Research Roundup: New Developments in Cancer, 12-1-2007



Welcome to the weekend!  Grab a hot cup of coffee, and read the newest research developments in cancer this month in your pajamas:

Actually, make that a steaming mug of the herbal stuff:  Gloria over at Cancer Commentary (and of course, Battling Arthritis)  has more information on how to enroll in a green tea prostate cancer prevention study going on right now at Moffit Cancer Center.

Check out her post at “Moffit is Looking for Green Tea Study Participants.”

Can a computer predict whether a patient will undergo side effects from drugs like chemotherapeutics?  That’s what scientists at the University of California-San Diego aimed to find out.  From the Public Library of Science

The study, reported November 30 in PLoS Computational Biology relates to a class of drugs known as Select Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs), which includes tamoxifen, the most prescribed drug in the treatment of breast cancer.

Unexpected side effects account for one-third of all drug development failures and result in drugs being pulled from the market. Typically drugs are tested using an experimental method which aims to identify off-target proteins that cause side effects. The team in this study, led by Drs. Philip Bourne and Lei Xie, propose a computational modeling approach. If broadly successful the approach could shorten the drug development process and reduce costly recalls.

See: “A New Computational Technique Predicts Side-Effects of a Major Cancer Drug.” Also Related: “Personalizing the Math:  New Cancer Progression Model Individualizes the Numbers.”

If that’s how much it costs for the insured, just imagine how much it is for the UNinsured:  The Wall Street Journal reports that with average insurance caps that can fall below skyrocketing hospital bills, insured patients can end up paying out much more than they expect:

Part of the problem is that insurance caps — the maximum amount of a patient’s medical bill insurers will pay — haven’t been keeping pace with rising costs. The story says the average cap is $1 million per person, the same as it was in the 1970s.

See:  “Even With Insurance, Hospital Stay Can Cost a Million.” 

Also Related: “25+ Financial Assistance Resources for Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers.”

Talk to kids early about not smoking — REAL early:  That’s what Dr. Martha Tingen of the Medical College of Georgia thinks, anyway.  She just received a $2.5 million National Cancer Institute grant to implement anti-smoking strategies to fourth-graders in urban and rural Georgia.  From the Medical College of Georgia:

“Every day in Georgia, 84 kids between 10 to 13 years of age start smoking cigarettes,” says Dr. Tingen. “Ninety percent of all smokers start before they are out of high school. If we can help keep kids from smoking before they get out of high school, they probably won’t ever start. I am hoping the fourth graders haven’t started smoking, but I am thinking a lot of them still are exposed to tobacco use and second-hand smoke in the home.”

See:  “Anti-smoking Strategy Targets Fourth-Graders, Parents in Rural and urban Georgia.” Also Related: “Smoking is BAD for you?

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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