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  • #46
    Blood Test Could Make Early Detection of Cancer Possible

    An experimental blood test could one day make early detection of cancer possible. At least two research studies published this year show exciting advances in DNA methylation analysis, a method that examines biochemical alterations of genetic material for the presence of cancer.

    Dubbed “liquid biopsies” by some, one of the experiments accurately predicted the emergence of 50 cancers and where the tumor was growing in thousands of people, reports Chemistry World; the other made predictions up to four years before symptoms occurred, according to Scientific American. The existence of a single test that can potentially screen for multiple cancers at once could lead to early interventions and treatments that save lives.

    “Achieving this goal is one of the most ambitious undertakings in healthcare, and this is exactly what we are committed to doing,” team scientists from the California-based healthcare company, GRAIL, wrote in a feature for Nature Research.

    Early Detection of Cancer

    Anyone who visits their primary care physician on an annual basis knows that a handful of cancer screening tests already exist. Mammograms, for instance, look for early signs of breast cancer, colonoscopies check for colon cancer and Pap tests screen for cervical cancer. Undergoing such tests before symptoms appear can make a difference. More than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the early stage survive at least five years compared with women diagnosed at late stages, reports Cancer Research UK. More than nine in 10 patients with bowel cancer will survive at least five years if diagnosed early and 90% of women diagnosed early for ovarian cancer will survive at least five years compared to those diagnosed when the disease had advanced to a late stage.

    Unfortunately, cancer screening tests return an unacceptably high rate of false positives. A study published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed publication from the American Cancer Society, showed that over a period of 10 years, about 50 to 60 of 100 women who get annual mammograms; 23 of 100 people who get stool tests; and 10 to 12 in 100 men screened for prostate cancer have false-positive results.

    Even tests that return low false-positive results depend on the presence of malignant cells or tumors. For instance, mammograms depend on anomalies in breast tissue. Colonoscopies are accomplished using a long, flexible, tubular instrument that transmits an image of the colon to a monitor, where a doctor examines the tissue for abnormalities. And a Pap test involves sampling a small amount of mucous from the cervix and analyzing it under a microscope to detect abnormal cells.

    Exciting new approaches could provide accurate and early detection of cancer long before abnormal tissue or cells appear.

    DNA Methylation Analysis

    Early cancer detection could be possible because of a biochemical process, called methylation, which is the transfer of four atoms — one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms (CH3) – from one substance to another. The transfer to and from substances work as a kind of biological switch, turning on and off a host of systems in the body. In the case of DNA, methylation can turn on or off the expression of certain genes linked to cancer. Because this process occurs in tens of millions of known places in the body, it offers a global view of cancer, the GRAIL researchers say.

    “In contrast to typical cancer mutations that only affect a handful of genomic locations, there are nearly 30 million sites, known as CpG sites, across the human genome that can be methylated or unmethylated, making them a ubiquitous and rich signal for detecting cancer,” the GRAIL team writes in Nature Research.

    GRAIL scientists and those from the second team that published their research in Nature Communications, studied blood from tens of thousands of people over a period of years. The scientists looked at methylation patterns in the DNA of the blood and plugged the information into machine learning algorithms. Over time, some of those people developed cancer and that information was also fed to the algorithms. Eventually, the machine learning algorithms began to recognize a relationship between abnormal methylation patterns in the DNA and certain cancers. Next, the scientists sampled blood from new patients and fed information about methylation patterns in that blood to the machine learning algorithms, which were able to make predictions from what it saw.

    “What we showed is: up to four years before these people walk into the hospital, there are already signatures in their blood that show they have cancer,” Kun Zhang, a bioengineer at the University of California, San Diego, and a co-author of one of the studies told Scientific American.

    Although more research is needed, DNA methylation analysis could fundamentally change cancer treatment. For a disease that is the second leading cause of death worldwide, the progress marks one of the most exciting possibilities in the early detection of cancer.:

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • #47
      Yale Cancer Center Study Reveals New Pathway for Brain Tumor Therapy

      In a new study led by Yale Cancer Center, researchers show the nucleoside transporter ENT2 may offer an unexpected path to circumventing the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and enabling targeted treatment of brain tumors with a cell-penetrating anti-DNA autoantibody. The study was published today online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight.

