Posts Tagged ‘pancreatic cancer’

Research Says Reduce-Not Increase Antioxidants to Kill Pancreatic Cancer Cells.

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

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Conventional wisdom in popular culture is to raise antioxidants in the body to facilitate recovery from cancer researchers have found that in pancreatic cancer the last thing one wants to do is raise antioxidants levels. Instead lowering antioxidants in pancreatic cancer cells can kill them them according to the researchers of the study published in  the journal Cell.  Pancreatic cancer is a lethal disease in which 5 per cent of the cases survive 5 years. /

In normal cells oxidizing and antioxidizing agents are created in every cell and kept in a precise balance. However, in proliferating cancer cells  more oxidizing cells are being made in malignant cells but more antioxidants are being made also that counter the impact of rising oxidation and without commensurately more antioxidants the  malignant cells will die due to excessive oxidation and that is what is desired. Researchers tested  whether by increasing the level of oxidation in cancer cells,the pre-cancerous cells and malignant cells would die. When cells detect excessive oxidation, they commit suicide, following a built in program called apoptosis and one way to increase oxidation in cancer cells is to decrease levels of antioxidants in those same cells.

Researchers were interested in how best to do this without harming normal cells. The focused on a protein called NRF2 which is considered a master regulator of redox homeostasis or by which they can turn the switch to tweak and disturb the exquisite balance between oxidation and reduction in cancer cells. When NRF2 is active, cells synthesize a chemical called glutathione that is an important antioxidant. Thus, by reducing NRF2 activity or knock it out of action would seem desirable but this is not possible for two reasons. First, it is a transcription factor—a protein that regulates the activities of other genes.  Transcription factors is famously difficult to target but researchers say that would not be desirable because in addition to promoting  production of glutathione, NFR2 has a role in regulating several hundred different gene that impact on many other processes.

After conducting experiments and testing pancreatic cells in animal models they arrived at a different strategy. They used a panel of pancreatic organoids,  spherical agglomerations of pancreatic cells, sampled from people with pancreatic cancer and from healthy pancreas and were able to observe what happens when NRF2 is completely eliminated. They ran the test on normal, premalignant and malignant pancreatic organoids. They saw that the premalignant organoids carried cellular mutations in the Kras gene that is aberrant in almost all human pancreatic cancers. The malignant organoidshad that mutation and also a mutation that inactivates the powerful tumor supressor gene P53 and these with Kras are seen in most human malignancies.

Researchers, thus, saw that when NRF2 is missing the mechanism in cells that translate messages from genes to proteins (protein synthesis) is very sensitive to fluctuations in the balance between oxidants and anti-oxidants. However, protein synthesis was not impacted in normal pancreatic cells. Researchers said “We were very excited when we saw this. This meant that if we could find a way of reducing antioxidants, protein synthesis would only be impacted in precancerous and malignant cells, a potentially powerful therapeutic strategy.”

Using a mouse model they found that using two drugs–one that inhibited the beginning of the translation process that leads to protein synthesis and the other inhibited the synthesis of glutathione which is an antioxidant- was more effective in killing cancer cells that either alone and normal pancreatic cells were not affected. Further research to look at combinations and to increase efficacy are planned.

Tara & Steve Mann (Cancer Crackdown) and Bernice Yoder (Pancreatic Cancer Survivor) Interview.

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

taramannMy first guests, Tara and Steve Mann, are Co-Founders, CEO and President of Cancer Crackdown. (This is a continuation of an interview started last show). Cancer Crackdown is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization, their passion is to help fighters take their battle with cancer to the next level. They are unique in that they fight alongside those battling this disease. They develop plans and help fighters and survivors to be successful in following them to reach their overall health goals. They offer a wide range of resources and encouragement for those fighting, those surviving and those that wish to prevent this disease. We all have a choice in this battle against cancer, to survive or to prevent!!
Their mission is to be the trusted source of knowledge regarding natural therapies to defeat cancer and remain cancer free. We partner with fighters and survivors by supporting and navigating them through their battle. Together, they develop a unique plan that is specific to each individual and instills in them a fearless approach to winning the battle.
Cancer Crackdown started as a small group on Facebook in January 2012 with a few people who wanted to share some information on tips and best practices during chemo. Cancer Crackdown has grown and we are now serving cancer fighters all over the world!!
Cancer fighters that can no longer take chemo or choose not to are in dire need of accurate information and guidance. Due to the vast amount of information available and many untrustworthy sources on the internet, it makes it difficult for us to make decisions about what is viable information and thus dissuades many from knowing what is worth trying. We have and will continue to research topics of interest and ensure credibility of sources. We help put patients in contact with proper practitioners in their area and locate services for them that may benefit their treatment. We are in the process of building on the services we are able to provide to cancer patients that we are so fortunate to partner with during their difficult time. More information available at:

berenice yoderMy second guest is Bernice Yoder, a 9 year pancreatic cancer survivor. Berenice says: I will be a nine year pancreatic cancer survivor this coming November. When I found out I had cancer, I had no idea what pancreatic cancer was. It had never touched my immediate or extended family. It was something you heard of or read about, not something that happened to you.

