MSK1 Protein Research May Answer Why Some Breast Cancer Stays Dormant

MSK1 Protein Research May Answer Why Some Breast Cancer Stays Dormant
MSK1 Protein Research May Answer Why Some Breast Cancer Stays Dormant

Scientists have long been puzzled by the process of metastasis in breast cancer and what causes the cells to lie dormant. A recent study revealed valuable information that can pay off with more effective breast cancer treatment.

Understanding Latency in Breast Cancer Metastases

Researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona set out to study estrogen-positive (ER+) breast tumors that feature long periods of asymptomatic latency. This type accounts for 80 percent of breast cancer cases.

The Barcelona team identified a protein kinase called MSK1 as the primary regulator of dormant metastases. After examining clinical samples from patients, the researchers determined that ER+ breast cancer tumors that don’t express MSK1 tend to suffer earlier relapse, while those that do express MSK1 experience later metastases.

Breakthrough in Breast Cancer Treatment

Head researcher Roger Gormis explained that little was previously known about why breast cancer metastasis time varies from one patient to another. Study results also showed that suppressing MSK1 causes faster-growing cancer cells that have a greater chance of metastasizing.

Benefits of the study are two-fold:

– Doctors may be better able to identify patients who are more likely to relapse and adjust treatment protocol.

– Scientists may be able to develop a treatment that mimics the role of MSK1, thereby keeping metastasis dormant for as long as possible.

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New Blood Test Created by Johns Hopkins to Screen for Eight Cancers

New Blood Test Created by Johns Hopkins to Screen for  Eight Cancers
New Blood Test Created by Johns Hopkins to Screen for Eight Cancers

Early detection often makes the difference in successful cancer treatment. Thanks to a newly developed blood test, doctors will soon be able to screen for eight of the more common types of cancer.

Focusing on Early Stage Cancer Detection

CancerSEEK was developed by a team of scientists at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. It screens for cancers of the ovaries, liver, stomach, pancreas, colorectum, lung and breast. Collectively, these types are responsible for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.

Based on the idea that circulating tumor DNA mutations can be specific cancer markers, the researchers set out to study several hundred genes and 40 protein markers. They finally ended up with segments of 16 genes and eight proteins, with the small mutation panel minimizing the possibility of false-positive results.

According to Nickolas Papadopoulos, senior author of the study, the team was inspired by the concept of using combinations of drugs for cancer treatment. When the test was administered to 1,005 patients with non-metastatic cancer, its median overall sensitivity to cancer was 70 percent with only seven false-positives.

The Future of CancerSEEK

Researchers are proceeding to larger studies of CancerSEEK. They project that once the test is approved for use the cost will be less than $500, and primary care providers will be able to administer the test with other routine blood work.

Cancer Treatment for Therapy-Resistant Tumors

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Protein Blocking May Play a New Role in New Testicular Cancer Treatment

Protein Blocking May Play a New Role in New Testicular Cancer Treatment
Protein Blocking May Play a New Role in New Testicular Cancer Treatment

What options does a patient have when traditional forms of cancer treatment fail? In the case of testicular cancer, scientists found a new combination of treatments that may provide added hope.

Overcoming Resistance to Cancer Treatment

Testicular germ cell tumors are a form of cancer found most commonly in younger men. A research team at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, encouraged by earlier work at the facility, examined the function of a certain type of protein in the development of testicular cancer.

The team focused specifically on insulin growth factor receptor-1. They discovered that IGF1R, as the protein is also called, was more active in some testicular cancer cells as opposed to normal tissue. Using chemical inhibitors, the researchers were able to deplete the supply of IGF1R or curtail its activity, thereby reducing cell growth.

In addition, blocking IGF1R activity in previously drug-resistant cells made them more receptive to platinum-based chemotherapy. The team is hopeful that the two treatments, used in tandem, will be more successful in killing testicular cancer cells.

What Does the Future Hold?

Receptor tyrosine kinases, the class of proteins that includes IGF1R, are linked to cell growth and division in several other types of cancer. Clinical trials have tested the use of IGF1R in hopes that they may have positive results in other applications.

Effective Cancer Treatment for Therapy-Resistant Tumors

For decades, Issels® has been helping patients with advanced and therapy-resistant cancer achieve long-term remission. Contact us to learn how we are continuing the legacy of our founder, Dr. Josef M. Issels, who was a pioneer in the field of immunotherapy for cancer.

