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Concurrent chemoradiation treatment at high-volume facilities improves survival for NSCLC

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related death in the US with 159,000 deaths and 224,000 diagnoses each year, with NSCLC accounting for 85% of the cases. The stage of lung cancer is determined based on the size of the tumor, the extent and location of lymph node involvement, and whether or not the tumor has metastasized to distant regions. Approximately one quarter of NSCLC cases are diagnosed at stage III, with only 25% of those patients surviving at least 5 years. …

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New tool provides maps of protein interactions for 2,800 diseases

Scientists working in the Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology Lab have included the more than 23,000 documented genetic mutations that affect the function of 2,000 proteins in an open-access web tool, and have positioned them on the map of known interactions between human proteins. dSysMap can be accessed free of charge at http://dsysmap.irbbarcelona.org, and scientists from around the world can add their data in an anonymous manner. Developed entirely at IRB Barcelona, dSysMap (“Disease-mutations Systemic Mapping”) provides molecular details about how mutations in certain proteins alter interactions with other proteins, thus affecting the correct funcion of cellular processes. The tool has explained, for example, why mutations in a single protein can cause two distinct diseases or why mutations in different proteins can trigger the same condition. …

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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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Diagnostic tool Oncotype DX associated with reduction in chemotherapy rates post-surgery in younger women with breast cancer — ScienceDaily

Mariana Chavez Mac Gregor, M.D., assistant professor, health services research and breast medical oncology, will present the findings at a poster session of the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Oncotype DX is a 21-gene assay used to help estimate the likelihood of recurrence in women with early-stage breast cancer and, thus, determine those who may or may not benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network includes its use for women with lymph node-negative, hormone receptor (HR)-positive and HER2-negative disease. …

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‘Landmark’ results for curing hepatitis C in liver transplant patients

The investigational three-drug regimen, which produced hepatitis C cure rates of 97 percent, is an oral interferon-free therapy. Previously, the typical treatment for hepatitis C after a liver transplant was an interferon-based therapy, usually given for 48 weeks. It had a much lower response rate, had a risk of organ rejection and was poorly tolerated because of the immunosuppressants required to prevent rejection. The new oral regimen — ABT-450, ombitasvir and dasabuvir (with or without ribavirin) — produces significantly fewer side effects and is prescribed for 24 weeks…

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Survival rates in pediatric umbilical cord transplants may indicate a new standard of care

The research, led by John Wagner, Jr., M.D., director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation program at the University of Minnesota and a researcher in the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, compared outcomes in children with acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome who received transplants of either one or two units of partially matched cord blood. The study was conducted at multiple sites nationwide, between December 2006 and February 2012. Coordinating the study was the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) in collaboration with the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium and the Children’s Oncology Group. …

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New prostate cancer screening guideline recommends not using PSA test — ScienceDaily

“Some people believe men should be screened for prostate cancer with the PSA test but the evidence indicates otherwise,” states Dr. Neil Bell, member of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and chair of the prostate cancer guideline working group. “These recommendations balance the possible benefits of PSA screening with the potential harms of false positives, overdiagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.” For men with prostate cancer diagnosed through PSA screening, between 11.3% and 19.8% will receive a false-positive diagnosis, and 40% to 56% will be affected by overdiagnosis leading to invasive treatment…

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