Posts tagged ‘cancer research’

Abraham Haim, a professor of Biology at Israel’s Haifa University has claimed that the energy saving light bulbs such as the CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) may accentuate the rate of breast cancer in women, making them more prone to breast cancer.

These energy-saving light bulbs emit bluer light and closely mimic daylight that disrupts the body’s production of the melatonin hormone. The older-style bulbs, in contrast, emit a yellowish light which allows the body to produce the said hormone (melatonin) which has long been associated with protection from breast and prostate cancers.

For over a decade, a link between night time light exposure and breast cancer has been drawn since studies suggested that female shift workers had a greater likelihood of developing breast cancer.

Prof. Haim and his team have discovered that there may be a strong connection between night time bedroom light levels and breast cancer. The study has been published in ‘Chronobiology International’ and it suggests that women who slept with the light on had a 22% greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who slept in complete darkness.

The researchers opine that this may be owing to the fact that modern society uses bluer light waves of shorter wavelength that may suppress melatonin production much more than the yellower old-age light.

Prof. Haim has remarked that he has removed the eco-friendly light bulbs from his house since he feels they cause light pollution. However, he emphasizes that this study doesn’t substantially prove that these cheaper, eco-friendly light bulbs heighten breast cancer cases. Dr. Sarah Rawlings, head of policy at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, also states that this link is purely speculative and more research needs to be done in this area.


Broccoli and its other vegetable cousins have for long been associated with cancer obstruction. Experiments done hitherto have showed that broccoli can stop the growth of cancer but not much was known as to how.

But now the scientists have stumbled on to a key ingredient that appears to be the reason why broccoli is so effective. A potential biochemical basis has been discovered by a team of scientists. It is, apparently, this biochemical basis that lends broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables the cancer-fighting ability.

Fung-Lung Chung and his team showed that broccoli and its veggie cousins contain substances called isothiocyanates (or ITCs) that apparently stops cancerous cells from growing. However, it was not known exactly how these substances work. But now some new interesting findings have surfaced which may prove vital to developing improved strategies for fighting cancer in humans.

The tumor suppressor gene p53 is, supposedly, the key player in keeping cells healthy and preventing them from starting the abnormal cancerous growth. During mutation this gene p53 does not offer this protection and these mutations take place in 50% of all human cancers.

The new report suggests that ITCs may be working by targeting this gene. This report appears in the ACS’ Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and may prove to be highly effective in prevention and treatment of cancer in the future.

The scientists carefully examined the effect of ITCs on various cancer cells including lung, breast and colon cancer with and without the defective tumour suppressor gene. The findings suggested that the ITCs could effectively remove the defective p53 protein. Though it is too early to conclude anything with finality, in the long run drugs based on natural or custom-built ITCs may help to combat various forms of cancer.


Researchers from Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) have identified a new enzyme that affects radiation response in patients suffering from head and neck cancer. PMH researchers have made a discovery that may be significant in controlling the side effects for cancer patients. They have discovered that targeting an enzyme called Uroporphyrinogen Decarboxylase (UROD) can sensitize diseased tissue to radiation and chemotherapy.

UROD has been identified as a key ingredient in human cancers and the study suggests that targeting UROD can selectively enhance the effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in cancerous tumors of head and neck while minimizing toxicity to normal tissues. These findings have been published in Science Translational Medicine.

Chief investigator, Dr. Fei-Fei Liu (Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Toronto and PMH, and Senior Scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute and The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute) states that analysis of patient biopsies disclosed that UROD levels were higher in tumor tissues than in the normal ones. UROD can be used to make a general prediction of how will a patient respond to radiation therapy since the cancer patients with lower UROD levels prior to radiation treatment had improved clinical outcome.

Dr. Emma states that lower doses of radiation and chemotherapeutic drugs could be administered to cancer patients without affecting the treatment efficacy. Dr. Liu says that UROD is an enzyme that participates in production of a molecule called heme that is vital to all body organs. Targeting UROD creates an opportunity to exploit the heme synthesis pathway that disrupts the equilibrium of iron and free radical levels in cells which thereby kills cancer cells.


A new study has shown that women with both breast cancer and diabetes have a high risk of mortality than their non-diabetic counterparts. Breast cancer itself is a very deadly disease but a diabetic woman increases her chances of dying if she also has breast cancer.

