latest news on cancer research

Scientists find a new therapy for cancer

New Delhi, Dec 10: The fight against Cancer could get a major boost with a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Indore synthesising a nano-based therapeutic agent that promises to be highly effective in treating the deadly disease. Cancer: increasingly growing concerns of the healthcare sector Cancer has been one of the increasingly growing concerns of the healthcare sector. The treatment strategy and response against multidrug-resistant cancer, solid tumours, or brain-related cancers have been a primary challenge for researchers and physicians. Naturally occurring bioactive compounds offer a new path in cancer therapy. But, the current delivery systems of medications are not adequate due to the multifactorial nature of the disease, especially metastasis, and recurrence, inaccessibility of the drugs due to biological barriers, inability to maintain therapeutic concentrations at the site of action, and the adverse effects of the drugs on the surrounding tissues. In the new study, researchers at IIT-Indore have synthesised a nanocomposite that was found to be quite effective in reaching inaccessible sites, overcoming physiological barriers, maintaining the concentration of drugs, and reducing cellular toxicity. The composite was formulated by loading bioactive compound Piperine onto a co-polymer called PLGA.  Piperine, which is derived from the commonly used Black Pepper, has several therapeutic properties such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-depressant, anti-angiogenic & anti-apoptotic, besides imparting a distinctive aroma and taste to cuisines.  The study was conducted by Dr Amit Kumar and Dr Abhijeet Joshi of the Department of  Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering, IIT-Indore. The team has published a report on their findings in the journal, ACS, Applied Nanomaterials.  “One of the major advantages of using nanocarriers for the delivery of Piperine is that this can target the MDR cancer cells by releasing the cargo inside the cytosol mediated by the proton sponge effect”, Dr Kumar said. The work was a follow-up to a study conducted by the group in 2016 when they reported for the first time in the journal Scientific Reports how Piperine interacts with an oncogene called `c-myc’ and stalls the growth of cancerous cells. Dr Kumar said the group has further found through…

research on health

Study finds a new potential therapeutic target for cancer

New Delhi, Nov 24: The transfer of genetic information in the intact form to the progeny is the cornerstone of the perpetuation of life on earth. However, the DNA molecules that store this genetic information are susceptible to damage caused by many internal and external factors that cells are frequently exposed to. Such genotoxic stress experienced by the cell is one of the main factors contributing to the development of cancer. Organisms have evolved cellular mechanisms that trigger a DNA damage response and repair system, which helps prevent cancer development under normal circumstances. But if there are defects in this, they can lead to cancer. The various components of the system have, therefore, been the objects of research aimed at understanding the biology of cancer and identifying therapeutic targets. One such molecule of interest is a protein called “β-TrCP”, which controls many cellular processes including DNA damage response. In humans, there are two forms of this protein, β-TrCP1 and β-TrCP2, whose deregulation has been associated with many diseases, including cancer. Studies have shown that while β-TrCP1 can act as a tumour suppressor molecule, β-TrCP2 has the potential to act as an oncogene. Tumour suppressors protect the genome from damage-causing factors, whereas oncogenes counter this tumour suppressor function and allow genetically abnormal (cancer) cells to grow. This raises questions as to whether β-TrCP1 and β-TrCP2 molecules interact with each other, and if so, how do they do it. A new study by a team of scientists at the National Centre for Cell Science (DBT-NCCS) in Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), the Government of India led by Dr Manas Kumar Santra has gained some insights into this. It has been shown for the first time that β-TrCP1 and β-TrCP2 communicate with each other and show cross-regulation during DNA damage response. They have established that when the cell experiences genotoxic stress, β-TrCP1 tries to inactivate the function of β-TrCP2 so as to activate p53, another important tumour-suppressor protein considered as a “guardian of the genome”, thus protecting the cell from DNA damage and cancer development. Their study has…


