New Imaging System Identifies If a Breast Cancer Will Respond Favorably to Chemotherapy

New Imaging System Identifies If a Breast Cancer Will Respond Favorably to Chemotherapy
New Imaging System Identifies If a Breast Cancer Will Respond Favorably to Chemotherapy

When it comes to fighting tumors, effective cancer treatment is only part of the equation. Researchers are also seeking ways to determine which patients will be more receptive to a particular course of treatment. A recent study offers encouraging results for a method of predicting breast cancer response to chemotherapy.

Predicting Chemotherapy Response in Breast Cancer Patients

Women newly diagnosed with breast cancer that is invasive but operable frequently undergo neoadjuvant chemotherapy beginning five to six months before surgery. Chances of recurrence are reduced in patients whose cancer cells are completely eliminated by the chemotherapy.

According to Dr. Dawn Hershman, co-leader of the study conducted at Columbia University in NYC, determining which patients are likely to achieve a favorable response makes a significant difference in cancer treatment. If their chances of positive response are low, adjustments can be made for a more effective treatment.

Reading the Clues in 3D Imaging

Based on the idea that chemotherapy affects a tumor’s vascular network, the research team set out to determine if imaging could be used to detect these changes. Blood absorbs light, so the scientists used a system incorporating red and near-infrared lighting.

Armed with 3D images of both breasts, researchers studied the ways in which blood interacted with the tumors. In a group of 34 patients, blood outflow accurately identified 92.3 percent of responders, while increase in blood concentration identified non-responders in 90.5 percent.

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New Swedish Study Shows Selenium-containing Enzyme May Combat Cancer

New Swedish Study Shows Selenium-containing Enzyme May Combat Cancer
New Swedish Study Shows Selenium-containing Enzyme May Combat Cancer

One of the challenges of cancer treatment research is distinguishing between effects on healthy cells and tumor cells. Scientists in Sweden have been focusing on inhibiting a chemical that is beneficial to human health but also promotes the growth of cancer.

The Connection Between Selenium Intake and Cancer

Selenium is a chemical element with a Recommended Dietary Allowance determined by the Food and Drug Administration. An enzyme known as TrxR1 contains selenium, which supports cell growth and protects them from oxidative stress. Raised levels of TrxR1 are also associated with occurrences of cancer, although the causes are not yet understood.

While TrxR1 inhibitors are available, a research team at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden analyzed nearly 400,000 molecules looking for new and more specific versions. Their search turned up three molecules, which the scientists used to treat more than 60 types of cancer cells under laboratory conditions.

Treating Cancer While Sparing Healthy Cells

Healthy cells proved to be far less vulnerable to the TrxR1 inhibitors. Team leader Professor Elias Arner explained that the difference may be caused by cancer cells having a greater vulnerability to oxidative stress than normal cells.

Cisplatin, melfalan and some of the other cancer drugs currently in use contain TrxR1 inhibitors, although not the ones that were the focus of this study. It’s unclear whether the TrxR1 inhibition factor plays a role in the effectiveness of the drugs, but researchers will continue investigating these new molecules as cancer treatments.

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Immunotherapy is Changing Cancer Treatment Again in Exciting New Ways

Immunotherapy is Changing Cancer Treatment Again in Exciting New Ways
Immunotherapy is Changing Cancer Treatment Again in Exciting New Ways

If you think you’ve been hearing the term “immunotherapy” a lot lately, it’s not your imagination. Scientists consider this growing form of cancer treatment to be a game-changer on a par with the polio vaccine and organ transplants.

Researchers Commit to Immunotherapy

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, one of the top-rated health enterprises in the U.S., recently demonstrated their major commitment to immunotherapy research. Earlier this year, they announced plans for a $200 million Immune and Transplant Therapy facility to open in 2020.

UPMC’s newest center will focus on researching treatments to disrupt cancer growth as well as reduce the need for immune-suppressing drugs with transplant patients. Dr. Robert Ferris, director of UPMC’s Hillman Cancer Center, referred to the facility as “swinging for the fences.”

How Immunotherapy Works

Immunotherapy cancer treatments fall into one of two categories:

Checkpoint modulator drugs trigger the body’s own immune cells to attack and destroy cancer cells.

– Cell therapies, such as the recently approved CAR-T therapy, involve harvesting a patient’s T-cells and programming them to fight cancer cells, at which point they are reinfused back into the patient’s system.

