Entries in Cancer Cells (3)


Doctors Use Dye to Light Up Ovarian Cancer Cells

Courtesy of Philip Low(WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.) -- A dye that tracks tumors and glows under fluorescent light helps guide doctors during cancer surgery.  Dutch doctors recently used the dye, likened to a homing device, to light up ovarian cancer cells during surgery in a small study of 10 patients.

“Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to see, and this technique allowed surgeons to spot a tumor 30 times smaller than the smallest they could detect using standard techniques,” Philip Low, the Purdue University chemistry professor who invented the dye, said in a statement.  “By dramatically improving the detection of the cancer -- by literally lighting it up -- cancer removal is dramatically improved.”

The study results were published Sunday in Nature Medicine.

Surgical cancer removal is usually followed by other treatments, such as chemotherapy, that work better when fewer cancer cells remain.

“With ovarian cancer, it is clear that the more cancer you can remove, the better the prognosis for the patient,” Low said in a statement.  “This is why we chose to begin with ovarian cancer.  It seemed like the best place to start to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Although researchers tested the dye in patients with ovarian cancer, Low told ABC's Good Morning America Monday that he envisioned the same strategy working for 40 percent of cancers.

The dye is linked to folate -- a vitamin absorbed by cells to varying degrees.  Ovarian cancer has one of the highest rates of folate receptor expression, Low said.  But lung, kidney, endometrial, breast and colon cancers can express the receptor, too.

Other dyes have been shown to target and illuminate tumors.  But Low said his dye is much more specific, providing better contrast between tumors and the healthy tissue that borders them.

Low said he and his team plan to work with the Mayo clinic on the next stage of clinical trials.  In the meantime, they will continue to work to improve the dye.

“We want to be able to see deeper into the tissue, beyond the surface,” Low said in a statement.  “Different cancers have tumors with different characteristics, and some branch and wind their way deeper into tissue.  We will continue to evolve this technology and make improvements that help cancer patients.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Can Researchers Prevent Cancer from Spreading?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (LONDON) -- A study, published in Oncogene, reports that stopping the gene, called WWP2, which encourages cancer to move around the body could prevent the disease from spreading.  Researchers at the University of East Anglia are hoping the discovery of this gene could lead to the development of new cancer drugs within the next decade.

Although physicians can often treat primary cancers, it is the spread of tumors and cancerous cells known as metastasis that are notoriously difficult to treat.

Although the study is still in laboratory stages, Dr. Andrew Chantry, the study's leader, says they are "really onto something important if we can put a wall around a cancer and lock it into place."

The team is currently assembling a group of chemists to help them design a drug that will have the ability to block gene activity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Scientists Treating Cancer with Cancer Cells

Microscopic image of cancer cells. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Scientists are taking a new approach in the fight against cancer by treating the disease with cancer itself.

Researchers at the Rogosin Institute in New York are encapsulating cancer cells from mice to form macrobeads which are then implanted into the abdomen of cancer patients.  Once implanted, the macrobeads can secrete substances that could tell cancer cells to stop growing or slow down their growth.

The study, which will be published Tuesday in the journal Cancer Research, has showed improvements in tests involving mice, dogs, and cats.  As reported in The Wall Street Journal, after 30 days, mice who were implanted with tumors and treated with the beads had tumors that were 30 to 60 percent smaller than those in mice which were left untreated.

Another study involving 54 dogs and cats who had naturally-occurring cancers found that when treated with beads, their life expectancies were elongated and, in some cases, their tumors were almost eliminated.

An intial human study involving at least 30 patients has been conducted, and an intermediate-stage trial has been launched with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval, the Journal reported.  It is still too early to tell how well the beads will work in humans.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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