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Study revises theory of how PTEN, a critical tumor suppressor, shuts off growth signals

Today, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) publish new evidence explaining precisely how the protein encoded by PTEN (called PTEN) works — specifically, how it is recruited to particular locations in our cells where pro-growth signals need to be shut off. The new evidence, assembled by a team led by CSHL Associate Professor Lloyd Trotman, contradicts a long-held assumption about PTEN function, and could help scientists design more effective drugs to counteract cancer’s hallmark trait, uncontrolled cellular growth…

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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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Study sheds new light on asthma, COPD

“The new study lays the groundwork for developing treatments for diseases such as asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis and even certain cancers,” said senior author Thomas J. Brett, PhD, assistant professor of medicine. “It also solves a 20-year mystery about the role of a protein that has long been associated with these diseases.” The study appears March 17 in the journal eLife. …

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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 breast cancer test links immune ‘hotspots’ to better survival

Researchers used statistical software previously used in criminology studies of crime hotspots to track the extent to which the immune system was homing in and attacking breast cancer cells. The test, described in the journal Modern Pathology, could assess whether a woman’s immune system is holding a cancer at bay — and pick out those who will need intensive treatment to combat their more aggressive disease. Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, analysed tumour samples from 245 women with a type of breast cancer called oestrogen receptor negative (ER negative), which is particularly hard to treat. …

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Gene that pushes normal pancreas cells to change shape identified

Their findings, reported in Nature Communications, suggest that inhibiting the gene, protein kinase D1 (PKD1), and its protein could halt progression and spread of this form of pancreatic cancer, and possibly even reverse the transformation. “As soon as pancreatic cancer develops, it begins to spread, and PKD1 is key to both processes. Given this finding, we are busy developing a PKD1 inhibitor that we can test further,” says the study’s co-lead investigator, Peter Storz, Ph.D., a cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic…

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