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Marihuana
Shrinks Lung Cancer Tumors

(RRC - RI) -- Harvard researcher Anju Preet says a compound in marihuana, THC, cut lung tumor growth in half in lab animals and helped prevent metastasis in others.  Preet says THC boosting anti-inflammatory properties of endocannabinoids found on lung cancer cells.

After  injections of THC mouse tumors shrank about 50 percent in  three weeks compared  to untreated tumors.

Other research suggests THC also could help fight brain, prostate, and skin cancers.

 

New Pancreatic Vaccine

(RRC, RI) -- Doctors at Johns Hopkins are giving a select group of patients a new pancreatic cancer vaccine after surgery and again after chemo and radiation.  The results appear to be  dramatic.

Pancreatic cancer kills 30,000 Americans annually. Surviving more five years with it is rare.

Ron Windle, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three years ago, never imagined he'd be alive and still walking hand-in-hand with his wife three years later.

"I was afraid," Windle says. "I still have many things to do in life."

After surgery, chemo and radiation, he had only a 20-percent chance of surviving five years...but then he enrolled in a clinical trial to test the new vaccine.

Daniel Laheru, M.D., an oncologist at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins said that the vaccine uses a form of genetically altered cells to create a molecule that lures immune cells and then retrains them to recognize the tumor as cancer and fight it!

According to Dr. Laheru, "Essentially, the vaccine teaches the immune system to recognize pancreas cancer cells as being foreign and attack them, leaving healthy cells alone."

So far, he says results have been encouraging, with  76 percent of patients still alive after two years, compared to only 42 percent of patients who received just chemo and radiation.

Windle, however, is completely cancer-free!

"I'm sure the vaccine is why I'm here today. I've had many MRIs and cat scans, and there's no sign of cancer. None," he says.

The vaccine is injected eight weeks after surgery and again after chemo and radiation.

Another study to refine the vaccine's targets will start in RI. If the results are positive, John Hopins will immediately apply for FDA approval.

Details: Johns Hopkins
 

Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rates Enchanced

(RRC, RI)  A multi-center research trial now confirms, beyond doubt, that combining chemo-therapy with radiation after surgical removal of pancreatic cancer significantly improves survival rates.

Patients with pancreatic cancer, a notoriously difficult-to-treat cancer with poor survival rates, have good reason to be encouraged.

The study, conducted at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and the Centre Hospitalier Lyon Sud in France, is published in the August issue of the British Journal of Cancer.

"This study built on previous research that showed that the use of a particular chem-therapy agent (gemcitabine) plus radiation therapy might improve survival rates for patients with this devastating cancer," said A. William Blackstock, M.D., associate professor of radiation oncology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead investigator.

The study evaluated a combination of six weeks of daily radiation therapy, concurrent with twice-weekly doses of gemcitabine, followed by two cycles of maintenance doses of gemcitabine alone.

Between June 1999 and October 2003, 46 patients were evaluated. The majority (70%) had advanced pancreatic cancer (known as T-3/ T-4) with involvement of the lymph nodes.

The median survival for all the patients in the study was 18.3 months, compared to a national average of only 11 months for patients having surgery alone. Twenty-four percent (24%) of the study participants were still alive at three years and 69% at one year.

"The results are promising because they may reflect not only longer survival of these patients, but also an improved local-regional control of the disease. In addition, because lower doses of gemcitabine were used, it proved to be a less toxic approach to treatment," said Blackstock.
 


New Method Twice as Effective at Spotting
Breast Cancer

(RRC, RI) -- Johns Hopkins scientists say screening body fluids for certain kinds of cells and their genetic blueprint is twice as accurate at spotting breast cancer cells as a pathologist’s view with a microscope.

n the June 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, the scientists say they have tested their screening tool on breast fluid, in search of cells shed from growing tumors. 

“This screening method can see what the eye cannot,” says Sukumar, who is the Barbara B. Rubenstein Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. “It can be a valuable tool, in combination with pathological review, for breast cancer as well as other diseases where fluid can be obtained relatively easily, such as lung, head and neck cancers, pancreatic and cervical cancer.”

Sukumar’s test searches for unusually high amounts of chemical tags embedded by a process called methylation within critical regions of DNA. The tags attach to the “on” switch of genes which starts the message-manufacturing process. Cancer cells have abnormal levels of methylation, which turns the gene switch off halting the assembly line of critical proteins found in normal cells.

The Hopkins test, called quantitative multiplex methylation-specific PCR or QM-MSP, determines the percentage of methylation present in each of five to ten cancer genes.

Cytopathologists correctly identified seven of 21 (33 percent) fluid samples containing cancer, and ruled out the disease in nearly all cases negative for cancer (92 of 93 samples, 99 percent). QM-MSP doubled the cancer detection rate to 71 percent by spotting 15 of 21 samples known positive for cancer. Of 76 samples negative for cancer, QM-MSP concurred on 63 (83 percent).


Better Catheter Option For Male Cancer Patients

(RRC - RI) -- So-called "indwelling catheters" are painful and dangerous for male patients who don't need them -- causing numerous infections, some of which are deadly, a recent study shows.

A new study reveals, however, that tight-fitting "condom catheters" reduce infection by 80 percent, are more comfortable, less likely to fall off than older types, and much less likely to result in death.

Since 25 percent of hospitalized patients are catheterized, the study conclusions could have striking implications for hospital patients as well as those in nursing homes and other settings, according to study leader, Sanjay Saint, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Patient Safety Enhancement Program and an associate professor of general medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Saint says UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) are a common hospital problem that lead to fevers, prolonged stays and needless deaths.

The first-ever randomized controlled trial comparing so-called "in-dwelling" to "condom" catheters, showed striking declines in infection and death rates among men who didn’t have dementia and didn’t need indwelling catheterization. (See: July Journal of the American Geriatrics Society).

