Low-dose aspirin may reduce pancreatic cancer risk

Low-dose aspirin may reduce pancreatic cancer risk

The heart healthy benefits of low-dose aspirin are widely known, but that’s not all this humble little pill could do to save your life. A growing body of research indicates aspirin may also help lower the risk of one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

A new study published Thursday by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health finds aspirin taken daily in small doses could lower incidences of pancreatic cancer by as much as 48 percent.

Pancreatic cancer kills close to 40,000 Americans each year and has a 5-year survival rate of only 5 percent.

“The thought that there’s something that could lower the risk of someone getting pancreatic cancer is remarkable and exciting to me as a physician who has patients who have gotten — and died from — pancreatic cancer,” said. “There’s very little we can do for most people that get pancreatic cancer.”

For the study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers recorded information on aspirin use and medical histories of 362 pancreatic cancer patients and 690 patients who did not have the disease, between 2005 and 2009.

The researchers found that patients who took low-dose aspirin (75 to 325 milligrams) for six years or less had a 39 percent reduced risk for pancreatic cancer, while people who took it for more than 10 years reduced the risk for the disease by 60 percent.

The authors suggested that people with a strong family history of pancreatic cancer or other risk factors for the disease may want to consider a daily aspirin regimen to reduce their risk.

This new paper is one of several indicating that aspirin may safeguard patients from cancer. Other studies have shown aspirin can lower risk for ovarian, colorectal, stomach, esophageal, prostate, breast, lung and skin cancer.

So how exactly could this little over-the-counter painkiller be such an effective cancer-buster?

“Aspirin interrupts the inflammatory pathway in the body,” explained LaPook. “It turns out those same pathways look like they’re part of the pathways that can lead to cancer. If you interrupt those pathways, theoretically that might be the reason why you lower the risk for cancer. We don’t know that for sure, but that’s one thought.”

This promising research could also offer a new route for cancer treatments. “There’s also a suggestion that not only is there a role for aspirin in preventing cancer but possibly in treating a cancer like colorectal cancer,” he said.

However, taking aspirin long-term poses a number of serious health risks. “Aspirin can cause gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding, it can cause bleeding in the brain. These are potentially very serious complications,” said LaPook. “So yet again we say you have to talk to your doctor, you have to weigh the benefits. This is personalized medicine.”

Source: cbs news

Could a New Blood Test Predict Breast Cancer Risk?

blood test for Breast Cancer

Researchers believe they may have a new way to test a woman’s risk for breast cancer, even if she doesn’t have an inherited genetic mutation.

The test looks not for mutations, but for changes to how DNA functions — in this case, the BRCA1 breast cancer gene.

It’s important because most cases of breast cancer are not caused by inherited DNA mutations. About 40 percent of breast cancer cases can be explained by genetic susceptibility, which leaves most to outside causes such as diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol use.

“Women who carry the signature are at particularly higher risk of developing breast cancer in the future,” said Martin Widschwendter at University College London, who led the study.

The researchers looked for changes made by a process called methylation, which can step up or down a gene’s function.

BRCA1 brakes cell growth, stopping the out-of-control proliferation that turns a healthy cell into a tumor.

Widschwendter and colleagues tested blood from women with and without BRCA1 mutations before they ever developed breast cancer. Both groups had similar changes in the DNA methylation, they report in the journal Genome Research.

“It was able to predict breast cancer risk several years before diagnosis,” Widschwendter said. The changes may be caused by factors that raise breast cancer risk, such as obesity and drinking too much alcohol, he says.

The researchers tested their “signature” in three different groups of women and found it could consistently predict who would develop cancer five to 12 years later.

“I think this is a productive direction,” says Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel, director for clinical cancer genetics at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women. It will be diagnosed in more than 200,000 U.S. women this year and will kill 40,000.

There’s a debate over how best to prevent it and who benefits most from screening. Right now, women get conflicting advice on when to get mammograms — starting at age 40 or age 50, depending on who’s talking. And there’s disagreement over how often women should get one — once a year, every other year or even every three years.

A simple test that could show who’s at the highest risk of the most dangerous types of breast cancer could help women decide. “A test could help us tailor screening and risk reduction for women,” said Weitzel. For instance, recent research suggested that women with the very highest risk should remove their ovaries.

“We know that we can change risk,” Weitzel said.

Women at high risk can also take tamoxifen to reduce that risk and those at the very highest risk can consider having mastectomies to reduce — but not eliminate — the likelihood that they will get breast cancer. “Most of us think the absolute risk should be 50 percent or more before you offer surgical removal,” said Weitzel.

