Saturday, December 29, 2012

Research In Using Boron As a Anti-Cancer Agent Is Recognized

Would it not be fantastic to be able to reduce radiation cancer treatment to one session. Those who have or had cancer may have experienced several treatments of radiation and they can really take its toll on the human body.

Fred Hawthorne who wants to kill cancer with tiny nuclear bombs loaded into each diseased cell will be honored early next year at a White House ceremony celebrating the nation's top scientists and innovators.

Hawthorne is pioneering the use of boron as an anti-cancer agent. His research, he said yesterday, is intended to replace lengthy and painful radiation treatments with one effective session that wipes out the diseased tissue.

To do so, he and his team are developing techniques that load the cancer cells with boron. The tissue is then bombarded with neutrons, which are easily absorbed by the boron.

"That capture event causes a tiny nuclear explosion, which degrades the boron atom and the neutron," Hawthorne said. "That releases a lot of energy locally, and it kills it very selectively."

"We have everything we need provided by the university, and we are very, very thankful," Hawthorne said. "I feel they have done very, very well by us, and we are bringing home the bacon."

A set of animal trials testing the use of boron as an anti-disease agent went well, and Hawthorne said the research is being prepared for publication. He expects the treatments might be ready for human use in about five years.

"There is no reason it shouldn't work, given a chance," he said. "What we needed is a demonstration in animals that it is effective, and that is coming along very nicely."

Boron capture therapy also holds promise as a potential treatment for arthritis, heart disease and Alzheimer's, an MU news release said. "When Dr. Hawthorne came to UM in 2006, I was sure that he would advance MU's national leadership in nanomedicine and cancer research while providing breakthrough technology and medical solutions for the world," Chancellor Brady Deaton said in the news release. "This acknowledgement by President Obama of Dr. Hawthorne's work is especially gratifying and well deserved."

Hawthorne, 84, has more than a theoretical interest in the research. Since arriving in Columbia, he has been treated for a cancerous growth on his tongue, which required surgery, a dozen chemotherapy treatments and 35 radiation treatments. If boron treatment had been available, it would have replaced the radiation therapy, he said.

The boron is delivered in a method that takes it directly into the cancer cell and no other cells of the body, he said. "It goes to the proper place, it is irradiated down there and it's finished. It is all over, and that is all he needs."

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory Opened

The Lustgarten Foundation and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) report that the new Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory is now in operation. The lab’s initial studies will center on early detection, drug development, and drug deliver.

Pancreatic cancer is the most deadly of all cancers. Early detection and new drug therapy is the key to aggressively destroy cancer cells in this vital organ in out bodies.

In the medical testing community there is no test that can detect early stages of pancreatic cancer and no cancer drug therapy that can completely destroy the cancer cells in the pancreas.

The Tuveson lab has developed mouse models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) to discover biomarkers of early disease and to identify the pathways and druggable targets involved in the initiation, progression, and metastasis of PDA. Efforts are also underway to come up with efficacious therapeutic strategies.

“We have discovered that PDAC tumors contain a deficient and compressed vasculature that limits therapeutic delivery and therefore efficacy,” notes Dr. Tuveson. “Using these models we have uncovered several methods to correct or target these vascular deficits and promote response, and this information has led to the initiation of several clinical trials.

“At CSHL we will search for new vulnerabilities in PDAC neoplastic and microenvironmental cells, and evaluate these candidates in a futuristic 'Mouse Hospital' we are creating on campus.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Two Bio-science Companies United to Help in the Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

Bioview will develop in automated cancer screening system to carry out Abbott Molecular's lung cancer diagnostic test.

Cancer screening company BioView Ltd. (TASE:BIOV) has signed a cooperation agreement with Abbott Molecular Inc., under which Bioview will develop in automated cancer screening system to carry out Abbott's lung cancer diagnostic test.

Abbott Molecular's current test to distinguish between different kinds of lung cancer, in order to provide the proper treatment, is carried out manually by a laboratory technician. Automating the test will save time and effort, and improve accuracy.

