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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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No link found between bladder cancer, use of pioglitazone or rosiglitazone, Avandia — ScienceDaily

Bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the world, with 430,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012. Europe and North America have the highest incidence of bladder cancer, with an even higher incidence in people with diabetes. Bladder tumours overexpress a natural part of the cell machinery, a transcription factor in the cell nucleus known as ‘peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma’ (or PPARγ) that is found in the urothelium (the lining of the urinary tract). Both pioglitazone and rosiglitazone are part of the thiazolidinediones (TZDs) class of drugs, which act as PPARγ agonists, meaning they induce the same action as PPARγ…

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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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Tumor-analysis technology enables speedier treatment decisions for bowel cancer patients

A novel medical-imaging technology, TexRAD, which analyses the texture of tumors, has been shown in trials to enable early diagnosis of those bowel-cancer patients not responding to the standard cancer therapy better than other available tumor markers. Furthermore, the TexRAD markers showed the ability to assess at an early stage the likelihood of survival, distinguishing patients who will have a good prognosis from those having poor prognosis. Dr Balaji Ganeshan, one of the Sussex academics whose research led to the development of the technology, said: “By using TexRAD to scan for subtle anomalies in a tumor’s texture, researchers have been able to spot more quickly when treatments are — or are not — working and adjust treatment accordingly. “And because TexRAD simply provides an additional layer of software analysis of the MRI and CT scans that already exist as part of routine clinical practice, it is non-invasive from the patient’s point of view and potentially cost-effective to the healthcare provider.” The technology is being evaluated in a number of research institutions and university hospitals around the world. …

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Lactose intolerants at lower risk of certain cancers: Study — ScienceDaily

“We found that people with lactose intolerance, who typically consume low amounts of milk and other dairy products, have a reduced risk of lung, breast and ovarian cancers,” says Jianguang Ji, Associate Professor at Lund University and researcher at the Center for Primary Care Research in Malm�. “The risk of cancer was not reduced in relatives of people with lactose intolerance, which indicates that protection against these cancers is related to diet. However, it would be wrong to conclude that milk is a risk factor for these cancers,” emphasises Jianguang Ji. …

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Proton therapy shown to be less costly than some alternative radiotherapy techniques for early stage breast cancer — ScienceDaily

In a cost analysis study based on typical patient characteristics, researchers used Medicare reimbursement codes to analyze allowable charges for eight different types of partial and whole breast irradiation therapies and treatment schedules available to early stage breast cancer patients. Taken together, these represent roughly 98% of the treatment options available to these patients. The cost of proton therapy when used for APBI, introduced to decrease overall treatment time and toxicity, was estimated at $13,833. Comparatively, WBI using IMRT (x-ray) therapy resulted in the highest Medicare charges at $19,599. …

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