We here at www.CancerInPlainEnglish.com keep an eye out for new and exciting research and report it here when we find it. This is what has just happened with these recent findings with regard to Malignant Gliomas which is a type of brain tumor.
A team of researchers at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw has come up with potentially ground-breaking new findings with regards to a kind of brain tumor known as a Malignant Glioma.
We have always known that tumors develop and grow because they develop the ability to evade detection by the body’s immune system. Indeed, researchers spent the better half of the 1990s trying to find ways for molecules such as Alpha Interferon and Interleukin-2 to kill tumors. Researchers incubated the body’s immune cells with high doses of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) in an effort to generate what is known as “Lymphocyte Activated Killer Cells” – or LAK cells – and then try to see if these cells were able to kill tumors such as Renal Cell Carcinoma and Malignant Melanoma.
In these new developments, a team in Poland lead by Dr. Bozena Kaminska has discovered that brain tumors known as Malignant Gliomas, seem to evade detection by the body’s immune system by secreting a protein which they have called CSF2. They based their research on this protein on the fact that some of their earlier studies dating back to 2007 had shown that by secreting this protein, Malignant Gliomas are able to “reprogram”, if you will, the surrounding immune system near the Malignant Gliom tumors, to not destroy it.
They followed a hunch. In Breast Cancer, researchers had found that Breast Cancers changed the behavior of the immune system that surrounds them by changing the cells known as Tumor-Infiltrating-Macrophages (or Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes – TILs). Breast Cancers did this by secreting a protein which called CSF-1. Well, the team in Poland thought “what if Malignant Gliomas do the same thing?” – well the answer is no. Malignant Gliomas do NOT secrete CSF-1 as a means to stop the body’s immunce TIL cells from invading them – but the researchers DID find that the Malignant Glioma cells DID secrete a protein which they have called CSF-2! This was their “EUREKA!” moment.
They then blocked the PRODUCTION of CSF-2 by Malignant Glioma cells by blocking the gene which MAKES it – and lo and behold – the Malignant Glioma cells WITHOUT the ability to make and secrete CSF-2 were NOT able to stop the body’s immune TIL cells from invading them and destroying them. Furthermore, it seems that tumor cells that did NOT secreting CSF-2 were found to be “converted” to less aggressive forms (i.e. less “tumor-like”) by the lack of CSF-2 secretion.
This, therefore, immediately presented itself as a possible target for the treatment of Malignant Gliomas.
Dr. Kaminska’s group then took things a logical step further. They asked themselves “What if we could create an “anti-protein” which could actively COMPETE for the binding site of CSF-2?” Well, they did just that. They developed short peptides (which are proteins) which interfere with the binding of CSF-2 to their respective binding site and – as hoped – this seems to have the same effect as removing the gene which makes CSF-2 did in earlier experiments. It stops the Malignant Gliomas and makes them more susceptible to the body’s immune system.
This thus opens up a whole new “can of beans” for possible treatments for Malignant Gliomas. Potentially, we could give patients with Malignant Gliomas these small peptides which compete for the binding site of CSF-2 and their Gliomas would stop growing, become more sensitive to the immune system and – apparently – even become less malignant! As we can expect, the pharmaceutical potential and the financially lucrative possibilities did not escape the notice of those who learned of this. Thus, the “Developed Molecules” and their “relevant genetic tools” for making these molecules are now covered by an International Patent! Surprise, surprise. Oh well. At least we can hope that despite the monetary considerations, if these researchers and others are indeed able to develop a protein which will stop Malignant Gliomas and do so with natural, less aggressive means than radiation and/or chemotherapy, it would be a wonderful step forward in a new direction for the treatment of brain tumors.
We at www.CancerInPlainEnglish.com will continue to keep an eye out for these developments and will report them here as they become available.
‘Till next we speak again,
Mark Sperry for
Read information on:
IDH1 – is this finally the blood test we have all been waiting for in order to find Lung Cancers early?
In a recent paper in the journal Clincal Cancer Research Jie He, MD, PhD of the Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, China reported that a protein in the blood called, IDH1, may indeed be a great new blood test we can use to find lung cancers early. A “biomarker” is a substance – such as a protein – in the blood which may give us a clue that a disease is present in the body of the person who has this protein in their blood.
Dr. He and colleagues at the Laboratory of Thoracic Surgery at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences collected blood samples from 943 patients WITH lung cancer and 479 people WITHOUT lung cancer and compared the blood levels of IDH1 in both the patients with lung cancer and the persons without lung cancer.
Dr. He’s team’s findings were that the patients with a type of lung cancer known as Adenocarcinomas had almost 3x higher blood levels of IDH1 than people without lung cancer. They also discovered that patients with a type of lung cancer known as a Squamous Cell lung cancers had almost 2 1/2 times higher blood levels of IDH1 than people without lung cancer.
What this means is that we can conceive the thought that we could take people who have smoked cigarettes for a long time and, if we suspect that they may have lung cancer, draw their blood and study their blood to see if we find IDH1 in their blood. If we do, as we will see below, we can then re-draw their blood and run tests for other blood markers known as CEA, Cyfra21-1 and CA125 and if the person who has smoked cigarettes for many years and who we suspect may have lung cancer has high blood levels of ALL 4 of these biomarkers, we should then have a very high suspicion that this person may indeed have a lung cancer – even if we still can’t see one in his or her chest x ray.
