Two-color barcodes: Dynamic duo to fight crime, cancer

So-called lanthanide-doped upconversion materials are highly promising for applications against crime and cancer as they have adjustable morphologies and tunable output wavelengths — they can also be fabricated by inexpensive processes that are easily scaled up. To date, single-crystal nanocrystals made from these materials have been impractical as multicolor barcodes because their tiny size makes them too small to be observed using conventional optical microscopes. …

Cancer patients should not hesitate to speak with their doctors about dietary supplements

This gap in communication can happen when patients believe that their doctors are indifferent or negative toward their use of these supplements. As a result, patients may find information about dietary supplements from unreliable sources, exposing themselves to unneeded risks. Since information on these dietary supplements is limited, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch describe a practical patient-centered approach to managing dietary supplement use in cancer care in a review article. Improving the communication between patient and doctor in this area is critical. …

Thyroid cancer genome analysis finds markers of aggressive tumors

The finding suggests the potential to reclassify the disease based on genetic markers and moves thyroid cancer into a position to benefit more from precision medicine. “This understanding of the genomic landscape of thyroid cancer will refine how it’s classified and improve molecular diagnosis. This will help us separate those patients who need aggressive treatment from those whose tumor is never likely to grow or spread,” says Thomas J. …

Experimental breast cancer drug holds promise in combination therapy for Ewing sarcoma

The treatment paired two chemotherapy drugs currently used to treat Ewing sarcoma (EWS) with experimental drugs called poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors that interfere with DNA repair. PARP inhibitors are currently in clinical trials for the treatment of certain breast and ovarian cancers as well as other solid tumors. EWS is a cancer of the bone and soft tissue that strikes primarily adolescents and young adults. A clinical trial using the three-drug combination therapy detailed in this research is expected to open later this year for adolescents and young adults with EWS whose tumors have not disappeared with standard therapy or have returned after treatment…

Cancer exosome ‘micro factories’ aid in cancer progression

“Exosomes derived from cells and blood serum of patients with breast cancer, have been shown to initiate tumor growth in non-tumor-forming cells when Dicer and other proteins associated with the development of miRNAs are present,” said Raghu Kalluri, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the department of cancer biology at MD Anderson. “These findings offer opportunities for the development of exosomes-based biomarkers and shed insight into the mechanisms of how cancer spreads.” Exosomes are small vesicles consisting of DNA, RNA and proteins enclosed in a membranes made up of two lipid layers. They perform specialized functions such as coagulation, intercellular signaling and cell “waste management.” They are shed into bodily fluids forming a source of disease-specific nucleic acids and proteins. Increasingly, exosomes are studied for their potential as both indicators of disease, and as a prospective new treatment approach. …

Anaplastic lymphoma kinase immunohistochemistry testing comparable to, if not better than, fluorescence in situ hybridization testing

ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) shrink tumors and increase progression-free survival in late-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients positive for ALK as determined by the fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) test, a test for DNA rearrangement within the gene. …

Novel software application can stratify early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients

The majority of NSCLC patients are diagnosed with advanced-stage disease which is concomitant with an exceptionally poor prognosis, 5-year survival rate of 4%. In contrast, tumors detected at an early stage have 5-year survival rates of 54%. …