Seed Money from Give Hope Will Help to Fund Pancreatic Cancer Research

New Cancer Research Is Improving Treatment
New Cancer Research Is Improving Treatment

Nearly everyone in America has been touched by cancer, whether it’s through personal experience or that of a friend or family member. One woman literally turned her loss into hope for continued research in immunotherapy for cancer and other treatments.

Sorrow Gives Rise to Hope

Susan Hunt’s experience came when her best friend Beth was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Hunt mourned the time they lost together, but she challenged her grief into Give Hope, the all-volunteer group she founded to raise seed money for continued research into new treatments and possible cures.

When it comes to cancer research, scientists are faced with a catch-22: they need data to present to the big cancer foundations in order to secure research grants, but they require money to generate the data in the first place. Give Hope has provided major funding for pancreatic cancer studies at the University of Cincinnati.

“Bench to Bedside”

Dr. Syed Ahmad of UC’s Cancer Institute used the term “bench to bedside” to sum up the research process. Every idea begins on a laboratory bench, where it’s nurtured with time and resources until it ends up at a patient’s bedside.

According to Hunt, the seed money raised by Give Hope has generated nearly $2 million in pancreatic cancer research funding for UC. University officials explained that after three years, the Cancer Institute receives $35 for every one dollar in seed money.

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Using Viruses to Boost the Immune Response in Immunotherapy

Medical Research Has Validated that Immunotherapy Works to Fight Cancer
Medical Research Has Validated that Immunotherapy Works to Fight Cancer

When it comes to your health, viruses are usually thought of as something to avoid. New studies have shown that infecting tumors with viruses can actually boost the beneficial effects of immunotherapy for cancer.

Helping the Immune System Target Tumors

Your body’s immune system is the primary line of defense against invading cells. One of the barriers to successful cancer treatment has been the ability of cancer cells to evade detection, leaving them free to grow unchecked.

On the other hand, the immune system has an excellent ability to recognize viruses. Two separate studies show evidence that cancer-targeting viruses might be able to trigger an immune attack on tumors.

– A team in England injected nine brain tumor patients with a cancer-seeking virus. After the tumors were surgically removed, researchers discovered that the viruses had indeed reached their target, and there were signs that the viral infection caused an immune response.

– Researchers in Canada performed similar tests on mice with breast cancer. The virus was injected directly into the tumors, and while it had little effect on survival rates, the infected mice had fewer instances of tumors spreading.

Viruses and Immunotherapy for Cancer

Professor John Bell, senior author of the latter study, explained that the virus “raises a big red flag” to alert the immune system. He went on to say that the addition of a checkpoint inhibitor enables a full-force immune attack.

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The non-toxic, individually developed immunotherapy for cancer treatments at Issels® are directed at enhancing the power of your own immune system. Contact us to learn more about our integrative programs.

Properties of Breast Tissue May Play a Role in Cancer Progression

There is New Hope for Breast Cancer Treatment
There is New Hope for Breast Cancer Treatment

Doctors have found some success with immunotherapy for cancer during the late stages of the disease, but the mystery of what causes certain tumors to spread has remained unsolved. Scientists are now turning to a surprising source for information about breast cancer progression.

A Matter of Engineering?

Ovijit Chaudhuri, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been working with researchers across campus exploring the mechanical properties of breast tissue and their role in cancer progression. According to Chaudhuri, evidence supporting this relationship has been accumulating over the last 20 years.

Questions being studied by the teams include:

– How does stiffness of breast tissue encourage the growth and spread of tumors? Chaudhuri’s group is culturing mammary cells inside a hydrogel and tuning its stiffness to determine how it affects the development of cancer cells.

– How do cancer cells find their way past the membrane surrounding breast tissue that is seemingly too dense to allow passage? Currently, the scientists theorize that the cells use a combination of enzymes and force to “cut” their way through.

– As surrounding tissue grows in stiffness over time, how do tumors find space to expand?

Mechanobiology: A Complementary Approach

This isn’t the first time that scientists have sought biological information from the field of engineering. The result is the hybrid science of mechanobiology, which studies the interactions of mechanical properties and biological processes.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: Treating Resistant Tumors

At Issels®, our non-toxic immunotherapy programs have helped patients with advanced and therapy-resistant cancers achieve long-term remission. Visit our website for more information about our successful history of personally tailored and integrative cancer treatment programs.