Anurag Singh, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine presented his recent work on targeted therapeutics for colon cancer at the American Association of Cancer Research Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. Singh's seminar. It was featured in the "Late-Breaking Abstracts Mini-Symposium". This highlights recent and provocative groundbreaking research in cancer biology. Over one million cases of colon cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year resulting in approximately 600, 000 deaths annually. Disease-causing mutations in the KRAS gene are found in over half of these cases. In the United States, colon cancer patients are routinely genotyped for KRAS gene mutations and those with mutations are excluded from receiving novel "targeted" therapeutic agents due to a lack of clinical benefit.
Experimenting with cells in culture, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have breathed possible new life into two drugs once considered too toxic for human cancer treatment. The drugs, azacitidine (AZA) and decitabine (DAC), are epigenetic-targeted drugs and work to correct cancer-causing alterations that modify DNA. The researchers said the drugs also were found to take aim at a small but dangerous subpopulation of self-renewing cells, sometimes referred to as cancer stem cells, which evade most cancer drugs and cause recurrence and spread. In a report published in Cancer Cell, the Johns Hopkins team said their study provides evidence that low doses of the drugs tested on cell cultures cause antitumor responses in breast, lung, and colon cancers. Conventional chemotherapy agents work by indiscriminately poisoning and killing rapidly-dividing cells, including cancer cells, by damaging cellular machinery and DNA.
New Recommendations May Be Affected By Providers' Attitude Toward Vaccinating Young Males Against HPV
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that a health care provider's attitude toward male human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination may influence the implementation of new guidelines. They believe targeted provider education on the benefits of HPV vaccination for male patients, specifically the association of HPV with certain cancers in men, may be important for achieving vaccination goals. These findings appear on-line in the American Journal of Men's Health. HPV infects approximately 20 million men and women in the United States each year. It can cause anal, penile and oropharyngeal cancers in men. Approximately 7, 000 HPV-associated cancers are diagnosed in men annually. Last year, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued a revised statement recommending universal vaccination of 11- to 12-year-old males with catch-up vaccinations for males age13 to 21.
What happens on the day before a colonoscopy may be just as important as the colon-screening test itself. Gastroenterologists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that when patients don't adequately prep for the test by cleansing their colons, doctors often can't see potentially dangerous pre-cancerous lesions. Reporting in the journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the researchers say that doctors often missed at least one pre-cancerous growth in about one-third of patients who did not properly prepare for their colonoscopy. Those polyps and other markers of cancer risk were only discovered months later when patients had their next colonoscopy. Although several studies have found that up to a quarter of colonoscopy patients don't prepare adequately for the test, the new study is the first to point out the potential consequences of poor bowel preparation in outpatients at average risk.
The Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory (NIMML) research team at Virginia Tech has discovered important new information on the efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in treating Crohn's disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). CLA is a naturally occurring acid found in meat and dairy products known for its anti-cancer and immune modulatory properties. In collaboration with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepathology at University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the Wake Forest Medical Center, researchers found that Crohn's patients who took supplementary CLA showed noticeable improvement. "In our recent open label study of CLA as a supplement in study subjects with mild to moderate CD there was a marked improvement in disease activity and quality of life in 50% of the subjects.