The test is far from ready for prime time. Right now it’s not terribly accurate, says Widschwendter. It was only tried in a few women. And the team tested blood. It might be better to test cervical cells, perhaps as a test alongside the regular Pap smear that many women get, because these cells respond to the same hormones associated with most cases of breast cancer.

Researchers are still working to understand all the underlying causes of breast cancer. Just this month, another team discovered that women with many moles also had a slightly higher-than-usual breast cancer risk.

More than 75 different genes are linked with breast cancer risk. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the best known.

Source: NBC news

Chemotherapy likely to get less painful

Chemotherapy likely to get less painful

Saint Louis University professor of pharmacological and physiological sciences Daniela Salvemini found a molecular pathway by which a painful chemotherapy side effect happens and a drug that may be able to stop it.

“The chemotherapy drug paclitaxel is widely used to treat many forms of cancer, including breast, ovarian and lung cancers,” said Salvemini.

“Though it is highly effective, the medication, like many other chemotherapy drugs, is frequently accompanied by a debilitating side effect called chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, or CIPN,” she added.

In addition to causing suffering to patients, CIPN is often a limiting factor when it comes to treatment. Salvemini and her colleagues studied paclitaxel, which is also known as Taxol, and discovered that the pain pathway is dependent on activation of S1PR1 in the central nervous system.

This engages a series of damaging neuro-inflammatory processes leading to pain. By inhibiting this molecule, they found that they could block and reverse paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain without interfering with the drug’s anti-cancer effects. The study appeared in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Source: post

Doctors reconstruct face of woman disfigured by cancer treatments

Doctors reconstruct face of woman disfigured by cancer treatment

A woman left disfigured by radiation treatments for a cancer she never had is undergoing reconstructive surgery in hopes of restoring her life.

Lessya Kotelevskaya could be in surgery up to 24 hours at University of Louisville Hospital.

The surgery on the 30-year-old woman began Monday. The surgical team is led by Dr. Jarrod Little, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon with UofL Physicians. The doctor is donating his time.

Kotelevskaya was misdiagnosed about a decade ago in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. Her face was disfigured by radiation treatments, causing a hole in her cheek and making it difficult to eat and talk. She lost her husband, business and home.

Her cousin, Oleg Sennik, found Kotelevskaya and brought her and her young son to Louisville, where he lives.

Source: fox news

New breakthrough to help in fight against ‘aggressive’ breast cancer


Researchers have reported a discovery that they hope would lead to the development of a powerful new way of treating an aggressive form of breast cancer.

The breast cancer subtype in question is commonly called “HER2-positive”; it’s a subset of the disease affecting about one patient in four, in which tumor cells overexpress a signaling protein called HER2.

The blockbuster drug Herceptin is a treatment of choice for many women with HER2-positive breast cancer, but in most cases, resistance to the treatment develops within several years. The prognosis for HER2-positive breast cancer patients is worse than for those with other subtypes of the illness.

A multi-institution team led by CSHL Professor Nicholas Tonks reported that it has found a means of inhibiting another protein, called PTP1B, whose expression is also upregulated in HER2-positive breast cancer.
PTP1B has been shown to play a critical role in the development of tumors in which HER2 signaling is aberrant.

When they treated mice modeling HER2-positive breast cancer with a PTP1B inhibitor called MSI-1436 (also called trodusquemine), Tonks and colleagues inhibited signaling by HER2 proteins.

Dr. Tonks discovered PTP1B some 25 years ago. It is an enzyme – one in a “superfamily” of 105 called protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) — that perform the essential biochemical task of removing phosphate groups from amino acids called tyrosines in other proteins. Adding and removing phosphate groups is one of the means by which signals are sent among proteins.

The new paper by Tonks and collaborators importantly reveals an alternative binding site, called an allosteric site, that does not present the biochemical difficulties that the active, or “catalytic,” binding site does. This allosteric site is a target of the candidate drug trodusquemine.

The paper has been published online in the journal Nature Chemical Biology

Source: Yahoo news

Scientists discover exact mechanism for how broccoli and crucifers fight cancers


Researchers fed a special cultivar of broccoli, a combination of wild and commercially available broccoli that contains high levels of glucoraphanin, to nineteen volunteers each week for three months. They compared the first group to two other groups eating the same diet, except one consumed commercially available broccoli and the third ate none of the crucifer. The team observed that those eating the glucoraphanin-rich vegetable showed signs of an improved metabolism.

