Posts Tagged ‘research’

BPA/Inflammatory Breast Cancer Connection.

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

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The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) seems to aid the survival of inflammatory breast cancer cells that reveals a possible mechanism for how the disease grows according to new research in the journal Carcinogenesis. They found that BPA increases the cell signaling pathways known as mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) in inflammatory breast cancer cells. Researchers said “the study is the first to show that BPA increases signaling thorough receptors that communicate with the MAPK pathway and that the presence of BPA may lead to resistance to cancer drugs targetinmg this pathweay. In our cell model, more signaling led to increased growth of the cancer cells”

Researchers started by treating Inflammatory Breast Cancer cells with six endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly found in the everyday environment found in food, medicine and agricultural products. The found that BPA, in addition to chemicals trichloroethane (HPTE) and methoxychlor, caused an increase in signaling to epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR), that lie on the cell surface. When cells were treated with low doses of BPA, there was nearly a doubling of EGER and signaling to the MAPK pathway also increased. This weas accompanied with a rise in indicators of cancer cell growth. They also found that BPA exposure inhibited the effectiveness of drugs that work to kill cancer cells by inhibiting EGFR signaling.  Research is ongoing.

Is High Dose Vitamin C safe?

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

 

Holistic-Health-Show-with-Dr-Carl-O-HelvieA new study published in Cancer Cell researchers found in clinical studies that it was safe to regularly infuse brain and lung cancer patients with 800 to 1,000 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin C as a potential strategy to improve outcomes of standard cancer treatments. In addition, they showed pathways by which altered iron metabolism in cancer cells, and not normal cells, lead to increased sensitivity to cancer cell death caused by high dose vitamin C.

In the study 11 patients enrolled in the brain cancer safety trial and received three infusions of vitamin C a week for 2 months followed by two infusions per week for 7 months while receiving standard care of radiation and chemotherapy. The goal of each infusion was to raise the concentration of vitamin C in a patients blood to 20,000 uM, as compared to a blood level of          70 uM found in most adults. A high dose is necessary because vitamin C has a half life of around two hours in circulating human blood. The treatment was generally well tolerated except for frequent trips to the bathroom and dry mouth. (as an aside, dry mouth was the one symptom mentioned by Dr Francisco Contreras at the Oasis of Hope where they have used high dose vitamin C with cancer patients). Researchers found that occasionally patients had elevated blood pressure that subsided quickly following infusion.

The safety of the high dose vitamin C is due to the fact that it is not toxic to normal cells but when interacting with cancer cells the high levels of redox active iron molecules in the cancer cells reacts with the vitamin C to form hydrogen peroxide and free radicals formed from hydrogen peroxide. The free radicals are believed to cause DNA damage selectively in the cancer cells that lead to cancer cell death and sensitivity to radiation and chemotherapy in cancer cells. (This has been long known by alternative doctors who use the high dose vitamin C without the chemo and radiation).  Researchers said “This is a significant example of how knowing details of potential mechanisms and the basic science of redox active compounds in cancer versus normal cells can be leveraged clinically in cancer therapy.” …Here , we verified convincingly, that increased redox active metal ions in cancer cells were responsible for the differential sensitivity of cancer versus normal cells to very high doses of vitamin C.” Further studies on safety and vitam C are planned.

Cancer Development/Epigenetics/ Metabolism?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

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A new study published in Briefings in Functional Genomics evaluated how epigenetics modulate human genetic programs and how it emphasizes or silences genes and concluded that if epigenetics is disrupted. it might switch on oncogenes (genes that under certain circumstances transform cells into tumor cells) or shut down tumor suppressors. Both processes will transform cells into tumor cells and cause cancer.

Experiments carried out years ago showed that chemical modification affecting the packaging of DNA can switch genes on or off. Epigenetics evolved to explain the changes caused by modification of gene expression , instead of altering the gene code itself and focuses on factors that regulate how and when certain genes are turned on and off.  In contract, epigenomics relates to the analysis of global epigenetic changes across many genes. Current research shows that complementary forces of on and off switches keep each other is check. If one force overtakes, the system gets out of equibrium. and the cells either experience unlimited growth, cancer, or death. It is believed that a better understanding of these processes will lead to counter factors to prevent cancer.

 

Can Gene Inactivation Prevent Aging and Cancer?

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

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A new study published in the journal Nature concluded that every body cell contains the complete DNA library and the so called methyl groups regulate the DNA library in tissues so that only the genetic information needed in that tissue is expressed. Now for the first time, researchers verified that a lack of methyl groups in the gene body leads to an incorrect gene activation and, subsequently may lead to the emergence of cancer.

