Categories

Archive for May, 2010

PERIWINKLE PLANT FOR CANCER, LEUKEMIA, HODGKIN'S DISEASE & BLOOD PRESSURE

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

**Periwinkle Plant leaf extract to treat


*Blood Pressure

*Cancer

*Hodgkin.s disease

*Leukemia

Catharanthus roseus or Vinca major or Vinca rosea


It is a friendly looking plant, not at all exotic, with small lilac, pink or white flowers. It is self propogating and soon fills your garden


Benefits: This unassuming plant produces vinblastine, a component of a drug used in the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease and vincristine which has proved beneficial in the treatment of leukemia.


Benefits: Aside from being a treatment for high blood pressure its leaves were a Carib curative for diabetes. Reportedly substances in its leaves may also provide effective cancer treatments.


From: Madagascar


Planting and Care: Periwinkles will grow just fine in the sun or in the shade as long as they receive some very occasional rainfall or watering and a once in a while dose of fertilizer.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 28th May 2010


CHERRY PIE NEVER TASTED SO GOOD – BE PAIN FREE

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Pain Relief
Is As Easy
As Pie!

Did you realize…

Cherries are 10 times more powerful than aspirin for stopping joint pain? Scientists at Michigan State University proved it.

Reason? They contain amazing phytonutrients called anthocyanins which block inflammation just like NSAID drugs do. Plus they prevent the oxidative damage that cause cancer, heart disease, and other disease.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 28th May 2010

WHITE KIDNEY BEANS REMOVE FAT FROM YOUR SYSTEM

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Weight Loss Weapon

Carb-cutting Enzyme Stopped

By Bean Extract, Endocrinologists Say

April 1, 2007 — UCLA researchers have found an extract in white kidney beans may help the body stop carbs from breaking down into sugars. A digestive enzyme in the body normally acts like scissors, literally cutting starches into little sugars. Phase 2 stops the enzyme from cutting, so the starches stay in the body as long fibers and are burned off quicker. Patients in the clinical studies who took Phase 2 lost body fat, not lean muscle.


Americans are getting fatter. In fact, more than 60 percent are overweight and 18 million have type 2 diabetes. It’s an epidemic that’s becoming more of a problem with each passing year. Now, a new discovery could help you shed those dangerous pounds and live a healthier life.

Pastas … breads … cereals … We know them well. And doctors say it’s carbs like these that are making us fat.

“The problem is that starches are broken down immediately into sugars. When starch breaks down into sugar, it stays in the bloodstream, but is eventually stored as fat,” Steven Rosenblatt, a family practice doctor in Los Angeles, tells DBIS.

But if you can’t bear to give up your favorite foods, there’s a new option. UCLA researchers have found an extract in white kidney beans may help the body stop carbs from breaking down into sugars.

“By lowering the amount of starches in our diet and the amount of carbohydrates in our diet, we allow the body to slowly start to burn off that stored energy,” says Rosenblatt. He with the bean extract, known as Phase 2, which is sold in pill form and is now even added to certain foods. Here’s how Phase 2 works: A digestive enzyme in the body normally acts like scissors, literally cutting starches into little sugars. Phase 2 stops the enzyme from cutting, so the starches stay in the body as long fibers and are burned off quicker — making losing weight and keeping a normal blood sugar much easier.

Doctors say patients in the clinical studies who took Phase 2 lost body fat, not lean muscle. The extract is not recommended for pregnant women or type one diabetics because their blood sugar could get too low. Mild nausea is the only known side effect. Nora Cosgrove’s struggled with her weight all her life. She admits to probably having been on every diet, but nothing worked. But when her doctor said she was on the fast-track to developing type 2 diabetes, she tried Phase 2.

After three months, she lost 30 pounds and six dress sizes! “I’m not tired anymore,” Cosgrove says. “That’s the main thing.”

The FDA recognizes Phase 2, but doctors say it isn’t a miracle pill. Patients still need to watch what they eat and exercise. But at least they don’t have to give up carbs for good. It is available over the counter at health food stores for about $25 a bottle.

<!–


–>

BACKGROUND: Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, examines the effect of white kidney bean extract (called Phase 2) on food and Glycemic Index (GI) levels. The research has resulted in the development of many new products for people on special GI diets, including a new pasta. It could especially benefit patients with diabetes, who need to closely monitor and control blood sugar levels, as well as serious athletes and overweight people.

