Volume 11 Issue 308
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 21-Nov-2009 
Next Update - 14:00 UC 08:00 EST 22-Nov-2009

Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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New drug blocks "undruggable" target in cancer cells

Researchers have created a new type of cancer drug that blocks a “master” protein considered to be untouchable by conventional agents. A team from Harvard University used the drug to suppress signals from a growth-promoting pathway, the Notch signaling pathway, that switches on inappropriately in some cancers. Cancer cells that depend on Notch signaling die when the pathway is blocked, Drs. Gregory L. Verdine, James Bradner, and their colleagues reported in the November 12 Nature. more  

Treatment for pancreatic cancer may target tumor microenvironment

Researchers have found some clues to suggest why combining nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) with gemcitabine may be a more effective treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer than gemcitabine alone, the current standard of care. more

Survey finds pain is common years after breast cancer surgery

A nationwide study of women who had breast cancer surgery in Denmark found that 47 percent of participants reported chronic pain 2 to 3 years after breast cancer treatment. Of these, 13 percent indicated severe pain, 39 percent moderate pain, and 48 percent light pain. In addition, 58 percent of participants experienced sensory disturbances or discomfort. more  

Hormone therapy use linked to benign breast condition

Women diagnosed with atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) have a three- to fivefold increased risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers led by Dr. Tehillah S. Menes from the Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York have discovered a link between postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and increased risk of ADH, similar to the link seen between HRT and breast cancer risk. These results were published November 9 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. more

Targeted treatment shows promise for older patients with advanced leukemia  

Older people are at higher risk of complications during treatment for some types of leukemia. For this reason, patients over the age of 55 are often treated with lower-intensity regimens, but consequently, the risk of disease relapse remains high. Now researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have shown that combining radioactive iodine (I131) with an antibody can focus radiation at disease sites while sparing healthy tissues in older patients. This increased treatment efficacy while maintaining levels of side effects similar to what is seen in younger patients with better prognoses. Their report appeared in the November 5 issue of Blood. more

Potential strategy for treating diffuse large B-cell lymphoma found  

Two research teams working independently have identified a potential strategy for treating a form of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common lymphoma in adults. Each group found that blocking a protein called MALT1 resulted in the death of cells from patients with the activated B-cell-like (ABC) type. These patients have poor prognoses, and the findings could point to new treatment strategies, the researchers said. more

Exploring the reasons women choose mastectomies

Since the 1980s, advances in surgical techniques, radiotherapy, and hormone and chemotherapy treatments have altered the decision-making landscape for women newly diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Breast-conserving surgery (BCS) followed by radiation has become the preferred course of treatment for many women, based on studies showing it to be as effective as modified radical mastectomy at reducing recurrence and mortality from the disease while preserving breast tissue. more

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Scientists have discovered a link between postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and an increased risk of atypical ductal hyperplasia -- similar to the link seen between HRT and breast cancer risk