      “These findings are very encouraging as the BBB prevents most antibodies from penetrating the central nervous system and limits conventional antibody-based approaches to brain tumors,” said James E. Hansen, MD, Associate Professor of Therapeutic Radiology, Radiation Oncology Chief of the Yale Gamma Knife Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital, and corresponding author of the study.

      Deoxymab-1 (DX1) is an unusual cell-penetrating autoantibody that localizes into live cell nuclei, inhibits DNA repair, and is synthetically lethal to cancer cells with defects in the DNA damage response (DDR). Researchers have now found that the transporter ENT2 facilitates brain endothelial cell penetration and BBB transport by DX1. In efficacy studies in mice models, DX1 crossed the BBB to suppress orthotopic glioblastoma and breast cancer brain metastases.

      “Our data demonstrate the ability of DX1 to cross the BBB and suppress brain tumors in multiple models, and we are particularly impressed that DX1 was able to yield these results as a single agent in these difficult to treat tumor models,” said Jiangbing Zhou, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine and co-corresponding author of the study.

      “We believe that the ENT2-linked mechanism that transports DX1 across the BBB and into tumors has potential to contribute to multiple new strategies in brain tumor therapy,” added Hansen. “In addition to establishing proof of concept for single agent use of DX1 in brain tumor models, we also now recognize the potential for DX1 to target linked cargo molecules to brain tumors or to be useful as a platform for designing additional brain tumor targeting antibodies, including DX1-based bispecific antibodies.”

      Financial support for the study was provided by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs through the Breast Cancer Research Program, Yale School of Medicine Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale Kalimeris and Craig funds, a Lion Heart Fund Pilot Grant, and Patrys Limited, the Australian biotechnology company that has licensed this technology from Yale.

      Other authors of the study from Yale include lead authors Zahra Rattray, PhD, Gang Deng, Shenqi Zhang, and contributing authors Anupama Shirali, Christopher K. May, Xiaoyong Chen, PhD, Benedette J. Cuffari, Jun Liu, Pan Zou, Nicholas Rattray, Caroline H. Johnson, PhD, Anita Huttner, MD, and Joachim M. Baehring, MD.:
      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • #48
        Combination Therapy Boosts Lung Cancer Patients’ Response, Cuts Treatment Time in Phase 2 Trial

        Combining immunotherapy with targeted radiation resulted in a greater response rate than immunotherapy alone in a phase 2 clinical trial in patients with early-stage, non-small-cell lung cancer led by Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian investigators. In view of the safety and efficacy of the treatment, a larger trial is warranted.

        Immunotherapies, drugs that increase the immune system’s ability to detect and kill cancer cells, are becoming a mainstay of cancer treatments. Previous studies have shown that immunotherapy drugs like durvalumab have a major pathological response in about 20 to 25 percent of patients with early-stage lung cancer prior to surgery. Major pathological response is a clinical term meaning that the pre-operative therapy kills at least 90 percent of the tumor cells when measured in the surgical specimen.

        Recent clinical trials have suggested that combining an immunotherapy with traditional chemotherapy may be even more effective than immune-targeting drugs alone, as a pre-surgery treatment. Now, results of a phase 2 clinical trial published May 17 in Lancet Oncology demonstrate that combining targeted radiation to a lung tumor with two doses of pre-operative durvalumab is very well tolerated, much more effective than durvalumab immunotherapy alone, less toxic than chemotherapy combinations, and enables faster path to surgical resection, with a delay of approximately five weeks from diagnosis.

        “We think this is another approach that would deliver the same results as chemotherapy/immunotherapy combinations, that avoids many of the adverse events associated with chemotherapy while cutting treatment time by at least 50 percent,” said lead author Dr. Nasser Altorki, chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

        To conduct the study, Dr. Altorki, a lung cancer specialist, teamed up with Dr. Silvia Formenti, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Professor of Cancer Research at Weill Cornell Medicine and radiation oncologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Formenti has pioneered the use of focal radiotherapy to enhance the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapy. The study enrolled 60 patients with lung cancer who were candidates for surgery and randomly assigned them to receive either durvalumab alone or durvalumab plus a modest dose of targeted radiotherapy before surgery.

        Patients in both groups received two 60-minute infusions of durvalumab three weeks apart and patients in the combination group received three doses of radiation targeted to the tumor on three sequential days, with the first durvalumab infusion given after the first dose of radiation. The patients underwent surgery two to six weeks after the second durvalumab infusion to remove the remaining tumor tissue and assess the effects of the therapy. The design of the study enabled to investigators to discern the contribution of focal radiotherapy to the pathological response.

