Cancer Blog

Here's our collection of cancer-related stories. We sift through a variety of stories and share the issues that we think matter to cancer patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and survivors. Learn about current events in the cancer community, human interest stories, and promising technology and treatment advances. Tell us what you think in the Comments section at the bottom of each post.

Note: The information contained in this service is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in the service is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment of any illness, condition or disease.



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Blood Scanner Prototype Pinpoints Cancer Markers

by: cancercompass

Stanford researchers have developed a blood scanner prototype they say can identify cancer markers in the early stages of the disease. That's according to a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The blood scanner uses magnetic nanotechnology to detect proteins associated with cancer, according to a ScienceDaily article on the report. The device can also detect multiple proteins at once, which researchers claim could help detect cancers sooner and help build a more effective treatment plan.

Magnetic nanotechnology helps tag cancer proteins with tiny magnetic particles, which cause a magnetic signal in the blood that can be easily detected, reports ScienceDaily.




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New Compounds Destroy Breast Cancer Tumor in Mice

by: cancercompass

A university professor has created two new compounds that could kill breast cancer tumors, reported ScienceDaily earlier this month.

James Turkson, Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida created two compounds that have disrupted the formation and spread of breast cancer tumors in mice. No adverse effects were observed in the mice, which effectively had the two compounds break up cancer causing proteins called STAT3.

When the STAT3 protein becomes abnormally active it supports breast cancer cells by creating a network of blood vessels to feed cancer cells, reports ScienceDaily, adding that the protein eventually promotes the spread of cancer to the blood, bones and organs.

Turkson's compounds prevent STAT3 proteins from binding, thus preventing the proteins from staying abnormally active.

Turkson's research has been published in the academic journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and ACS Chemical Biology. ScienceDaily also notes the professor has patents for both compounds.




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Researchers Discover Molecule that Attacks Cancer Cells

by: cancercompass

Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center have successfully created a molecule that simultaneously attacks two separate molecules appearing on a cancer cell's surface, reports ScienceDaily.

The antibody-like molecule, nicknamed "ALM" by Fox Chase researchers, may slow cancer progression, or become a guidance system for delivering more aggressive drug therapies directly to cancerous cells, researchers told ScienceDaily. Their research findings appear in this month's British Journal of Cancer.

Most naturally occurring antibodies bind only to one specific target at a time, but researchers say ALM attaches simultaneously to two separate targets. ALM's specific targets are signaling proteins, ErbB2 and ErbB3, which researchers say connect to form a growth-promoting complex on the surface of many different cancer cells.  This growth-promoting complex is often found in head and neck cancer along with drug-resistant breast cancer.

ALM was created by taking the "active anti-ErbB2 portion from one antibody and linking it with the anti-ErbB3 portion from another," reports ScienceDaily.  Researchers, who like to refer to ALM as a delivery system and not a "warrior," say the molecule preferentially targets tumors cells with excess receptor complex over normal cells.

Rather than kill cancer cells, ALM is better suited to deliver cancer-killing drugs, researchers told ScienceDaily.




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3D Doppler Technology Helps Spot Breast Malignancies

by: cancercompass

3D Doppler technology contributes significantly to evaluating suspicious breast lesions, researchers report in this month's issue of Radiology.

Researchers from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor studied 78 women with palpable or mammographic abnormalities that were already confirmed by biopsies. Of the 78 lesions, 46 were benign and 32 were malignant.

A series of color Doppler images were acquired for each patient to reconstruct the volume of a suspicious mass. There were six Doppler vascularity measurements calculated. Radiologist grayscale ratings and patient's age were all taken into account.

The researchers concluded that the images produced by 3D Doppler technology helped "considerably" to identify malignant breast tissue.




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FDA Approves Chemo Patient Anti-Nausea Patch

by: cancercompass

Cancer patients will soon get additional help combating nausea, one of the most common side effects associated with chemotherapy treatment.

Yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of the first anti-nausea patch for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The patch is called Sancuso. Worn on the upper arm, Sancuso delivers a steady dose of the anti-nausea drug granisetron for a period of five days.

The Sancuso patch was developed by ProStraken, a Scotland-based company. The patch is expected to be available to chemotherapy patients by the end of this year.




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New Breast Cancer Screening Technique

by: cancercompass

A screening technique called molecular breast imaging (MBI) is making headlines as a powerful breast cancer detection tool.

According to a recent research study, MBI performed 3 times better than mammography in detecting breast cancer tumors in women with dense breast tissue.

Mammogram X-rays frequently have trouble detecting small tumors in women with dense breast tissue. About 25% of women 40 and older have dense breast tissue.

Using the MBI technique, patients receive a radioactive agent injection that is absorbed by cancer cells in the breast tissue. Using specialized cameras, doctors are able to identify the tumors.

Researchers expect MBI to be used as an additional tool for detecting cancer in women with dense breast tissue.

The MBI research is one of a number of studies being presented this week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 2008 Breast Cancer Symposium in Washington, D.C.




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Predicting Lung Cancer With Mouth Testing

by: cancercompass

A Reuters article in Scientific American discusses the possibility that tests showing cell damage to the lining of the mouth may be able to predict lung cancer in smokers.

The hope of researchers is that at some point in the future, it may be possible to swab the mouths of smokers to predict who is developing lung cancer; preventing the need to perform painful and dangerous biopsies of the lung.

In a statement, Dr. Li Mao, a head, neck and lung cancer expert at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston stated, "Our study opens the door to enhancing our ability to predict who has higher probability of getting tobacco-related cancers." Mao continued, "Not only lung cancer, but pancreatic, bladder and head and neck cancers, which also are associated with tobacco use."

Mao hopes that this process may also lead to tests that predict other types of cancer.

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