Tag Archive for: cancer news

September 2023 Notable News

This month scientists are making strides fighting cancer in the laboratory. By altering mRNA in the lab, scientists developed a new cancer therapy that stops cancer growth. A new two system approach using CART Tcell therapy has also been developed as a cancer treatment. Finally, and equally as important, a recent study reveals a surge in people under the age of 50 are being diagnosed with cancer, showing the need for further action.

Scientists Develop New Cancer Therapy that Stop Tumor Growth in Its Tracks

Researchers from Purdue University have developed a novel cancer treatment that deceives cancer cells into absorbing a snippet of RNA that naturally blocks cell division. A study recently published in Oncogene reveals that over a 21-day. Tumor subjected to this treatment remained unchanged in size, whereas untreated tumors grew threefold reports SciTechDaily. This treatment also causes suppression of three other genes that cause cancers to grow and resist other treatments. Micro RNA-34a was modified in a lab to not be broken down by the body rapidly. The modified mRNA-34a is not detected or destroyed by the immune system. It is attached to folate, a vitamin that binds to all cells. Cancer cells have more folate receptors than other cells. MRNA 34a is drawn into cancer cells where it slows cell division. This cancer therapy is currently in mouse trials. Click here for full story.

Two-pronged Immunotherapy Approach Could Treat Most Blood Cancers

Working in mice, the scientists sicced the immune cells on a protein common to nearly all cancerous blood cells. Because that protein is also found on normal blood forming stem cells, The team also replaced those vital cells with ones genetically tweaked to be invisible to the cancer fighters. comma protecting them from onslaught reports Science. In mice, they used this CAR Tcell approach to treat AML (Acute myeloid leukemia). Scientists develop CART Tcells with a receptor for certain cancer cells and inject them into the cancer patient. This type of therapy is used for five types of blood cancers. Normal blood cells carry a certain gene that is also in the cancer cells, so scientists have altered the CART Tcells genetic code to avoid harming the normal blood cells. They can use the CART Tcell therapy and stem cell transplant for effective treatment. Further animal testing is upcoming. This treatment could be developed as a broader treatment for blood cancers. Click here for full story.

Researchers See Surge in Number of People Under 50 Diagnosed with Cancer

Globally, new cancer cases among people younger than 50 increased by 79.1% from 1990 to 2019, according to a new study published in BMJ Oncology. The number of early onset cancer deaths also increased by 27.7% from 1990 to 2019 reports The Hill. Breast, tracheal, lung, stomach and colorectal cancers have the highest mortality rate. Nasopharyngeal and prostate cancers showed the fastest increase in numbers. The results of this study show the importance of the need for targeted early detection measures. It also revealed increased risk factors in dietary choices, alcohol use, and tobacco use. Lifestyle factors such as air pollution, early life environmental exposures, and gut microbiome are all being studied. Early onset cancer numbers are also on the rise, due to early screening. Click here for the full story.

August 2023 Digital Health Roundup

This month advances in technology aid doctors and scientists in the fight against cancer. Microbubbles armed with oxygen and a cancer drug are having positive results in mice trials. Scientists have developed robotic tentacles to assist doctors with lung cancer treatment. A new ultrasound scanner has been developed to screen for breast cancer.

Delivering Oxygen to Tumors May Be Key in Overcoming Radiation Resistance

A team led by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University and Drexel University has devised a strategy that combines ultrasound with microbubbles to deliver oxygen and cancer drugs to tumors. The results of a study published in the journal Pharmaceutics indicate that the method -tested in mice- primed tumors to be more vulnerable to radiation therapy, resulting in slowed tumor growth and increase survival reports Cancer Health. Radiation therapy causes hypoxia, which is a condition cancer cells grow in. Some tumors are resistant to radiotherapy because of this hypoxia. Scientists made microbubbles full of oxygen and the drug Ionidamine, that stops cancer cell metabolism. When injected into the body, it is targeted to release what it carries by use of ultrasound waves. In the trials, this method has been used for breast cancer treatment with the hope of using it on head and neck cancers. Click here to read more.

These Tiny Robotic Tentacles Could Travel into the Lungs to Treat Cancer

Scientists made robotic tentacles on the end of a bronchoscope to reach deeper into the lungs during lung cancer treatment. During the journey, magnets adapt the robot’s shape to the body’s anatomy. As it moves, both its form and position are fed back to a clinician. After reaching its destination, an embedded laser fiber can deliver localized treatment reports The Next Web. Magnets make the tentacles softer and easier to control the shape, so it conforms to the anatomy of the lungs. Early stages of lung cancer are typically treated by surgical intervention to take cancerous lung tissue. These robotic tentacles are less invasive and cause less pain and recovery time. This method makes for more precise removal of cancerous tissue, leaving behind more healthy tissue. Scientists have started testing this method on cadavers and will soon be moving to human trials. Click here to read more.