ABOUT THE STUDY: Previous clinical trials found that 1 gram of the Phase 2 kidney bean extract affects blood glucose levels, while the new study shows that 2-3 grams affect GI levels. White kidney bean extract neutralizes the digestive enzyme necessary for starch to turn into glucose. It slows the digestion of starches and sugars, which can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar after eating. A previous UCLA study found that Phase 2 reduced starch absorption by 66%.

THE GLYCEMIC INDEX: Developed in the 1980s, the glycemic index (GI) ranks various foods according to how they affect blood sugar levels two to three hours after eating. Foods high in fat or protein don’t raise levels very much, while certain carbohydrates are so easily broken down in intestine that blood sugar levels rise too quickly. The GI only tells you how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into glucose; it doesn’t tell you how much of that carbohydrate is in a given serving of a particular food, or what percentage are ‘available’ carbohydrates, i.e., those that provide energy (starch and sugar, as opposed to fiber). You need to know both to fully understand how a given food affects blood sugar levels. The glycemic load (GL) measures the latter. A GI if 70 or more is high; 56 to 59 is medium; and 55 or less is low. A GL of 20 or more is high; 11 to 19 is medium; and 10 or less is low.

HOW DIGESTION WORKS: Food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients to be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body. It does this via the digestion process. Food is travels through the esophagus into the stomach, where it is dissolved and emptied into the small intestine. The digested nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls, while the rest is expelled as waste.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 28th May 2010

SKIN CANCERS CURED AND PREVENTED WITH THIS VACCINE

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Vaccine Hope for Skin Cancer Sufferers

The skin

The skin:

  • protects us from injury
  • cools us when we get too hot
  • prevents us from becoming dehydrated.

The skin has two main layers.

  • Epidermis: The top or outer layer.

Contains three different kinds of cells:

    1. basal cells
    2. squamous cells
    3. melanocytes – produce a dark pigment called melanin, the substance that gives skin its colour.
  • Dermis: The layer underneath the epidermis.

Contains the roots of hairs, glands that make sweat, blood and lymph vessels and nerves.

Diagram of the skin layer

Skin cancer

Skin cancer develops when a cell in the skin goes through a series of changes that make it a cancer cell.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight is the main factor that causes skin cancer cells to become cancer cells.

Skin cancers are named after the type of cell they start from. These are:

  • basal cell cancer
  • squamous cell cancer
  • melanoma.
Melanoma is the least common type of cancer, but it is the most serious type. It can be successfully treated if caught early.

Science (May 27, 2010) — Nottingham scientists have been given the green light to test a vaccine which they hope could reverse, and even cure malignant melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer.

Scancell Holdings plc, led by Professor Lindy Durrant of the University’s Division of Clinical Oncology within the School of Molecular Medical Sciences, believes the new vaccine, which targets tumour cells without damaging healthy tissue, could be successful in treating patients with malignant melanoma.

Incidences of malignant melanoma have more than quadrupled over the past 30 years and in the last 25 years rates of malignant melanoma have risen faster than for any other cancer. It is now the most common cancer in younger adults aged 15 to 34, which may be linked to risky associated behaviour such as exposure to the sun on foreign beach holidays and the use of tanning booths. Every year, most of the 2,000 skin cancer deaths result from malignant melanoma.

Professor Durrant said: “Up until now, early diagnosis has been a crucial factor in the successful treatment of this disease. In the early stages it can be cured by completely removing the skin melanoma by surgery. However, in cases where it has not been picked up until further down the line, we have found that chemotherapy and radiotherapy simply do not work, although new compounds are being tested.

“It is still at a very early stage and impossible to predict the outcome of the clinical trial but if our results from the lab are replicated in patients I think we have a good chance of dramatically improving the chances of successful treatment — we are hoping that the vaccine will cure between 10 and 20 per cent of patients with malignant melanoma.”

Testing for the new SCIB1 vaccine has been given approval by the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and clinical trials are due to start shortly at Nottingham City Hospital and centres in Manchester and Newcastle.

It will initially be given to patients who are suffering from advanced malignant melanoma which has spread to other parts of the body.

