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Molecule Linked To Aggressive Cancer Growth And Spread Identified

November 15, 2008

By Science Daily

Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found a genetic marker that controls an enzyme present in aggressive and metastatic cancer. The study suggests an absence of microRNA-101 is related to high expression of the protein EZH2, which was previously shown to be active in metastatic cancers. MicroRNA’s are molecules that help regulate gene expression. miR-101 is one of few miRNA’s shown to play such an important role in the development of cancer.

In this study, the researchers found miR-101 is significantly underexpressed in a variety of cancers, including prostate and breast cancer. Essentially, the researchers believe that miR-101 suppresses the EZH2 protein. When miR-101 is lost in cancer, EZH2 expression is uncontrolled, and that haywire in-gene expression leads to more aggressive cancer growth.

Imaging Technology May Relieve Cancer Pain

November 7, 2008

By Methodist Hospital, Houston

Newswise — Physicians at The Methodist Hospital in Houston are studying ways to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound to relieve some of the most intense pain resulting from cancer that has spread to the bones.

Bone metastases are one of the most common causes of pain for cancer patients,” said Dr. King Li, chair of the department of radiology at The Methodist Hospital and principal investigator for the trial. “Unfortunately, current treatments to relieve this intense pain are very limited.”

Current painkilling or palliative treatment includes invasive surgery that many late-stage cancer patients cannot tolerate, radiation that damages more tissue than necessary, or nerve ablation. In this study, MRI technology is used to visualize the patient’s anatomy and then aims focused ultrasound waves at the targeted tissue, using low-level heat to ablate, or destroy it, reducing or eliminating the pain. This new method of using MRI-focused ultrasound may provide a completely non-invasive way to relieve pain, Li said.

In earlier clinical studies performed in Europe, the majority of patients reported pain relief within days of treatment.

Patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) today live longer and more meaningful lives compared to a decade ago.

November 3, 2008

By Dr Albert Lim Kok Hooi

METASTATIC breast cancer (MBC) is breast cancer that has spread to the bone, lung, liver, brain and other organs. The median survival for patients a decade ago was 24 months. In other words, half the patients lived for less than 24 months and the other half survived more than 24 months. Few patients survived more than five years.

Today, the median survival for MBC is more like 36 months. In fact, a fortunate few may live up to 10 years or more.