        Two patients in the durvalumab alone group had a major pathological response at the time of surgery, while 16 patients in the combination group achieved this response and eight of them had no viable cancer cells at the time of surgery. In the durvalumab group, one of the seven patients who had cancer that had spread to their lymph nodes saw the cancer in the lymph nodes reduced, while four of the six patients in the combination group with cancer in their un-irradiated lymph nodes saw a reduction. Side effects in the two groups were similar and treatable.

        “The combination therapy with radiation was much more powerful than immunotherapy alone,” said Dr. Formenti, who is also associate director of translational research at the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center. “In some patients assigned to receive durvalumab and radiation, the combination much more frequently enabled the immune system to eliminate tumor cells in non-irradiated, draining lymph nodes that were biopsied at diagnosis and demonstrated to be cancerous. So, the effect of the combination exceeded the targeted tumor tissue in the lung.”

        A phase 3 trial is currently underway testing a similar combination therapy in Switzerland, said Dr. Formenti. If the results are confirmed, it may provide a new option for patients with lung cancer with co-morbidities, and in older patients who may be more vulnerable to toxic chemotherapy side effects, she said. When compared to pre-operative immunotherapy combined with chemotherapy, a regimen of focal radiation and immunotherapy offers patients a faster, safe and less arduous treatment path prior to surgery that cuts the time from the start of presurgical treatment to surgery from 12 to 16 weeks to about five.

        “The bottom line is the patients want the cancer out as soon as possible,” said Dr. Altorki, who is also the leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at the Meyer Cancer Center. “That’s a strong motivator for a patient to get on a therapy like this.”:

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • #49
          How does COVID-19 affect patients with cancer? Largest U.S. study shares first results.

          BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers analyzing national data from more than 63,000 patients with cancer and a positive COVID-19 diagnosis report an increased risk of death among those who were older, male, had a higher number of comorbidities, and had hematologic cancers and recent chemotherapy treatments.

          These findings were shared in an oral presentation June 4 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology by University of Alabama at Birmingham Assistant Professor Noha Sharafeldin, MBBCh, Ph.D. Sharafeldin is a medical doctor and epidemiologist in the Division of Hematology and Oncology and member of UAB’s Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship and the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.

          A more detailed journal article was published simultaneously in the society’s Journal of Clinical Oncology.

          The results are one of the first major publications from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative, known as N3C. UAB and 54 other clinical institutions nationwide have contributed de-identified electronic health record data from 6.2 million patients from 49 states to a secure, cloud-based database to enable first-of-its-kind research. The N3C began curating data in January 2020, and its database contains patient records dating back to 2018. Among the 6 billion rows of data collected are more than 2 million positive COVID diagnoses and more than 400,000 patients with a cancer diagnosis.

          “People in the cancer world are very eager to get more information about the effects of COVID-19 in general and the interaction with specific cancer types and cancer treatments,” Sharafeldin said.

          Previous studies in relatively small cohorts have found variation in risk for patients with cancer.

          “The N3C contains a huge amount of data that has allowed us to investigate these questions at a scale that has not been possible before, using real-world clinical data,” Sharafeldin said. “The strength of this first report is that it demonstrates the utility of resources like N3C and the collaborative research that has made it possible. There are other cancer/COVID patient cohorts out there, but nothing the size of N3C, or with the same level of representation of patients from across the country.”

          From its founding, N3C leadership has encouraged researchers interested in COVID-19’s effects on particular health conditions to form clinical domain teams. Along with Umit Topaloglu, Ph.D., an informatician from Wake Forest University, and Benjamin Bates, M.D., a clinician at Rutgers University, Sharafeldin is co-leading the N3C Oncology Domain Team.

          “We started by simply investigating the feasibility of answering these questions we had about COVID’s effects on patients with cancer using N3C’s data resources,” Sharafeldin said. “As we went along, the oncology domain team started expanding to include biostatisticians, bioinformatics and analysis experts, and researchers in machine learning and other advanced applications, as well as clinicians — all under the umbrella of being interested in cancer.”

          One of the strengths of N3C has been its harmonization of data from a wide range of different electronic medical records systems and hospital databases. Sharafeldin and the Oncology Domain Team first had to create their cancer cohort from the mass of data by defining terms and making sense of diagnostic codes and diagnosis timelines.