Opioid Use Drops Among Cancer Patients at End of Life

People with cancer nearing the end of their life are not getting needed opioids to control their pain, a new study indicates. In the study, researchers found that the proportion of people with cancer who filled a prescription for opioid drugs within the last month of their life dropped between 2007 and 2017. And over that same period, the number of emergency department visits for pain among people with cancer in the last month of life increased dramatically. The findings were published July 22 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  Although the new study could not directly link the decrease in opioid prescriptions to the increase in emergency department visits, “I do think these visits are sort of a canary in the coal mine,” said Andrea Enzinger, M.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who led the research team. “We really don’t know the full extent to which patients are suffering, but I think it’s likely a good bit more than what we’ve reported.” Beginning in the 2010s, many US states began enacting regulations to curb inappropriate opioid prescribing amid a growing epidemic of opioid overdose deaths. An unintended consequence of these regulations is that it became much harder for people with cancer to access pain medications, even at the end of life. “This study demonstrates that, at a time in the US when the primary dialogue about opioids was abuse, cancer patients who need opioids for pain management were not getting them,” said Lori Minasian, M.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP), who was not involved in the research. “The regulations that have been implemented to try to counteract the [opioid epidemic] have made things harder for our cancer patients,” added Judith Paice, PhD, R.N., director of the Cancer Pain Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who also was not involved in the study. “There definitely needs to be advocacy work related to [opioid access] for people with a cancer diagnosis.” Unintended Consequences The conversation around the use of opioids to relieve cancer-related pain is a complex one, explained Dr Paice. “The amazing thing about oncology right…


Avasopasem Shields Normal Cells from Radiation, Helps Kill Cancer Cells

What is the aim of Cancer treatments? Cancer treatments aim to kill cancer cells. Other treatments often used to help people with cancer, called supportive therapies, protect normal tissues or make the side effects from cancer treatments more bearable. What if one drug could play both of these roles at the same time? In new studies in mice, researchers found that a drug called avasopasem manganese (AVA), which has been found to protect normal tissues from radiation therapy, can also make cancer cells more vulnerable to radiation treatment. AVA provides this dual effect by exploiting the differences in the way normal and tumour cells produce hydrogen peroxide, explained Douglas Spitz, PhD, professor of radiation oncology at the University of Iowa, who helped lead the study. With any cancer treatment, “you try to find this sweet spot where you’re balanced between an effective therapeutic dose for killing cancer cells, but not causing excessive harm to normal tissues,” said Michael Espey, PhD, of NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, who was not involved in the study. “If you can [have a single drug that] lowers the toxicity in normal tissues while increasing the toxicity in cancer cells, then you really have sort of a game-changer.” More work is needed to see if the effects observed in mice can be replicated in people. But in April, Galera Therapeutics, which manufactures AVA, reported positive findings from a small clinical trial of AVA added to a targeted form of radiation therapy in people with pancreatic cancer. Two other ongoing clinical trials are also testing AVA in combination with radiation therapy in lung and pancreatic cancer. Building on Cells’ Natural Defense Mechanisms In radiation therapy, high doses of x-rays or other charged particles are aimed at a tumour. The radiation can damage cancer cells’ DNA to the point where the cells stop dividing or die. While a single radiation dose is administered in minutes, many of the resulting changes in cells that cause them to die take days to occur. When a dose of radiation hits a cell, its high energy creates compounds called free…


Genetic clues, the potential for tailored therapy: a study of rare childhood cancer

New findings suggest that children with rhabdomyosarcoma could benefit from tumour genetic testing. Childhood Rhabdomyosarcoma Treatment In children with rhabdomyosarcoma, or RMS, a rare cancer that affects the muscles and other soft tissues, the presence of mutations in several genes, including TP53, MYOD1, and CDKN2A, appears to be associated with a more aggressive form of the disease and a poorer chance of survival. This finding is from the largest-ever international study on RMS, led by scientists at the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Center for Cancer Research, part of the National Institutes of Health. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on June 24, provides an unprecedented look at data for a large cohort of patients with RMS, offering genetic clues that could lead to more widespread use of tumor genetic testing to predict how individual patients with this childhood cancer will respond to therapy, as well as to the development of targeted treatments for the disease. “These discoveries change what we do with these patients and trigger a lot of really important research into developing new therapies that target these mutations,” said Javed Khan, M.D., of NCI’s Genetics Branch, who led the study. “The standard therapy for RMS is almost a year of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. These children get a lot of toxic treatments,” said the study’s first author, Jack Shern, M.D., of NCI’s Pediatric Oncology Branch. “If we could predict who’s going to do well and who’s not, then we can really start to tailor our therapies or eliminate therapies that aren’t going to be effective in a particular patient. And for the children that aren’t going to do well, this allows us to think about new ways to treat them.” What is rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) RMS is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children. In patients whose cancer has remained localized, meaning that it has not spread, combination chemotherapies have led to a five-year survival rate of 70%-80%. But in patients whose cancer has spread or come back after treatment, the five-year survival rate remains poor at less than 30%, even with…

