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I am a cancer graduate

Former model and actor LISA RAY is back in business with a jewellery show that gives her a chance to explore the traditions and culture of India. She tells Divya Kaushik how she has used past lessons to rediscover vibrancy in her life

She was holding on for dear life for almost two years and ultimately emerged a winner. Not everyone is as lucky and courageous as Lisa Ray, who, even after battling terminal cancer, looks as vivacious, bubbly and stunning as ever. Her stem cell transplant has worked wonders and set her off on a second innings.

“I love to call myself a cancer graduate now. There are many lessons that I learnt during that phase of my life. I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, rare cancer of the bone marrow that affects about 6000 Canadians, when I was just 37-year-old on June 23, 2009. Since the time I got the news and till the moment I completed my treatment, I experienced so much that I am a new person now. The first time I got the news, I didn’t react and I didn’t cry. I wasn’t dramatic because I always nurtured this faith in my heart that I can be cured. Well, that was the dirty realist in me,” says Lisa.

But what is gone is gone now and “enough has been written and spoken about it.” All that she wants to talk more about is her upcoming jewellery show on TLC, Oh My Gold! Lisa travelled to five cities, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Kochi, Delhi and Chennai and explored their culture and tradition of jewellery. She is highly enthusiastic and excited about her first show on small screen which “gave her an opportunity to get up, close and personal with the culture of India.”

“It was my dream to discover India and thank God, it happened just at the right time, when I needed it the most to restore my confidence. Being a girl, I am passionate about jewellery and since I was getting a chance to travel a lot, across India, I could not say no,” says Lisa who has now started to grow a little hair after her treatment.

The show gave her a chance to dive in the backwaters adorned in all the exotic jewellery from Kochi, eat laddoos wrapped in golden sheets and run crazily on the streets of Delhi and Hyderabad. “That was not it, I met interesting people too. I met this woman in Hyderabad who makes jewellery from spices. The best part about the show is that it gave me a chance to present my real self on screen and interact with so many different people.

I was like this spy entering workshops and asking as many questions as I could. As a little girl growing up in Kolkata, I preferred to collect subtle jewellery and preferred diamonds. But after being a part of this show my choice in jewellery has become really exotic. I love emeralds now, I know more about the techniques and temple jewellery from Chennai. I hope my boyfriend and father are listening to all this,” smiles Lisa.

While exploring the jewellery houses in Chennai, Lisa noticed that most of the designs narrate stories from mythology. “The work done is so intricate that one can even notice the expressions on the faces of mythical creatures and animals carved on the jewellery. I found contemporary appeal in the Vuddiyanam, a golden waist ornament similar to an adjustable belt. It depicts ten avatars of Lord Vishnu.

I fell for the Nagapaddam golden jewellery from Kochi. It is in the shape of a snake and considered as protective element ensuring smooth and peaceful marriage. Then there were the onion necklaces and Wulamatu, jasmine buds made of silver strung with gold. The most popular motif on coin jewellery in Kerala is of Goddess Lakshmi,” she informs. What she hadn’t bargained for was golden weaves in saris from Tamil Nadu.

“After suffering from such a life-threatening phase, I have realised that life is too important to take for granted. I take complete care of my health, I eat healthy, keep note of my medicines and yoga is a great help. The fact that I have always believed in yoga and have been doing it since last 12 years can be the reason I have so much hope and energy within,” she says with a Zen like calmness. Lisa has also started a yoga training centre in Toronto.

The other diversion that has helped the actress gain confidence and get back to work was theatre. “I recently did a play with Kabir Bedi in Toronto. Theatre is a great medium and helped me improve my acting skills,” she says. Considering the fact that her plate is full, she is in no hurry to get back to films. “I want to work in juicy films now. Though I don’t plan anything, I will wait for something that really interests me. I am in no hurry to load myself with work and anyway, I will have to wait for my hair to grow long to work in a film," she adds.

