According to an investigation published in the recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida have discovered that a malignancy-risk gene signature created for breast cancer has predictive and prognostic value for individuals suffering with early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC is responsible for 80% to 90% of all lung cancers, according to corresponding author Dung-Tsa Chen, Ph.D., associate member with the Moffitt Biostatistics program. Individuals with non-small cell lung cancer have a 30% to 50% chance of relapsing after surgery and a 40% to 70% five-year survival rate. Even though adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT), standard treatment of NSCLC, has increased survival rates, some patients do not gain any benefit from the treatment.
After a 20-year quest to find a genetic driver for prostate cancer that strikes men at younger ages and runs in families, researchers have identified a rare, inherited mutation linked to a significantly higher risk of the disease. A report on the discovery was published in the January 12, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. UNC-Chapel Hill scientist Ethan Lange, PhD, was part of the team of investigators at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the University of Michigan Health System, Wake Forest University and the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Lange is associate professor of genetics and biostatistics and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The research team found that men who inherit this mutation have a 10 to 20 times higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
The chemotherapy drugs required to push a common form of adult leukemia into remission may contribute to DNA damage that can lead to a relapse of the disease in some patients, findings of a new study suggest. The research, by a team of physicians and scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is published in the advance online edition of Nature. For patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), initial treatment with chemotherapy is essential for putting the cancer into remission. Without it, most patients would die within several months. But even so, about 80 percent of AML patients die within five years when chemotherapy treatment fails to keep the cancer in remission and the disease returns. Results of the new research provide evidence for a theory that scientists have long held: Chemotherapy contributes to relapse in cancer patients by damaging DNA and generating new mutations that allow tumor cells to evolve and become resistant to treatment.
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a gene that tells cells to develop multiple cilia, tiny hair-like structures that move fluids through the lungs and brain. The finding may help scientists generate new therapies that use stem cells to replace damaged tissues in the lung and other organs. "Cells with multiple cilia play a number of important roles, including moving fluids through the respiratory tract, brain and spinal cord, " says Christopher R. Kintner, a professor in Salk's Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, who led the research. "Knowing the gene that instructs cells to develop multiple cilia helps us understand how we might coax stem cells into developing into this type of cell, which we could then use to repair damaged tissue." The findings of the research, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health and Salk's Innovation Grants Program, were published in Nature Cell Biology.
A report published Online First in the Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, found that a sedentary lifestyle is linked to greater cerebral amyloid deposition, characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD), amongst cognitively normal individuals with the Î 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E ( APOE ) gene. The background information in the article states that: "The presence of an APOE Î 4 allele is the most established genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD), with a higher percentage of individuals with AD having an Î 4 allele in comparison with the general population. It has been suggested that APOE status may modify associations between lifestyle factors such as exercise engagement and risk of cognitive decline and dementia ." Denise Head, Ph.D. and her team set out to evaluate the relationship between exercise and cerebral amyloid deposition amongst patients with and without the APOE Î 4 allele.