A study shows that breast cancer women who have diabetes are 50 percent more likely to die than those who don’t have diabetes. However, a lot remains unexplained since the data doesn’t specify the cause of death. Author Dr. Kimberly Peairs states that the study shows that there may be a higher association between diabetes and breast cancer mortality than was previously believed.

This study has been published in the latest issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology and has been supported by grants from U.S. National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Though the exact reason of high mortality in such case is not yet known, there are various possible explanations. For instance, one study suggests that women who had type 2 diabetes were likely to have their breast cancer diagnosed later than their non-diabetic counterpart. Besides, diabetic women may tend to respond less to chemotherapy drugs or their physicians may not provide them with aggressive treatment fearing concern for their health. Insulin intake may also be responsible for a greater growth in breast cancer tumor.

Diabetes is a widespread ailment with 8% of adult population being affected by it in US in 2007. Research suggests that diabetics are also prone to higher risk of breast cancer. To keep diabetes away, women are advised to keep their BMI at under 25. And those who have been diagnosed with diabetes must ensure that they control their blood sugar levels.


If you are obese or if you indulge in alcoholism, then you pose yourself at a higher risk of cancer. If the scientists and specialists are to be believed then one may surmise that being over-weight and consuming alcohol is absolutely suicidal.

According to World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), UK and other high income countries report high rates of cancer because the citizens of these countries report low physical activity, higher cases of obesity and over-indulgence in alcohol.

UK has been placed at 22nd position in cancer rate with nearly 267 people diagnosed out of 100,000. But UK ranks higher at 11th position when it comes to breast cancer. Breast cancer has long been associated with excess body fat and alcohol consumption, hence the 11th rank of UK for breast cancer hints at a direct relationship between the disease and the UK women’s indulgence in alcohol.

Research has shown that women who drink on a regular basis are more likely to develop breast cancer than their non-drinking counterparts. Besides drinking, smoking is another factor which has been directly linked to various forms of cancer. For instance, Denmark has the highest rate of cancer and it is no surprise since a huge chunk of the Danish women is addicted to cigarette and alcohol.

Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser for WCRF, states that UK and other high-income countries report high cancer rates because of the lifestyle of the people. Physical activity, healthy consumption and abstinence from alcohol and smoking are some of the preventive measures that one can take to keep cancer at bay. So, the citizens of UK and other high-income countries need to alter their lifestyles significantly in order to combat this dreaded ailment.


Researchers from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry have joined hands to become a vital part of a group from some of the prime institutions to raise a 4.7 million pound Policy Research Unit. This endeavor has been directed towards achievement of early cancer screening and diagnosis.

The funding shall be led by Queen Mary University of London and is provided over 5 years by the Department of Health. Some of the other institutes that are included in this endeavor include Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Kings College London, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Hull York Medical School and the University of Durham.

Policy Research Unit aims to curb down the threat of late cancer diagnosis and targets better survival rates by early screenings and therefore better treatment. UK, presently, suffers from poor cancer survival rate and is behind some of other European countries in this regard.

The following shall be the sphere of activity of Policy Research Unit:

1.     Meticulous study of cancer survival and cancer awareness

2.     Study of GP response to cancer symptoms

3.     Expanding case control estimation of benefits of cervical screening programme to the breast and bowel screening programmes

4.     Assessing interventions to increase cancer awareness

5.     Improvise access to cancer screenings

6.     Help increase cases of early cancer diagnosis

Researchers from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry shall commence by making an examination of breast, uterus and cervix cancers and identify symptoms that are significant and should attract the attention of a general physician.

Next, the researchers shall quantify these symptoms by providing them a percentage risk. A research service to the Department of Health shall also be provided.


Scientists at The Peggy and Charles Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center have come out with a way to prevent the growth of pancreatic cancer and stop it at its early stage. CV Rao had his team have proven that a drug called Gefitinib can help with pancreatic cancer.

This drug is used in later stages of the cancer but the team has proved that if used early in minute doses then this drug can possibly stop the growth of pancreatic cancer. The research has been published in the latest issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

In an experiment, scientists were able to not only curb the growth of pancreatic cancer with Gefitinib but also completely treat the disease. These findings can be effective against early treatment of pancreatic cancer since the survival rate at the later stages is as low as 6 percent.

