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Blocking antioxidants in cancer cells reduces tumor growth in mice
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/03/2013) - Many cancers have adapted to cope with high levels of immune system-produced free radicals, also referred to as reactive oxygen species, by overproducing antioxidant proteins. One of these proteins, superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), is overproduced in lung adenocarcinomas and has been implicated as a target for chemotherapy. In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers from Northwestern University (home of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center) report the effects of a SOD1 pharmacological inhibitor on non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells.

New drug cuts risk of deadly transplant side effect in half
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/03/2013) - A new class of drugs reduced the risk of patients contracting a serious and often deadly side effect of lifesaving bone marrow transplant treatments, according to a study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The study, the first to test this treatment in people, combined the drug vorinostat with standard medications given after transplant, resulting in 22 percent of patients developing graft-vs.-host disease compared to 42 percent of patients who typically develop this condition with standard medications alone. Results of the study appear in The Lancet Oncology.

Cyclin D1 governs microRNA processing in breast cancer
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 11/29/2013) - Cyclin D1, a protein that helps push a replicating cell through the cell cycle, also mediates the processing and generation of mature microRNA (miRNA), according to new research from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University published November 29 in Nature Communications. The research suggests that a protein strongly implicated in human cancer also governs the non-protein-coding genome. The non-coding genome, previously referred to as junk DNA, makes up most of the human genome, and unlike the coding genome, varies greatly between species.

Scientists discover how thalidomide-like drugs fight cancer
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 11/29/2013) - Despite its tragic legacy of causing birth defects 50 years ago, thalidomide — and newer drugs derived from it — has been reborn as an effective treatment for multiple myeloma and other cancers. How they act to slow cancer's spread, however, has long defied explanation. In a new report, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say they have discovered that the drugs kill multiple myeloma cells by a mechanism that's different from the way that they cause birth defects.

B cells can deliver potentially therapeutic bits of modified RNA
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 11/26/2013) - Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine (home of the Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center) have successfully targeted T lymphocytes – which play a central role in the body’s immune response – with another type of white blood cell engineered to synthesize and deliver bits of non-coding RNA or microRNA (miRNA). The achievement in mice studies, published in this week’s online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may be the first step toward using genetically modified miRNA for therapeutic purposes, perhaps most notably in vaccines and cancer treatments.

New technique improves accuracy, ease of cancer diagnosis
NCI Cancer Center News
- A team of researchers from UCLA (home of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center) and Harvard University (a component of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) have demonstrated a technique that, by measuring the physical properties of individual cells in body fluids, can diagnose cancer with a high degree of accuracy. The technique, which uses a deformability cytometer to analyze individual cells, could reduce the need for more cumbersome diagnostic procedures and the associated costs, while improving accuracy over current methods. The initial clinical study, which analyzed pleural fluid samples from more than 100 patients, was published in the current issue of peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine.

Targets of anticancer drugs have broader functions than what their name suggests
NCI Cancer Center News
- Drugs that inhibit the activity of enzymes called histone deacetylases (HDACs) are being widely developed for treating cancer and other diseases, with two already on the market. Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (home to the Abramson Cancer Center), show that a major HDAC still functions in mice even when its enzyme activity is abolished, suggesting that the beneficial effects of HDAC inhibitors may not actually be through inhibiting HDAC activity, and thus warranting the reassessment of the molecular targets of this class of drugs.

Two human proteins found to affect how 'jumping gene' gets around
NCI Cancer Center News
- Using a new method to catch elusive "jumping genes" in the act, researchers from Johns Hopkins (home of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center) have found two human proteins that are used by one type of DNA to replicate itself and move from place to place. The discovery, described in the Nov. 21 issue of Cell, breaks new ground, they say, in understanding the arms race between a jumping gene driven to colonize new areas of the human genome and cells working to limit the risk posed by such volatile bits of DNA.

Cancer researchers translate new laboratory findings to enhance melanoma treatment
NCI Cancer Center News
- Translational researchers from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) have published results of two back-to-back studies in the journal Cancer Discovery that provide critical insights into two key areas of how tumors resist BRAF inhibitors: the key cell-signaling pathways BRAF-mutant melanoma cells use to learn how to become resistant to inhibitor drugs, and how the limited focus of BRAF inhibitors allows melanoma cells to evolve and develop drug resistance.

Large study links nut consumption to reduced death rate
NCI Cancer Center News
- In the largest study of its kind, people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than were those who didn’t consume nuts, say scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Their report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, contains further good news. The regular nut-eaters were found to be more slender than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should alleviate the widespread worry that eating a lot of nuts will lead to overweight.

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