Cancer in the headlines, May 14



Here are some news updates on cancer treatments for you this weekend.

New bone marrow transplant method eases risk
A new method of bone marrow transplant lowers the risk for infection. The traditional transplantation method destroys the recipient’s bone marrow by high dose radiation or chemotherapy before infusion of the donated bone marrow. The time between the destruction and the replacement bone marrow starts to function is a time when the immune system is compromised and the patient is highly susceptible to infection. The new method does not completely destroy the original bone marrow but just tamps it down to give space for the donated marrow. Thus, the immune system is not compromised and the patient and donor bone marrow co-exist together, the so-called “mixed-cell chimerism”.

Approval of prostate cancer immunotherapy marks milestone in new era of cancer treatments
Last month, the US FDA approved Provenge®, a new form of therapeutic vaccine for prostate cancer patients. Provenge is an autologous cellular immunotherapy and unlike preventive vaccines, marshals the immune system’s disease-fighting forces for people who already have prostate cancer.
“The immunotherapy is produced by removing some of a patient’s white blood cells — a process called leukapheresis — and then exposing them to a protein from prostate cancer cells and a stimulatory molecule. The process primes the white blood cells to stimulate the immune system and attack prostate cancer when they are re-injected into the body.

Clinical trials data show that Provenge prolongs survival and reduce overall risk of death.

Can Celebrex prevent cancer-causing colon polyps?
Celebrix (celecoxib) is being tested for its ability to prevent the development of colon polyps that may be precursors to colon cancer. The test is being done at Rush University Medical Center. Celecoxib is an anti-inflammatory drug originally indicated for the treatment of arthritis. It has already been approved by the US FDA for prevent of polyp formation in the rectum.

New hope for better treatment for a rising cancer
The Nottingham Gastro-Oesophageal Cancer Research Group is engaged in research on a rapidly rising cancer that might soon become an epidemic – oesophageal and upper stomach cancer. The group’s research, using molecular and DNA protein expression techniques that only 40 to 50% of tumors of this disease repond to chemotherapy. A monitoring test has been developed to help doctors evaluate which tumors are responsive. The researchers have also identified a promising protein marker involved in DNA repair in cancer cells that predicts resistance of tumors  to chemotherapy.

According to Dr Srinivasan Madhusudan, Clinical Associate Professor & Consultant in Medical Oncology at Nottingham University Hospitals and the University’s School of Molecular Medical Sciences

“Recent scientific advances have given real hope for patients with gastro-oesophageal cancers. The Nottingham Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Group is a multidisciplinary research team consisting of Oncologists, Surgeons, Pathologists and Radiologists. We aim to exploit the ‘new science’ for patient benefit. This study published online today in the British Journal of Cancer provides evidence that it may be possible to tailor gastro-oesophageal cancer treatments based on ‘new’ biology. We are planning a larger prospective multicentre study to confirm these findings and we believe will have major clinical impact on how we treat these aggressive tumours in the future.”

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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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Healthcare updates, May 14

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