Lisa has learnt to give more importance to relationships. “I believe that relationships with people who really love and care for you help you survive. I have learnt it the hard way that one should give enough time to relationships that matter.

So I try my best to strike a balance between work and relationships,” she says and like most of the times, is very open to speak about her boyfriend. “I am not looking forward to marrying sometime very soon, but I am enjoying this phase with him right now, when I have just started to take a flight. I wish and hope that life gets better after this,” she concludes.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/349403/I-am ... duate.html


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:42 am 
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Possible Way to Make Bladder Cancer Cells More Susceptible to Chemotherapy

ScienceDaily (June 29, 2011) — Researchers at the UC Davis Cancer Center have discovered a way of sensitizing muscle-invasive bladder cancer cells so that they succumb to the toxic effects of chemotherapy. The finding adds to mounting evidence that tiny strands of RNA -- called microRNA -- play key roles in some of the deadliest types of cancer.

In the current study, published online June 28 in International Journal of Cancer, researchers boosted the production of a microRNA found in bladder cancer cell lines -- encoded for by the gene miR-34a -- and found that this resulted in more of the cells being killed by cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug used to treat many types of cancer.

"When we took the bladder cancer cell lines and activated miR-34a, they were more responsive to chemotherapy," said Ralph deVere White, UC Davis Cancer Center director and professor of urology.

The study establishes, for the first time, a link between sensitivity of bladder cancer cells to chemotherapy and the expression of miR-34a. It suggests that miR-34a may be used as a predictor of response to chemotherapy, as well as a target for new drugs.

Currently, about 50 percent of patients with advanced bladder cancer will survive five years after diagnosis. Although clinical trials have demonstrated that chemotherapy before surgery can improve survival rates, it is rarely used because fewer than 50 percent of patients will respond favorably. Without knowing which patients will improve as a result of chemotherapy, physicians are generally reluctant to use a treatment that can cause their patients to suffer significant side effects.

"So, now we have to prove that it works to predict chemotherapy response in patients," deVere White said. To that end, UC Davis has entered into a partnership with Israel-based Rosetta Genomics to develop a microRNA profile for muscle-invasive bladder cancer that may be used to predict response to chemotherapy.

As part of the current study, deVere White and his colleagues studied 27 patients and found that many who expressed lower levels of miR-34a subsequently did not respond to the combined chemotherapy-surgery treatment. Because the finding was not statistically significant, however, further work in this area is needed.

The team also studied tumor samples taken from eight of the patients who did not respond to chemotherapy. They compared the expression of miR-34a before and after chemotherapy.

"We wanted to see, if you looked at the patient's tissue before chemotherapy, were there differentially expressed microRNAs in the patients who responded to the drugs versus those that didn't respond," deVere White explained.

The team found that expression of miR-34a increased after treatment in only two of the eight cases, suggesting that gene expression levels remained low during treatment and confirming the link between low gene expression and failure to respond to treatment.

"The combined data indicate that the elevation of miR-34a expression levels prior to chemotherapy would be of benefit to muscle-invasive bladder cancer patients, particularly in a setting of low mi-R-34a expression," the authors write.

Since their discovery in 1993, microRNAs have been found to be involved in a number of types of cancer, heart disease and diseases of the nervous system. In 2007, deVere White was part of a team that identified miR-125b, a gene that encodes for a microRNA that jump starts prostate cancer cell growth midway through the disease process, eventually causing it to become fatal.

The microRNA studied here was also recently found to play a role in medulloblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer. MicroRNAs, which are usually 22 to 33 nucleotides in length, are known as post-transcriptional regulators. That means they work by turning genes on or off during the part of the protein synthesis process that involves making a strand of RNA from a DNA template. The human genome encodes for an estimated 1,000 microRNAs.

According to the authors, future studies involving miR-34a will focus on testing its ability to increase sensitivity to chemotherapy and analysis of miR-34a expression in patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer. With the currently low chemotherapy success rate and poor five-year survival rate for patients with this disease, "such studies are clearly warranted," the authors write.