The study’s authors are Samuel R. Kaufman, M.A. and Mary A.M. Rogers, Ph.D., of U-M and the Ann Arbor VA, and Paul D. Baker, ARNP, and Kathleen Ossenkop, ARNP, of the VA Puget Sound. The study was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA/U-M Patient Safety Enhancement Program (PSEP), Mentor Corp., and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.

 


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Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine Gives Patients New Hope

(RRC - RI) --  Pancreatic cancer kills 30,000 American cancer patients every year.  Another 30,000 are newly diagnosed every year.  Chances of living more than five years with pancreatic cancer are low, but researchers are changing that.  Ron Windle, for instance, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three years ago.  Doctors operated, treated him with the usual rounds of chemo and radiation, and told him he had a 20 percent chance of surviving five years.  He thought he'd be dead or, at the very least, incapacitated by now.  Instead, he's walking hand in hand with his wife, and is still very much alive! 

Why?  Johns Hopkins University doctors gave him a pancreatic cancer vaccine.  Daniel Laheru, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University, says the vaccine "taught" Ron's immune system to recognize and attack pancreatic cancer cells ...leaving healthy cells alone.  Seventy-six percent of similarly vaccinated patients are still alive after two years, compared to 42 percent of those traditionally treated. Details




 

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Cancer
&
Dietary Supplements?

(The following excerpt is from the book:
Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrative Approach
by Lise Alschuler, ND and Karolyn A. Gazella)
 

The world of dietary supplements can be overwhelming. The vast variety of products available and conflicting information make the supplement seas hard to navigate. To help you chart your course, we've done a lot of research and have compiled our findings in the "Integrative Cancer Care Supplement Guide". Because different types of cancer require different supplement programs, we'll provide details about specific supplements in each of the cancer overviews. There is no question that some herbs and nutrients can stimulate strong and directed immune activity, influence hormones, help balance blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation. Supplements can also be used to support optimal digestion, detoxification, and elimination. Some specific herbs and nutrients even have direct anticancer effects. And finally, for those undergoing conventional cancer treatments, certain supplements can help offset side effects.

Here are some general guidelines to follow when using dietary supplements:

  • Herbs and nutrients can interact with other drugs, so be sure to consult with a qualified integrative health-care practitioner such as a naturopathic physician or pharmacist about potential interactions and contra indications.

  • Always tell your physicians which herbs and nutrients you are taking; even if they aren't familiar with your supplements, they need to know that you're taking additional substances.

  • The quality of supplements is variable; consult with a knowledgeable integrative health-care provider such as a naturopathic physician or pharmacist about how to obtain high-quality supplements. Also look for independent, third-party validation of quality.

  • Be careful of cancer cure claims associated with some dietary supplements.

  • The science of herbs and nutrients to prevent and treat cancer is evolving quickly, so be sure to consult someone you trust to develop the safest and most effective supplement program-preferably a naturopathic physician, an integrative health-care doctor or nurse practitioner, or someone on the staff of a clinic or a hospital that consistently uses nutrients and herbs in treatment plans. Consult with this person regularly, especially whenever your conventional treatment plan changes, so that you can benefit from the most up-to-date information and receive the best support.


Oftentimes, people with cancer hope to find a supplement program that's both simple and effective -- just one or two supplements they can add to their treatment plan not only as additional dietary "insurance" but also as complementary therapy. However, because there are so very many different supplements available and, unfortunately, so many different forms of cancer, it's nearly impossible to provide simple recommendations that apply to all forms of cancer. Nontheless, there are some shining stars that have been scientifically shown to have anticancer potential and that are also generally considered safe.

It can be difficult to get enough nutrients from food due to a variety of reasons, including poor quality of the food as a result of soil depletion, food processing and packaging, or food preparation. Even those with relatively healthy diets may be deficient in certain nutrients. This issue is compounded for some people with cancer. As mentioned, cancer commandeers nutrients, leaving healthy tissues depleted. Plus, many cancer patients experience loss of appetite or have digestive or absorption issues, especially when undergoing conventional treatments. Therefore, a comprehensive multivitamin-multimineral supplement is usually a good idea. In addition, we recommend the following key nutrients:

  • Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation, support apoptosis in cancer cells, help balance hormones, and support antitumor immune activity. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil -- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -- are especially beneficial.

  • Green tea interferes with carcinogenesis in multiple places, supports apoptosis in a wide variety of cancer types, exerts antiangiogenic actions, supports detoxification, and has demonstrated anticancer activity in most cancers studied.

  • Melatonin in high doses (at least 20 mg) supports apoptosis of cancer cells, reduces the signals for tumor growth, and improves quality of life during active conventional treatment.

Complementing Conventional Treatment

The majority of cancer patients use conventional medicine (surgery, drugs, radiation, or a combination of these) to treat their cancer at some point during their illness. It is vital for these people to realize that conventional medicine and healthy diet, positive lifestyle choices, and dietary supplements are not mutually exclusive (although some care must be taken to ensure that specific supplements aren't contraindicated). In fact, attention to these cornerstones of an integrative approach is absolutely critical before, during, and after conventional treatment.

  • It is safe to incorporate the previous diet and lifestyle guidelines with conventional treatments.

  • Some nutrients and herbs should not be used before surgery, and some should not be used concurrently with some chemotherapy agents or radiation treatments. For safety reasons, it is always best to keep all of your doctors and health-care providers informed about what supplements you're using . 

  • Scientific studies have demonstrated that certain herbs, nutrients, and complementary therapies can help offset side effects of chemotherapy. For instance, L-glutamine can prevent or reduce nerve damage from docetaxel and paclitaxel. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can help protect the heart from damage from doxorubicin. Ginger can reduce nausea after surgery. Acupuncture can be helpful for nausea or pain relief. Mind-body techniques such as mediation, yoga, and guided imagery have also been shown to be effective in helping people cope with cancer, its treatments, and treatment side effects.