Study: Wearable Ultrasound Scanner Could Detect Breast Cancer Earlier

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said Friday they have developed a wearable ultrasound tracker that could detect breast cancer as at its early stages, giving it the potential to save lives reports UPI News. The new scanner is flexible and attaches to a bra. It captures images like ultrasound probes do in normal medical imaging. The scanner is portable and can easily be used from home. The openings in the patch have magnets that make it attach to a bra. The ultrasound scanner was made small so it could easily be used anywhere. This method is more comfortable than a mammogram, making more patients more willing to have the screening done. Click here to read more.

August 2023 Notable News

This month the key to cancer treatment for patients and doctors is knowledge. People diagnosed with cancer have protection in place for their job under The Americans with Disabilities Act. Scientists out of Denmark have discovered a new type of T cells that help fight cancer. During studies on a protein, GRP78, scientists discovered a new mechanism of how cancer spreads.

Protections for People with Cancer: Top 5 Things to Know About Your Rights as a Cancer Patient Under The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act offers protection for people battling cancer or who have a history of cancer. The federal law prohibits discrimination against qualified people with disabilities, including people diagnosed with cancer or who had cancer that is a remission. Reports SurvivorNet. Employers must make reasonable accommodations for patients undergoing cancer treatments. This accommodation includes allowing employees with cancer the ability to leave for medical appointments. It also allows them to take extra breaks as needed to take medications or if there is fatigue due to treatment. Employers can deny accommodation requests if it causes a significant expense or poor performance from the employee. Employers are not allowed to ask new job applicants if they have had cancer or have it currently. FMLA (Federal Family and Medical Leave Act) allows cancer patients to take unpaid leave and still protect their job position and their health insurance. This act also protects family members who are caring for cancer patients. Click here to read more.

Newly Discovered Superior T-cells Might Kill Tumors in Late-Stage Cancer Patients

A study out of Denmark has found new information about T-cells, which helps the body find and kill cells responsible for causing cancerous tumors. Our findings really surprised us, as nobody knew that individual T-cells could recognize cancer cells via several different cancer associated proteins simultaneously. These multi-pronged cells could respond to most types of cancer as cancers only need to express one of the aberrant targets to be identified as dangerous and killed said Andy Sewell, a professor at Cardiff University’s Division of Infection and Immunity reports Interesting Engineering. This knowledge was discovered during work on (TIL) Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocyte therapy, which uses T-cells grown in a lab to treat tumors and late-stage cancers. These multi-pronged T-cells are in the blood of patients that have survived cancer. In TIL therapy, doctors take T-cells from the tumor and then grow them in a lab to put them back in the patient’s body. Scientists hope to use this knowledge to make more immunotherapies to treat cancer. Click here to read more.

Surprising Finding: Scientists Discover New, Unexpected Mechanism of Cancer Cell Spread

During research on the protein GPR78, the protein that regulates replication of viruses and cancer growth, scientists made a new discovery. Lee and her colleagues have now made an unexpected discovery that may eventually enable scientists to protect cells from that hostile takeover. Typically, GRP78 resides in part of the cell called the endoplasmic reticulum. But when cells are under stress, the chaperone protein migrates to the cell’s nucleus, where it alters gene activities and changes the behavior of the cell, allowing the cancer cells to become more mobile and invasive reports SciTechDaily. Scientists used a high-resolution microscope and biochemical analysis to observe and confirm the new information about GRP78. They found GRP78 is involved in cell migration and invasion, which leads to a potential new cancer treatment that regulates GPR78. It was analyzed in lung, pancreatic, breast and colon cancers. These new findings also change the field of cell biology. It has enhanced knowledge about where the protein travels and what its new functions are. Click here to read more.

July 2023 Notable News

July brings hope to cancer patients with new knowledge, leading to helpful advances in oncology. Financial complications from cancer treatments are found to influence patient mortality. A new drug focusing on interrupting prostate cancer cell metabolism gives another option to prostate cancer patients. A scientific discovery of how bowel cancer evades immune response is helping scientists find a new treatment for the cancer.