Though, the disease is usually identified at a later stage, the scientists are trying to figure out how best to detect it at an earlier stage. This drug is already approved for human use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and now the scientists can begin a Phase II clinical trial within the next 18 months.

Gefitinib targets signals of a certain gene that mutates when pancreatic center is present. There is also a possibility that this drug could be used effectively for other forms of cancer such as lung and colorectal cancer and other major diseases. However, more work needs to be done at the moment.


The research team of University of Montreal’s Department of Biochemistry has come out with a significant breakthrough. Lead by Dr. Gerardo Ferbeyre, the team has suggested at the important role played by a PML molecule that limits how many times a cancer cell divides and re-divides.

The team concluded that the lethal malignant cancers show growth and spreading in the absence of PML molecules. This indicates that the detection of PML molecules can help to diagnose whether a particular cancerous cell is benign or malignant.

Dr. Ferbeyre explains that PML bodies are produced by benign cells and keep them in dormant, senescent state which is a defense against cancer formation since cell can no longer reproduce at the senescent stage. Dr. Ferbeyre had earlier discovered that PML has the ability to force cancer cells into senescence. Researchers have now worked further on this theory with the aid of samples collected from the hospital patients.

Researcher Véronique Bourdeau states that the findings revealed the unexpected ability of PML to organize a network of tumor suppressor proteins to repress the expression or amount of other proteins needed for cell proliferation. Such protein molecules play a vital role in the birth, growth and death of cells. This finding is significant as it would help medical science in evaluating how an organism defends itself from cancer threat. This discovery is of utmost importance and broadens the horizon of medical experts. Now more work can be done based on these findings and the researchers are hopeful that a therapy may be designed in future to convert malignant tumors into benign tumors.


A new study published in Pain has brought forth the theory that smoking worsens pain in cancer patients. The study has established a relationship between smoking and cancer, and reports that there has been significant evidence to prove that puffing smoke is lethal for cancer patients.

It has been suggested that those who continue smoking cigarettes after getting diagnosed with cancer experience worse cancer pain than their non-smoking counterparts, and that links have been found between smoking and various types of cancer and cancer stages (I-IV).

Lead investigator Joseph W. Ditre, PhD, states that the study revealed that current smokers registered higher pain, pain-interference and pain-related distress than former smokers and non-smokers. Plans are also on paper to find links between pain and other smoking variables viz. Number of years since quitting.

In the study, 224 patients (with various types of cancer at varying stages) were investigated. In a range of 1-6 (1=none to 6=very severe), the patients were asked to rate their body pain. On a range of 1-5 (1=not at all, 5=extremely), they were also asked to report how their pain affected their daily routine.

Conclusively, the researchers are maintaining that physicians must encourage smoking cessation amongst cancer patients. Smoking cessation is likely to enhance the quality of life that a cancer patient suffers. However, more study needs to be done to further relate nicotine addiction to cancer diagnosis.


Heather Greenlee, ND, Ph, a researcher from the Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, has found out that if the women suffering from breast cancer take multivitamins with minerals, then they may face lower chances of re-appearance of the cancer and it may keep them away from death too.

The researcher further added that these multivitamins will be more beneficial to the patients undergoing the radiation treatment. However, the study does not include the cause and effect. Jacksonville Mayo Clinic’s director of the breast cancer program, Edith Perez, MD, added that women, who have the habit of eating the right diet and exercising regularly, usually take more vitamins.

The findings of the study are still under a trial called ‘Pathway’, which will include 4,500 women suffering from breast cancer. Half of these women will be prescribed multivitamins and they will be kept under observation for some years to find how many of the women from each group had faced the cancer again and how many of them died.

Greenlee has stated that their study has just started recruiting women with breast cancer. She further said that 60% of women suffering from breast cancer usually take multivitamins whereas only 38% of healthy women take them.

The researcher added that no other studies have yet discovered this link between multivitamin use and breast cancer prediction. Greenlee along with her colleagues studied the medical records of 2,239 women, who were in the early stage of breast cancer during the period of 1997 and 2000. She informed that 44% of them consumed multivitamins with minerals and 13% took without minerals. They took the multivitamins at least thrice a week for one year or more in three years before they were diagnosed. Following the diagnosis, 65% were found taking multivitamins with minerals and 19% without minerals.

She found that 363 of the women relapsed by May 2010 and 372 died from breast cancer.