          “You could have a patient who was just diagnosed, or one who had been diagnosed many years before and was a survivor,” Sharafeldin said. “They could be in remission or receiving end-of-life care.”

          There have been a lot of challenges handling real-world data that researchers needed to navigate, including identifying the primary site of a patient’s cancer and defining categories of cancer treatment.

          “We have many questions, but we thought the No. 1 question to answer first was whether we could curate and describe a cancer cohort and examine mortality risk in our cohort,” Sharafeldin said. “Cancer patients are already a vulnerable population; we wanted to identify factors that put these patients at increased risk.”

          In her presentation and the accompanying manuscript, the Oncology Domain Team shared findings on those risk factors.:

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • #50

            Keep bumping you're useless shitty threads to put your name and avi on top.

            LWO Community strong!


            • #51
              Sequencing Study Suggests Mechanistic Link between Red Meat Consumption and Colorectal Cancer

              Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School (HMS), and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, have linked a gene mutation signature that is indicative of DNA damage, with high red meat consumption and increased cancer-related mortality in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). The results, the scientists suggest, could feasibly lead to the development of new CRC risk or diagnostic biomarkers, and point to therapeutic opportunities.

              The team, headed by Marios Giannakis, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at HMS and a physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, carried out whole-exome sequencing (WES) of DNA from matched normal and colorectal tumor tissue samples from hundreds of patients with colorectal cancer who had participated in one of three nationwide prospective cohort studies. The results identified, for the first time, “… an alkylating mutational signature in colon cells and linked it to red meat consumption and cancer driver mutations,” Giannakis said. “These findings suggest that red meat consumption may cause alkylating damage that leads to cancer-causing mutations in KRAS and PIK3CA, thereby promoting colorectal cancer development. Our data further support red meat intake as a risk factor for colorectal cancer and also provide opportunities to prevent, detect, and treat this disease.”

              Reporting on their studies in Cancer Discovery (“Discovery and features of an alkylating signature in colorectal cancer”) Giannakis and colleagues in the U.S., and in the U.K., concluded, “Together, these results link for the first time a colorectal mutational signature to a component of diet, and further implicate the role of red meat in CRC initiation and progression.”

              “We have known for some time that consumption of processed meat and red meat is a risk factor for colorectal cancer,” Giannakis explained. The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared back in 2015 that processed meat was carcinogenic and that red meat was probably carcinogenic to humans. Experiments in preclinical models have suggested that red meat consumption may promote the formation of carcinogenic compounds in the colon, but a direct molecular link to colorectal cancer development in patients has not been shown. As Giannakis further stated, “What is missing is a demonstration that colorectal cancers from patients have a specific pattern of mutations that can be attributed to red meat. Identifying these molecular changes in colon cells that can cause cancer would not only support the role of red meat in colorectal cancer development but would also provide novel avenues for cancer prevention and treatment.”

              To identify genetic changes associated with red meat intake, the researchers carried out whole-exome sequencing on matched primary, untreated tumor-normal sample pairs, from 900 CRC patients who participated in three U.S.-wide prospective studies, the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II (NHS), and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). Each patient had previously provided information on their diet, lifestyle, and other factors over the course of several years prior to their colorectal cancer diagnosis. “To test whether dietary components contributed to the alkylating signature in CRC, we leveraged prospectively collected repeated measurements of meat, poultry, and fish consumption in grams per day in the NHS and HPFS cohorts,” they noted.

              The team’s analysis of the DNA sequencing data revealed the presence of several mutational signatures in normal and cancerous colon tissue, including a signature indicative of alkylation, a form of DNA damage. The alkylating signature was significantly associated with prediagnosis intake of processed or unprocessed red meat, but not with prediagnosis intake of poultry or fish, or with other lifestyle factors. “All available red meat variables showed significant positive associations between prediagnosis intakes and alkylating damage in CRCs.” Conversely, red meat consumption was not associated with any of the other mutational signatures identified in the investigators’ study. “In addition, no other CRC mutational process showed a significant association with red meat intake,” the authors pointed out.

              And in contrast with the findings for red meat consumption, other dietary variables (fish and chicken intake) and lifestyle factors—including body mass index, alcohol consumption, smoking and physical activity—showed no significant association with the alkylating signature.

