Apologies for the delay in posting the news summary for w/e 29 November – I was away on a business trip that week.
1. Super cocktail of 6 plant nutrients kills breast cancer cells
OK, we’ve had the research. Now watch for the supplement companies who’ll jump on the bandwagon with a new range of super supplements. Actually, I don’t mind, as long as the dosages are potent enough to achieve what they want, and the quality is high.
A study led by Madhwa Raj, PhD, Research Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans and its Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, has found that a super cocktail of six natural compounds in vegetables, fruits, spices and plant roots killed 100% of sample breast cancer cells without toxic side effects on normal cells.
The research team tested ten known protective chemical nutrients found in foods like broccoli, grapes, apples, tofu, and turmeric root (a spice used in Indian curry) before settling upon six – Curcumin known as tumeric, Isoflavone from soybeans, Indole-3-Carbinol from cruciferous plants, C-phycocyanin from spirulina, Resveratrol from grapes, and Quercetin, a flavonoid present in fruits, vegetables, and tea.
They found that the compounds were ineffective individually. When combined, though, the super cocktail suppressed breast cancer cell growth by more than 80%, inhibited migration and invasion, caused cell cycle arrest, and triggered the process leading to cell death resulting in the death of 100% of the breast cancer cells in the sample. The researchers observed no harmful effects on the control cells. Further analysis also identified several key genes, which could serve as markers to follow the progress of therapy.
The results, which also revealed potential treatment target genes, are published in the November 2013 issue of The Journal of Cancer.
2. Cancer spreads quicker in colder temperatures
A team led by Kathleen M.Kokolus found that a cold environment changes how cancer cells in mice grown and spread throughout the body. The team compared cancer growth and spread in mice house at both 22°C and 30°C.
They concluded that some cancers, including those of the pancreas, colon, skin and breast developed quicker and spread earlier in the cold environment. Even mice that were used to cold temperatures experienced aggressive tumour growth.
Many cancer therapies are aimed at supporting the immune system control the spread of cancer. This immune response is driven predominantly by T cells, a type of white blood cell that is charged with the task of fighting cancer.
The research found that mice in the warm temperatures had T cells that produced higher quantities of anti-cancer substances compared to those in cold mice. At the end of the study, the authors wondered whether treating cancer patients in warmer rooms could yield more successful outcomes.
For more information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
3. High Fat Diet Tied To Accelerated Breast Cancer Development In Teenage Girls
According to the study authors, the link between cancer and fat is nothing new. But while the relationship may have been explored in the past, results have so far been inconsistent, as most papers have failed to distinguish between excessive body fat and actual fat intake. The current study, which is published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, sought to determine whether fat itself can influence mammary tumor growth. To do this, they focused on pubertal girls – a group of women whose mammary glands are particularly sensitive to cancer-causing agents.
From the results, Schwartz and his colleagues concluded that fat intake did indeed induce gene signatures associated with breast cancer. The high fat diet’s “promotion of inflammatory processes, as well as local and systemically increased growth factor expression, are likely responsible for the enhanced tumorigenesis,” the team wrote in their conclusion.
4. New study shows blood test detects cancer metastasis
As part of the project, the research team successfully implemented Chronix Biomedical’s innovative protocol for detecting tumor DNA found in the cell-free portion of blood, and thus demonstrating the power of this application for monitoring minimal residual disease in cancer. The data generated provides a personalized readout of cancer genotype in each individual patient and can be used to track disease progression both pre- and post-treatment.
5. Potential cause for basal-like breast cancer relapse found
“Patients with basal-like breast cancer tend to initially respond well to chemotherapy, but it’s common for patients to relapse even more aggressively,” said Beltran, the first author of a paper published in the journal Oncogene. “We believe that relapse is caused by a small number of cancer cells that have stem cell properties that allow them to survive chemotherapy. In these cells we’ve identified the overexpression of Engrailed 1.”
Beltran and her colleagues – UNC pharmacologist Lee Graves, PhD, and former UNC pharmacologist Pilar Blancafort, PhD – discovered that Engrailed 1 is not involved in the rapid proliferation of cells that cause tumor growth. Nor is Engrailed 1 present in luminal tumors – the most common form of breast cancer. The culprit protein only appears in basal-like breast cancer.
In fact, Engrailed 1 is normally confined to the brain, where it protects neurons from cell death and helps maintain their normal activity. The absence of the protein in the brain has been linked to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. But there is no known function of Engrailed 1 within breast tissue.
“We think that Engrailed 1 confers protective features to breast cancer cells, similar to the features observed in long-lived neurons,” Beltran said. “This may explain why these cells survive and become resistant to chemotherapy in our experiments.”
“Inflammation is associated with cancer development,” Beltran said. “It’s interesting to us that Engrailed 1, alone, is able to control inflammatory responses that may promote more aggressive forms of cancer.”
For More information:
6. Bone Cancer Vaccine for Dogs Shows Promise for Breast Cancer
In this clinical trial, a new immunotherapy vaccine is being administered to dogs that have already undergone standard treatment for osteosarcoma: limb amputation and chemotherapy. The aim of the vaccine is to prevent metastatic disease and prolong overall survival.
Typically, 60 percent of such dogs die within one year of diagnosis. But of the first five dogs vaccinated, four are still alive. Sasha has lived 607 days and the other dogs in the trial have survived between 500 and 590 days. Three are tumor free.
The results suggest that the vaccine stimulates an effective anti-tumor immune response that can kill microscopic metastatic cells and prevent cancer recurrence.
The implications for humans are exciting. Not only might the vaccine prolong survival rates in people with osteosarcoma, but it also has potential for treating breast cancer.
“The vaccine that we are trialing aims to stimulate the dog’s immune system against the cancer,” said Dr. Nicola Mason, assistant professor of medicine at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “Ironically, the research started in breast cancer in women.”
The vaccine, made by a New Jersey company, Advaxis, works by targeting the “her2/neu” molecule, a genetic marker that is commonly expressed in both breast cancer and osteosarcoma.