How can we conquer one of the most tragic conditions ?
William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game. Witness William Li’s interesting talk at TED (c).
In medicine, there is often the concern that a patient will not respond to a particular treatment, but in a turn for the books, physicians are now worried that a new cancer treatment might be so effective at eliminating tumors that it does more harm than good.After receiving a single treatment of a novel combination therapy, a woman’s tumor seemingly “dissolved” from her chest in just three weeks, leaving her with a gaping hole in its place. The patient received the same cocktail of skin cancer drugs as almost 150 individuals enrolled in a clinical trial designed to test whether one of the therapies worked better on its own or when combined with another. While most patients did significantly better on the combination therapy, researchers were left gobsmacked by this woman’s rapid and dramatic response and have consequently described her case in the New England Journal of Medicine, alongside the trial results.The therapies the scientists were investigating were the FDA-approved melanoma drugs Yervoy (ipilimumab) and Opdivo (nivolumab), which are both antibodies …
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is strongly associated with gastric ulcers and cancer. To combat the infection, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Jacobs School of Engineering developed LipoLLA, a therapeutic nanoparticle that contains linolenic acid, a component in vegetable oils. In mice, LipoLLA was safe and more effective against H. pylori infection than standard antibiotic treatments.
That chicken wing you’re eating could be as deadly as a cigarette. In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet—a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.
“There’s a misconception that because we all eat, understanding nutrition is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?” said corresponding author Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.
Not only is excessive protein consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources—including meat, milk and cheese—are also more susceptible to early death in general, reveals the study to be published March 4 in Cell Metabolism. Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes. But how much protein we should eat has long been a controversial topic – muddled by the popularity of protein-heavy diets such as Paleo and Atkins. Before this study, researchers had never shown a definitive correlation between high protein consumption and mortality risk. Continue reading →
Impressive 15min TED Talk given by William Li who presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.
Scientists at A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) have discovered a new class of lipids in the leukemia cells that are detected by a unique group of immune cells. By recognizing the lipids, the immune cells stimulate an immune response to destroy the leukemia cells and suppress their growth. The newly identified mode of cancer cell recognition by the immune system opens up new possibilities for leukemia immunotherapy.
Leukemia is characterized by the accumulation of cancer cells originating from blood cells, in the blood or bone marrow. Current treatments for leukemia largely involve chemotherapy to eradicate all cancer cells, followed by stem cell transplants to restore healthy blood cells in the patients.
In a recent study reported in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM) online, the team co-led by Dr Lucia Mori and Prof Gennaro De Libero identified a new class of lipids, methyl-lysophosphatidic acids (mLPA), which accumulate in leukemia cells. Following which, the team identified a specific group of immune cells, described as mLPA-specific T-cells that are capable of recognising the mLPA in the leukemia cells. The detection triggers an immune response that activates the T cells to kill the leukemia cells and limits cancer progression. The efficacy of the T cells in killing leukemia cells was also demonstrated in a mouse model of human leukemia.
Thus far, only proteins in cancer cells have been known to activate T cells. This study is a pioneer in its discovery of mLPA, and the specific T cells which can identify lipids expressed by cancer cells. Unlike proteins, lipids in cancer cells do not differ between individuals, indicating that the recognition of mLPA by mLPA-specific T-cells happens in all leukemia patients. This new mode of cancer cell recognition suggests that the T-cells can potentially be harnessed for a leukemia immunotherapy that is effective in all patients.
“The identification of mLPA and its role in activating specific T cells is novel. This knowledge not only sheds light on future leukemia studies, but also complements ongoing leukemia immunotherapy studies focusing on proteins in cancer cells,” said Dr Lucia Mori, Principal Investigator at SIgN. “Current treatments run the risk of failure due to re-growth of residual leukemia cells that survive after stem cell transplants. T-cell immunotherapy may serve as a complementary treatment for more effective and safer therapeutic approach towards leukemia.”
Professor Laurent Renia, Acting Executive Director of SIgN, said, “At SIgN, we study how the human immune system protects us naturally from infections. We engage in promising disease-specific research projects that ultimately pave the way for the development of treatments and drugs which can better combat these diseases. A pertinent example will be this study; this mode of immune recognition of leukemia cells is an insightful discovery that will create new opportunities for immunotherapy to improve the lives of leukemia patients.”
Research shows vitamin D, produced by skin when exposed to ultraviolet light, associated with reduced rate of renal cancer. Men who work outdoors, enabling their bodies to create vitamins through exposure to sunlight, have a reduced risk of kidney cancer, researchers said today. In the largest study of its kind, scientists found that vitamin D – produced by the skin when exposed to ultraviolet light – was associated with a reduced rate of renal cancer of up to 73% among men.
However, the study, published by the American Cancer Society, found that the reduced risk only applied to men – there was no drop in renal cancer among the women studied who worked outdoors. The researchers, from the National Cancer Institute in the US, said the study of 2,500 workers in central Europe supported emerging evidence that the prevalence of a number of cancers, including breast, ovarian and colorectal cancer, was lower when people were exposed to ultraviolet light.