Health-Related Social Needs Linked to Higher Risk of Death for Cancer Survivors

A new study by researchers at the American Cancer Society, (ACS) found health related social needs (HRSN) such as food insecurity and financial worry about paying for housing related expenses and other living necessities were associated with higher mortality risk among cancer survivors ages 18 to 64 reports Cancer Health. Cancer patients have large medical bills and often must pay a great deal of the expense out of pocket. There is a higher incidence of food insecurity in younger cancer survivors. One third of cancer survivors worry about how to pay housing and living expenses. The findings from this study suggest that an assessment needs to be done on cancer patients to identify their financial needs to help improve mortality rates. Click here for more information.

New Drug Shows Promise Against Treatment-Resistant Prostate Cancer

For this study, the researchers used a compound called Platin-L to break down a process that malignant prostate cancer cells use to fuel their growth and also to deliver the cisplatin directly into treatment-resistant cancer cells reports UPI News. Research done at the University of Miami tested it on human cancer cells and a mouse model of prostate cancer with promising results. Prostate cancer grows by getting energy from fat. Which is called fatty acid oxidation (FAO). Platin-L targets a protein that is involved in the FAO process. It interferes with cancers energy source to kill the cancer cells. The drug was administered orally inside of a nanoparticle that targets the prostate. Delivering the drug this way limits side effects to other parts of the body. It decreased side effects to the kidneys and liver, as well as lowered the risk for peripheral neuropathy. Click here for more information.

Bowel Cancer Treatment Hope as Scientists Solve Immune System Mystery

Researchers at the University of Glasgow and Cancer Research UK’s Beats Institute have discovered how bowel cancer. Blinds the immune system so it cannot see the cancer and renders it unable to destroy it reports The Independent. In the bell, when cells become cancerous, they no longer produce cells that allow for communicating the need for an immune response. These cells are called Gamma Delta T cells. Cancer cells are then bypassed and proliferate. This new knowledge will allow scientists to make a drug that makes the immune cells in the bowel see the cancer. Bowel cancer begins in the lining of the bowel. Scientists hope to use this information to trick the immune system to attack the cancer cells. Click here for more information.

June 2023 Notable News

June brings many challenges for cancer patients and new knowledge can help fight the disease. Insurance companies have taken the fight to the supreme court to try to avoid paying for cancer screening tests. A shortage of two cancer drugs is having a significant impact on cancer patients in the U.S. Obesity has been found to be a rising risk factor for cancer, affecting men and women differently.

Survey Finds Majority of Cancer Patients and Survivors Would be Less Likely to Get Recommended Screenings if Costs Were Added

Thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires evidence-based prevention and early detection at no cost to patients with private insurance, we’ve seen improved access to recommended services that detect disease when it is less costly to treat, and chances of survival are greater reports American Cancer Society. A new ruling in the case Braidwood v Becerra, in the US District Court in Texas, is threatening that access for patients. Patients surveyed said that a cost between $100 to $200 for preventative tests would be a burden to them financially and would be a barrier to getting those lifesaving tests. The cost increase incurred can either be from annual screening or lifesaving treatments. Cancer patients already face challenges in finding a provider due to cost. A patient navigator is also a beneficial service for cancer patients and has been shown to help influence better outcomes. The cost of the navigator can be prohibitive for patients. Insurance cutbacks are a matter of life and death for many cancer patients. Click here for more information.

Carboplatin, Cisplatin Chemotherapy Drug Shortages Delaying Some Cancer Treatments in New York

We’re really in an unprecedented situation in the cancer field, said Dr Richard Carvajal, a medical oncologist who helps run Northwell Health Cancer Institute. Carboplatin and cisplatin shortages are delaying treatment, forcing doctors and patients to make tough choices, according to Carvajal reports CBS News. These two drugs are used in 10 to 20% of cancer patient treatment in New York. Doctors are having to give lower doses or fewer doses of this chemotherapy to patients. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network released a study that found 93% of cancer centers in the U.S. are experiencing this shortage reports CBS News. In January, a large plant in India had quality control problems with much of its supply causing this shortage. Doctors must choose who gets treatment and who does not. The FDA is trying to get the cancer drugs sent from China to help correct the shortage. Patients should talk with their physician about their best option. Click here for more information.