World Health Organization

New WHO/IAEA publication provides guidance on radiotherapy equipment to fight cancer

Geneva/Vienna 5 March 2021: New guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the procurement of radiotherapy equipment could improve access to this life-saving cancer treatment option that is still lacking in many parts of the world. Aims of The new technical guidance The new technical guidance aims to ensure that the selection of radiotherapy equipment is appropriate to country and health facility contexts, that treatment is delivered safely, that quality is maintained, and that services are sustainable. The publication is intended for medical physicists, biomedical and clinical engineers, radiation oncologists, oncologists and anyone else with responsibility for manufacturing, planning, selecting, procuring, regulating, installing or using radiotherapy equipment. It was developed as part of the ongoing collaboration between WHO and the IAEA to foster safety and quality in the medical use of radiation technology. More than half of cancer patients require radiotherapy More than 50% of cancer patients require radiotherapy as part of cancer care and it is frequently used to treat the most common types, such as breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung cancer. Yet, access to radiotherapy is inadequate, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. “IAEA data shows that around one-third of countries still do not have radiotherapy available, out of which 28 are in Africa,” said May Abdel-Wahab, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Human Health. “Many of them would benefit from increased access to radiotherapy services. The key is tailoring radiation oncology solutions to the situation on the ground, underpinned by appropriate safety infrastructure.”  Types of radiotherapy equipment covered by the guide include external beam radiotherapy machines (both Cobalt-60 and linear accelerators), brachytherapy devices that apply radiation sources directly to tumours and complementary imaging devices such as conventional or computed tomography (CT) simulators, as well as other tools essential for safe operation and quality control. Depending on the type of radiotherapy machine, the need for specialized professionals and infrastructure, as well as quality assurance and maintenance, may vary. Safety is also covered extensively, with the information provided on planning for bunkers to house radiotherapy equipment, shielding for walls, floor and…

Health news

A new platform to measure DNA modifications can have potential application in the early detection of cancer, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s

New Delhi 24 FEB 2021: Scientists have developed a new technique to measure DNA modifications that can have applications in the early diagnosis of multiple diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. Alteration in DNA affects their expression and functions. DNA controls cell survival through the genetic code as well as via modifications to its structure. There is a demand for techniques with very high resolution to measure such modifications of DNA structures and observe and understand the molecular mechanisms associated with it to track rare diseases. The platform developed by a team of scientists led by Professor Gautam Soni The novel nanopore-based platform developed by the scientists can directly measure such modifications or branched DNA properties with the single-molecule resolution even with extremely low amounts of sample. The platform and associated analysis techniques developed by a team of scientists led by Professor Gautam Soni from Raman Research Institute, an autonomous Institute funded by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India can quantitatively assess the distribution of supercoiled branches on DNA plasmids (DNA molecule outside the chromosome). This research work done by researchers Sumanth Kumar, Koushik S., and Dr. Soni has been recently published in the journal ‘Nanoscale’. The measurement principle of the novel platform is analogous to the Archimedes principle. Individual analyte molecules are driven through a nanopore under an applied voltage, which, during translocation, results in a tiny electrical blip. Charges excluded by the analyte  (supercoiled  DNA)  in the  nanopore is directly proportional to the volume of the particle and is directly measured as the current change. This method utilizes extremely low amounts of sample and can measure DNA structural changes ranging to a few nanometers resolution in the axis perpendicular to the translocation and few tens of nanometers along the translocation axis. Further optimization of the technique can help in the development of portable nano-bio sensors for detection and quantification of protein aggregates and cell-free DNA or nucleosomes. This may help in the early diagnosis of many diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. Currently, researchers at RRI are also exploring applications of this method…

latest news on cancer research

Study of “exceptional responders” yields clues to cancer and potential treatments