The scientists determined that a compound commonly found in crucifers, known as sulforaphane, improved the chemical reactions inside mitochondria, the power source for our cellular machinery. The study found that glucoraphanin helped ‘retune’ metabolic processes in the cells that get disrupted as we age. Lead author, Dr. Richard Mithen commented, “We think this provides some evidence as to why people who eat diets rich in broccoli may keep in good health… mitochondria are really, really important, and when they start to go wrong it leads to many of the diseases of aging.”

The nutritionists performing the study recommend eating broccoli two to three times a week. Other health-promoting members of the cruciferous vegetable family include Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower. Dr. Mithen concluded “We think it is significant because it shows in humans a measurable effect on our metabolism, which is central to our overall health and could explain the diverse range of beneficial effects many observational dietary studies have shown previously.” It is important to note that while this study used a specially concentrated type of broccoli to produce the stated results, consumption of commercially available broccoli and crucifers have been shown to exhibit similar anti-cancer properties when eaten over a longer period of time

Source: Natural news

9 Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer


1. Reduce Sun Exposure

Especially between 11 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest or when UV index is 3 or more.

2. Shade your Skin

  • Seek shade under trees, or create your own shade with a hat, shirt, or umbrella.
  • Wear clothing to cover your arms and legs. Make sure the fabric has a tight weave. Fabric that is wet or has a loose weave will allow more light to penetrate through to the skin.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection.

3. Beware of clouds

Up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, mist and fog. You can still get a sunburn on a cloudy day.

4. Remember about Reflection

Water, sand, snow and concrete can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s damaging rays.

5. Slop on the Sunscreen

Use sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or more that contain both UVA and UVB protection.

Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside, and reapply every 2 hours (more often when working, playing, or swimming).

6. Avoid tanning salons and sunlamps

These lights emit mostly UVA radiation – up to 2 – 5 times as much as natural sunlight. UVA radiation causes sunburn, premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.

The UVB radiation from tanning lights is the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer and also contributes to premature skin aging.

For more information see youth tanning (link to being modified by the school team)

7. Protect Children

The most harmful effects of sun exposure occur during early childhood. Keep babies under 1 year out of direct sunlight. Once infants turn 6 months of age, begin using a sunscreen for added protection. It’s important to protect your child’s eyes by using plastic lens sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays.

  • Children should have arms and legs covered when out in the sun.
  • Instead of wearing baseball caps, they should wear hats with a wide brim, which provides more sun protection.
  • When children are playing in the water, make sure to use waterproof sunscreen.

8. Protect your Eyes

Radiation from the sun can damage cells in the structures of your eyes. UV radiation from the sun may increase the risk of developing cataracts later in life. UV radiation can also contribute to the development of skin cancer on the eyelid or on the surface of the eye. This damage can be prevented by protecting your eyes with sunglasses that protect against 100% UVA and UVB rays. Wearing a hat with a wide brim all the way around when out in the sun. Legionnaire style caps (caps with a flap a back flap) are also recommended to help protect the neck, ears and face.

9. Spot Check Your Moles

  • Examine your moles and freckles every month to check for any changes. See your health care provider immediately if you notice:
  • a mole or discolouration that appears suddenly or begins to change
  • a sore that does not heal
  • areas of skin that are red and bumpy, bleed or are itchy

Source: health unit

New discovery promises low cost test for breast cancer

breast-cancer-drugIn a major advancement for breast cancer treatment in the country, doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai have developed an effective and comparatively cheaper method of diagnosing the possible spread of tumour in the breast.

A team of surgeons led by Dr Anurag Srivastava, professor and head of the surgery department at AIIMS, employed the use of a cheaper dye – fluorescein as a tracer material – during Sentinel node biopsy to map the apparent spread of the tumour. The fluorescein, when injected, illuminates under an ultraviolet light.

The mapping technique helps to determine whether the cancer cells have spread out from the tumour and into the surrounding lymph nodes and a tracer material is used during sentinel lymph node mapping in breast cancer.

Until now isotopes and blue dye were used as agents to examine lymph nodes to determine whether the cancer has spread and to what extent. The isotopes are then detected by the use of Gamma Detection Pro machine, which costs around Rs 20 lakh.

Presently, this mapping technology is available with only four hospitals in India — All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai; Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow; and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.

Hence, the treatment is very costly and out of reach of many hospitals in India.

