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New approach to treat drug-resistant HER2–positive breast cancer

The discovery, published in the journal CELL Reports, provides the experimental evidence for the potential development of a novel combination therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer. The combination includes the FDA approved drug lapatinib and a new experimental drug called a BET bromodomain inhibitor, which works by disrupting the expression of specific genes…

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Cancer’s ability to ‘hijack’ regulatory mechanism increases metastasis

Scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) have found that one component of this human scaffolding called collagen “cross-links” can determine a tumor’s ability to grow and spread. These cross-links of protein complexes enable connective tissue cells known as “stroma” to stiffen, stimulating tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Study results were published in today’s online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation…

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Epigenetic breakthrough: A first of its kind tool to study the histone code

This work, published in the journal Developmental Cell, opens the door to experiments that are expected to uncover new biology important for a host of conditions, such as neurological diseases, diabetes, obesity, and especially cancer, which has become a hotbed of epigenetic research. “People think cancer is a disease of uncontrolled proliferation, but that’s just one aspect of it,” said Robert Duronio, PhD, professor of biology and genetics and co-senior author. “Cancer is actually a disease of development in which the cells don’t maintain their proper functions; they don’t do what they’re supposed to be doing.” Somehow, the gene regulation responsible for proper cell development goes awry. …

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Molecular alterations in head and neck cancers uncovered by study

The researchers also uncovered new smoking-related cancer subtypes and potential new drug targets, and found numerous genomic similarities with other cancer types. Taken together, this study’s findings may provide more detailed explanations of how HPV infection and smoking play roles in head and neck cancer risk and disease development, and offer potential novel diagnostic and treatment directions. The study is the most comprehensive examination to date of genomic alterations in head and neck cancers…

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Elevated cholesterol, triglycerides may increase risk for prostate cancer recurrence

“While laboratory studies support an important role for cholesterol in prostate cancer, population-based evidence linking cholesterol and prostate cancer is mixed,” said Emma Allott, PhD, postdoctoral associate at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. “Understanding associations between obesity, cholesterol, and prostate cancer is important given that cholesterol levels are readily modifiable with diet and/or statin use, and could therefore have important, practical implications for prostate cancer prevention and treatment. “Our findings suggest that normalization, or even partial normalization, of serum lipid levels among men with dyslipidemia [abnormal lipid profile] may reduce the risk of prostate cancer recurrence,” said Allott. …

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The skin cancer selfie: Gigapixel camera helps diagnose early

Developed by a team of researchers at Duke University in North Carolina, USA, the “gigapixel whole-body photographic camera” is essentially three dozen cameras in one, allowing the researchers to image the entire body down to a freckle. The research will be presented at The Optical Society’s (OSA) 98th Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics, being held Oct. 19-23 in Tucson, Arizona, USA. …

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Fertility preservation option for young boys with cancer

The research, conducted by the Medical Center’s Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) under the direction of Anthony Atala, M.D., institute director, gives boys who have a high risk of becoming sterile the option to “bank” a small piece of testicular tissue prior to treatment. “The average survival rates for childhood cancer are around 80 percent, but a side effect of some treatments can be permanent sterility,” said Thomas W. McLean, M.D., a pediatric cancer specialist, who co-leads the experimental biological bank with Hooman Sadri-Ardekani, M.D., Ph.D., a male infertility specialist at WFIRM. …

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Abnormal properties of cancer protein revealed in fly eyes

In a paper featured on the cover of the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Michigan State University researchers provide the first detailed examination of a set of mutations similar to those present in the human cancer gene, said Irina Pushel, MSU undergraduate and co-author. “By systematically evaluating mutations of increasing severity, we now have a model to better predict how we think the protein will react with each mutation,” said Pushel, who co-authored the paper with Liang Zhang, lead author and MSU graduate student, and Bill Henry and David Arnosti, MSU molecular biologists. …

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New genetic target for a different kind of cancer drug found

“Historically, scientists haven’t targeted the proteins in cancer cells that are involved in gene splicing,” said Zefeng Wang, PhD, associate professor in the department of pharmacology and senior author of the Cancer Cell paper. “This is a whole new ballgame in terms of gene regulation in cancer.” There are approximately 25,000 genes in the human genome — the same amount as in a fruit fly. But in humans, these genes are spliced together in different ways to create various kinds of messenger RNA to produce the many different proteins humans require…

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