"If we can prove what is causing chemotherapy resistance in patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer, American ingenuity will come up with ways to overcome it," predicted deVere White.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 171235.htm


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:17 pm 
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Scientists Reveal Method Regarding Better Response to Chemotherapy

Scientists at the University of California Davis Cancer Center have revealed a method that will enhance better response to chemotherapy, as they are reported to have increased the production of a microRNA found in bladder cancer cell lines and encoded for, by the gene miR-34a.

This method led to the elimination of more of the cells by cisplatin, which is a ‘standard chemotherapy drug used to combat many different types of cancer’.

Also, childhood cancer survivors are reported to have higher risk of developing further tumors in the future, according to the research carried out by the Childhood Cancer Survivor.

However, the St Jude Children's Research Hospital team discovered that 9.6% of childhood cancer survivors, developed new tumors, that were not linked to their initial cancer.

Ralph Devere White, from the centre, said: "If we can prove what is causing chemotherapy resistance in patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer, American ingenuity will come up with ways to overcome it".

Moreover, private health care facilities may suddenly commence the use of the new method of fighting bladder cancer, as boosting the production of microRNA enhanced the ability of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin to eliminate cancerous cells and reduce tumors.

http://topnews.ae/content/28100-scienti ... emotherapy


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:44 pm 
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BCL-2 Gene Family Key To Success Of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy might or might not work depending on the composition of the Bcl-2 gene family, say researchers with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia. Any cancer drug targeting those genes could prove far more successful than is the case now.

Most currently available chemotherapy drugs do not distinguish between normal and cancerous cells. Collateral damage to healthy cells becomes unavoidable then.

“By understanding which of the three genes we identified are required for successful drug responses, medical researchers should be able to work out how conventional cancer therapies work, and why they sometimes fail,” points out cancer researcher Lina Happo at the Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, removes unwanted or dangerous cells from our bodies, protecting us against cancer and autoimmune diseases. The process is regulated by a family of genes called Bcl-2.

“Many anti-cancer drugs act by damaging the DNA in tumour cells, causing the cells themselves to commit suicide. Until now we didn’t know which genes were essential for this process,” Lina says.

Working with colleagues from the institute’s Molecular Genetics of Cancer division, she was able to identify that three Bcl-2 genes – puma, noxa and bim – tell cancer cells to commit suicide following treatment with conventional chemotherapy drugs.

“In our studies we found that puma, noxa and bim work together to instruct the cancer cell to die, once its DNA has been damaged by chemotherapy drugs.”

http://www.medindia.net/news/BCL-2-Gene ... 7227-1.htm


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:19 am 
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High-Dose Chemo Best For High-Risk Children's Cancer - Study

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Treating the rare children's cancer neuroblastoma with a high dose of chemotherapy that is now the standard in Europe has proved to be most effective in an 18-country study comparing treatment regimes.

Outlining the study's results, the Institute of Cancer Research in a statement said the European protocol offered 16% better disease-free survival at three years compared with a treatment based on the current U.S. protocol, and that the higher European dosage standard had fewer toxic side effects.

The trial was funded by Cancer Research UK, the Children's Cancer Research Institute in Vienna and the European Commission.

Senior trial investigator Professor Andrew Pearson from the Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden Hospital in London said, "Neuroblastoma is one of the most common types of childhood cancer in the U.K. and high-risk neuroblastoma is one the major causes of death in children from malignancy."

"In this study, we found that the combination of chemotherapy drugs given for consolidation therapy used in Europe led to children living longer on average than a regimen based on the U.S. standard."

"This very conclusive result will alter the way that doctors treat their patients worldwide, and will mean fewer children die from this disease each year."

Pearson noted that the chemotherapy drugs--busulphan and melphalan--were discovered and developed at the Institute of Cancer Research in the 1950s. "It is especially pleasing that drugs discovered here in the U.K. so many decades ago may now make a difference to the lives of children all over the world."