Dr. Sandip Patel of the University of California San Diego called immunotherapy a “paradigm shift” in cancer treatment. According to Patel, when immunotherapy is effective, it can lead to a patient’s cancer going into remission for years.

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Huntington’s Disease Produced Molecules Are Fatal to Cancer Cells

Huntington's Disease Produced Molecules Are Fatal to Cancer Cells
Huntington’s Disease Produced Molecules Are Fatal to Cancer Cells

Could a clue to more effective cancer treatment be found in the biochemistry of another illness? Scientists are hopeful that the gene behind Huntington’s disease could be fatal to cancer cells without harming healthy ones.

What Is Huntington’s Disease?

Huntington’s disease is a genetically inherited condition that destroys nerve cells in the brain. There is currently treatment but no cure for the disorder, which causes a slowly progressive decline in both cognitive and physical abilities.

The faulty gene that triggers Huntington’s disease contains an excessive number of repeats of a certain sequence of nucleotides, which form the building blocks of DNA and RNA. These sequences create small interfering RNAs, which are molecules that attack specific genes crucial for cell survival.

“Assassin Molecules”

Brain cells in particular are vulnerable to the cell death caused by small interfering RNAs. Cancer cells are also highly susceptible, which is thought to be the reason why Huntington’s disease patients have such a low incidence of cancer.

A research team at Northwestern University tested these so-called “assassin molecules” on human and mouse cancer cells, including brain, breast, colon and ovarian, that were grown in a laboratory. The small interfering RNAs killed all cancer cells from both humans and mice.

Researchers were encouraged that the treatment also showed no toxicity to healthy cells. Further testing is underway to find a more targeted form of delivery.

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New Research: Light Activated Cancer Medications with Minimal Side Effects

Exploration of New Cancer Therapy Techniques Is on the Horizon.
Exploration of New Cancer Therapy Techniques Is on the Horizon.

A new light may literally be shining on the search for more effective cancer treatment. Scientists are making progress on the creation of cancer drugs that are light-activated and have fewer debilitating side effects.

Fighting the Toxic Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Most of today’s cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy receive cisplatin or another platinum-based compound. These treatments date back more than 50 years, and they attack both healthy and diseased cells, which results in toxic side effects.

A team from the Warwick Monash Alliance, which is an intercontinental collaboration between two universities in the UK and Australia, tested a potential platinum-based chemotherapy drug that is activated by direct light. The inorganic-metal compound has the ability to specifically target and attack cancer cells.

The treatment is completely inert in darkness. Once it’s inserted into a cancerous area, direct light triggers a reaction that causes the compound to degrade into active platinum and release ligand molecules on the diseased cells.

Harnessing the Power of Photoactivation

Peter Sadler, professor of chemistry at the University of Warwick, stated that this discovery has great potential for the development of targeted cancer treatment. Since the light can be focused directly on the tumor, the drug spares healthy tissue and kills only cancer cells.

Turn to Issels® for Effective and Non-Toxic Cancer Treatment

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The Keto Diet May Prove Beneficial to Cancer Patients While in Treatment

What You Put in Your Body Could Be Affecting Your Likelihood of Catching Cancer.
What You Put in Your Body Could Be Affecting Your Likelihood of Catching Cancer.

People are always looking for the next great diet in an effort to lose weight. The recently popular ketogenic diet could have some surprising benefits for patients undergoing cancer treatment.

The Warburg Effect

Cancer cells proliferate via the Warburg effect, named for the scientist who first advanced the idea. Fermentation is a process by which sugars are metabolized to provide energy for bacteria. Sauerkraut and yogurt are some of the more widely-known products of fermentation.

Unlike normal body cells, which derive their energy from mitochondria, cancer cells receive energy from fermentation of glucose within cytoplasm. When a cell starts getting energy from glucose, it can be the first sign of abnormal cell function that ultimately results in formation of a tumor.

The Ketogenic Diet: Starving Cancer Cells

A keto diet plan is low in carbohydrates and high in fat. The science behind it is based on a biological response that dates back to prehistoric times. When food was scarce, the body responded by shifting metabolic gears and using stored fat as fuel.

When the body’s supply of carbs is restricted, it shuts off the flow of glucose and other cancer-promoting fuels. As cancer cells become compromised, the body resumes its normal cellular signaling, putting the brakes on further tumor development.

The keto diet should not be considered a cure for cancer. However, it’s a valuable tool for use in conjunction with immunotherapy and other cancer treatment.

Immunotherapy and Nutrition: A Winning Combination

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