BY Suzanne Wu
In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage — a major side effect of chemotherapy — but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.
In both mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial involving patients receiving chemotherapy, long periods of not eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles then “flipped a regenerative switch,” changing the signaling pathways for hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune systems, the research showed.
Cancer patients with brain metastases who develop blood clots may safely receive blood thinners without increased risk of dangerous bleeding, according to a study published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).
Cancer increases a patient’s risk of developing blood clots. When a patient with cancer develops a clot, treatment with a blood thinning medication called an anticoagulant is often added to their treatment regimen in order to prevent the potentially fatal complication of blood clots traveling to the lungs. However, if cancer spreads to the brain, anticoagulant treatment may be withheld because it could cause dangerous bleeding in the patient’s head, which is already a risk for these patients. The task of preventing dangerous blood clots and avoiding life-threatening bleeding presents a particular challenge for specialists in patients with tumor metastases in the brain. Until recently, no data had confirmed whether blood thinners could be safely administered in these patients.
Lung cancer is responsible for the most cancer deaths in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, it will kill an estimated 158,000 people in 2015, more than breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined. Because lung cancer grows and spreads so quickly, many healthy (and former) smokers undergo diagnostic screening CT scans of the chest, which can detect small lesions in the lungs that may be an early sign of the disease. But abnormal results often lead to painful and invasive biopsies. Now, Avrum Spira has found a better path to diagnosis.
A new urine-based test improved prostate cancer detection – including detecting more aggressive forms of prostate cancer – compared to traditional models based on prostate serum antigen, or PSA, levels, a new study finds.