Julie Hearn, head of clinical trials at Cancer Research UK, said, "The results of this study offer new hope for children diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma."

http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market ... ncer-study


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:59 am 
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Miracle claimed for WWII-era pope

CASTELLAMMARE DI STABIA, Italy (AP) — Maria Esposito was ready to give up. Wasted away at 42 kilos (92 pounds), she couldn't bear another dose of chemotherapy to fight the Stage IV Burkitt's lymphoma that had invaded her body while she was pregnant with her second child.

But as she and her family had done since she was diagnosed with the rare and aggressive form of cancer in July 2005, Esposito prayed to the man who had appeared to her husband in a dream as the only person who could save her: Pope Pius XII.

Esposito survived, cured after a single, six-week cycle of chemotherapy — a recovery that, she says, stunned her doctors and convinced her that the World War II-era pope had intervened with God to save her.

Esposito's case, which the 42-year-old teacher recounted to The Associated Press in her first media interview, has been proposed to the Vatican as the possible miracle needed to beatify Pius, one of the most controversial sainthood causes under way, given that many Jews say he failed to speak out enough to stop the Holocaust.

Pius' main biographer, American Sister Margherita Marchione, has championed Esposito's miracle case and personally presented it to the Vatican's No. 2 official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Pope Benedict XVI moved Pius one step closer to possible sainthood in December 2009 when he confirmed that Pius lived a life of "heroic" Christian virtue. All that is needed now is for the Vatican to determine a "miracle" occurred.

"I'm certain that inside of me there was the hand of God operating, thanks to the intercession of Pope Pius XII," Esposito said during a recent interview in her cheery dining room in the seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia on the Amalfi coast. "I'm convinced of it."

Doctors and church officials aren't so sure.

Esposito's local bishop, Monsignor Felice Cece, summoned Esposito earlier this year to testify about her recovery to determine if indeed it was medically inexplicable, one of the key thresholds required by the Vatican to determine if a miracle occurred.

After consulting two outside doctors, Cece determined that Esposito could have been cured by even a single cycle of chemo and essentially closed the case.

But Esposito's supporters, led by Marchione, have gone over the bishop's head and are sending her full medical file directly to the Vatican's saint-making office for review.

"I was saved. I thank the Lord," said Esposito. "If he did something for me, then I now want to do something for him."

The Rev. Peter Gumpel, the Jesuit historian who has spearheaded Pius' saint-making cause for some two decades, said the case was under consideration but was noncommittal.

"We are at the very first preliminary stages of pre-investigation, and we are not even sure whether it will go ahead," he said, stressing that regardless the process is still years away from fruition.

The Vatican's saint-making process has long been subject to skeptics' doubts.

Some question, for example, whether the original diagnosis was correct for the French nun whose inexplicable cure of Parkinson's disease paved the way for Pope John Paul II's beatification. Others have questioned whether the Jewish convert Edith Stein should have been canonized based on the survival of a 2-year-old girl who overdosed on Tylenol.

As such, the questions surrounding Pius' possible miracle are just further evidence of the obstacles and deep theological, historical and political divisions that his cause has run into ever since it was launched in 1965.

Pius was pope in 1939-1958. Before his election he served as the Vatican's No. 2 and before that as papal nuncio to Germany. Given his deep involvement in the Vatican's diplomatic affairs with the Nazis, what Pius did or didn't do during the war has become the single most divisive issue in the Vatican's relations with Jews.

More recently, his beatification case has become the symbolic battleground in the debate over the future of the Catholic Church. Progressives are opposed to it because to them, Pius represents the church before the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Traditionalists and conservatives are in favor of it for precisely the same reasons.

The Vatican insists Pius used quiet diplomacy to save Jewish lives and that speaking out more forcefully against the Nazis would have resulted in more deaths. Critics argue he could have and should have said and done more.

