Tag Archives: cancer research

What’s Happening in Colorectal Cancer Research?


Cancer Research is Making Progress Every Day. Here is the Latest for Colorectal Cancer.
Cancer Research is Making Progress Every Day. Here is the Latest for Colorectal Cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, but there are currently more than one million survivors in the country. The National Foundation for Cancer Research has some information you should know about this preventable disease.

Rates and Risks of Colorectal Cancer

• Overall risks of developing colorectal cancer are marginally higher for men. Approximately one in 21 is diagnosed with the disease, while the numbers for women are one in 23.

• Health factors that increase the risk of colorectal cancer include inflammatory bowel disorders, family history and genetics, and personal history of polyps or another form of cancer.

• Poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, obesity and high-fat diets, heavy alcohol use and physical inactivity also contribute to colorectal cancer risk.

Regular screenings can help prevent colorectal cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Research in the News

Genomics and immunotherapy for cancer are the main focus points of today’s colorectal cancer research.

• Dr. Wei Zhang and his NFCR-funded team are continuing their promising studies into biomarkers and their use in improving colorectal cancer prognosis and predicting responses to treatment.

• NFCR has also supported the work of Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng, who is on the cusp of producing one of the first FDA-approved oral herbal immunotherapies for cancer. When applied in combination with chemotherapy, PH906 has been found to ease gastrointestinal side effects that accompany treatment for colon and rectal cancers.

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New Cancer Treatment Targets Protein Found in Tumors

Links to Cancer are Being Identified Everyday! There is Hope.
Links to Cancer are Being Identified Everyday! There is Hope.

Immunotherapy continues to be a major focus in cancer treatment research. Scientists in the United Kingdom recently began early-phase clinical trials of an experimental drug that targets a protein found in many solid tumors.

Using the Immune System to Attack Cancer Cells

Cancer Research UK and Biotecnol Limited are collaborating on development of a first-in-class Fdrug known as Tb535H. Arising from Trisoma®, Biotecnol’s antibody development platform, the drug targets the 5T4/WAIF1 antigen that is believed to contribute to the spread of cancer cells.

As with most immunotherapy treatments, Tb535H works by harnessing the immune system’s T cells and directing them to attack and kill cancer cells. Biotecnol has been instrumental in partnering with top cancer institutions to develop promising immune-oncology therapies.

Targeted Cancer Treatment

The discovery of the WAIF1 antigen also occurred as a result of studies at Cancer Research UK’s Manchester Institute. While it may ultimately be a target for a number of cancer types, current testing will be limited to cancers with low survival rates, including mesothelioma and small-cell lung carcinoma.

Dr. Nigel Blackburn, director of drug development for Cancer Research UK, acknowledged that the partnership with Biotecnol will accelerate the path of bringing Tb535H to cancer patients. Blackburn also stressed the need for more effective treatment for lung cancer, the cause of 20 percent of cancer deaths in the UK.

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What to Know About Sarcomas – Soft Tissue and Bone

Being Aware of the Signs of Cancer Can be an Effective Way to Catch Cancer Before its Too Late.
Being Aware of the Signs of Cancer Can be an Effective Way to Catch Cancer Before its Too Late.

Sarcoma is a relatively rare form of cancer, so it doesn’t have the same public awareness as leukemia, breast cancer or other well-known types. Here’s what you should know about this “forgotten cancer.”

What Is Sarcoma?

Sarcomas can be found anywhere within the body. They fall into two general types: soft tissue sarcoma, which occurs in muscles, blood vessels and connective tissue, and bone sarcoma.

Approximately 15,000 new cases of sarcoma are projected to be diagnosed in the United States during 2017. While the five-year survival rate is around 50 percent, sarcomas are known to frequently recur and metastasize.

5 Important Facts About Sarcoma

• Sarcomas account for only about one percent of adult cancer diagnoses, but they make up roughly 15 percent of cancers diagnosed in youngsters under the age of 20.

• While sarcomas can be found anywhere in the body, 50 to 60 percent of soft tissue sarcomas occur in the arms and legs.

• Most sarcomas arise from unknown causes. Certain genetic conditions or exposure to toxins can increase risk.

• Due to its rareness and lack of symptoms in the early stages, sarcoma is difficult to detect and diagnose.