USA, 19th November 2020. In a comprehensive analysis of patients with cancer who had exceptional responses to therapy, researchers have identified molecular changes in the patients’ tumours that may explain some of the exceptional responses. The results demonstrate that genomic characterizations of cancer can uncover genetic alterations that may contribute to unexpected and long-lasting responses to treatment, according to the researchers. The results appeared in Cancer Cell on Nov. 19. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, conducted the study in collaboration with investigators from other institutions, including NCI-designated Cancer Centers. “The majority of patients in this study had metastatic cancers that are typically difficult to treat, yet some of the patient responses lasted for many years,” said Louis Staudt, M.D., Ph.D., director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Genomics, who co-led the study. “Researchers and the doctors who treat these patients have long been curious about the mechanisms underlying these rare responses to treatment. Using modern genomic tools, we can now start to solve these fascinating puzzles”, he added. “As clinical researchers, we have a lot to learn from these patients, and they have a lot to teach us,” said Percy Ivy, M.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, who co-led the research. “The knowledge gained from studying exceptional responders can help inform how we take care of patients in the future and will help move us closer to the goal of precision oncology.” The retrospective study, which is now closed to accrual, included detailed medical histories and tumour samples from 111 patients with various types of cancer who had received standard treatments, such as chemotherapy. The patients had been identified by NCI’s Exceptional Responders Initiative, a national project launched in 2014 to explore the feasibility of collecting and analyzing the data and biospecimens needed to better understand the biological basis of exceptional responses in cancer. For 26 of the 111 (24%) patients, the researchers were able to identify molecular features that could potentially explain exceptional responses to treatment, such as the co-occurrence of multiple rare genetic changes in the tumour…

latest news on cancer research

#Healh: Breast cancer treatment takes a big leap forward

Cancer news India | Cancer care in India | Health news New Delhi, Sep 01 (India Science Wire): Breast-cancer is the most common cancer in women in India. An estimated one in twenty-eight women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. In urban areas, one in twenty-two women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime as compared to rural areas where one in sixty women develops breast cancer in her lifetime. Earlier research had demonstrated that breast cancer patients had reduced production of a protein in the body called Estrogen-related receptor beta (ERRβ), that resulted in proliferation or rapid division of breast cancer cells and their migration to other parts of the body, and that if the protein can be overexpressed in breast cancer patients, it can result in an improved prognosis and prolonged relapse-free survival. However, it was so far not known as to how and why the production of ERRβ protein was reduced in breast cancer patients. A new study by the cancer research group at the Department of Biotechnology’s Institute of Life Sciences (DBT-ILS) has resolved the mystery and promises to pave the way for developing better drugs for breast cancer. The researchers have unravelled the molecular mechanism for the phenomenon. It is found that the ERRβ protein is a key substrate of the SCF complex and deregulated activation of the SCF complex due to the NEDDylation of Cullin subunits of the SCF complex, targets ERRβ for degradation in breast cancer. Consequently, the team led by Dr. Sandip K Mishra has demonstrated that a molecule called MLN4924 can restore the expression of the ERRβ protein and help reduce cell proliferation and migration of breast cancer cells. The study has also demonstrated that restoration of ERRβ expression in breast cancer with the help of MLN4924, promotes the production of two important tumour suppressors p21 and E-cadherin, involved in the arrest of cell proliferation and migration. Breast cancer is the predominant cause of cancer deaths in underdeveloped countries, representing 14.3% of all cancer deaths. In 2018, 1,62,468 new cases and 87,090 deaths were reported for…