"To talk about the pope as anything other than a moral coward as far as the murder of Jews of Rome is concerned is difficult for any of us who study what actually happened to take," said Brown University anthropologist and historian David Kertzer, author of a forthcoming book on Pius' predecessor, Pope Pius XI.

Despite opposition, Pius' cause is progressing at an impressive clip amid an increasingly concerted effort by Benedict and Pius' supporters to highlight his virtues and discredit his naysayers. A museum is planned in his honor, as are conferences and exhibits.

The Vatican's newspaper, Pius' chief cheerleader, recently ran an article about how Pius had Jews sheltered in convents around Rome during the Nazi occupation. A Vatican-sponsored film festival in May screened three glowing films about his papacy. Benedict himself recently extolled Pius as a hero during the war, saying he'd earned the "everlasting gratitude" of its victims.

Jewish groups and historians have argued for years that the Vatican had no business moving forward with Pius' beatification cause until the Vatican's full secret archive of his papacy is opened to scholars for independent research. That process is expected to take several more years.

"My position has always been to say — and I've said it to Pope Benedict XVI — that this is a matter that should be deferred until at least the generation of Holocaust survivors is no longer with us, so it's not as if rubbing the salt into their wounds," said Rabbi David Rosen, head of interfaith relations at the American Jewish Committee.

Last year, 19 Catholic scholars appealed to the academic in Benedict to give researchers more time to study the full archives. "The question isn't 'Did he do anything?' but whether he might have done more or sooner," said the Rev. John Pawlikowski, ethics professor at the Catholic Theologcial Union who co-wrote the letter.

Pius' supporters, however, are getting impatient. They charge that few scholars ever consult the 11 volumes of World War II archives that have already been released and put online, along with thousands of other documents, by a foundation headed by a Long Island Jew who admires Pius.

"It annoys me terribly that such an injustice is being done to such a great man, that he should be treated the way he is," said Marchione, the Pius biographer who is promoting Esposito's miracle case.

Sitting in her order's convent a stone's throw from the Vatican, Marchione said her religious congregation alone, on orders from Pius, sheltered 114 Jewish women at three separate convents during the Nazi occupation.

"I'm just tired of the whole thing that people can't go back to the documents that prove it and accept it as historical truth," she said in a recent interview.

Marchione flips through one of her nine books on Pius to prove her point: a photo of Jewish women and children sheltered in the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo; a photo of a pro-pope rally after Rome was liberated in 1944; a shot of the pope with members of the Israeli Philharmonic who in 1955 performed a concert for Pius in the Vatican in gratitude for having saved Jews.

Marchione has been unflagging in her support for Esposito's case, presenting it first to Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, in 2009 and recently sending her secretary to Castellammare di Stabia to gather Esposito's testimony and medical file to send directly to the Vatican's saint-making office.

For Pius' supporters, the hunt for a miracle is all the more urgent because he isn't a household name like Mother Teresa or Pope John Paul II. Where he is known, it's most often in the context of his controversial record, not necessarily because people would think to pray to him for a medical cure.

Esposito, in fact, said she had never heard of Pius until she fell ill.

Her husband, Umberto di Maio, said the family had been praying to John Paul II, who had died just a few months before, when Esposito was diagnosed in July 2005. But as di Maio recounts it, John Paul appeared to him in a dream one night and said he couldn't help Esposito but showed a photo of a slim, bespecled prelate who could.

Di Maio said he wasn't able to identify the priest until he saw Pius on the cover of a Catholic magazine a week later. As soon as he did, the family began fervently praying to Pius.

The family became convinced of Pius' intervention when Esposito's case was referred to a cancer specialist in Rome, an atheist who, after reviewing her charts, asked the family if they believed in God.

When di Maio replied they did, the doctor said: "Then pray, because she needs it," di Maio recounted.

Esposito, who still keeps the same dog-eared photocopy of Pius in her book of prayers, says she and her doctors were stunned when her PET scan, which detects lingering traces of cancer, came out clean after her six-week chemo cycle at the Umberto I hospital in the southern city of Nocera, near Salerno.

