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Yale team devises ingenious method to attack cancer at its genetic source

Anti-tumor activity resulting from new gene therapy delivery system is captured in red.

MicroRNAs may be tiny — as few as 20 genetic letters, compared to 3 billion in the DNA of a human — but they play a major role in biology, helping to determine which genes are expressed or silenced. In the last 10 years, researchers at Yale and elsewhere have shown they play a major role in formation and spread of tumors.

However, their potential as a target for cancer therapy has not been realized because of a daunting problem that has held back clinical applications of gene therapy: How can you target minute pieces of genetic material locked safely inside the membranes of billions of cells?

Now a multi-disciplinary team of Yale researchers has solved the problem by designing a therapeutic molecule that both targets the acidic microenvironments of tumors and penetrates cells to deliver a therapeutic cargo. The new delivery system effectively killed advanced tumors in mice, the team reports in the Nov. 17 issue of the journal Nature.

“This strategy opens up a new pathway to therapy, not just for the treatment of cancer but for a host of other diseases as well,” said Donald Engelman, a co-author of the paper and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale. 

The findings were result of an extensive collaboration between labs of Engelman, Peter Glazer, Mark Saltzman and Frank Slack.

Source: Yale University

Cannabis extract can have dramatic effect on brain cancer, says new research

Cannabis extract can have dramatic effect on brain cancer, says new research

 

Cannabis extract can have dramatic effect on brain cancer, says new research

Experts have shown that when certain parts of cannabis are used to treat cancer tumours alongside radiotherapy treatment the growths can virtually disappear

The new research by specialists at St George’s, University of London, studied the treatment of brain cancer tumours in the laboratory and discovered that the most effective treatment was to combine active chemical components of the cannabis plant which are called cannabinoids.

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Kidney cancer in Central Europe

New research by the international Cancer Genomics of the Kidney consortium (CAGEKID) reveals an important connection between kidney cancer and exposure to aristolochic acid, an ingredient in some herbal remedies. The findings, published in Nature Communications, have important implications for public health.

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Bone drug should be seen in a new light for its anti-cancer properties

Australian researchers have shown why calcium-binding drugs commonly used to treat people with osteoporosis, or with late-stage cancers that have spread to bone, may also benefit patients with tumours outside the skeleton, including breast cancer.

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Lung cancer diagnosed before it is detected by imaging

A team of researchers from Inserm led by Paul Hofman (Inserm Unit 1081/University of Nice) has just made a significant advance in the area of early diagnosis of invasive cancers. In a study which has just been published in the journal Plos One, the team shows that it is possible to detect, in patients at risk of developing lung cancer, early signs, in the form of circulating cancer cells, several months, and in some cases several years, before the cancer becomes detectable by CT scanning. This warning could play a key role in early surgical intervention, thereby making it possible to attempt the early eradication of the primary cancer site.

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