The new vaccine works by activating the body’s own natural defence systems — it contains DNA and genetic material from tumours meaning it ‘switches’ on the specific immune cells that target melanoma. This means that it targets only the cancer and not the surrounding healthy tissue.

The team of scientists believe that, in principle, new vaccines based upon the same principle could also be used to target other types of cancer tumours, such as breast and prostate.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 28th May 2010

THE TRUTHS ABOUT BOWEL CANCER EXPLAINED

Monday, May 17th, 2010

How much do YOU know about Bowel Cancer?


TRUE / FALSE

  1. Only men get bowel cancer.
  2. Only people with a family history of bowel cancer need be concerned.
  3. There’s nothing you can do to prevent getting bowel cancer.
  4. If you feel healthy and don’t have any symptoms then you don’t need to be tested

If you answered FALSE to ALL of these then congratulations!  You’re doing well!

If you answered TRUE to any of these then you need to brush up on your bowel facts!

Read on for more information on each of these statements.

  1. Only men get bowel cancer.

Although there is a higher incidence in men, women DO get bowel cancer.  In fact, 1 in 14 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer before the age of 85. This compares to 1 in 10 for men.

In Queensland in 2006 (the latest statistics available), 2741 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer, 1491 of these were male and 1250 of these were female (Cancer Council Queensland, 2008).

  1. Only people with a family history of bowel cancer need be concerned.

Only around 5% of bowel cancers are attributed to a family history. Age and lifestyle choices are the main contributing factors. However, if you do have a family history of bowel cancer, it is important that you speak with your GP.

  1. There’s nothing you can do to prevent getting bowel cancer.

While you can never completely eliminate your risk of getting bowel cancer, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk.  It is estimated that up to 75% of bowel cancers could be prevented through leading a healthy lifestyle.  Things like maintaining a healthy body weight, eating well, being active, limiting your alcohol intake and not smoking all contribute to reducing your risk of bowel cancer.

  1. If you feel healthy and don’t have any symptoms then you don’t need to be tested.

Bowel cancer often doesn’t show any symptoms until it is further advanced.  ‘Screening’ is about testing people with no symptoms who ‘feel healthy’ to find early signs of disease before it causes harm.  Bowel cancer is actually one of the most treatable cancers if detected early and can be prevented with regular screening.

The Australian Government is currently inviting men and women turning 50, 55 or 65 between 2008 and 2010 to participate in bowel cancer screening. Invitations, which include a simple screening test known as a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), are being sent directly to people in the mail. People who receive a kit are encouraged to participate.

If you are not yet eligible for the Program and if you have any concerns, speak to your GP about your options.

For more information about bowel cancer or bowel cancer screening phone your local Queensland Bowel Cancer Screening Program team on 1300 766 927 or visit www.health.qld.gov.au/bowelcancer.

Received and published by Henry Sapiecha 17th May 2010

ARSENIC & BLOOD CANCER, GOOD COMBO OR NOT?

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

China scientists show how arsenic treats blood cancer


SINGAPORE, Apr. 9, 2010 (Reuters) — Scientists in China have demonstrated how arsenic — a favorite murder weapon in the Middle Ages — destroys deadly blood cancer by targeting and killing specific proteins that keep the cancer alive.



“Our study showed how arsenic directly targets these proteins and kills them,” lead researcher Zhang Xiaowei at the State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics in Shanghai, China, told Reuters.

“Unlike chemotherapy, the side effects of arsenic (in treating acute promyelocytic leukemia) are very low. There is no hair loss or suppression of bone marrow (function). We are interested in finding out how arsenic can be used in other cancers,” Zhang said by telephone.

Well known for its toxicity, arsenic was regarded in the past as the king among poisons because its symptoms are like those of cholera and can often go undetected.

In China, however, it has long served a dual purpose. Apart from intentional poisoning, it has been used for at least 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine.

In 1992, a group of Chinese doctors reported how they used arsenic to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a blood and bone marrow cancer that has surprisingly high cure rates of over 90 percent in China.

However, the actual workings of arsenic and how it interacts with cancer tissues has never been clear — until Zhang and his colleagues used modern technology to find out.

In a paper published in the journal Science, Zhang and his team, which includes Health Minister Chen Zhu, described how they used modern equipment and saw how arsenic attacked specific proteins that would otherwise be keeping the cancer alive and well.

“This shows how Western technology can be used to find out about the mysteries of Chinese medicine,” Zhang said.