• Few doctors have much experience with cancer treatment for sarcoma, so it’s essential to follow up a diagnosis with a second opinion from a specialist.

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New Biomarker May Predict the Body’s Response to Chemotherapy and Radiation

There is New Hope for Cancer Patients. Don't Give up!
There is New Hope for Cancer Patients. Don’t Give up!

One of the difficulties doctors have in prescribing cancer treatment is knowing which methods will be most effective. That may change with the discovery of a biomarker that may help predict a tumor’s response to chemotherapy and radiation.

How Cell Division Affects Cancer Development

When cells divide, the duplicated chromosomes are pulled apart into the two new cells. A malfunction in this process can lead to chromosomal instability, which has the potential to drive development of cancer cells.

Researchers set out to study the expression of genes associated with normal chromosome division. Specifically, they wanted to find out how genetic changes contribute to chromosomal instability and whether these changes held clues regarding the behavior of tumors.

Genetic Markers of Chromosomal Instability

The team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory examined 31 genes that had previously been identified as part of the chromosome division process. They discovered that these genes were over- or under-expressed in different types of cancer as opposed to corresponding normal tissue samples.

This led to the development of a 14-gene subset named the Centromere and kinetochore gene Expression Score, or CES. When measuring CES in tumor sample databases, the researchers found that a high score correlated with elevated levels of chromosomal instability.

Based on these encouraging results, researchers are hopeful that the biomarker can be used to predict response to cancer treatment as well as prognosis with or without treatment.

Immunotherapy: An Integrative Approach to Cancer Treatment

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The First in 10 Years – FDA Approves New Liver Cancer Drug

FDA Approves New Drug! Could This Make Groundbreaking Progress?
FDA Approves New Drug! Could This Make Groundbreaking Progress?

In November 2007, the Food and Drug Administration gave its first-ever approval for a drug designed as liver cancer treatment. Nearly 10 years later, the FDA has given its approval to a second drug for liver cancer that also has applications for some forms of gastrointestinal cancer.

The Search for Effective Liver Cancer Treatment

Sorafenib, brand name Nexavar®, was the original drug approved for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is the most common form of liver cancer. The drug acts as a kinase inhibitor to block enzymes responsible for cell division and reproduction.

According to Dr. Tim Greten of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, since 2007 there have been a number of phase III trials for possible liver cancer treatments. Until now, none of them have been successful.

A 10-Year Breakthrough

Regorafenib, brand name Stivarga®, is also a kinase inhibitor. During a phase III trial, 573 patients whose HCC had not responded to sorafenib were assigned to receive either regorafenib or a placebo.

The patients who received regorafenib experienced an overall three-month increase in survival over the placebo group. Percentage of patients whose tumors had at least partial shrinkage was 11 percent and four percent respectively.

Researchers are also studying the use of other immunotherapy agents against liver cancer. The current focus is on checkpoint inhibitors such as tremelimumab and nivolumab.

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Exciting New Treatment Possibilities for Hard to Treat Cancers

Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!
Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!

Cancer cells have the ability to hijack healthy cells, which is one of the reasons tumors are so difficult to treat. A team of British scientists recently found a way to counteract this process, in effect hijacking the hijacking.

How Healthy Cells Aid Tumor Growth

For healthy people, fibroblasts are cells that help to hold different organs together. Cancer cells transform them into cancer associated fibroblasts, or CAFs, that aid in a tumor’s growth and spread.

Higher levels of CAFs are found in many bowel, neck and head cancer cases that have poor survival rates. Despite this knowledge, scientists had been unsuccessful at targeting CAFs.

Halting Pro-Cancer Activities

A team at the University of Southampton identified an enzyme called NOX4 that is essential for CAFs to work with cancer cells. Using a developmental drug that treats organ fibrosis, the team was able to halt pro-tumor actions by CAFs.

When mice were treated with the drug, the size of their tumors was reduced by up to 50 percent. Cancer Research UK is now funding the Southampton team as they explore the use of this approach in immunotherapy for cancer.

Professor Gareth Thomas, lead researcher of the Southampton team, said that targeting CAFs can offer new possibilities for patients whose cancer has been unresponsive to traditional treatments.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: Harnessing the Power of Your Own Immune System

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