The combination of measuring IDH1 along with other biomarkers in the blood may increase the ability of IDH1 to find lung cancers early: Dr. He and his team further noted that if they combined the detection of IDH1 with the detection of other biomarkers such as CEA, Cyfra21-1 and CA125, the ability to detect cancer versus a false positive increased. This means that the combination of all of these biomarker tests together was better than just measuring IDH1 by itself. On top of that, by combining the detection of IDH1 with these other, more familiar and known biomarkers, the team was able to get a sense of the TYPE of non-small cell lung cancer which was being detected such as Adenocarcinoma versus Squamous Cell carcinoma. This could truly be a wonderful new development if further testing proves that it is indeed as good as it seems.
We do not know if IDH1 – or its combination with other biomarkers such as CEA, Cyfra21-1 and CA125 is the final answer in allowing us to find lung cancers early; but the key is that we – the scientific community – are getting closer to finding a blood test with which we can find lung cancer early. As the world’s – and the US – population grows older, we can unfortunately expect more and more lung cancers to be found. We all know that lung cancer is the most prominent and principle cause of cancer deaths IN MEN AND WOMEN worldwide (and in the USA). We as well know that if we can find lung cancers early, we are able to remove them with surgery and are thus able to very possibly cure the person with the lung cancer. Finding lung cancer early, therefore, can only mean one thing – decreased deaths due to lung cancer.
Till next we speak again,
Mark Sperry for
It turns out that there are signs that a current treatment for Colon Cancer may actually help people who have diabetes.
Cancer therapy – and many therapies really – can produce surprising combinations this way sometimes. We may discover, for example, that one medication which is good for one thing is actually good for something else. For example, the medication Thalidomide was discovered to cause horrible birth defects when given in England years ago for “morning sickness” but we now have discovered that this same medication is now helpful for Multiple Myeloma.
The same with a medication called Aflibercept (also known as Eylea or Zaltrap). This medication is a VEGF inhibitor which is useful in the treatment of Colon Cancer. VEGF stands for Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor. VEFG is a protein which colon cancer produces in order to make itself more blood vessels in order to feed itself better as it grows. By doing this, the tumor, as it grows, does not outgrow its blood supply. Well, Aflibercept blocks VEGF and thus makes the tumor outgrow its blood supply and starve/suffocate to death because of lack of blood supply and oxygen.
Researchers at Stanford have recently discovered that VEGF inhibitors block (as they are supposed to do) the development of new blood vessels. This then leads to decreased oxygen delivery to the cells. Decreased oxygen delivery is known as hypoxia. Hypoxia, then makes the cells to produce a substance known as HIF-2Alpha which in turn produces another protein called IRS2 which thus makes it easier for cells to absorb and work with the glucose that surrounds them. What this means is that, if this research continues to bear fruit, we may discover that it may be possible to give Aflibercept to patients with diabetes as a way to help the cells of diabetic patients to more easily absorb the glucose that surrounds them and thus, have less of the glucose swimming around their bodies (which is the problem with diabetics).
As more of this information comes forward, I will keep you informed. Mark Sperry for Cancer In Plain English
Breast Cancer remains a very serious and important medical problem in the world. Every year, over 170,000 women and over 2,000 men will be found with breast cancer.
In the 1980s, we started to use mammograms in order to screen women for the possibility of having breast cancer. This has been a revolutionary step and a life saver for thousands of women. As we would expect, with the use of mammograms, we now find many cancers very early in their course, which in the past would have never been found until it was too late and the cancer might have already spread.
A new treatment has been discovered which increases the appetite and the nutritional intake of patients with cancer.
A major problem, when it comes to cancer, is the loss of appetite. People with cancer just are not hungry. This loss of hunger in cancer patients (and in anyone who is not hungry) is called “Anorexia”. Unfortunately, this lack of appetite could not come at a worse time.
Inheriting a gene that increases one’s risk for the development of cancer is like inheriting a loaded gun. That gun never needs to go off unless someone or something pulls the trigger.
When we think of cigarette smoking and the health risks that come with that activity, we think of lung cancer, emphysema and other breathing ailments; however, we typically do not think of Colon Cancer.
There is a promising new medicine for the treatment of various forms of cancer. This new medicine is known as RAMUCIRUMAB.
Cancer is a formidable foe. It not only starts out quietly and often grows quietly, it also makes sure that it creates its own blood supply to feed its growing appetite as it grows.
Prolia (or, as it is also known, Denosumab) is an exciting new medication which promises to help men with prostate cancer with the damage to their bones that can result from the treatments that are given to control their prostate cancers.
Just as cars use gasoline for fuel and jet planes use airplane fuel, prostate cancer uses the hormone known as Testosterone as its fuel. Testosterone stimulates the growth and spread of prostate cancer. An excellent and easy way to stop prostate cancer, then, is to shut down the production and/or the effects of Testosterone in the body.