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News from NCI
  • NIH study uncovers new mechanism of action for class of chemotherapy drugs
    NCI Press Release

    (Posted: 11/01/2012) - NIH researchers have discovered a significant new mechanism of action for a class of chemotherapy drugs known as poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors, or PARP inhibitors. They have also identified differences in the toxic capabilities of three drugs in this class which are currently being tested in clinical trials. Prior to this study, PARP inhibitors were thought to work primarily by blocking PARP enzyme activity, thus preventing the repair of DNA damage and ultimately causing cell death.

  • Gene variant linked to lung cancer risk
    NCI News Note

    (Posted: 10/09/2012) - A variation of the gene NFKB1, called rs4648127, is associated with an estimated 44 percent reduction in lung cancer risk. When this information, derived from samples obtained as part of a large NCI-sponsored prevention clinical trial, was compared with data on a different sample collection from NCI’s genome-wide association studies (GWAS), lung cancer risk was still estimated to be lower, but only by 21 percent.

  • HIV infection connected to rising anal cancer rates in men in the U.S.
    NCI News Note

    (Posted: 10/05/2012) - Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection contributes substantially to the epidemic of anal cancer in men, but not women in the United States, according to new research from NCI. Chart shows overall incidence rates of anal cancers in general population with dashed line showing those with HIV infection.

  • Black and white microscope image of human lymphocyte, which appears as a white ball with tendrils branching off from the surface.
    NIH study uncovers likely role of major cancer protein
    NIH Press Release

    (Posted: 09/27/2012) - Scientists may have discovered why a protein called MYC can provoke a variety of cancers. Like many proteins associated with cancer, MYC helps regulate cell growth. A study carried out by researchers at NIH and colleagues found that, unlike many other cell growth regulators, MYC does not turn genes on or off, but instead boosts the expression of genes that are already turned on.

  • Microscopic view of breast cancer cells with cell nuclei stained blue and dots responding to overproduction of the HER2 protein lit up in bright red
    Study reveals genomic similarities between breast and ovarian cancers
    NIH Press Release

    (Posted: 09/24/2012) - A new study from The Cancer Genome Atlas captured a complete view of genomic alterations in breast cancer and classified them into four intrinsic subtypes, one of which shares many genetic features with high-grade serous ovarian cancer. Depicted are breast cancer cells with the HER2 protein, which can trigger cell growth responses, lit up in bright red. (Photo credit: NIST)

  • Head shot color photo of NCI director Harold Varmus
    What Impedes Cancer Research?: NCI Director Harold Varmus to address National Press Club
    Press Opportunity

    (Posted: 09/21/2012) - The barriers that impede greater and faster progress against cancer include the inherent biological properties of tumors; the difficulties of developing new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancers; and economic and social factors that slow the nation’s cancer research efforts

  • Kidneys and adrenal glands in cartoon illustration
    Rare cancers yield potential source of tumor growth
    NIH Press Release

    (Posted: 09/17/2012) - Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered a genetic mutation that appears to increase production of red blood cells in tumors. The discovery, based on analysis of tissue from rare endocrine tumors, may help clarify how some tumors generate a new blood supply to sustain their growth, the researchers explained.

  • Box of colored bars, depicting genes identified by TCGA for association with methylation (blue) or mutation (purple) in squamous lung cancer
    TCGA discovers potential therapeutic targets for lung squamous cell carcinoma
    NCI Press Release

    (Posted: 09/10/2012) - After sequencing the genomes of nearly 200 patients, researchers from The Cancer Genome Atlas initiative have identified potential therapeutic targets in lung squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of lung cancer. In the image above, squamous lung cancer subtypes are grouped into four columns. The horizontal rows depict genes identified by TCGA and how they differ by subtype.

  • Microscopic view of prostate cancer cells, stained purple and red, with red showing where Schlafen-11 is located in the nucleus
    Gene identified that sensitizes cancer cells to chemotherapy drugs
    NCI News Note

    (Posted: 08/27/2012) - NCI scientists have found that a gene, Schlafen-11 (SLFN11), sensitizes cells to substances known to cause irreparable damage to DNA.  As part of their study, the researchers used a repository of 60 cell types to identify predictors of cancer cell response to classes of DNA damaging agents, widely used as chemotherapy treatments for many cancers.

  • cell plate with small wells hold pink liquid
    The NCI-60: Assessing drug effectiveness
    Backgrounder

    (Posted: 08/27/2012) - For decades, lead compounds were tested principally in mice. The downsides were time, expense, and limited accuracy. Enter NCI’s In Vitro Cell Line Screening Project, better known as the NCI-60, a protocol that makes it possible to analyze the anti-cancer properties of a compound in human tumor samples from 60 different cell cultures, sometimes referred to as lines, representing several different types of cancer.

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