Her doctor, she said, was flabbergasted: "'Do you see this? It's clean! How is it possible?'" Esposito recalled Dr. Alfonso Maria D'Arco, head of oncology and hematology at Umberto I, as saying.

"And spontaneously I said to him, 'Doctor, doctor, isn't it possible that it came from above?" she said, pointing heavenward.

"No, no, no. Don't say shocking things," she said he responded.

"But for me it was a miracle, because it wasn't possible," she said, fighting back tears. "It wasn't possible. Not even they believed it in that moment."

D'Arco didn't respond to email requests for comment and couldn't be reached by telephone.

Dr. Ann S. LaCasce, an assistant professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School's lymphoma program and affiliated Dana Farber Cancer Institute, said Esposito's speedy recovery wasn't all that remarkable.

"Not surprising at all," LaCasce said after reviewing the protocol Esposito received. "The key is this aggressive, multi-agent chemotherapy regimen that she got. It doesn't sound like a miracle at all. She did great, as expected."

LaCasce, who said she treats four to five cases of Burkitt's a year, said the prognosis for the rare subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is usually very good, particularly for children and young adults who can tolerate the high toxicity that the aggressive chemo entails.

"Burkitt's is a disease we like to treat because they do really well, they feel better so quickly," LaCasce said. "She was cured of her disease with the appropriate chemotherapy."

Esposito and her supporters, however, are undeterred. Just last week, she traveled to Rome to take part in a ceremony outside St. Peter's Square marking the anniversary of the day the city of Rome dedicated a piazza to Pius to thank him for having defended Rome from the Nazis.

Esposito says she wants people to know Pius not just for what he did for Rome but for her.

"I am here. I want to say I'm alive. I know what I went through and I assure you, it was really serious, something awful. Death was very close. And I am here."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... 057bb9a3ba


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:26 am 
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Lung Cancer Drug More Effective Than Chemotherapy

A new study shows encouraging results from the lung cancer drug erlotinib, indicating it can increase survival and improve quality of life in non-small-cell cancer patients.

Head researcher Dr. Radj Gervais of the Centre Francois Baclesse in Caen, France announced the results Tuesday in Amsterdam, at a medical conference hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, HealthDay reported.

"Our results showed that first-line erlotinib nearly doubled progression-free survival; that's a significant improvement over chemotherapy, with a better tolerability profile," Gervais said in an association news release.

Gervais and researchers studied the drug in 174 patients. Of the group, 55 percent responded to erlotinib, compared to 11 percent for chemotherapy. Patients lived without cancer progression for 9.4 months on average, compared to 5.2 months for those on chemotherapy

The drug is in in phase 3 of study, meaning it is in the last stage before being approved for public use.

Erlotinib, besides increasing survival rates, causes fewer negative side effects than chemotherapy. The lack of serious side effects also means it is less costly than treatments whose side effects are more debilitating.

http://www.thirdage.com/news/lung-cance ... 07-05-2011


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:21 am 
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Experts find rogue stem cells in liver cancer

(Reuters) - Liver cancers are embedded with a type of super cancer stem cells that make them resistant to chemotherapy, spread to other body parts and stage a comeback even after they are surgically removed, researchers in Hong Kong reported on Thursday.

The discovery, published this week in the journal Cell Stem Cell, is important because it means experts can target these stem cells in their fight against liver cancer, a major blight in China and southeast Asia.

These cancer stem cells have a unique surface protein called CD24 and patients with high counts of CD24 tend to have poorer chances of survival, said lead researcher Irene Ng, pathology professor and director of the State Key Laboratory for Liver Research at the University of Hong Kong.

"CD24 is like a button, a switch on some cancer stem cells. Once they are switched on, they activate a protein in the cell called STAT3," Ng told a news conference.

Her colleague Terence Lee said: "STAT3 goes into the nucleus of the cells and carries out its functions, which are to form tumours, spread and be drug resistant. If we inhibit the function of STAT3, we block the function of cancer stem cells."