              Using a predictive model, the researchers identified the KRAS and PIK3CA genes as potential targets of alkylation-induced mutation. Consistent with this prediction, they found that colorectal tumors harboring KRAS G12D, KRAS G13D, or PIK3CA E545K driver mutations, which are commonly observed in colorectal cancer, had greater enrichment of the alkylating signature compared with tumors without these mutations.

              There was also a link between the alkylating signature and patient survival, such that patients whose tumors had the highest levels of alkylating damage exhibited a 47% greater risk of colorectal cancer-specific death, compared with patients demonstrating lower levels of damage. “ … the association of the signature with cancer driver mutations—such as KAS and PIK3CA ones—may offer future potential therapeutic opportunities,” the scientists suggested. Interestingly, and in line with prior studies linking red meat consumption with cancer incidence in the distal colon, the investigators’ results indicated that normal and cancerous tissue from the distal colon had significantly higher alkylating damage than tissue from the proximal colon.

              They claim that the combined study results provide “… unique evidence supporting the direct impact of dietary behaviors on colorectal carcinogenesis … Our work demonstrated the presence of a novel alkylating mutational signature, which we deconvoluted directly from WES of colorectal tumors,” they commented. Interestingly, they continued, the signature is very similar to a reference COSMIC single base substitution (SBS) signature SBS11, which was originally discovered in patients with prior exposure to the alkylating agent temozolomide, a chemotherapy drug that is used to treat certain brain gliomas.

              Giannakis suggests that if physicians could identify individuals who are genetically predisposed to accumulating alkylating damage, these individuals could be counseled to limit their red meat intake as a form of precision prevention. The alkylating mutational signature could also feasibly be used as a biomarker to identify patients at greater risk of developing colorectal cancer, or potentially to detect cancer at an early stage. “Similarly, the association of the signature with cancer driver mutations—such as KRAS and PIK3CA ones—may offer future potential therapeutic opportunities.

              And because of its association with patient survival, the alkylating signature may feasibly have relevance as a prognostic biomarker. However, future studies are needed to explore these possibilities, Giannakis noted. But more generally, the team pointed out, “our study exemplifies the potential role of large-scale molecular epidemiologic studies elucidating cancer pathogenesis and guiding prevention efforts through lifestyle modifications, such as dietary interventions.”

              One limitation of the study is the potential selection bias of study participants, as tissue specimens could not be retrieved from all incident colorectal cancer cases in the cohort studies. Current studies by Giannakis and his colleagues are exploring the potential role of red meat intake and alkylating damage in diverse groups of patients.:

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • #52
                New radiation therapy for prostate cancer reduces deaths, study shows

                By the time Michael Rosenblum’s prostate cancer was discovered, it was already at a late stage. He’d initially sought medical help because of excruciating back pain, but, during an exam, doctors found a tumor on his spine and tests revealed a skyrocketing prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, score. Chemotherapy didn’t help much, so when doctors offered the opportunity to be in a clinical trial for a new experimental treatment, Rosenblum jumped at it.

                The trial was investigating a new, potentially groundbreaking type of treatment for prostate cancer, a therapy that specifically targets a protein on the cancer cells. The treatment, part of a new class of liquid radiation drugs, obliterates most prostate cancer cells without hurting the surrounding tissue.

                “It’s wonderful. I have no symptoms or anything,” said Rosenblum, a 75-year-old retiree, who was diagnosed four years ago. He participated in the clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. "My PSA went from 100 ... to zero.”

                Higher PSA levels suggest that prostate cells are growing, which may indicate cancer.

                Results from the trial Rosenblum participated in were released Thursday ahead of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The study finds that the new drug reduced the risk of death by 38 percent in patients with advanced prostate cancer. Progression of the disease was reduced by 60 percent.

                Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men in the U.S., after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. And rates of aggressive prostate cancer have been increasing in recent years.

                When cancer is confined to the prostate, surgery plus radiation therapy is standard treatment for tumors deemed to be aggressive. Those with metastatic cancer — meaning the cancer has spread from the initial tumor site to other parts of the body — may need even more intense therapy, including removal of the testicles, testosterone-blocking therapy and chemotherapy.

                The trial included 831 men with metastatic cancer who had all been previously treated with hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Two-thirds of the men were randomly assigned to get standard therapies, plus the new medication. The other third, the comparison group, received only standard therapies.