This illness changed my life. It gave me more will to live, to be able to finish raising my then 13-year-old daughter who had just lost her dad 15 months before. It taught me to fight, and to never give up. There is always hope even through the pain and grief and anger that is part of this terrible illness. I am proud to say I am a survivor of one of the deadliest cancers

Enjoy the Interview Below:


New Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer Combines Virotherapy and Immunotherapy

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014


Recent research reported by Science Digest concluded that a new treatment for pancreatic cancer that combines two different approaches-virotherapy and immunotherapy-is showing great promise. Researchers studied whether treatment for pancreatic cancer would be improved by combining the Vaccinia oncolytic virus, a virus selectively modified to infect and kill cancer cells, with a gene that modifies the bodies immune system,  Although lab studies showed that both killed cancer cells and provide immunity against cancer regrowth , the viruses have not performed well in clinical trials because the immune system attacks the virus before it can be effective.

After six weeks 87.5 percent of all mice treated with the combined treatment were clear of all tumors compared with 42.8 percent of those treated with Vaccinia virus alone. In addition, the survival rate of the mice almost doubled from 69.7 days to 138.5 days.

Four weeks after being clear of primary tumors, pancreatic cancer cells were reintroduced into the mice but no further doses of virus were give. Although cancer cells again grew in both groups of mice, after 32 days all except one mouse were again  clear of cancer. REsearch is ongoing.

Can a Chinese Herb Help Kill Pancreatic Cancer Cells?

Friday, August 29th, 2014


A new study announced in an American Physiological Society Press Release concluded that a Chinese herbal extract, triptolide, used on pancreatic cancer cells decreased GRP78 protein in the cells. thereby reducing cancer cell survival and facilitating cancer death. It is believed that GRP78 protects cells from dying ,  is more abundant in cancer cells, and helps them survive and thrive. Triptolide, an extract of  Chinese herb Tirpterygium wilforif, suppresses GRP27 leading to pancreatic cancer cell death. Authors said “Our study shows that although increase expression of GRP78 confers survival advantages in the tumor cells, prolonged exposure to tripolide induces chronic ER stress, which eventually leads to cell death.  In this context, inhibition of GRP27 by activation of the ER stress pathway by triptolide offers a novel mechanism for inhiviting the growth and survival of pancreatic cancer cells.”

Can Lifestyle Changes Prevent Pancreatic Cancer?

Friday, July 11th, 2014

logo1267406_md report that nearly 40% of pancreatic cancers could be avoided in the UK through maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking because some pancreatic cancer are related to these factors. Survival for the disease is low and there are few treatment options according to the authors. “At the same time it’s important to remember that people can take steps to reduce their risk of developing pancreatic and other cancers, by not smoking and by keeping a healthy weight especially if you are prone to too much around your middle. ” The organization plans to more than double the funding for this disease to affect the outcome. More information is available at:                                              

Can a Chinese Herbal Extract Kill Pancreatic Cancer Cells?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014


A new study reported in Daily Digest News and published in the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology concluded that pancreatic cancer cells may be killed by a chinese herbal extract.  A protein known as GPR78 is abundant in cancer cells, compared to normal cells, and is responsible for prevention cells from being destroyed. It is believed this protein helps the pancreatic cancer cells survive despite treatment.  Using a Chinese extract from the herb Tirpterygium wilforti, known as triptolide,  researchers found it potentially suppresses GRP78, and inevitably cause the death of pancreatic cancer cells.  Researchers discovered that the “unfolding protein response (UPR)” that helps boost the cell’s protein-folding ability that allows it to function properly-worked well in triptolide=treated cells, leading to cell death in malfunctioning cells. Researchers further said “Our study shows that although increased expression of GRP78 confers a survival advantage to the tumor cells, prolonged exposurte to triptolide induces chronic ER stress, that eventually leads to cell death. In this context, inhibition of GRP78 by activation of the ER stress pathway  by triptolide offers a novel mechanism for inhibiting the growth and survival of pancreatic cancer cells.”

Is there a Non-Invasive Procedure to Diagnose Pancreatic Cancer?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

logo1267406_mdNew research presented recently at the American Society for Microbiology”s  annual meeting concluded that patients with pancreatic cancer have a different and distinct profile of specific bacteria int their saliva compared to healthy controls and  patients with other cancers or pancreatic disease. The researchers believe that the ratio of particular types of bacteria in the saliva may indicate pancreatic cancer. In their study, the researchers compared the diversity of saliva bacteria of 131 patients (63 females, 68 males) being treated in California. Of those, 14 had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, 13 with pancreatic disease, 22 with other forms of cancer, and 10 who were disease free. Results showed that those with pancreatic cancer had higher levels of two oral bacteria-Leptotrichia and Campylobacter when compared to the healthy or those with diseases including pancreatic disease. Those with pancreatic cancer also had lower levels of Streptococcus. Treponema, and Veillonelia. Researchers concluded “Our results suggest the presence of a consistently distinct microbial profile for pancreatic cancer.”