BioView has already applied its technology to other Abbott Molecular tests for breast and bladder cancer. Each time that these tests were approved, they boosted BioView's sales by millions of dollars.

Under the new collaboration, the two companies will jointly conduct clinical trials of the automated lung cancer test in order to certify it for marketing in the US. Abbott's manual test is already certified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The companies estimate that this process will take several months.

Lung Cancer: Molecular Tumor Testing Video

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New York Department of Health Guidelines for Assist Labs in Cancer Testing

You may be wondering what type of guidelines has been developed by the New York Department of Health for labs. It is in the developing NGS based cancer assays. NGS stands for Next Generation Sequencing.

Of all the many topics under discussion at the NCI Clinical NGS for Cancer conference, perhaps the most contentious was the issue of which tests should be performed and how they should be reported. In this instance, the great advantage of the new technology—inexpensive and high-volume sequence data—is also in some ways its Achilles heel.

The guidelines, which cover somatic variant detection for molecular oncology testing, were issued in August by the department's Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program, or CLEP, which monitors the quality of testing conducted by clinical laboratories and blood banks in the state as well as out-of-state labs that accept clinical samples from New York.

The document complements existing department guidelines for molecular oncology tests, following "the same basic principles for validating most other complex molecular diagnostics procedures," and are expected to evolve "as the field matures and gains experience," according to the document.

Erasmus Schneider, director of CLEP's oncology section at the department's Wadsworth Center in Albany, told Clinical Sequencing News that the need for the guidelines arose because next-gen sequencing is making its way into clinical diagnostics and the department had received requests from laboratories wanting to know how to validate their tests in order to gain New York State approval.

Input for the guidelines came from meetings Schneider and his colleagues attended where the clinical use of NGS was discussed and from feedback from interested parties on a draft document.

NGS-based molecular oncology testing differs from most other tests in this area because it interrogates panels of tens to hundreds of mutations in parallel rather than individually. Schneider said the only other high-throughput genotyping assay currently used for oncology mutation detection is the Sequenom MassArray assay, but that this "has not been widely adopted" by clinical laboratories in the state, in part because of the big investment required. "I think most people are much more familiar with sequencing-based assays," he said.

So far, the majority of clinical laboratories offering somatic mutation detection for cancer in New York have expressed an interest in NGS-based assays, Schneider said. Overall, 104 labs in the state hold a permit for molecular oncology testing, but not all of them offer somatic mutation detection, he added.

No NGS-based oncology tests have been approved yet, but several applications are pending.

Cyrus Hedvat, director of the diagnostic molecular pathology lab at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, said that the guidelines provide "a solid starting point for labs in the process of developing clinical next-generation sequencing-based tests."

His lab is currently developing an assay for solid tumors that runs on Illumina's MiSeq and uses the firm's TruSeq Amplicon Cancer Panel, which includes 212 amplicons from 48 cancer genes (CSN 10/17/2012).

Among other requirements, New York State's guidelines call for a laboratory to define the minimum coverage required for calling a variant with high confidence and for calling an amplicon normal. According to Hedvat, this is similar to guidelines published by the College of American Pathologists this summer (CSN 8/1/2012), but New York offers "no specific guidance on the coverage depth required or the minimum allelic frequency to report a positive result."

"This will be a significant advantage for common mutations in genes with hotspots such as EGFR, KRAS, and BRAF, but more problematic for a tumor suppressor such as P53," Hedvat said.

He also said that the guidelines are unclear about how many positive controls need to be included in each run, and whether they have to cover mutations from all regions tested. The guidelines do state that a positive control has to be included during validation "and periodically thereafter," and suggest using a control containing "multiple known somatic alterations of each kind to be detected."

With regard to reports, the guidelines state that they should include all detected somatic variants, even those of unknown significance. "This could result in a long list of variants that could be difficult for a clinician to interpret," Hedvat said, but on the other hand, if later publications make such variants clinically interpretable, the lab would not need to issue an updated report.