“Although many countries are now using arsenic to treat APL, some countries are resistant to the idea. It depends a lot on whether doctors recommend it and whether patients accept it.”

In APL, there is a drop in the production of normal red blood cells and platelets, resulting in anemia and thrombocytopenia. The bone marrow is unable to produce healthy red blood cells. Until the 1970s, APL was 100 percent fatal and there was no effective treatment.

“The clinical result of arsenic in treating APL is well-established. More than 90 percent of APL patients in China have (at least) five years of disease-free survival,” Zhang said.

In a separate commentary in Science, Scott Kogan at the University of California San Francisco Cancer Center wrote that proper case selection and combination therapy with arsenic may lead to improved outcomes for treating not only promyelocytic leukemia, but other diseases as well.

“If so, an ancient medicine, revived through careful clinical and biological studies in modern times, will have an even greater impact on human health,” wrote Kogan, who was not linked to the Chinese study.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 6th May 2010

NEW DRUG TARGETS BREAST CANCER CELLS FOR DESTRUCTION

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Herceptin

Targets Breast Cancer Stem Cells

Science (July 13, 2008) — A gene that is overexpressed in 20 percent of breast cancers increases the number of cancer stem cells, the cells that fuel a tumor’s growth and spread, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.


The gene, HER2, causes cancer stem cells to multiply and spread, explaining why HER2 has been linked to a more aggressive type of breast cancer and to metastatic disease, in which the cancer has spread beyond the breast, the researchers say.

Further, the drug Herceptin, which is used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer, was found to target and destroy the cancer stem cells. “This work suggests that the reason drugs that target HER2, such as Herceptin and Lapatanib, are so effective in breast cancer is that they target the cancer stem cell population. This finding provides further evidence for the cancer stem cell hypothesis,” says study author Max S. Wicha, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Oncology and director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The cancer stem cell hypothesis says that tumors originate in a small number of cells, called cancer stem cells, and that these cells are responsible for fueling a tumor’s growth. These cells represent fewer than 5 percent of the cells in a tumor. Wicha’s lab was part of the team that first identified stem cells in human breast cancer in 2003.

In the current study, researchers found that breast cancer cells overexpressing the HER2 gene had four to five times more cancer stem cells, compared to HER2-negative cancers. In addition, the HER2-positive cells caused the cancer stem cells to invade surrounding tissue, suggesting that HER2 is driving the invasiveness and spread of cancer.

The researchers then looked at the drug Herceptin, which is used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. They found Herceptin reduced the number of cancer stem cells in the HER2-positive breast cancer cell lines by 80 percent, dropping it to the same levels seen in HER2-negative cell lines.

When HER2 was not overexpressed in the cell cultures, the researchers found, the cancer stem cell population did not increase. Nor did Herceptin have any effect on the HER2-negative cells, which is consistent with how Herceptin is used in the clinic.

“We are now studying what pathways are activated by HER2 overexpression. Our hope is that we could develop inhibitors of these pathways that might be effective in targeting cancer stem cells in women whose tumors do not overexpress HER2 or those who are resistant to Herceptin,” says study author Hasan Korkaya, Ph.D., a U-M research fellow in internal medicine.

Breast cancer statistics: 184,450 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,930 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. About 20 percent of breast cancers are considered HER2-positive.

Additional authors: Amanda K. Paulson, a U-M undergraduate student, and Flora Iovino, a U-M research fellow in internal medicine.

Funding: National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the U-M Medical School.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 6th May 2010

BROCCOLI PREVENTS OR CURES BREAST CANCER

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Broccoli Component

Limits Breast Cancer Stem Cells,

Study Finds

Science (May 5, 2010) — A compound derived from broccoli could help prevent or treat breast cancer by targeting cancer stem cells — the small number of cells that fuel a tumor’s growth — according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.


The study tested sulforaphane, a component of broccoli and broccoli sprouts, in both mice and cell cultures. Researchers found sulforaphane targeted and killed the cancer stem cells and prevented new tumors from growing.

“Sulforaphane has been studied previously for its effects on cancer, but this study shows that its benefit is in inhibiting the breast cancer stem cells. This new insight suggests the potential of sulforaphane or broccoli extract to prevent or treat cancer by targeting the critical cancer stem cells,” says study author Duxin Sun, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the U-M College of Pharmacy and a researcher with the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Results of the study appear in the May 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

Current chemotherapies do not work against cancer stem cells, which is why cancer recurs and spreads. Researchers believe that eliminating the cancer stem cells is key to controlling cancer.