New method for earlier diagnoses of pancreatic cancer?

Friday, March 28th, 2014

logo1267406_mdA new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported a new method that identifies the pancreatic cancer’s visible precursors with 97% certainty and may aid in the early discovery of cancer and minimize the risk of unnecessary surgery in the future. Currently poor prognosis of survival from pancreatic cancer is due to late detection

Researchers have discovered that fluid filled cysts in the pancreas found in about one in every person above age 70 and common in younger people can be discovered with computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), However, these techniques cannot determine which cysts are precursors to cancer and surgery is often necessary to look for tumor markers in the fluit of the cysts which are not always accurate. Even removing the cyst by surgery knowing it may be benign may be problematic because the surgery is extensive and presents risks to the patient. . The new method  can predict with 97% accuracy which pancreatic cysts are precursors to cancer by detecting the presence of mucus protein, mucins, in the cystic fluid. In addition, researchers have tested the new method in order to analyze existing tumors and, with about 90% accuracy, have been able to determine which timors have already developed into cancers. Thus, the method, called proteomics,  could also be used to determine which patients require immediate surgery, and when it is instead possible to wait and monitor the development of the cyst,. It should be used in practice within 5 years.


Is a Simple Test for Early Pancreatic Cancer Possible?

Friday, November 1st, 2013

logo1267406_mdA new study from Johns Hopkins University published in Clinical Cancer Research concluded that a simple blood test based upon detecting tiny epigenetic alterations may reveal the earliest possible signs of pancreatic cancer. If confirmed, the results of this small preliminary study could be an important step in reducing mortality from this nearly always fatal cancer that has an overall five-year survival rate of less than 5 percent and has seen few improvements in survival over the last three decades. The researchers said “While far from perfect, we think we have found an early detection marker for pancreatic cancer that may allow us to locate and attack the disease at a much earlier stage than we usually do.”

In their study, the researchers found two genes, BNC1 and ADAMTS1. that were detected together in 81 percent of the blood samples from 42 people with early stage pancreatic cancer, but not in people without the disease or in patients with a history of pancreatitis that is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. By way of contrast the researchers pointed out the the PSA test only picks up 20 percent of prostate cancers. The researchers hope that further research will refine the test. possibly by adding another gene or two, in order to go over 90 percent in both sensitivity and specificity. The researchers see the test as useful for specific population such as those at risk of developing the disease (those with a family history, a previous case of pancreatiitis, long term smokers or people with the BRCA gene mutation lijked to breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers) and not for the general public. Those identified with BNC1 and ADAMTS1 in their blood would need further testingto locate the actual cancer such as CT scans and endoscopic  ultrasound.


Is there an Association between a High-Fat, High Caloric Diet and Pancreatic Cancer?

Friday, October 11th, 2013

logo1267406_mdA new study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research concluded that mice made obese by being given , high-fat, high-calorie diets (HFCD) developed abnormally high numbers of lesions known as pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasies (PaniNs) that are known to be precursors to pancreatic cancer. Thus, being the first study to show a link bewtween obesity and the tisk of pancreatic cancer (one of the most deadly forms of cancer) in an animal model.

Researchers studied diet-induced obesity and the development of pancrea cancer in a set of mice and then compared them to another set of mice that were genetically identical but not given the high-fat, high calorie diet. They also assessed the impact of the effects of the high-fat, high calorie diet on mouse pancrea tissue, such as an increased inflammation and other signs of pancreatic problems. These  indicators were measured to creaste an overall score (pancreatitis-score) to indicate negative effects on the pancreas. They also studied pancreatic tissue to determine how many PaniN precursor leisions had developed.

Mice eating the normal diet gained approximately 7.2 grams over 14 momths whereas those who ate the high fat/high calorie diet gained an average of 15.9 grams and mice fed the normal diet had mainly normal pancreas with very few scattered PaniN lesions but the mice fed the high fat.high calorie diet had significantly more PaniN leisions and fewer overall healthy pancreas. The study showed mice on the high fat/high calorie diet gained significantly more weight, had abnrmalities of their metabolism and increased insulin levels, and had marked pasncreatic tissue inflammation and development of PaniN leisions. This  strongly suggest that a diet high in fat and calores leads to weight gain, metabolic disturbances, can cause pancreatic inflammation, and promotes pancreatic leisions that are precursors to cancer according to the researchers.