Category Archives: SPOTLIGHT

Uranium Exposure, Skin Cancer: Study May Help Explain Link

The varying health risks from exposure to natural uranium are well established, but Diane Stearns, professor of biochemistry at Northern Arizona University, and her team have been trying to determine if there is a link between uranium exposure and skin cancer, stating that skin may have been overlooked in the past. In a recent article published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, the NAU team shared results from a study that explored photoactivation of uranium as a means to increase its toxicity and ability to damage DNA. …

Prostate cancer screening reduces deaths by a fifth: Large, long-term European trial

Despite this new evidence for the effectiveness of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing to reduce mortality, doubts as to whether the benefits of screening outweigh the harms remain, and routine PSA screening programmes should not be introduced at this time, conclude the authors. The European Randomised study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) began in 1993 to determine whether screening men for PSA reduces deaths from prostate cancer. …

Gene increases risk of breast cancer to one in three by age 70

In a study run through the international PALB2 Interest Group a team of researchers from 17 centres in eight countries led by the University of Cambridge analysed data from 154 families without BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, which included 362 family members with PALB2 gene mutations. The effort was funded by the European Research Council, Cancer Research UK and multiple other international sources. Women who carried rare mutations in PALB2 were found to have on average a 35% chance of developing breast cancer by the age of seventy…

Powerful new system for classifying tumors revealed

“It’s only ten percent that were classified differently, but it matters a lot if you’re one of those patients,” said senior author Josh Stuart, a professor of biomolecular engineering at UC Santa Cruz. Stuart helped organize the study as part of the Pan-Cancer Initiative of the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project…

Cell mechanics may hold key to how cancer spreads, recurs

Some particularly enterprising cancer cells can cause a cancer to spread to other organs, called metastasis, or evade treatment to resurface after a patient is thought to be in remission. The Illinois team, along with colleagues in China, found that these so-called tumor-repopulating cells may lurk quietly in stiffer cellular environments, but thrive in a softer space. The results appear in the journal Nature Communications…

Brain tumors fly under body’s radar like stealth jets, new research suggests

Like a stealth fighter jet, the coating means the cells evade detection by the early-warning immune system that should detect and kill them. The stealth approach lets the tumors hide until it’s too late for the body to defeat them. The findings, made in mice and rats, show the key role of a protein called galectin-1 in some of the most dangerous brain tumors, called high grade malignant gliomas…

Four in 10 pancreatic cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes

Every year 8,800 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK but survival rates remain very low, with only three per cent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer surviving their disease for five years or more after their diagnosis. Cancer Research UK has made pancreatic cancer research a priority, and has the bold ambition to more than double its annual spend of £6million on research into the disease over the next five years. The charity is investing in fundamental biology investigating how the cancer spreads as well as trials looking at boosting the effectiveness of the standard chemotherapy treatments in pancreatic cancer patients. While more research is needed to find better ways of diagnosing and treating the disease, there is evidence to suggest that some pancreatic cancers are linked to being overweight and to smoking — and almost four in 10 could be prevented by lifestyle changes to address this…