Health news

Way paved for a new treatment for Alzheimer like conditions

New Delhi, February 07 : The immune system in the body has an important component called the complement system’. This is involved in immune surveillance. It is important that it is regulated properly. Otherwise, it can damage the cells of the host’s body itself. This problem is linked to several diseases, including Alzheimer’s, stroke, <strong><em><a href=””>age-related macular degeneration</a>, <a href=””>asthma</a>, <a href=””>rheumatoid arthritis</a></em></strong> and cancer. <h2><strong>A series of protein molecules present on the surface of cells in the body tightly regulate the activation of the system. </strong></h2> These proteins primarily belong to a family called theregulators of complement activation’ (RCA) family. The members of the family work to prevent damage to cells of the host by its own complement system through two mechanisms called decay accelerating activity (DAA) and cofactor activity (CFA). Understanding the nuts and bolts of how the two mechanisms operate could help gain useful insights into what goes wrong in diseases linked to inappropriate regulation of the complement system, and could consequently help design improved strategies for therapeutic interventions. However, which of these units are specifically required for these proteins to carry out their respective functions was hitherto unknown.Complement regulators have, therefore, been the target of research. It is known that they are composed of a string of multiple units, somewhat like beads strung together. A research group at the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune led by Dr. Arvind Sahu has for the first time identified the precise units of the RCA protein molecules that are responsible for their regulatory function, thus revealing that functional modularity exists in these proteins. They have found that the basic functional blocks (domains) in these proteins that enable complex activities like DAA and CFA, are surprisingly formed of only two units, which are arranged in a specific order. They have further found that it is possible to artificially link the identified functional domains of the proteins responsible for the DAA and CFA, to create a molecule with both these activities combined, which they have named ‘decay-cofactor protein (DCP)’. These findings have important implications since such a regulatory protein with…

Shekhar Suman supports Ambagopal Foundation

Harish Shetty’s Ambagopal Foundation To Beat Cancer Gets Bollywood And Political Support

Shekhar Suman supports Ambagopal Foundation Mumbai, 06th February 2020 (News Help Line). Bollywood and Political Dignitaries graced the launch of Ambagopal Foundation’s Cancer Initiative in Mumbai. Harish Shetty along with Suparna Wankhede, politician Ramdas Athawale, actor Sekhar Suman, Sharvani Mukherjee, Manpreet Sohal, Umesh Shukla, Sandeep Soparkar, Deb Mukherjee, Mitul Pradeep, Sanjay Khan, Jayant Patil and Sambhaji Zende graced the event. Restaurateur turned social crusader, Harish Shetty’s Ambagopal Foundation have launched a Cancer Initiative to create awareness about the ailment and causes which leads to this fatal disease. Talking about the Foundation core work strengths and objectives, Harish said, “The foundation is named after my parents, who led the value system for its core strength. We work in various fields, from providing care of elderly people, food and other assistance. We work on sustaining a better life in harmony with nature. Chemical free food, portable water and clean air, are some of our major work areas. We’re also running campaign to curb the gap between elderly and younger generation, which is a crucial element in providing a dignified life to older people” The foundation runs two of the biggest initiatives – Aharveda and Hosh (Help our society Heal). Talking about the initiatives, Suparna Wankhede said, “In Aharveda, we cook food with correct temperature, which helps sustain all the vitamins and nutrients within the food and then this food is distributed. We buy straight from farmers, so the middle man culture is tossed out. We cook with German technology” Talking about the event, Shekhar Suman said, “It’s really nice initiative. I feel it’s our social responsibility to do something for our society, country and the world. I feel we are being responsible for destruction of the world and it’s all because of our mistakes and greed. Having a disease is a natural thing and living species are going to die someday but if it happens before the time then, we are responsible for it. God gives us signals so we have to understand and identify those signals. I feel it’s our responsibility to make people aware about it so, I am thankful…


Scientists find a new way to fight cancer

p53 is one of the most well studied proteins in cancer biology. Like all proteins, its levels and activity are tightly controlled andthey go through cycles of birth-existence-death: the protein is synthesised, it does its function and then it is degraded.