Stem cells are master cells found throughout the body and they are special because they can transform into different cell types and multiply and self-renew.

Liver cancer stem cells are therefore troublesome because they are responsible for growing tumours, making them spread, drug-resistant and so hardy that they recur even after they have been surgically removed.

In their experiment, Ng and colleagues found that mice that were implanted with liver cancer enriched with CD24 cancer stem cells were resistant to chemotherapy.

They then injected two colonies of liver cancer cells - one with CD24 stem cells and the other without - into separate parts of the liver of the same mouse.

"That part of the liver with CD24 cancer stem cells grew cancer and the cancer spread to the lungs. But not the other part of the liver without CD24 cancer stem cells," Lee said.

They went back to human liver cancer patients and found that those with high concentrations of CD24 had a 67 percent chance of cancer recurrence in the first year after surgery, compared to 21 percent recurrence in those with low CD24 count.

Those with high CD24 count had a 80 percent chance of their cancer spreading to other body parts, compared to 32 percent chance of spreading in patients with low D24 count.

Ten percent of China's population carry the hepatitis B virus, a key cause of liver cancer. There are 500,000 new cases of liver cancer worldwide a year, over 50 percent in China.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/ ... 0L20110707


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:37 am 
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New hope for cancer cure

LONDON — British scientists have found a new way of killing cancer cells, a media report said yesterday. The study not only sheds light on why some people fail to respond to chemotherapy but also reveals a new way of targeting cancer cells, the Daily Express reported.

Until recently, it was thought cells could only die through a process called apoptosis. Apoptosis is often blocked by cancer cells, and drugs often do not work, which allows the tumour to grow and spread. The findings from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) here reveal a new process in which cells can die called necroptosis.

The study published in the online edition of the Molecular Cell journal. Researchers found that it was possible to activate a set of proteins that push cancer cells into this form of cell death, the Express said. This raises the hope of new targeted treatments that could also kill tumour cells which have proved resistant to apoptosis.

Study author professor Pascal Meier, from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the ICR, said: “These findings represent a new line of attack in the fight against cancer. Chemotherapy has been around for decades but we have never understood how it kills cancer cells.”

http://main.omanobserver.om/node/57505


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:54 am 
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Petition to legalise marijuana thrown out as government rules it has no medical purpose

The federal government has thrown out a petition to legalise marijuana for medical purposes, saying it has no therapeutic value.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials ruled it must remain classified as a dangerous drug, in the same category as heroin and MDMA.

The move comes nine years after medical marijuana supporters lodged a formal bid to reclassify cannabis, following clinical studies which showed it can be effective at treating illnesses including multiple sclerosis.

Those organisations have criticised the ruling, but are pleased that the administration has finally acted, as it will allow them to appeal in the federal courts.

Several states, including California, have already legalised marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Two months ago advocacy group Americans for Safe Access filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals to force the administration to answer their request.

The group's leader, Joe Elford, told the Los Angeles Times: 'We have foiled the government's strategy of delay, and we can now go head-to-head on the merits.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ds-newsxml


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:51 am 
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Few Breast Cancer Patients Can Skip Adding Chemo

Older patients with small, hormone-sensitive early breast cancer had normal life expectancy without adjuvant systemic therapy, data from a large cohort study showed.

Overall, omission of systemic therapy was associated with a 32% greater mortality risk in women with node-negative, receptor-positive breast cancer followed for 15 years.

The one exception was patients 60 or older with low-grade tumors ≤10 mm. That small subgroup, not specifically quantified by investigators, had a mortality risk similar to women without breast cancer, as reported online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"Patients with mortality rates exceeding the background mortality may potentially benefit from systemic adjuvant treatment," Peer Christiansen, MD, DMSc, of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and coauthors wrote in conclusion.

"The present investigation points at higher mortality rates among patients with tumor size 11 to 20 mm and for patients aged 35 to 59 years independent of tumor size. However, we identified a low-risk group with mortality rates comparable to the background population."