Comprehensive Cancer Treatments

Conventional medicine has made incredible advances in the fight against cancer. However, true and deep healing is only possible with a multifaceted and integrative approach that revolves around the individual needs of the patient. We must find a way to address the whole as we consider the sum of our parts. According to Paul Reilly, ND, L.Ac., of the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center, if we change the internal environment that allowed the cancer to grow, we can change the outcome. We need to tackle cancer using integrative and appropriate body-mind-spirit techniques. An integrative treatment plan requires initiative, cooperation, and commitment from all parties involved and should always be focused on your wellness...

(To order the  complete book click this link:  Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrative Approach

 

 

Top 10
Women's Cancer Symptoms

Cancer symptoms show early enough for many types of cancer to be successfully treated. Below are women's top ten early cancer warning signs. If you have them, chances are they are NOT cancer related, but only a doctor can tell for sure. So, listen to your bodies, ladies, and get checked if you have...

1) Pelvic Pain or Pressure Below the Navel that is persistent and not limited to just pre-menstrual syndrome.This is often associated with endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, fallopian tube cancer and vaginal cancer.

2) Abdominal Swelling
and Bloating are common symptoms of ovarian cancer...and are the most ignored symptoms. If you are unable to button your pants or have to go up a size and it is not mentrually related, see your doctor.

3) Persistent Dull Lower Back Pain
can be a symptom of ovarian cancer.

4) Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding is the most common symptom of gynecologic cancer. Heavy periods, bleeding between periods, and bleeding during and after sex are all considered abnormal and may be symptoms of cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer.

5) Persistent Fevers lasting 7 days on and off can be a symptom of cancer.

6) Persistent Stomach Upset or Bowel Changes such as constipation, diarrhea, blood in the stools, gas, thinner stools, or an overall change in bowel habits are reason to see your doctor. They are all symptoms of cancer.

7) Losing More than 10 Pounds Without Trying isn't normal and should be reported to your doctor.

8) Vulva or Vaginal Abnormalities including blisters, sores, changes in skin color, or discharges are causes to see your doctor. Women should exam their vulva and vagina regularly to look for these abnormalities as they, too, are early symptoms of cancer.

9) Changes in the Breast such as soreness, nipple discharges, lumps, dimpling, redness, or swelling should be reported to your doctor as a possible sign of breast cancer.

10) Fatigue is one of the most common cancer symptoms. Fatigue that prevents you from doing normal activities ought to be evaluated by a doctor.

 


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High-fat / Low-carb Slows Brain Tumor Growth

(RRC -- RI) -- KetoCal, a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet designed to treat epilepsy in children, can greatly decrease growth of brain tumors in lab animals.

Professor Tom Seyfried, who over saw the study, said, "While the tumors did not vanish in mice who received the strict KetoCal diet, they got significantly smaller and the animals lived significantly longer. And compared to radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, KetoCal is a relatively inexpensive treatment option."

Malignant brain cancer is one of the most lethal cancers and is the second leading cause of cancer death in children. Many current treatments target tumor cells while also harming the health and vitality of normal brain cells. The KetoCal diet avoids this by starving brain tumor cells of the glucose molecules on which they rely for survival while providing normal brain cells ketones, a class of organic compounds they can metabolize effectively but the tumor cells cannot.

The KetoCal diet decreased the growth of brain tumors by between 35 percent and 65 percent, researchers reported. Moreover, survival rates were higher in the mice on the restricted diet.

The findings were based on a study published this week in the online journal Nutrition & Metabolism.


Pancreatic Cancer: Capsaicin Inhibits Tumor Growth

(RRC, RI) -- Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have discovered an ingredient in red chili pepper, called capsaicin, prevents or slows the growth of pancreatic cancer tumors implanted in lab animals.

Lead investigator Sanjay K. Srivastava said,
"Capsaicin fed orally to mice with human pancreatic tumors was an extremely effective inhibitor of the cancer process, inducing apoptosis (cell death). Capsaicin triggered  cancerous cells to die off and significantly reduced the size of the tumors."

Mice grafted with human pancreatic tumors were fed different amounts of Capsaicin for five days per week or three days per week according to their weight, then researchers compared tumor size and levels of apoptotic proteins in the tumors to a control group of mice that received no capsican.

Mice that ingested Capsaicin had increased levels of proteins associated with apoptosis and significantly smaller tumor sizes than the control group. In fact, tumors were half the size of tumors in non-treated mice, the researchers say.

Capsaicin disrupted the mitochondrial function of cancer cells, which resulted in the release of several apoptotic proteins.  The good news is, capsican did not negatively affect normal pancreatic cells.

" Our results demonstrate that Capsaicin is a potent anticancer agent, induces apoptosis in cancer cells, and produces no significant damage to normal pancreatic cells, indicating its potential use as a novel agent for the prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer," said Srivastava.

Source: Univ. of Pittsburgh Medical Ctr, 2006


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New Cervical Cancer Treatment Extends Lives

(RRC - RI) --  Combining Glaxo's drug, Hycamtin, with other drugs better treats severe cervical cancer when surgery or radiation may no longer work, according to the FDA.

When used with the chemotherapy agent cisplatin, Hycamtin patients lived more than three months longer than those receiving traditional treatments, according to the FDA. Both drugs are already used to treat other cancers, including ovarian and lung and the newly approved combination only should be used, the FDA says, after other options are ruled out when the disease is incurable, recurrent or has spread to other organs.

Hycamtin itself, however, can harm the immune system, lower white blood cell counts crucial to fighting infection, and spawn a range of other side effects including decreasing blood platelets, which can lead to excessive bleeding and anemia.

Nevertheless, FDA Acting Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach says, "This course of drug therapy is a potentially life-prolonging option for thousands of women." 