                The patients who received the new drug got it intravenously once every six weeks.

                The new drug isn’t a cure, but after about two years, it did result in a median improvement — meaning 50 percent of patients did better and 50 percent did worse — of four months before the disease started to progress again, and in survival overall, according to the report.

                In fact, some of the patients who received their last dose in February 2020 still haven’t seen their cancer worsen, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Morris, an oncologist and a prostate cancer section head at Sloan Kettering.

                “This trial was studying a drug in men with very few treatment options,” Morris added. “They had metastatic prostate cancer and basically had progressed through most of the life-prolonging therapies for it.:

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • #53
                  they are doing some wonderful things with research
                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • #54
                    Cancer mortality in U.S. declines overall as some disease persists

                    Death rates for lung cancer and melanoma continued to drop for men and women in the U.S. between 2014 and 2018, according to an annual report with the National Cancer Institute.

                    Yes, but: For several other major cancers, however, like colorectal, breast and prostate, death rates increased — or saw previous improvements stall.

                    State of play: American deaths from cancer — the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. — have been on the decline for years. But it's not the same across the board, particularly when it comes to cancers related to obesity.

                    Death rates among women increased for five of the most common cancers such as uterus, liver, brain and pancreas. Death rates decreased for 14 cancers.
                    For men, death rates for five cancers including bones and joints, oral cavity and pharynx, brain and pancreas increased. Death rates decreased in men for 11 cancers.
                    By the numbers: Cancer death rates declined overall in every racial and ethnic group since 2001, but drops have accelerated in the last five years.

                    Still, overall cancer incidence is increasing in women, children and young adults.
                    Be smart: The analysis observes cancer rates and deaths up to 2018, but since last year, doctors have expressed concern the pandemic will lead to an uptick in cancer incidence and deaths and scale back the progress made between different race and ethnicities with the disease.

                    The National Cancer Institute estimated there will likely be 10,000 additional deaths over the next decade due to the drop in screening and treatments of breast and colorectal cancer during the pandemic.
                    What's happening: Several associations and government agencies have altered screening and prevention guidance in recent months to address increasing cancer incidence.

                    Screenings for colon cancer are now recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force at 45 instead of at 50 as of May, due to the disease increasingly occurring among adults younger than 50.
                    The group also recommended in March annual lung cancer screenings be conducted on those as young as 50 and to those with shorter smoking histories than previously thought necessary.
                    What they're saying: “The continued decline in cancer death rates should be gratifying to the cancer research community, as evidence that scientific advances over several decades are making a real difference in outcomes at the population level,” Ned Sharpless, director of the NCI, said in a statement.

                    “I believe we could achieve even further improvements if we address obesity, which has the potential to overtake tobacco use to become the leading modifiable factor associated with cancer," he added.:

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • #55
                      Breast-Cancer Pill Reduced Recurrence, Death in Early-Stage Patients, Study Finds

                      A drug sold by AstraZeneca AZN -0.90% PLC and Merck MRK -0.81% & Co. reduced the recurrence of breast cancer in women with an early but aggressive form of the disease, a long-running international study found.

                      The finding, which on Thursday was published online by the New England Journal of Medicine and released at a major cancer-research meeting, marked the latest advance in cancer treatments targeting the genetic traits of tumors. It could expand the arsenal of weapons against a hereditary form of breast cancer.

                      The result also helps validate the pharmaceutical industry’s investment in a pricey new class of drugs that target cancer cells, known as PARP inhibitors.

                      AstraZeneca’s pill, named Lynparza, has become one of the company’s top sellers, generating $1.8 billion in sales last year. Rival GlaxoSmithKline PLC paid more than $5 billion in 2019 to acquire the maker of another PARP inhibitor, Tesaro.

                      Lynparza carries a U.S. list price of about $14,449 per patient monthly.

                      AstraZeneca plans to submit the data to regulators and request regulatory approval of the use of Lynparza for early-stage BRCA breast cancer, said David Fredrickson, executive vice president of AstraZeneca’s oncology unit.

                      How optimistic are you about the new class of drugs known as PARP inhibitors for the treatment of breast cancer and other cancers? Join the conversation below.

                      PARP inhibitors work by blocking cancer cells from relying on a survival tactic: the ability to repair their own DNA after their DNA is damaged naturally or by other drug treatments. This, in turn, contributes to cancer-cell death.