They said vitamin D, a known anti-carcinogenic, was carried by the body to the liver and on to the kidneys, and recommended further research. “Scientific evidence suggests that vitamin D, which is generally made in the body after exposure to the sunlight, may help prevent a number of diseases, including cancer,” the research author, Sara Karami, said. “In our study, we used job titles to estimate sunlight exposure at work. We observed that men with high estimated levels of sunlight exposure had a lower risk of kidney cancer than men who had lower estimated sunlight exposure at work.” Scientists have monitored an increase in renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the main form of kidney cancer, in the US and globally over the past 20 years.
A reduction in vitamin D – probably caused by many more people having sedentary lifestyles and indoor jobs – is believed to be a likely contributory factor. The researchers studied more than 2,500 workers of Caucasian descent in Russia, Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic, splitting them into three groups according to exposure to daylight in their jobs. A significant fall of up to 38% in the risk of RCC was found with increasing occupational UV exposure among men.
In northern-most regions, that increased to a 73% drop. But after finding no similar decrease in the risk for women, Karami said: “We do not have an explanation for the apparent differences in risk between men and women”. “Biological or behavioural differences between men and women may play a role. For example, hormonal differences may influence the body’s response to sunlight exposure, and men may be prone to working outdoors while shirtless.” Although some foods contain vitamin D, the majority of people receive up to 90% of the chemical through exposure to ultraviolet light. Farm workers and those who receive strong UV light reflected from the sea were in the highest category. Those in high-sunlight jobs were assumed to receive double the intensity of sunlight to those in low-exposure jobs.
Despite the findings, the researchers warned against ignoring the “well-documented risks” of skin cancer resulting from excess exposure to the sun. “There are no public health recommendations from this study. Men and women should continue to consult their healthcare providers regarding the appropriate amount of sun exposure, weighing the well-documented risks between sun exposure and skin cancer risk,” Karami said. Healthy Caucasians can generate a full dose of vitamin D with 10-20 minutes’ exposure to strong sunlight on unprotected skin. After that, photo-degradation ensures no higher levels are created. The anti-carcinogenic properties of vitamin D include the prevention of tumour cell replication.
Women who lose weight by exercising and eating better may reduce their risk of breast cancer more than women who lose the same amount of weight through diet alone, according to a new study of postmenopausal women.
Both exercising and eating better are thought to reduce women’s risk of breast cancer by decreasing body fat and levels of the sex hormones related tobreast cancer, according to the researchers. But the researchers investigated whether there is any additional benefit to exercising, beyond the effect of weight loss in reducing cancer risk.
The results suggest exercising has a stronger effect on breast cancers fueled by hormones, compared with dieting, and also offers additional benefits such as preserving lean body mass, said study researcher Anne Maria May, of the University Medical Center Utrecht, in the Netherlands. “Exercise is the preferred weight loss strategy to decrease breast cancer risk,” May said. [7 Cancers You Can Ward Off with Exercise]
About 240 overweight women, ages 50 to 69, who didn’t regularly exercise participated in the study, presented here this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The women’s goal was to lose 11 to 13 pounds (5 to 6 kilograms) over 16 weeks. About one-third of the women dieted, whereas another third enrolled in an endurance and strength training program, working out for four hours weekly. They also followed a slightly healthier diet, with a small decrease in their calorie intake. The rest of the participants didn’t change their habits, and served as controls for the study.
By the end of the study, women in both the exercising and dieting groups achieved their weight-loss goals. However, the exercising participants preserved their lean body mass (which includes muscles and bones), and reduced more of their body fat, compared with the dieting participants.
Moreover, blood tests showed the exercising participants reduced their levels of estrogen more than dieting participants did. (Many breast cancers need estrogen to grow.) Compared with women in the control group, the exercising women showed decreases in all types of estrogen in the body, whereas women in the diet group showed a decrease in only one type of estrogen, according to the study.
The researchers also found the exercising group showed a benefit in levels of other breast cancer related hormones, such as testosterone. It is likely that physical activity influences sex hormone levels mainly through reducing body fat, May said. The findings demonstrate the importance of exercising for postmenopausal women, she said. Previous studies have shown that lack of physical activity is one of the risk factors for developing breast cancer. Other than influencing the sex hormones, it is possible that exercising affects women’s cancer risk by reducing inflammation in the body, or decreasing levels of the hormone insulin, studies have suggested.
Surface-absorbed tobacco residue can undergo a chemical transformation when it interacts with compounds in the atmosphere, creating new pollutants.
Evidence presented at the 247th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society warns that thirdhand smoke damages DNA, attaching to it in a way that may result in cancer.
The talk, titled “Thirdhand smoke causes DNA damage in human cells,” was presented by Bo Hang, PhD, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, who in 2013 published a study of the same name in the journalMutagenesis.
Thirdhand smoke – exposure to the toxic compounds of tobacco smoke from surfaces and dust in a room or car where someone has previously been smoking – is a relatively recent area of study, with the first scientific research into the subject appearing in 2009.
In 2010, a consortium was formed in California to investigate the effects of thirdhand smoke. This consortium funded Dr. Hang’s research and has been working to understand the public health implications of thirdhand smoke.
Researchers have found that many of the 4,000 pollutants from smoke have been identified in carpets, walls, furniture and dust, as well as on the clothing, hair and skin of smokers. People can be exposed to these pollutants by inhaling, touching or ingesting them.
But some of the surface-absorbed residue from tobacco smoke can also produce additional toxicants, undergoing a chemical transformation when it interacts with compounds in the atmosphere. Read full article.
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