Read more about Hycamtin hereIt is a small but positive step in fighting cervical cancer.  Prevention, however, made great strides forward when the FDA approved Merck's new vaccine, Gardasil, for preventing human papillomavirus(HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer. Read more about Gardasil here

 


 

 

 

 

 

NEW CANCER TREATMENTS AND BREAKTHROUGHS...

BRAIN CANCER

BREAST CANCER

CANCER IN GENERAL

CERVICAL CANCER

COLON CANCER -- COLORECTAL CANCER

GLIOBLASTOMA

LEUKEMIA

LUNG CANCER

LYMPHOMA

MELANOMA - SKIN CANCER

PANCREATIC CANCER

PROSTATE CANCER


CANCER CURE DISCOVERED?
Leukocyte InFusion 100% Effective!
Now Being Tried on Humans

(RobertsReview - 2008) Scientists are about to embark on a precedent-setting human trial to determine whether a new cancer treatment called Leukocyte InFusion Therapy (LIFT) will be as effective in humans as it has proven to be in mice.

Researchers at Wake Forest University's Baptist Medical Center will transfuse specific white blood cells, called granulocytes, from select donors, into patients with advanced cancers. A treatment using the same type cells from cancer-resistant mice has cured 100 percent of lab mice with advanced malignancies, according to Zheng Cui, Ph.D., lead researcher and associate professor of pathology.

"In mice, we've been able to eradicate even highly aggressive forms of malignancy with extremely large tumors," Cui said. "Hopefully, we will see the same results in humans. Our laboratory studies indicate that this cancer-fighting ability (of granulocytes) is even stronger in healthy humans!"

FDA-approved human trails will use white blood cells from healthy young people whose immune systems produce cells with the highest levels of cancer-fighting activity. The anti-tumor response primarily involves granulocytes of the innate human immune system, a system known for its powerful ability to fight off infections.

Granulocytes account for up to 60 percent of total white blood cells in healthy humans, researchers say, and people can donate granulocytes through a process called apheresis. It separates granulocytes and returns other blood components back to donors, whose systems quickly remanufacture replacement granulocytes.

For the study, 500 potential local donors are being recruited who are 50 years old or younger and in good health. The 100 donors with the highest cancer-killing activity in their cells will be asked to donate white blood cells for the study. Twenty-two cancer patients with solid tumors that don't respond to conventional therapies will receive the donated cells.

To find out how to participate in the trial, including how to donate granulocytes or receive the treatment, go to Wake Forest University Medical Center.  Cancer-killing ability in these cells is highest during the summer, so researchers are hoping to find volunteers who can afford the therapy quickly. For additional information on how to find and participate in this and various other FDA approved trials of the newest cancer treatments, see the TrialsFinder link on this page.

 

Skin Cancer Cured in Patients by Genetic Material from Another Patient Who Beat It

(RobertsReview.com, RI - 2008) -- Immune cells in some cancer patient recognize, attack, and kill cancer cells, leading to full patient recovery.
     Recently Steven Rosenberg at the National Cancer Institute isolated these cancer kiling T cells (tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes) in a patient who had successfully beaten melanoma.  He then  introduced genetic information from them via a harmless retrovirus into the T cells of patients suffering from active cases of potentially deadly melanoma.
     The result?  One month after treatment the new killer T cells made up between 9 and 56 percent of the T cell population in 15 of 17 patients treated!
     Better yet, 18 months after treatment, 2 of the 17 cured themselves of skin-cancer and continued to show high levels of the cancer killing cells in their systems.

 

New Treatment Destroys
Cancer Cells & Tumors

(RRC - RI) -- Scientists at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, in collaboration with the Flemish biotech company, Thrombo-Genics, report the anti-cancer agent "anti-PLGF" not only treats tumors for which other therapies fail, but also enhances effectiveness of existing forms of chemotherapy -- all without side effects!  The findings were published in the prestigious medical journal, CELL.

How it works

All living tissue is supplied with oxygen and nutrients via blood vessels. But tumors grow much more quickly than normal tissue and have a greater need for nutrients. This is why, at a certain stage, tumor cells produce growth factors that stimulate formation of additional blood vessels (called angiogenesis) to feed the tumor.

When formation of blood vessels that feed tumor cells is blocked, the tumor starves to death due to the lack of oxygen and nutrients.  Existing anti-angiogenesis drugs eliminate the most common angiogenesis growth factor but cause serious side effects.  In addition the cancer compensates by producing other growth factors, so that the drugs lose their effect.

For several years now, researchers have been experimenting with a new angiogenetic growth factor: the placental growth factor, or PLGF. PLGF only stimulates blood vessel formation in cancer and other diseases.

Researcher Christian Fischer and his colleagues − under the direction of Peter Carmeliet and in close collaboration with the biotech company ThromboGenics directed by Désiré Collen − have been studying the therapeutic possibilities of anti-PLGF, which retards the action of PLGF. Anti-PLGF not only increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy and the current anti-angiogenesis therapy, but  also inhibits growth and metastasis of tumors resistant to existing drugs. In contrast to current therapies, anti-PLGF does not trigger a ‘rescue operation’ in which other growth factors are produced as compensation.

What's Next?

Favorable evaluation of anti-PLGF as a potential cancer treatment raises hope for a more effective cancer therapy with fewer side effects − which can be used with children and pregnant women, too.  First clinical tests of the new treatment are expected to begin shortly.

Via www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZEysIhDsok you can find a 3D animation which clearly shows the described research.

Patients, researchers, and physicians may submit questions concerning this research via: patienteninfo@vib.be

The research report appears in the journal, Cell (Fischer et al., Anti-PlGF inhibits growth of VEGF(R)- inhibitor resistant tumors without affecting healthy vessels).

 

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New Lymphoma Treatment
Delivers 8+ Yr Survival Rate

But patients are not getting it!

 
(RRC - RI) --  Researchers now report 9 of 10 cancer patients given a relatively new combinative radiation/cancer-killing antibodies treatment are still alive eight years later.
 