                      Health regulators have approved these types of drugs in recent years to treat ovarian, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers.

                      The drugs have been found to be particularly useful against cancers associated with harmful mutations in genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women with these hereditary mutations have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, and often at a younger age than is typical.

                      The BRCA mutations account for about 5% of the estimated 281,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed annually in the U.S.

                      Overall, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, causing about 43,600 deaths in the U.S. annually, according to the American Cancer Society.

                      The Food and Drug Administration cleared Lynparza, in 2018, to treat advanced-stage BRCA-mutated breast cancer.

                      The new study tested Lynparza in women at earlier stages of breast cancer, at a time when it is potentially curable. AstraZeneca sponsored the study and collaborated with Merck and various research groups that run breast-cancer clinical trials.

                      Starting in 2014, researchers in the U.S. and 22 other countries enrolled 1,836 women with early-stage BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer.

                      Before enrolling in the study, the women had undergone surgery to remove tumors, and had received chemotherapy before or after surgery aimed at preventing a recurrence of the tumor. They were at high risk of recurrence based on the size of their tumors or presence of cancer in lymph nodes.

                      The women also tested negative for the HER2 gene that is present in some breast cancers.

                      Half of the women in the study were randomly assigned to take Lynparza tablets daily for one year, while the other half got a placebo.

                      At a median follow-up period of 2½ years after the start of treatment, Lynparza reduced the combined risk of recurrence of cancer or death from any cause by 42% compared with a placebo, the researchers found.

                      Researchers estimated that three years after the start of treatment, 85.9% of the women who received Lynparza were living without disease recurrence, compared with 77.1% of women who received a placebo.:

                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • #56
                        ANGLE hails lung cancer study pointing to potential of its liquid biopsy

                        ANGLE PLC (LON:AGL) said a study using the company’s liquid biopsy system has helped increase the understanding of non-small cell lung cancer and how it mutates, a breakthrough that may offer a new method of guiding precision treatment.

                        A team led by professor Evi Lianidou at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens deployed the Parsortix system to isolate circulating tumour cells (CTC) from blood samples.

                        The researchers demonstrated the “dynamic” and diverse nature of the disease while concluding CTCs, as well as circulating DNA (ctDNA), provide information on its progression and resistance.

                        “Critically, this study supports the view that CTCs, rather than ctDNA, are key to gaining an insight into the future development of a patient's cancer,” said Andrew Newland, ANGLE’s chief executive.

                        In time, liquid biopsies may provide a cheaper, safer and more effective way than the current method of guiding precision cancer treatments.

                        “Identifying the differences between mutations in ctDNA and CTCs in longitudinal studies could help guide therapy decisions and provide an important enhancement to monitoring patient response in cancer drug trials,” the company explained in its latest scientific update.:

                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • #57
                          Research Roundup: “Bad Fat” Slows Killer T-Cells from Attacking Cancer and More

                          Researchers at the Salk Institute discovered that the environment inside tumors, otherwise called the tumor microenvironment, contains a lot of oxidized fat molecules. When they are ingested by killer T-cells, this “bad fat” suppresses the killer T-cells’ ability to kill cancer cells. The T-cells, requiring energy, increase the amount of a cellular fat transporter, CD36, which then saturates the T-cells with more oxidized fat, which further decreases their tumor-killing ability. The research was published in the journal Immunity.

                          “We know that tumors are a metabolically hostile environment for healthy cells, but elucidating which metabolic processes are altered and how this suppresses immune cell function is an important area of cancer research that is gaining a lot of attention,” said Susan Kaech, senior author and director of Salk’s NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis. “Our findings uncovered a novel mode of immunosuppression in tumors involving the import of oxidized fats (AKA lipids) in T-cells via the cellular fat transporter CD36, which impairs their anti-tumor functions locally.”

                          This type of lipid oxidation not only happens in T-cells, but also in tumor cells. If it increases in tumor cells, it can result in cell death. This has resulted in excitement in cancer research to increase lipid oxidation in tumor cells to a lethal level, but Kaech and her team’s research suggests this should be approached cautiously.