Dr Srivastava told India Medical Times, “Three-four years back, we surgeons were sitting and contemplating how we can make breast cancer treatment an affordable treatment. Till now, technology used is quite expensive and many hospitals cannot afford to install it. So, we started working on the novel idea in 2010 at Tata Memorial Hospital and in 2011 the research was started in AIIMS. We researched on about 40 patients at both the hospitals. We used fluorescein during Sentinel lymph node biopsy, instead of isotopes, which are commonly being used and are very costly. Fluorescein costs about Rs 30 or so. Fluorescein is also successfully used during a fluorescein eye stain test.”

“When we used Fluorescein, it appeared that it had the same pick up rate as that of an isotope. The dye appears green and quickly detects the possible spread of tumour in the lymph nodes of armpits of a woman affected with breast cancer. The sentinel-node identification rate using the new technique was 97.5 per cent. The lamp that we used to beam ultraviolet light costs a few hundred rupees. Hence, the whole process is very affordable to be used by any hospital,” he said.

Doctors from AIIMS, who were a part of the team led by Dr Anurag Srivastava are — Dr V Seenu, professor of surgery; Dr Anita Dhar, additional professor of surgery; and Dr Amar Prem, resident doctor, surgery department.

Dr Srivastava now plans to popularize the treatment. He said, “We are going to talk about the research in detail at a conference to be held in Kolkata from June 12-15. We are soon organising a meeting at AIIMS with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to highlight the research, its benefits and application. I want that every single patient should be benefitted by low cost treatment.”

“We can now help hospitals provide a quality treatment without compromising with their budget by an effectively mapping technology. We would never want denial of cancer treatment for lack of accessibility. The technology should be soon adopted in treatment of breast cancer,” he said.

Source: India medical Times

Blue Pill May Boost Risk of Deadly Skin Cancer, Study Finds

Men who use Viagra to get a boost in the bedroom could find that the little blue pill also increases the risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, a preliminary study finds.

Researchers found that men who took sildenafil, best known as Viagra, were about 84 percent more likely to develop melanoma than men who didn’t take the drug.

Because it’s just one early study, no one is suggesting that men stop taking Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction, said Dr. Abrar Qureshi, professor and chair of the dermatology department in the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

“But people who are on the medication and who have a high risk for developing melanoma may consider touching base with their primary care providers,” said Qureshi, co-author of the study of nearly 26,000 men published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Viagra may increase the risk of melanoma because it affects the same genetic pathway that allows the skin cancer to become more invasive, Qureshi said. Those who took the drug weren’t at higher risk of other, less-dangerous skin cancers, such as basal cell or squamous cell cancers.

About 76,100 new melanoma cases are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2014, and about 9,710 people will die, including about 6,470 men.

Qureshi and colleagues at several sites in the U.S. and China analyzed data about Viagra use and skin cancer from the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study, a long-term study of male doctors and other health care workers.

The average age of men in the study was 65 and about 6 percent had taken Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction. If men had ever used Viagra, the risk of developing melanoma was about double than for those who never used the drug. That finding held true even when the researchers adjusted for a family history of skin cancer, ultraviolet light exposure in the states where the men lived, other kinds of cancer and major illnesses and other factors.

Primary care doctors who treat older men taking Viagra should check their patients for signs of skin cancer, said Dr. June Robinson of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who wrote an accompanying editorial.

She cautioned that the rate of increase in new melanoma cases in men actually slowed after Viagra entered the market in 1998, raising a “cautionary note” about the impact of sildenafil on melanoma.

“But its role in the biological behavior of melanoma in older men warrants further study,” she said.

Source: NBC news

The weed that causes cancer may well kill it


Tobacco has been associated with and much maligned for causing cancers. Researchers have now found that the tobacco plant’s defence mechanism could well work in humans to destroy invading cancer cells.

A molecule called NaD1 is found in the flower of the tobacco plant that fights off fungi and bacteria. This compound also has the ability to identify and destroy cancer, the team discovered.

“This is a welcome discovery whatever the origin,” Mark Hulett from La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science in Melbourne was quoted as saying.

The molecule, found in nicotiana sylvestris (flowering tobacco) plant, forms a pincer-like structure that grips onto lipids present in the membrane of cancer cells.

It then effectively rips them open, causing the cell to expel its contents and explode.

According to researchers, this universal defence process could also potentially be harnessed for the development of antibiotic treatment for microbial infections.

The pre-clinical work is being conducted by the Melbourne biotechnology company Hexima. “The preliminary trials have looked promising,” said Hulett.

The study was published in the journal eLife.

Source: Times of India