In addition, they say 50% with previously untreated follicular lymphoma suffered no relapses since treatment.  Follicular lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph tissue, an important part of the immune system.) is a common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma accounting for about 15% of cases.
 
Treatment stimulates the body's immune system to kill cancer by combining the antibody (tositumomab) with radioactive iodine  administered through infusion.
 
“The advantage is that Bexxar (the treatment) is given in one week, with very little toxicity,” says Mark Kaminski, MD, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor.
 
Traditional chemotherapy requires several months of therapy and is associated with a variety of toxicities and side effects which can include nausea, hair loss, and infections.

86% Still Alive at 8 Years

 
This is the first study to use Bexxar in previously untreated patients.  (The FDA approved Bexxar in 2003 only for treatment of follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in patients who had not responded to initial therapy with the drug Rituxan and who relapsed following chemotherapy.)
 
Seventy-six (76) people with advanced follicular lymphoma (stage III and IV) who had not yet been treated for their disease participated in the eight year study.  Results showed 95% responded positively.  75% had a complete disappearance of any sign of cancer.  Overall survival was 86%. Fifty percent (50%) continued to show no signs of cancer. Of the 57 patients who had complete remission, two-thirds remained in remission.
 
When injected, Bexxar acts like a homing missile, traveling through the bloodstream it zeroes in on a protein "target" found on the surface of cancer cells. Its radiation kills these cells while generally sparing healthy ones.

Why are 90% of patients NOT
getting this treatment?

Regretfully...“Fewer than 10% of patients who could benefit are getting it,” according to Dr. Kaminski.

 
The reason?   Most are initially seen by so-called "medical oncologists" who can easily deliver chemotherapy right in their offices. Bexxar treatment, however, requires coordination between the medical oncologist, the radiation oncologist, the radiopharmacy, and others.
 
Bottom line:  If patients WANT this highle-effective treatment, they FIRST must know about its existence...and then they have to DEMAND it from their doctors who, more often than not...take the "easier, faster, more profitable approach" to treating the patient.

 

Chemo Combo Extends Asbestos Related
Cancer Patient Survival

(RRC - RI) -- Mesothelioma attacks the lungs, heart and abdomen and is associated with exposure to asbestors. Although there is no known cure, a new study shows patients given pemetrexed and cisplatin -- along with the vitamin supplements folic acid and B12 live longer...and better..

Researchers led by John Green, M.D., at the Clatterbridge Center for Oncology in England, studied 448 patients and reported that, "Pemetrexed used in combination with cisplatin significantly increases the length of survival, compared with cisplatin alone."

Patients receiving the combo survived nearly three months longer than patients getting cisplatin alone and reported improved quality of life in terms of fatigue, loss of appetite, pain and cough. During early stages of the trial, however, some patients receiving pemetrexed had serious symptoms of toxicity, including drug-related death. Other side effects included blood cell abnormalities, nausea and diarrhea. These decreased in both frequency and severity after vitamins were added to the treatment.

For more see: Green J, et al. Pemetrexed disodium in combination with cisplatin versus other cytotoxic agents or supportive care for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews RI, Issue 1.

 

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Drug Improves Advanced Colorectal Cancer Survival

(RRC -- RI) -- An effective treatment option for colorectal cancer patients for whom other treatment options have been exhausted – cetuximab – was revealed in research presented at the RI Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer.

Cetuximab, marketed as Erbitux, not only improved survival rates, but slowed progression of the disease, according to a study of 572 colorectal cancer patients conducted by researchers in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Derek Jonker, M.D., assistant professor at the University of Ottawa and study co-chair reported, "This is the first time a single agent biologically targeted therapy has demonstrated a survival advantage in patients with colorectal cancer, and it is also the first time an EGFR-targeting drug has achieved this goal."

The study, called CO.17, was a randomized, multi-center, phase III trial. It compared cetuximab plus best supportive care to best supportive care alone in patients whose metastatic colorectal cancer was no longer responding to all available chemotherapy, including irinotecan, oxaliplatin and fluoropyrimidines.

Patients who received cetuximab were given 400 mg intravenously at the outset, followed by weekly doses of 250 mg.

Cetuximab, an antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), binds to the receptor on the surface of cancer cells, preventing activation of enzymatic pathways that lead to cell growth and proliferation. Cetuximab also enlists the body's immune system by triggering "natural killer cells" to attack the cancer, a process called antibody dependent cell cytotoxicity.

Jonker says the CO.17 trial showed a 23 percent improvement in overall survival and a 32 percent reduction in the risk of disease progression. The survival time of the participants was, on average, six months for the patients given cetuximab versus four-and-a-half months for patients who received best supportive care alone.

"Earlier studies demonstrated cetuximab could shrink colon tumors, both alone and when combined with chemotherapy," Jonker said. "While some patients receiving cetuximab in the CO.17 study had significant tumor shrinkage, many more had the cancer growth arrested, delaying progress of the disease and resulting in patients living longer."

 

Cancer Patients At High Risk For Drug Interactions

(RRC - RI) -- Because Cancer patients often take several medications at once, some are at high risk for adverse drug interactions and duplicate medications. Consequences range from inactivation of cancer-fighting medications to severe injury and patient death, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Rachel Riechelmann, M.D., of Princess Margaret Hospital in Torontosay says nearly a third of the 405 cancer patients they studied were exposed to at least one potential drug interaction. Nearly 280 drug combinations with the potential to interact were also identified! About nine percent of the interactions were of major severity—carrying a risk of death. Nearly 80 percent of interactions were of moderate severity—carrying a risk of serious health problems. About eight percent of the patients received duplicate medications!

To make matters even worse, certain drugs interacted with anticancer medications. The most common were warfarin (a drug to prevent blood clots), antihypertension drugs, aspirin and anticonvulsants. Warfarin stood out because it can cause hemorrhaging when used with some chemotherapy medications, and the interaction can interfere with its metabolism.