In the current study, researchers took mice with breast cancer and injected varying concentrations of sulforaphane from the broccoli extract. Researchers then used several established methods to assess the number of cancer stem cells in the tumors. These measures showed a marked decrease in the cancer stem cell population after treatment with sulforaphane, with little effect on the normal cells. Further, cancer cells from mice treated with sulforaphane were unable to generate new tumors. The researchers then tested sulforaphane on human breast cancer cell cultures in the lab, finding similar decreases in the cancer stem cells.

“This research suggests a potential new treatment that could be combined with other compounds to target breast cancer stem cells. Developing treatments that effectively target the cancer stem cell population is essential for improving outcomes,” says study author Max S. Wicha, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Oncology and director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The concentrations of sulforaphane used in the study were higher than what can be achieved by eating broccoli or broccoli sprouts. Prior research suggests the concentrations needed to impact cancer can be absorbed by the body from the broccoli extract, but side effects are not known. While the extract is available in capsule form as a supplement, concentrations are unregulated and will vary.

This work has not been tested in patients, and patients are not encouraged to add sulforaphane supplements to their diet at this time.

Researchers are currently developing a method to extract and preserve sulforaphane and will be developing a clinical trial to test sulforaphane as a prevention and treatment for breast cancer. No clinical trial is currently available.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha6th May 2010

GOOD & BAD CHOLESTEROL ARTICLE SENT IN

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

If You Don’t Lower Cholesterol Through Diet Now,

You’ll Hate Yourself Later


a. The Myth of Good and Bad Cholesterol

For some people, cholesterol is bad because they do not know there are two types of it. These two types are LDL and HDL – the bad cholesterol is called LDL, while the good one is called HDL. Plaques can form on one’s arteries if you have a lot of LDL in the bloodstream. Eventually, your arteries will get narrow as a result of being clogged up and it will block off blood flow. The truth is, your high cholesterol is not caused by dietary cholesterol but by other things. This is caused by excessive amounts of Tran’s fat and saturated fat. Exercise and eating a lot of fiber and unsaturated fats will do a lot to keep cholesterol down.

b. What Numbers Mean in Cholesterol

Every adult should have their cholesterol checked at least every 5 years. When you get a cholesterol test, you’ll usually get back four different results. Here are the 4 categories and the healthy range you want to be in.

Total Cholesterol – less than 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L)

LDL Cholesterol – less than 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L)

HDL Cholesterol – greater than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L)

Triglycerides – less than 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L)

If you are over or under the desired level on any category, it is usually indicative that a diet or exercise change is needed.

c. Vitamin E and How it Can Protect the Heart

Vitamin E is an important vitamin found in leafy vegetables, nuts, and vegetable oils. It was previously believed that a Vitamin E supplement could reduce the risk of heart disease, but several studies in the last few years have shown that this supplement does little to prevent heart attacks or strokes.

d. Five Fabulous Foods to Decrease Cholesterol Levels

1. Oatmeal and Oat Bran: These contain a high amount of soluble fiber, which can lower LDL.

2. Fish: Fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which lowers LDL and raises HDL.

3. Nuts: Not only are nuts high in fiber, but they contain the healthy fats you need to keep LDL in check.

4. Plant Sterols: This is found in foods like margarine, salad dressing, orange juice, and functional cookies. 2 grams per day will lower your LDL by 10-15%.

5. Soy: This popular meat replacement can lower LDL by up to 3%.

e. Health Benefits of Plant Sterols

Plant sterols can be found in foods such as Benecol Spread, granola bars, VitaTops Muffin Tops and fat free milk. To help your heart, you should eat a lot of plant sterols-packed food and stop eating foods with saturated fat. You should know that this does not balance out a diet rich in saturated fats. To be in control of your cholesterol, you should still eat healthy and exercise often.

About the Author – Deborah H. Land writes for the   http://www.cholesterolloweringdiets.net blog,

her personal hobby website she uses to help people eat healthy to lower bad cholesterol levels.

