Friday, 22 June 2018

More breast cancer patients can skip chemo, says study - It focusses on the response of women with early-stage of cancer to gene therapy

Some 70% of women with early-stage breast cancer and an intermediate risk of cancer recurrence can safely skip chemotherapy after their tumours have been removed, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.
“This is a major finding,” said Dr. Larry Norton, a breast cancer expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who helped organise the government-funded study more than a decade ago.
“It means that maybe 100,000 women in the U.S. alone do not require chemotherapy,” Mr. Norton said.
The research, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, studied how to treat women with early-stage breast cancer that responds to hormone therapy.
Women were deemed to have a medium level risk of the cancer coming back based on a 21-gene panel known as Oncotype DX from Genomic Health. The test predicts the likelihood of cancer recurrence within 10 years. Those who score low on the test — from zero to 10 —are already told to skip chemotherapy after their tumours are removed and they receive hormone therapy. Those who score high — 26 to 100 — receive both hormone therapy and chemotherapy.
The study, dubbed TAILORx, was also published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It involved more than 10,000 women with breast cancer that had not spread to nearby lymph nodes and whose tumours respond to hormone therapy and test negative for the HER2 gene. Of those, 6,711 scored in the intermediate range of 11-25, and were randomly assigned hormone therapy alone or hormone therapy plus chemotherapy.
The study found that all women over 50 with this type of breast cancer could skip chemotherapy, a group that represented 85% of the study’s population. In addition, women 50 and younger who scored between zero and 15 could be spared chemotherapy and its toxic side effects.
Some benefits
However, chemotherapy did offer some benefit to women aged 50 and younger who had a cancer recurrence score of 16-25, researchers found. Dr. Steven Shak, chief scientific officer at Genomic Health, said about four in 10 women in the U.S. with early stage breast cancers are not tested for recurrence risk. He expects the study’s results will change that practice.
“This is going to provide the highest level of evidence now for our test being indispensable in clinical practice,” Dr. Shak said.
The company currently provides tests to more than 900,000 patients in more than 90 countries, Dr. Shak said. In the United States, the test costs $4,000 and is covered by Medicare and all major private insurers.

 Source: THE HINDU-4th June,2018

China commences testing of heavy-ion cancer treatment - Radiation treatment is capable of killing cancer cells with high-energy electrons

Beijing: Chinese researchers have begun clinical testing of heavy-ion medical accelerators capable of killing cancer cells with high-energy electrons, officials said on Sunday.
Researchers said that the accelerators entered clinical testing for cancer patients in the northwest Gansu province in May.
Cancer radiation treatments employing heavy-ion accelerators can bombard a target with high-energy electrons to kill cancer cells.

Xiao Guoqing, head of the Institute of Modern Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said it is widely considered the most effective way of fighting tumours.
Compared to the traditional therapy such as radiation, heavy-ion treatment is considered to have more balanced properties with less radiation on healthy cells.
The treatment period is shorter and the therapy could more effectively control cancer cells.

The institute in Lanzhou, capital of the northwest Gansu province, developed the accelerators in 2015.
It took two years for the accelerators to undergo medical equipment testing. Registration and testing were completed in April and clinical tests began, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Currently, the institute has produced two sets of the cancer treatment equipment, one each in Lanzhou and Wuwei City, which has a high rate of stomach cancer.
Patients were selected from Gansu Provincial Cancer Hospital and Wuwei Cancer Hospital.

Testing is underway for cancer treatment for the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis and limbs.
In order to ensure the safety of the tests, 36 leading doctors in cancer treatment were assigned to oversee the tests.
Xiao said the domestically developed equipment marks the end of China’s dependence on imports. The institute started basic research into the technology in 1993.
Currently, very few hospitals in China offer heavy-ion cancer treatment in China.

Source:DNA-28th May,2018

Researchers find a cure for pulmonary fibrosis

Washington: Developing new medicines to treat pulmonary fibrosis, one of the most common and serious forms of lung disease, is not easy.
However, researchers from the University of Buffalo have worked to develop a biotechnology that could streamline the drug-testing process.
The one reason for developing a treatment for pulmonary fibrosis is that it’s difficult to mimic how the disease damages and scars lung tissue over time, often forcing scientists to employ a hodgepodge of time-consuming and costly techniques to assess the effectiveness of potential treatments.

The innovation relies on the same technology used to print electronic chips, photolithography. Only instead of semiconducting materials, researchers placed upon the chip arrays of thin, pliable lab-grown lung tissues - in other words, its lung-on-a-chip technology.

“Obviously it’s not an entire lung, but the technology can mimic the damaging effects of lung fibrosis. Ultimately, it could change how we test new drugs, making the process quicker and less expensive,” said lead author Ruogang Zhao.
With limited tools for fibrosis study, scientists have struggled to develop medicine to treat the disease. To date, there are only two drugs - pirfenidone and nintedanib - approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that help slow its progress.

Source:DNA-28th May,2018