Brain tumor patients were at very serious risk of negative drug side effects because they are often prescribed anticonvulsants.

Patients at high risk, therefore, should *insist* on being routinely screened for potential drug interactions. The drug interaction study results can be found at: Riechelmann RP, Tannock IF, Wang L, Saad ED, Taback NA, Krzyzanowska MK. Potential Drug Interactions and Duplicate Prescriptions among Cancer Patients. Journal of the Natl Cancer Institute RI; 99: 592-600

 

 

Halting Breast Cancer Spread

(RRC - RI) -- New York researchers say drugs targeting four genes may stop breast cancer from spreading to the lungs. The troublesome genes -- the EREG gene, the Cox-2 gene, the MMP1 gene and the MMP2 gene -- may be necessary for cancer to spread.

Scientists at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center used three drugs, the cancer drug Erbitux, the anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex, and an experimental anti-inflammatory drug to target the four genes in mice, which had been injected with breast cancer cells.

Cancer cells where all four genes were inactivated had difficulty growing new blood vessels and this stopped cancer from spreading into the lungs. However, in mice where only one of the genes was inactivated, the cancer had no trouble spreading.

Clinical trials of the drug combination are being discussed. You can find trials that you may be ale to participate in by using the TrialsFinder link on this web page.

 

Common Herb Hinders
Pancreatic Cancer

(RRC, RI) --  Triphala, one of the most popular herbal preparations in the world, is used to treat intestinal disorders and is typically taken with water to promote appetite and digestion and to increase red blood cells.

Now, however, a study at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute suggests another use:  It also helps prevent or slow the growth of pancreatic cancer tumors! Triphala, found in the dried and powdered fruits of three plants, causes pancreatic cancer cell death in mice by enhancing apoptosis -- the body's normal method of disposing of damaged cells.

The news was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 14-18, RI.

“Triphala fed orally to mice with human pancreatic tumors was an extremely effective inhibitor of the cancer process," said Sanjay K. Srivastava, Ph.D., lead researcher and assistant professor, Department of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Triphala triggered the cancerous cells to die off and significantly reduced the size of the tumors without causing toxic side effects."

In the experiment, mice grafted with human pancreatic tumors were fed 1 to 2 milligrams of triphala five days a week and then their tumor size and levels of apoptotic proteins in the tumors were compared to those of a control group of mice that had not received the herb.

Researchers found that mice that received triphala had increased levels of proteins associated with apoptosis and significantly smaller tumor size compared to that in the control group. Triphala-treated tumors were half the size of tumors in untreated mice. Triphala, as it turns out, had activated tumor-suppressor genes, resulting in the generation of proteins that support apoptosis, but did not negatively affect normal pancreatic cells.

"Our results demonstrate that triphala has strong anticancer properties given its ability to induce apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells without damaging normal pancreatic cells," said Dr. Srivastava. "With follow-up studies, we hope to demonstrate its potential use as a novel agent for the prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

 

Gene treatment for chemo-resistant metastatic pancreatic, breast, colon, melanoma cancers
FDA GRANTS "ORPHAN" STATUS
PHILLIPINES APPROVE IMMEDIATE USE

(RRC - RI) -- Human clinical results reported in the Internt'l Journal of Oncology reveal 83% of patients with chemo-resistant metastatic pancreatic cancer tumors who received Rexin-G, a new gene therapy, showed impressive tumor reduction or tumor death!

In a second study, 64% tumor response was observed in patients with metastatic breast cancer as well as colon cancer, uterine cancer, muscle and vocal cord cancers, as well as malignant melanomas!

In a third study, where optimally adjusted doses of Rexin-G were administered to three patients, tumor reduction and/or necrosis was achieved in all three patients.

The dramatic functionality of this, the world's first cancer targeted gene delivery system is profound.  The treatment appears to offer broad spectrum activity in many treatment-resistant tumor types, and, equally important, the treatment appears to be exceptionally safe and easily tolerated by patients.

Lack of toxicity, dramatic tumor reduction, and the enhanced quality-of-life experienced by patients receiving Rexin-G during Phase I/II FDA approved trials, constitute meaningful clinical benefits that underscore the need for expediting development and testing of Rexin-G for pancreatic cancer patients, and, potentially, for all solid tumor patients.  The FDA has already taken note of these first human test results and has moved to speed the process of testing and marketing.

Dr. Frederick L. Hall, President and CEO of Epeius Biotechnologies, helped develop the remarkable mew treatment said, "Whereas logistics had previously stymied delivery of genetic medicine to target lesions (tumors) within the body, intravenous infusions of Rexin-G (succeeded and) has stymied intractable cancers without collateral damage to normal organs."

The results compiled in these pioneering early  studies, already have convinced the U.S. FDA to grant Rexin-G "orphan drug" status for treatment of pancreatic cancer, and subsequently, to provide federal support to speed up and continue clinical trials using Rexin-G in the United States.  Other countires aren't waiting: 

Based on the dramatic new results, the Philippine Bureau of Food and Drugs aren't waiting.  They already have granted Rexin-G approval for use in treating all chemo-resistant tumor types in the Phillipines.

Experts Clash On Efficacy of New Brain Cancer Treatment

(RRC, RI)  Children with high-risk medulloblastoma have had only a 30 -40 percent chance of surviving to five years. Now, however, a new experimental treatment that relies on a child's own stem cells dramatically improves the odds.

"We can now cure about 70 percent of children with high-risk medulloblastoma and more than 80 percent of those with standard-risk disease with a much shorter chemotherapy approach," said lead researcher Dr. Amar Gajjar, from St Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

In Sept. 7 online edition of medical journal The Lancet Oncology doctors described the new treatment in which radiation therapy is tailored to fit the severity of the brain cancer. It is then followed by a dramatically reduced course of chemo. To accomplish the reduction researchers took stem cells from patients before chemotherapy and implanted them after each round of chemo.  Researchers report that this allows the chid's body to recover from the extensive damage caused by chemo.

