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Breakthrough finds molecules that block previously ‘undruggable’ protein tied to cancer

The findings, which could lead to a new class of cancer drugs, appear in the current issue of ACS Chemical Biology. “These are the first reported small-molecule HuR inhibitors that competitively disrupt HuR-RNA binding and release the RNA, thus blocking HuR function as a tumor-promoting protein,” said Liang Xu, associate professor of molecular biosciences and corresponding author of the paper. The results hold promise for treating a broad array of cancers in people. The researcher said HuR has been detected at high levels in almost every type of cancer tested, including cancers of the colon, prostate, breast, brain, ovaries, pancreas and lung…

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Stem cell disease model clarifies bone cancer trigger

The study results, published in the journal Cell, revolve around iPSCs, which since their 2006 discovery have enabled researchers to coax mature (fully differentiated) bodily cells (e.g. skin cells) to become like embryonic stem cells. Such cells are pluripotent, able to become many cell types as they multiply and differentiate to form tissues…

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Early recall rates decline after second round of lung cancer screening

In the United States the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) showed that annual lung cancer screening of high-risk individuals with LDCT reduces lung cancer mortality by 20% and overall mortality by 7%. There are now multiple lung cancer screening trials ongoing throughout the world, but one concern is the high number of early repeat scans for suspicious findings that are in fact not lung cancer. …

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Plant extract fights brain tumor

Scientists around G�nter Stalla, endocrinologist at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, now discovered in cell cultures, animal models and human tumour tissue that a harmless plant extract can be applied to treat Cushing Disease. “Silibinin is the major active constituent of milk thistle seeds. It has an outstanding safety profile in humans and is already used for the treatment of liver disease and poisoning,” explains Marcelo Paez-Pereda, leading scientist of the current study published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine. After silibinin treatment, tumour cells resumed normal ACTH production, tumour growth slowed down and symptoms of Cushing Disease disappeared in mice…

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More than 1.5 million cancer deaths averted during 2 decades of dropping mortality — ScienceDaily

Each year, the American Cancer Society compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival based on incidence data from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The data are disseminated in two reports: Cancer Statistics 2015, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and its companion, consumer-friendly publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2015. The reports also estimate the number of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the United States in the current year. …

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Vaccine therapy for prostate cancer patients with rising PSA examined — ScienceDaily

As part of a Phase II clinical trial, adult patients with advanced prostate cancer (as evidenced by two rising prostate-specific antigen or PSA values and no visible metastasis) whose cancer is resistant to hormone therapy and had either surgery or radiation were recruited from member institutions in the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group. In their work, published in the current online edition of European Urology, ECOG-ACRIN investigators examined two different experimental treatment options. In step one, patients were treated with PROSTVAC-V/TRICOM and PROSTVAC-F/TRICOM. PROSTVAC-V is derived from a vaccinia virus that was used for many years to vaccinate against smallpox. …

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New signaling role for key protein may contribute to wound healing, tumor growth

The current study results revolve around proteinases, enzymes that break down proteins as part of cellular life. Matrix metalloproteinases or MMPs specifically target the extracellular matrix, the non-cell, structural framework within tissues. Beyond that role, the new study found that one member of this family, MMP-2, has another signaling role related to the human immune system. It may shift a set of cells to become part of immune response that accelerates healing in some cases, but may worsen inflammatory disease in others. …

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Gut microbiota influences blood-brain barrier permeability

The blood-brain barrier is a highly selective barrier that prevents unwanted molecules and cells from entering the brain from the bloodstream. In the current study, being published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the international interdisciplinary research team demonstrates that the transport of molecules across the blood-brain barrier can be modulated by gut microbes — which therefore play an important role in the protection of the brain. The investigators reached this conclusion by comparing the integrity and development of the blood-brain barrier between two groups of mice: the first group was raised in an environment where they were exposed to normal bacteria, and the second (called germ-free mice) was kept in a sterile environment without any bacteria. “We showed that the presence of the maternal gut microbiota during late pregnancy blocked the passage of labeled antibodies from the circulation into the brain parenchyma of the growing fetus,” says first author Dr…

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Scoring scheme predicts ability of cancer cells to spread to other parts of body

Led by Professor Jean Paul Thiery, Senior Principal Investigator, and Dr Ruby Huang, Principal Associate, both from CSI Singapore, the scientists developed a scoring scheme which monitors the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) mechanism. This process was shown to play a role in a large number of cancer-related events, including cancer invasion, metastasis, and chemo-resistance…

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Classification of gene mutations in a children’s cancer may point to improved treatments

“Some mutations are more important than others,” said Ya�l P. Moss�, MD, a pediatric oncologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and a co-leader of the new study published online today in the journal Cancer Cell. “By integrating biochemistry into our clinical strategies, we can better match a patient’s specific ALK-mutation profile with an optimum treatment.” Moss� is also an assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. “Understanding the specific mutations that trigger signals in cell receptors to stimulate cell growth will help us identify biomarkers for specific subtypes of neuroblastoma,” said study co-leader Mark A…

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