Each body cell contains the entire building plan of the whole organism written in the DNA and comprises single genes that determine the specific attributes of the individual.  Gene expression builds tissue cells with tissue-specific attributes. Thus, genes information is activated that forms cells identified as intestinal cells or lung cells etc. In this regulated process methyl groups play an important role. If they are enzymatically bound to a gene’s starting point, known as the promoter, the respective gene is inactivated and the DNA is methylated. As we age and develop age-related diseases such as cancer the activation of genetic information is increasingly defective. However, until now, the detailed processes of these errors and the role of  DNA methylation  in these processes has been poorly understood.

Researchers have known for some time that DNA methylation at the promoter of a gene functions as an on/off switch. However, it was unknown in epigenetics why DNA within the gene body housing the important genetic information is methylated also which was answered in this research. This research showed that genes also aberrant activated if–beyond promoters–DNA methylation is missing within the gene body. Subsequently aberrant proteins are produced that impinge on the cell structure that result in massive disruption of the function and identity of a cell and cell degradation occurs and cancer may emerge.  Researchers concluded “this new knowledge that a lack of DNA methylation at the gene body  may lead to the production of aberrant proteins, might offer a target for cancer therapy. If we succeed to find a way to traffic methyl groups to non-methylated DNA sequences of cancer cells, we could possibly stop proliferation of these cells.”

Testing Edible Marijuana Driver Impairment

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

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Testing edible marijuana for driver impairment is the subject of new research published in AACC’s Clinical Chemistry. Although edible marijuana is becoming increasingly common there is little information on testing drivers following consumption.  This study evaluated the performance of roadside saliva tests  following consumption of edible tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Researchers observed that consumption of marijuana edibles have expanded along with legalized medical and recreational use and about 1/3 of all marijuana is now either eaten or ingested in drinks. Marijuana-associated  traffic accidents and fatalities have also increased in states where they have been legalized increasing in those states from 8.6% in 2007 to 12.6% in 20132014.

In the study researchers gave occasional and frequent marijuana smokers brownies laced with 50.6 mg of THC. Over the next 48 hours the researchers collected saliva and blood samples at several time points. Saliva samples were analyzed using the roadside screening devices , the Draeger Drug Test 5000 (DT5000) and Alere DDS2 (DDS2) that use a cutoff point of 5µg/L and 25µg/L respectively to determine someone who is positive or negative for marijuana use. These tests were then confirmed  using a standard laboratory method for marijuana testing–the liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to analyze both the saliva and blood samples at different .THC cut off points ranging from 0.2µ/L to 25µg/L.

By comparing the roadside and the LC-MS/MS results, researchers determined that confirmation cutoffs for THC of >1 µg/L    and 0.2 µg/L led to the greater number of true positives both through the initial and through confirmation testings. Thus, saliva testing devices can successfully detect THC after ingestion of edible marijuana. Researchers recommended confirming edible marijuana use with saliva tests instead of blood tests due to a lack of correlation between the blood and saliva testing  over time.

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Exercise Not Important in Weight Loss

Friday, February 10th, 2017

 

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Exercise may not be key to controlling weight  according to new research in Peer J.  Young adults from the United States and four other countries were studied by researchers who found that neight physical activity nor sedentary lifestyle were associated with weight gain. Researchers said that although exercis has many health benefits people who are physically active tend to be healthier but although this activity burns calories it also increases appetite, and people may compensate by eating more, or by being less active the rest of the day.

In the study participants in the 5 countries wore tracking devices called accelerometers on their waists for a week to measure their energy expenditure and step count. Researchers also measure their weight, height, and body fat. After the initial exam participants returned one and two years later. Initially only 44 percent of American men and 20 percent of American women met the U.S. Surgeon General physical activity guidelines that recommended at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as brisk walking weekly.

Results showed total weight gain was greater among those who met the physical activity guidelines. In America, men who met the guidelines gained a half pound per year, whereas American men who did not meet the guidelines lost 0.6 pounds. Researchers also found no relationship between sedentary lifestyle initially and subsequent weight gain or weight loss. The only significant factors for weight gain were weight at the initial visit, age and gender.