Use of (chemotherapy drug) cisplatin was reduced from eight doses to four doses, and the amount of vincristine from 32 doses to just eight!  This alleviated much of the neurotoxicity associated with the normal chemo dosages.

Gujjar says, "investigators should consider adopting a similar therapeutic strategy for high-risk patients. This approach should be feasible in most pediatric oncology units at academic medical centers, but meticulous staging and careful attention to detail during radiotherapy planning and treatment are essential to obtain similar results."

But Dr. Anna J. Janss, co-director of the Neuro-Oncology Program at the Aflac Cancer Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta -- said the findings won't change her approach to treating childhood brain cancer.

Dr Janss says the results don't make her say: "Oh, I want to treat all my patients this way." She said the new approach is only as good as what has been done before, but not good enough to make her harvest stem cells from every child she treats.
 


Studies Show Cell Phones
Do Cause Cancer

Other Serious Illnesses Also Suspected

(RRC, RI) --  The cell phone cancer connection has been hotly debated for years, but now experts warn mobile phones do, in fact, increase brain cancer, Parkinson’s, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, acoustic neuromas, vision impairment, hypertension, and, perhaps, other health problems.

Global research now proves beyond doubt that continuous exposure to cellphone radiation can lead to many harmful effects according to Dr S. Pattnaik, head and professor of the ETV Centre, Electronics and Communication Engineering, National Institute of Technical Teachers Training & Research (NITTTR), Chandigar, India.

One study includes a three-year $27 million research program headed by George Carlo, a public health researcher, who now says radio frequency radiation from cell phone antennae ‘‘appears to cause genetic damage in human blood.’’

Dr. Pattnaik says his research shows that children are even more vulnerable than adults to mobile phone radiation and that damage varies in correlation with head size, age, duration of exposure, distance of antenna from the body and the user’s posture at the time of phone use.

Dr. Pattnaik warns cell phone buyers to carefully assess the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) when buying. The U.S. FCC SAR limit for the head is 1.6 watt per kg of body tissue. He advises: ‘‘Buy a mobile phone with as low an SAR rating as possible.’’

Do’s and don’ts
* Buy cell phones with low SAR values.
* Use landline when possible.
* Frequent users should use earphones.
* Use phones which keep antennas farthest from the body.
* Keep phones away from body as far as possible.
* Limit children's use of cell phones
* Do not keep cell phones in shirt pockets as they may also interfere with heart function.


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New Vaccines Reversing
Melanoma, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Pancreatic, Prostate Cancer

(RRC, RI) --  When retired surgeon, Dr. Eugene Overton, 74, was diagnosed with melanoma, instead of chemotherapy, which causes devastating side effects, he chose an immune system "booster shot" to fight the often deadly cancer..

He receives injections every three weeks that signal the his immune system to attack malignant cells, much as the body does with viruses and bacteria...only this time the target is cancer cells. And it is working!

Overton boasts he's not only had no recurrence of melanoma, but also no side-effects from the treatment. This is because immunotherapy doesn't damage healthy tissue the way chemotherapy and radiation do..

About 160 immunotherapy approved "trials" are under way in the U.S., some are on the verging of going for FDA approval. Leading the way is the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which three years ago opened a state-of-the-art immunology research center.

One high-profile success is keeping an M.D. Anderson doctor healthy and thriving nearly 15 months after he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer he treats that typically kills its victims well within that time.

Even though prostate and brain cancers are being treated successfully with the approach, the greatest promise involves blood and microscopic cancers.

"It's the first time I've seen usually jaded oncologists excited about the prospects with immunotherapy," Dr. Amy Heimberger, an M.D. Anderson neurosurgeon says. "Suddenly, senior doctors who once pooh-poohed immunotherapy are referring patients to junior researchers in the field."

Oddly, the treatment dates back to 1891 when New York doctor William Coley inoculated cancer patients with live streptococcal cultures and some experienced remissions.
The shot fell by the wayside due to inconsistent results and the growing dominance of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Now, however, researchers have identified "markers" unique to cancer cells that the immune system can be trained to target. They've also discovered naturally occurring, immune system-boosting compounds that can be produced in labs. The result is a new, one-two punch of drugs that energize the immune system and direct it to go after specific cancer cells that it had hardly noticed before.

Dr. Jeff Molldrem, an M.D. Anderson professor of blood and marrow transplantation says, "It's like suddenly having the cancer's postal address and being able to activate the immune system to deliver its blow there."

One M.D. Anderson treatment produced complete responses in a clinical trial for patients with acute myeloid leukemia for which no other intervention had been successful. Another showed that glioblastoma patients survived significantly longer than those treated with current chemo and radiation therapy...and with very few side effects. The Mary Crowley Medical Research Center in Dallas produced responses — sometimes years-long remission — in half of trial participants with a lung cancer that typically kills within four to six months. At the National Cancer Institute, a mix of cancer-specific T cells and a booster produced unheard-of improvement in patients with advanced melanoma.

Johns Hopkins is working on pancreatic cancer, which kills 31,000 Americans annually. To battle it, JH researchers are supplementing surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation with a new vaccine that uses stunted cancer cells that emit a molecule called GM-CSF. It attracts cells that still have immunity to the tumor and causes these cells to come in contact with antigens from cells that have been exposed to radiation. These same cells then travel around the body and annihilate other cancer cells.

Patients receive the vaccination eight to 10 weeks after surgery and again after chemotherapy and radiation. Two years into the study, results are optimistic: Survival rates for the 60 patients in the study are reported to be 88 percent after one year and 76 percent after two years for the rapidly deadly form of cancer, which is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Dr. Daniel Laheru, who heads the study, says the only known cure for pancreatic cancer is surgical removal of the cancer. The setback, he explains, is that only 15 to 20 of every 100 patients can have the surgery because this type of cancer is often not detected early enough. Survival rates, especially in the long-term, were grim under traditional approaches...until now.