                          “Now that we’ve uncovered this vulnerability of T-cells to lipid oxidation stress, we may need to find more selective approaches to inducing lipid oxidation in the tumor cells but not in the T-cells,” Kaech said. “Otherwise, we may destroy the anti-tumor T-cells in the process, and our work shows a few interesting possibilities for how to do this.”:

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • #58
                            cancer sucks
                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • #59
                              Survivors' Plasma Helps Blood Cancer Patients Battle COVID-19

                              Giving COVID-19 survivors' blood plasma to blood cancer patients hospitalized with COVID-19 significantly improves their chances of survival, a new study finds.

                              "These results suggest that convalescent plasma may not only help COVID-19 patients with blood cancers whose immune systems are compromised, it may also help patients with other illnesses who have weakened antibody responses to this virus or to the vaccines," said study co-first author Dr. Jeffrey Henderson. He is an associate professor of medicine and of molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

                              "The data also emphasize the value of an antibody therapy such as convalescent plasma as a virus-directed treatment option for hospitalized COVID-19 patients," Henderson explained in a university news release.

                              Plasma from COVID-19 survivors is called convalescent plasma because it contains high levels of antibodies against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

                              Cancer patients may be at a higher risk of death from COVID-19 due to a weakened immune system. Giving them convalescent plasma is meant to boost their immune system's ability to fight the disease, the study authors noted.

                              "As more COVID-19 patients began receiving convalescent plasma, we started hearing physicians around the country report remarkable clinical improvements following convalescent plasma infusions in COVID-19 patients with blood cancers and antibody deficiencies, some of whom were already very ill," Henderson said.

                              "I have seen one of my own patients with blood cancer quickly improve after receiving convalescent plasma. Similar stories that were often very detailed suggested that a formal study would help physicians with decisions they were already making on a daily basis," he added.

                              In the new study, Henderson's team assessed the 30-day death rate among 966 adults, average age 67, who had a blood cancer (such as leukemia, lymphoma or multiple myeloma) and were hospitalized due to COVID-19. Convalescent plasma was given to 143 of these patients.

                              Death rates were just over 13% for those who received convalescent plasma and nearly 25% among those who didn't receive it, the researchers reported.

                              The difference was even larger among the 338 patients admitted to intensive care due to severe COVID-19 symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or cardiac distress. In these patients, death rates were nearly 16% among those who received convalescent plasma and 47% among those who didn't receive it.

                              The report was published June 17 in JAMA Oncology.

                              "In March 2020, the [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration provided a pathway for hospitalized patients to receive COVID-19 convalescent plasma if requested by their physicians. After this, the decision to give convalescent plasma was made by physicians and patients on a case-by-case basis. There were no restrictions on when during the course of illness convalescent plasma could be given to patients," Henderson said.

                              Study co-first author Dr. Michael Thompson is an oncologist and hematologist at Advocate Aurora Health and Advocate Aurora Research Institute, in Wisconsin. He said, "Given that patients with blood cancers have higher mortality rates from COVID-19, we suspect our findings, along with other similar cases not in this database, support using convalescent plasma to improve survival in these patients.":

                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • #60
                                Alcohol consumption linked to nearly 750,000 cancer cases in 2020, new study says

                                Doctors are sounding the alarm over research showing a link between drinking alcohol and cancer. More than 700,000 new cancer cases were linked to alcohol consumption in 2020 — a time when many Americans reported drinking more.

                                The research, published in the July 13 edition of Lancet Oncology, found that over 4% of all new cancer cases in 2020 were caused by alcohol consumption. While most cancers linked to alcohol use were in people who have more than two drinks a day, more than 100,000 cases worldwide were in people who averaged less than that, the study said.

                                "Alcohol is an irritant. It irritates the lining of our mouth, of our throat, of our stomach. As our body tries to heal, sometimes it heals in abnormal ways that can lead to the very beginnings of cancer," said Dr. David Odell, an oncologist at Northwestern Medicine.

                                Three-quarters of alcohol-related cancers were diagnosed in men. Most of those cases were liver and esophageal cancers. Breast cancer was most common among women.

                                The new findings come as alcohol consumption has spiked during the pandemic. Almost two-thirds of Americans surveyed last year said their drinking had increased.

                                "For many people who were using alcohol to cope in one way or another, once the pandemic hit, their drinking increased significantly," said Sarah Church, a psychologist who runs an addiction treatment program in New York.

                                She said those seeking help include people who didn't drink heavily before the pandemic.

                                There's an estimated 10-year lag between drinking and being diagnosed with alcohol-related cancer, so doctors say the pandemic's impact is unclear.:

                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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