Food/Antibiotics May Cause IBS

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

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A recent review of research published in the American Journal of Physiology–Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, suggested that changes in the microorganisms in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract may be the cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This condition is common in up to 20 percent of the middle aged people in North America who suffer from abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, or constipation or both. In the past it was thought to be caused by emotional stress, environmental factors, and genetics. Based upon their review of research they found: 1)diet can change the makeup of bacteria in the GI tract that may contribute to symptoms of IBS;  2) antibiotic use, which disturbs microbiota in the gut is associated with IBS; 3) changes in the gut microbiota  influences the ability of the GI tract to contract to move waste through the system; and 4) changes in the gut microbes can impair communication networks between the immune, nervous and endocrine systems, predisposing people to IBS.  They also found that emotional stress may change the shape and function of microrganisms in the GI tract. Authors were optimistic that their findings would help facilitate treatments for IBS.

Are Salmonella Bacteria a Possible New Treatment for Cancer?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

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A new study published in PLOS ONE concluded that Salmonella has a unique characteristic allowing it to penetrate through a cell barrier and replicate inside its host. Scientist have now developed a non-toxic strain of Salmonella to penetrate and target cancer cells that may lead to treatments actively targeting and controlling the spread of cancer. The researchers said “Salmonella strains have a natural preference for infiltrating and replicating within the cancer cells of a tumor, making the bacterial an ideal candidate for bacteriotherapy. …..the use of live bacteria as therapy to treat medical conditions, like cancer.”

Researchers developed  CRC2631, a Salmonella strain that was genetically modified to render the bacteria non-toxic and enhance its natural ability to target and kill cancer cells without harming normal, healthy cells. This Salmonella strain was administered directly into the circulatory system of mice with prostate cancer. Results show that the mice tolerated the treatment well and the prostate tumors decreased by about 20% when compared with a control group,  The success of the study was dependent upon the strain of Salmonella, CRC2631, that was collected and stored in a test tube at room temperature for more than 50 years. It differs from that used by other researchers trying to obtain the same results because it is unique and essential to the study.

Can Depression Influence Lung Cancer Survival?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

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A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on October 3 concluded that worsening symptoms depression are associated with shorter survival for lung cancer patients, especially for those in the early stages of the disease. On the other hand, when symptoms lift, survival tends to improve. Researchers said “This study cannot prove causation–but it lends support to the idea that surveillance for depression symptoms and treatment for depression could provide significant impact on patients outcomes, perhaps even a mortality benefit.” They also said “Suprisingly, depression remission was associated with a mortality benefit as they had the same mortality as never-depressed patients.”

In the study more than 1700 newly diagnosed lung cancer patients between 2003 and 2005 who had completed an eight item depression assessment at diagnoses and 12 months later were followed. they found almost 40 percent or 681 people had depressive symptoms at diagnosis and 14 percent or 105 people developed new-onset symptoms during treatment. Those depressed at the beginning of the study were 17 percent more likely to die during follow up than those with out depressive symptoms. Those (105 patients) with newly-diagnosed depression symptoms were 50 percent more likely to die than those (640 patients) who never developed depression. And another 254 patients whose depression lasted throughout the study period were 42 percent more likely to die. However, those whose depression at diagnoses were free of depression one year later had the same risk of death as those without depression.

Researchers concluded “Clinicians have to do a better job of treating the whole person and not focusing on the disease only.” “From the patients’ perspective, hopefully some of them will take a look at this study and realize the feelings they arew experiencing are common and they will feel empowered to advocate for themselves and ask their clinician for help or resources when they need it.”

New Tool Measures Expense Stress of Cancer patients?

Friday, October 14th, 2016

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A recent article in the journal Cancer reported on a new tool that measures a patient’s risk for, and ability to tolerate , the financial stress associated with cancer treatment.  They previously found that many patients experience uncertainty and stress as a result of the cancer treatment compounded by what is called “financial toxicity”  or the anxiety and distress that follows health care and medical expenses, often compounded by reduced ability to pay.

Using data from 233 advanced cancer patients receiving treatment, they found that the COST (Comprehensive Score for financial Toxicity) questionnaire identified patients in financial stress. They said “As expected, we found a strong association between a patient’s use of health care resources and his or her sense of financial toxicity.  For example, more than two admissions to the hospital significantly affected a patient’s financial toxicity. The questionnaire has 11 brief statements about costs, resources and concerns and for each question patients circled one of five possible responses to determine their level of concern. An example of a question included “I feel financially stressed.”

Researchers found several factors associated with financial toxicity. These included employment status, household income, psychological stress, number of hospital admissions, and race in rank order.  Researchers were surprised to find a lack of perceived financial benefit from participating in clinical trials even when there was no cost. Researchers said “It is important to note that the financial distress identified by the COST scale captures a unique set of stressors affecting patients above and beyond the physical and psychological strains of the disease.” Further research is planned.