                                       Next Generation Sequencing Technologies Explained

Monday, October 29, 2012

Antidepressant Used to Ease Pain During Oral Cancer Treatment

Doxepin, an antidepressant used to treat a combination of symptoms of anxiety and depression, can also significantly ease pain associated with oral mucositis in patients receiving radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck, according to a Mayo Clinic study presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology annual meeting in Boston.

Oral mucositis is the painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the mouth, gums, tongue, and throat. It is a common and often debilitating side effect of radiation therapy and chemotherapy cancer treatments. But ongoing research into the effects of doxepin on oral mucositis shows that the pain associated with this kind of inflammation can be significantly reduced.

Doxepin is sold under the brand names Adapin, Silenor, and Sinequan, among others.

In this study, researchers found that doxepin was well-tolerated and eased pain among patients with oral mucositis. However, a few subjects reported side effects, such as stinging, burning, unpleasant taste, and drowsiness. Given the option, 64 percent of the 155 participants decided to continue using doxepin after the study was complete.

"Oral mucositis or mouth sores is a painful and debilitating side effect of radiation therapy," said principal investigator Robert Miller, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic. "Our findings represent a new standard of care for treating this condition."

While participants reported a few side effects, Miller said doxepin rinse does not cause the side effects associated with narcotic pain medicines, making it a better treatment for oral mucositis.

                                                            Cancer Facts: Oral Cancer

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hope in a Cancer Vaccine for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens at the top of the vagina.  Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women. It is much less common in the United States because of the routine use of pap smears

Cervical cancers start in the cells on the surface of the cervix. There are two types of cells on the cervix's surface: squamous and columnar. Most cervical cancers are from squamous cells.


A vaccine against cervical cancer, being developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Blue Bell, produced positive results in a small sample of 18 women.

The vaccine prompted their bodies to produce T cells -- a type of white blood cells -- that, in a separate lab test, recognized cells with tumor proteins, and killed them.

The researchers, including a team from the University of Pennsylvania, say the paper in the journal Science is the first to show that a DNA vaccine alone produced a high level of immunity in people. At the same time, the researchers acknowledged that a working vaccine faces more trials and remains years away from an actual product.

                                  What is Cervical Cancer Video 2012


Monday, October 8, 2012

New Biomarkers Have Been Developed to Help Monitor Cancer Treaments

Biomarkers are used in helping oncologists to diagnose several types of cancer. They are also used to monitor chemotherapy and radiation treatment in order for the doctor to know if they are killing the cancer cells. New biomarkers have been developed to provide more options in helping the different areas of oncology to treat patients.

Lee Biosolutions Inc. has expanded its line of biomarkers to include products used to track epithelial ovarian cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer.

Based in Brentwood, Lee Biosolutions collects biological materials — human saliva, semen, urine and vaginal secretions, among others — and produces finished proteins, enzymes, biologicals, immuno-reagents and antibodies for life science research and clinical diagnostic testing. The company’s core business is diagnostic and Lee Biosolutions sells proteins and enzymes to research labs like the Cleveland Clinic and pharmaceutical companies such as Abbott Laboratories.

Lee Biosolutions has developed a proprietary process to purify and test for novel cancer biomarkers. In addition to the new biomarkers, the company is expanding its production of the other biomarkers in its lineup.

Earlier this year, the company said it had developed a unique process for purifying the prostate cancer tumor marker PSA.

"We continue to increase supply of CA 19-9 which often is used with patients with pancreatic cancer, CEA tumor marker that helps predict the outlook in patients with colorectal cancer and CA 72-4 which is now used in ovarian, pancreatic cancer and cancers starting in the digestive tract," said Burton Lee, president of the company. "Current research has identified CYFRA 21-1 used as a marker for non-small cell lung cancer and Lee Biosolutions has increased supply of Beta 2 Microglobuilnwhich is used as a marker for multiple myelomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia."

The products are raw finished proteins that are used in formulations in invitro diagnostic products and research.

Lee Biosolutions had revenue of $6 million last year.