Interestingly, immunotherapy sometimes works even better when combined with chemotherapy or radiation, which suppress the immune system! For instance, an M.D. Anderson study recently found immunotherapy helped fight an aggressive form of lymphoma, even though prior chemotherapy had obliterated all the B cells thought necessary to mount an immune defense!

Despite endorsements, a lack of randomized trials in support of the therapy continues to exist. Nevertheless researchers say the greatest strides are being made against cancers where the immune system can fight them in manageable stages, such as in the blood or lymph nodes or in early diagnosis. Late stage tumors, they say, can be attacked, too, but winning the battle against them is more difficult.

 

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Reducing Pancreatic Cancer Deaths by 50%

(RRC, RI) --  A study of 2,000 people for ten years reports eating certain foods reduces the risk of getting pancreatic cancer by 50 percent and helps fight the nation's fourth most deadly disease, if you do get it. The fruits and vegetables that play the biggest roles:

1. Garlic
2. Carrots
3. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli.
4. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or romaine lettuce (not "iceberg").
5. Oranges
6. Onions
7. Beans

People who ate five or more servings of these daily had the lowest incidence of  pancreatic cancer by far.  Meanwhile, diets high in processed meat (sausages, luncheon meats, etc.) may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 70 percent, according to a major study of 180,000 individuals published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. People who ate the most processed meat suffered double the rate of pancreatic cancer as those who ate the least.

Those who ate even non-processed red meats, including pork, beef, and other red meats, had a 50-percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those who ate the least.

The culprit might not be the meat, but nitrate-based preservatives and the cooking method, like charcoal-grilling.
 

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57% of Lung Cancer Patients Survive 2 Years Longer with Thermal Ablation

(RRC, RI) --  According to research in the July issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, utilizing imaging and targeted thermal ablation, can heat and destroy lung tumors, and significantly extend a patients life.

To do it, Interventional Radiologists insert a probe into the tumor. Energy is then transmitted to the tip of the needle to either "cook" or "freeze" the tumor, killing it, says study author Damian Dupuy, M.D. of Rhode Island Hospital, in Providence.

“Only one-third of patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer are eligible for surgery – the rest face the reality of having less than 12 months to live," says Dupuy.   “These new outpatient treatments not only are effective, but allow us to treat patients who historically have no other options.”

Tumors need a blood supply, which they actively generate to feed themselves and grow. Interventional radiologists can attack the cancer and destroy the supply and the tumor from inside the body without medicating or affecting other parts of the body. These minimally-invasive treatments are much easier on the patient than chemo or radiation therapy. Thermal ablation can be given without affecting the patient’s overall health and most people can resume their usual activities in a few days. The treatment usually does not require general anesthesia and is typically performed on an outpatient basis.

Microwave ablation utilizes electromagnetic microwaves to agitate the water molecules in the tumor and surrounding tissue, ultimately reversing the cells’ polarity. This causes friction and heat which kills the cell (coagulation necrosis).

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) kills the tumor cells with heat, while sparing healthy lung tissue. Depending on the size of the tumor, RFA can shrink or kill the tumor, extending the patient’s survival time and improving their quality of life. More information at www.SIRweb.or


Vitamin Cuts Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

(RRC, RI)  Northwestern University and Harvard medical researchers have discovered that taking the recommended US dose of ten microgrammes a day of vitamin D almost halves the risk of pancreatic cancer. Results of their survey of 46,711 men and 75,427 women are published in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. They show that simply taking the minimum U.S. daily allowance of vitamin D reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer by 43%

Those who consumed less than four microgrammes had a 22 per cent lower risk, according to an analysis of the health of more than 120,000 people.

Vitamin D is present in foods such as oily fish, liver and eggs and is also produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. More research is needed to determine if vitamin D from dietary sources...or...the sun may be preferable to supplements.

Dr Halcyon Skinner, of Northwestern University, who carried out the study with Harvard, also said: "Vitamin D has shown strong potential for preventing and treating prostate cancer, and areas with greater sunlight exposure have lower incidence and mortality for prostate, breast and colon cancers, leading us to investigate a role for vitamin D in pancreatic cancer risk. Few studies have examined this association, and we did observe a reduced risk for pancreatic cancer with higher intake of vitamin D."

There is no known cure for pancreatic cancer and surgical treatments are not often effective. Apart from cigarette smoking, no environmental factors or dietary practices have been linked to the disease.


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Pomegranate Keeps PSA Levels Stable in Prostate Cancer

(RRC, RI) -- An eight ounce glass of pomegranate juice daily quadrupled the period during which PSA levels in men treated for prostate cancer remained stable, a three-year UCLA study has found. Details

 

Activation of MicroRNA Inhibits Cancer

(RRC, RI) -- In the medical journal "Cancer Cell", scientists report that they have dramatically reduced cancer-causing genes by activating protective microRNAs in the cancer cell genome. The breakthrough proves that agents known to regulate gene expression can impact regulatory RNAs that may function as tumor suppressors in normal cells.  Details

 

Drug "Strangles" Metastatic
Prostate Cancer Preventing Spread

(RRC, RI) -- A drug used to treat other cancers also strangles drug-resistant meta-static prostate cancer by cutting off its blood supply says a new report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Details
 

Brain Metastases Treatments Compared

Adding whole-brain radiation to focused radiation does not improve survival, but may reduce recurrence of brain metastases, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  Details

 

Doctors Stop Colon Cancer Spread

(RRC, RI) -- Using the newest, most powerful biomedical tools available, researchers have blocked spread of human colorectal cancer using “small interfering RNAs”.  Details


 

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