A panel at the St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference recommended adjuvant endocrine therapy for virtually all patients with hormone-responsive tumors (Ann Oncol. 2009;20:1319-1329).

"The present results indicate that there is a small subgroup of node-negative patients, who might not benefit from such an approach," Christiansen and coauthors added.

Meta-analyses performed by the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) showed that adjuvant tamoxifen was associated with a 31% reduction in annual recurrence risk among patients with early-stage, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (Lancet. 2005;365:1687-1717).

The St. Gallen recommendations for systemic therapy subsequently affirmed the EBCTCG findings.

"However, mortality reflects the sum of the patient's baseline risk of dying from breast cancer and her risk of dying from other causes," the authors wrote in their introduction.

"Therefore, a comparison of the mortality rates of the breast cancer population with that of the general ... female population will provide a better understanding of the associations between mortality rates and different patient and tumor characteristics."

In an effort to add context to the mortality discussion, Christiansen and colleagues queried the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group (DBCG) database, which contains records on virtually all breast cancer patients treated in accordance with national guidelines since 1977.

The investigators limited their search to low-risk patients, which the DBCG defines as node-negative tumors ≤50 mm. Search criteria also included age at surgery of 35 to 74, tumor size ≤20 mm, hormone receptor-positive tumors, mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery plus radiotherapy, and grade 1 ductal or grade 1-2 lobular carcinoma.

The search identified 3,197 patients enrolled in the database from Nov. 1, 1989 to April 30, 2001. None of the patients had received systemic adjuvant therapy.

To estimate the mortality risk of the study cohort, investigators calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs), based on comparison of observed versus expected mortality. The expected number of deaths was determined from mortality among age-matched women in the general population.

During a median follow-up of 14.8 years, 970 breast cancer patients died, whereas 737 deaths would have been expected in the general population. The difference translated into an SMR of 1.32 (95% CI 1.24-1.40).

The mortality was highest among breast cancer patients ages 35 to 39 (SMR 5.53, 95% CI 3.11-8.95) and lowest among patients ages 60 to 64 (SMR 1.14, 95% CI 0.98-1.32).

Tumor size of 11 to 20 mm also predicted an increased mortality risk (SMR 1.42, 95% CI 1.31-1.53).

Multivariable analysis identified independent predictors of mortality risk as younger age at surgery (P<0.001), larger tumor size (P<0.001), and histopathology (lobular versus ductal, P=0.0049).

Further subgroup analysis showed that older patients with small, low-grade tumors had a mortality risk indistinguishable from that of the general population (SMR 1.02, 95% CI 0.89-1.16). The study cohort included 1,403 women 60 or older, and 1,151 patients had tumors ≤10 mm. The authors did not report the number of older patients with small tumors.

The low-risk subgroup "represented a very small fraction of the overall number of node-negative hormone receptor-positive patients in this sample, and therefore an even smaller proportion of the overall population of women diagnosed with breast cancer," Jennifer J. Griggs, MD, and Daniel F. Hayes, MD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, commented in an accompanying editorial.

The study also had several limitations, including lack of information on patient comorbidity and key tumor characteristics, such as HER2 status, Griggs and Hayes continued. Moreover, the methods for determining hormone receptor-status have changed over the years, such that patients included in the study might not meet current criteria for hormone receptor-positive tumors.

"In the absence of modern biomarker analysis, there are few patients with invasive breast cancer from whom we can safely withhold adjuvant therapy," Griggs and Hayes wrote in their summation.

"The findings of this study are consistent with those of other studies that have demonstrated that, although effective in reducing the risk of ipsilateral and contralateral breast events, adjuvant endocrine therapy does not reduce the risk of mortality in patients with very small, node-negative hormone receptor-positive breast cancer because the risk of mortality is already extremely low."

http://www.medpagetoday.com/HematologyO ... ncer/28356


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