Received and published by Henry Sapiecha 6th May 2010

BRAIN TUMORS CAN BE STARVED TO DEATH

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Unraveling Brain Tumors

Molecular Biologists Devise Strategy

To Starve Brain Tumors

September 1, 2007 — Brain tumor researchers have found that brain tumors arise from cancer stem cells living within tiny protective areas formed by blood vessels in the brain. Killing those cells is a promising strategy to eliminate tumors and prevents them from re-growing. The researchers have found that drugs that block new blood vessel formation can destroy the protected areas and stop cancer from developing.


Brain tumors are often deadly. Figuring out a way to wipe them out has been a mystery for scientists. But now, a new discovery may offer clues and hope for those with even the most hard-to-treat tumors.

In the last two months, Will Pappas has had three surgeries, chemo and radiation.

“You hold out hope that well, it’s just something little, and they can get it all. And then it wasn’t. Then you think, well, at least it’s not cancerous, and then it is,” Cayce Pappas, Will’s mom, says.

“It” is a brain tumor — the stubborn kind that’s hard to treat. In fact, doctors gave this seven-year-old only a 20 percent chance of surviving. Stories like Will’s have molecular biologists determined to find a way to destroy brain tumors.

“It’s what makes us all come to work in the morning,” Richard Gilbertson, a molecular biologist from St. Jude Children’s Hospital, says.

For years, researchers thought all cells inside a tumor were the same. But recently, they’ve discovered something different — a small group of cancer stem cells.

“They give rise to all the cells that make up the cancer,” Dr. Gilbertson explains.

Dr. Gilbertson’s research shows those cancer stem cells live close to blood vessels, which fuel them. In lab experiments, he’s proven drugs that target the blood vessels also destroy the cancer stem cells and can ultimately wipe out the tumor.

“So, if you can target those cells, you can have a devastating effect on the disease,” Dr. Gilbertson says. Drugs like Avastin and Tarceva are now being tested in humans to see if they can target the cancer stem cells. “It’s this tangible way of actually getting at the heart of the disease,” Dr. Gilbertson says.

Will is taking the drug Tarceva. His mom is hoping it will work a miracle.

“That would be amazing. We would jump at the opportunity to increase our odds. He’s still got a lot left to do,” Cayce says.

Dr. Gilbertson says other cancers, like those of the blood, breast and colon, also contain cancer stem cells and may be treated in a similar way in the future.

<!–


–>

BACKGROUND: Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Hospital have found that brain tumors appear to arise from cancer stem cells that live inside tiny protective ‘niches’ formed by blood vessels in the brain. Breaking down these niches is a promising strategy for eliminating the tumors and preventing them from regrowing.

ABOUT CANCER STEM CELLS: Scientists previously believed that tumors are lumps of cancerous tissue that must be completely removed or destroyed to cure a patient. But over the last five years, cancer researchers have learned that not all cancer cells are created equal. In the same way that normal tissue in the body is generated from stem cells, so is cancer. CSCs are the ultimate source of the tumor, consistently supplying it with new cells. Researchers have identified the CSCs for acute myeloma leukemia, four types of brain cancer, and breast cancer. So it is possible that we need not kill all cancer cells to rid a patient of the disease. Targeting the CSCs specifically might be much more efficient.

CANCER’S ACHILLES HEEL: To find a weakness for CSCs, neurobiologists at St. Jude compared them to noncancerous neural stem cells. These neural tissue generators are concentrated in regions rich in blood vessels. The vessels are lined with endothelial cells, which secrete chemical signals that help stem cells survive. CSCs, they discovered, required similar conditions to flourish: in over 70 human brain tumors, the CSCs were frequently located close to tiny vessels called capillaries. When the researchers injected mice with a mix of stem and endothelial cells from human brain tumors, those animals sprouted larger tumors than the mice that received stem cells alone.

NEW DRUG THERAPY: The new findings from St. Jude indicates that it is possible to kill the cancer by disrupting the shielded compartments in the small capillaries of the brain where CSCs reside. Anti-angiogenic drugs, such as Avastin, block the formation of new blood vessels. In tests with mice, those same drugs cause a significant drop in cancer stem cells and slow tumor growth. Human clinical trials are currently in progress at St. Jude to determine the effectiveness of Avastin and another anti-angiogenic drug in eliminating tumors and preventing their recurrence in children with brain cancers.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 4th May 2010