Thursday, April 26, 2012

Large Alcohol Consumption is a Risk Factor for Breast Cancer.

Researchers have recently discovered that the large consumption of alcohol is broken down by proteins that are produced by breast cells. This could result by patients having a positive lab test for breast cancer.

However, researchers were not exactly sure why this association exists. Now, a team of Mexican researchers may have explained the problem.

The researchers, who hailed from the Autonomous University of Morelos, showed that a protein that is present in all breast cells breaks down alcohol. During this process, unstable molecules known as free radicals are produced. These molecules damage breast cells, causing the cells to start proliferation processes as a way to avoid tissue damage. Unfortunately, the rapid cell proliferation is a major cause of tumor growth.

Not all women are equally affected by this problem. The researchers found that some breast cells produce less of the protein that breaks down alcohol. These cells are more or less protected from the negative effects of alcohol consumption.

The researchers said they hope to develop a test that would tell women how much of the protein their breast cells produce. This could give individuals early warning that may enable them to avoid alcohol consumption entirely and significantly reduce their chances of developing breast cancer in the future. ADNFCR-2248-ID-800760039-ADNFCR$800760039.php

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Risk Levels in Barrett's Esophagas Can Be Distinguished By Optical Biomarkers

Biomarkers are usually blood test to know if cancer could be present or to monitor staging of the certain cancer. Now there are optical biomarkers for Barrett's esophagus. These biomarkers are derived from nondysplastic metaplastic cells which can detect high grade dysplasia and adenocarinoma from Barretts esophagus. This study was presented at the Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium which was sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. These optical biomarkers could be uses on select patients who should go on to high resolution endoscopy and also who would require ablation therapy.

“Our biggest challenge is to identify high-risk patients who look normal on [conventional] endoscopy. The optical biomarkers can distinguish between BE without neoplastic changes from those with dysplasia,” stated Randall E. Brand, MD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania. “SLQPM (spatial-domain low-coherence quantitative phase microscopy)-derived biomarkers provide a promising approach for differentiation of dysplastic/ neoplastic BE from nondysplastic intraepithelial metaplasia. Future studies are warranted to expand our study population and develop additional new optical biomarkers to improve on current sensitivity and specificity and validate our findings.”

Because it is known that BE can progress from low-grade to high-grade dysplasia and invasive cancer, BE patients typically undergo endoscopic surveillance at 1- to 3- year intervals. Standard protocol includes four-quadrant random biopsies every 1-2 cm along the entire length of BE. Brand pointed out that random sampling is challenging due to the inability to differentiate patients with nondysplastic BE from those who have occult high-grade dysplasia, or who will progress to high-grade dysplasia or esophageal cancer. Therefore, optical biomarkers have the potential to fill an unmet need.
SL-QPM utilizes broadband light source, a microscope, and a tissue specimen. Cell changes are shown by light reflectance. The retrospective study reported at the symposium included archived specimens from 33 controls with BE and no cancer and 21 samples with high-grade dysplasia. The study also included six samples from patients with esophageal cancer.
Using optical signatures, three biomarkers were identified that can discriminate between cells with neoplasia and those with no neoplasia. A prediction model combining the three significant optical biomarkers had 89% sensitivity, 76% specificity, and 87% accuracy for distinguishing BE from high-grade dysplasia or esophageal cancer.
“If subsequent testing [of these optical biomarkers] proves successful, our approach could lead to simpler and more effective ways of monitoring patients with BE. Such a monitoring program would identify a subset of high-risk BE patients who require more intensive surveillance with high-resolution endoscopic imaging, and who could also be candidates for therapy to destroy the precancerous tissue. We need a way to select patients for high-resolution imaging—not all centers are equipped to do that,” Brand said.

                                Goblet cells are stained blue in Barrett's Esophogus

The moderator of the press conference where these findings were discussed, Morton Kahlenberg, MD, said, “This is an exciting study suggesting that the biomarkers may be an additional test that can identify patients who harbor cells that will progress and a basis for modifying treatment.” Kahlenberg is medical director of Surgical Oncology Associates of South Texas in San Antonio.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Technology to Kill Cancer With Radiation Will Be Tested

A Battelle scientist in was granted with 148,880 to use to test 'radiogel' for killing cancer at the University of Washington. This generous award came from the Life Sciences Discovery Fund which mission is to advance the technology
Radogel has resulted from years of research by scientists for Battelle to develop a radioactive isotope that would be injected in the body and will stay in place.  Due to the fact that the injection will stay in place it will deliver a high dose of cancer-killing radiation.

"The technology could be used for solid cancers that cannot be removed surgically and require high doses of radiation for treatment to be successful", said Darrell Fisher, a senior scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the recipient of the grant for his research for Battelle.

The radiogel includes a polymer and microspheres of the medical isotope yttrium 90 in a water-based solution. The polymer is in liquid form when it's injected to the cancer site, but quickly turns into a gel at body temperature and stays in place.
The polymer binds the microspheres in place as the yttrium 90 bombards the cancer with radiation, with little of the radiation reaching nearby healthy tissue. It has applications for cancers of the liver, brain, head and neck, kidney and pancreas, and is showing promise for eye tumors.
The grant will allow clinicians at the UW Department of Radiology to perform test injections on rabbits, using ultrasound to guide the needle to liver tumors. The technology has been licensed to Advanced Medical Isotope of Kennewick to produce and distribute, following an option between Battelle and AMIC announced last year.
"We expect the radiogel to become a therapeutic agent that provides physicians with the ability to effectively treat tumors that cannot be removed surgically or that cannot be treated by any other means," said Robert Schenter, chief scientific officer for AMIC.

Hopefully , radiogel will prove to be very successful!  What do you think about this new radiation technology?

Blood Test For Viruses Linked to Leukemias

A new blood test has been approved by the FDA to find viruses in the blood that may lead to leukemias and neurologic diseases.  Avioq HTLV-I/II Microelisa System is the name of the testing for viruses that can be transmitted through blood transfusions, infected syringes and breast milk of an infested mother.

Avioq HTLV-I/II Microelisa System, is the only test now available that can be used to both screen the blood supply for antibodies to Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type I (HTLV-I) and Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type II (HTLV-II), and help diagnose infection with these viruses.

This is test will also used to test serum and plasma of potential blood donors. This gives even more confidence for blood transfusion recipients
"For many years, the donor screening community has been limited to one option for HTLV testing. We are pleased to be able to address this need by providing the Avioq HTLV-I/II assay as an alternative test," said Chamroen Chetty, CEO of Avioq, Inc. Dr. Chetty continues, "As we announced last year, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics will distribute the Avioq assay into the donor screening market, adding HTLV-I/II to their extensive menu of assays. We are pleased to have a partner who is as committed as we are to the donor screening community." The introduction of the Avioq® HTLV-I/II Microelisa System fulfills Avioq's commitment to expand its Retrovirus product portfolio.

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