Women and Men Face Different Cancers- Depending on Where Fat Falls

To investigate the links between cancer and obesity among men and women, Rask- Anderson and other researchers turned to the UK Biobank, a biomedical database with genetic and health information from more than half a million participants across the UK reports New York Post. The research has shown that all cancers are influenced by obesity except for brain, cervical, and testicular cancers. Obesity causes men to be more at risk for breast, liver, and kidney cancers. For women, obesity causes them to be more at risk for gallbladder, endometrial, and esophageal cancers. An increase in fat accumulation in the abdomen makes women more at risk for esophageal cancers. An increase in total body fat in men cause a higher risk for liver cancer. Postmenopausal women are at a higher risk for breast cancer when they are obese. Obesity is the fastest growing risk factor for cancer. Click here for more information.

April 2023 Notable News

April highlights that studying how cancer cells work helps fight cancer itself.  Learning about what causes T-cell exhaustion helps scientists improve CAR T-cell therapies for cancer patients. A study done in the United Kingdom revealed cancer’s infinite ability to evolve and spread, emphasizing the importance of prevention and early detection. In another new study, scientists have learned how cancer cells metastasize. This new knowledge can open the door for better cancer drug testing and cancer treatments.

Helping Cancer-Fighting Cells Not Run Out of Steam

CAR T cell therapy uses the patient’s own T cells, modifies them, and then uses them to kill tumors. These cells get “T cell exhaustion”, causing them to be less effective. In a study published March 20th in Molecular Cell, the scientists report they have elucidated the commanding role of a specialized group of proteins in the nuclei of our cells. These proteins, called mSWI/SNF (or BAF) complexes have important functions- to both activate T cells and trigger their exhaustion, reports Harvard. Scientists found that targeting these complexes with gene-cutting technology or small molecular drugs, can help with the T cell exhaustion. Scientists have found a way to not only reverse the T cell exhaustion, but also to make the T cells more active. Trials using these compounds have moved from animal to human trials, after results showed tumor growth was reduced. Click to read the full story .

Study Reveals Cancers ‘Infinite’ Ability to Evolve

An unprecedented analysis of how cancers grow has revealed an almost infinite ability of tumors to evolve and survive, reports BBC News. Researchers tracked lung cancers over nine years in a study called Tracer X. This study used the biopsies from 400 lung cancer patients at 13 different hospitals in the United Kingdom. Tracer X showed how cancers evolve and what makes them spread. A tumor is one single cell to start but then becomes a mixture of millions of mutated cells, this makes finding a cure for cancer complicated. This study emphasizes that because of the diversity of cells in a tumor, it is important to focus on prevention and early detection. Obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and inflammation in the body caused by air pollution or inflammatory bowel disease are all preventable risk factors. Cancer was found to evolve as it grows, this fact makes it harder to treat in later stages. Early detection is key to better patient outcomes. Click to read the full story .

How Cancer Cells Muscle Their Way into Organs

The study, published in Advanced Science, found that the more porous and the softer the tissue, the more likely cancer cells were to force their way in and were able to do so more quickly, providing valuable data for research seeking to prevent or halt cancer metastasis, which is the leading cause of cancer mortality, reports Medical Xpress. Solid cancers start in one place, the primary site. Cancer cells come from the primary site and go to other parts of the body to form tumors, this is called metastasis. When cancer cells get out of the circulatory system and go into other tissues it is called extravasation. Doctors can treat metastasized cancer but cannot cure it, and this is why there is a higher incidence of death from metastasized cancer. Scientists have made discoveries by introducing tumor cells into endothelium, through in vitro models. They have now learned how cancer cells penetrate the endothelium. The findings of how this works will allow for further and more precise models to be created to allow for drug testing. Click to read the full story.

March 2023 Digital Health Roundup

Each month, technology allows providers and researchers to make huge advances in cancer care. Uses for artificial intelligence have expanded into the area of developing new medicines for the fight against cancer. In New Jersey, a new remote monitoring program is being utilized to help patients and providers monitor their cancer treatment journey. Scientists have developed microbubbles to use with ultrasound for more precise bowel cancer diagnosis.

Your New Medicine, Brought to You by AI

Medicines designed by artificial intelligence for conditions including lymph cancers, inflammatory diseases and motor neuron diseases are reaching trials in humans reports Politico. A.I. dramatically reduces the time it takes to develop new medications. Researchers use algorithms for A.I. to go through large amounts of data including chemical compounds, animal studies, and patient information. Using these algorithms helps scientists find what a drug needs to target in the patient’s body, what molecules will accomplish this, and even create new molecules to do the job. One of the biggest obstacles to developing new medications is collecting and reviewing vast amounts of validated data. Artificial Intelligence is making this obstacle much more manageable, improving patient outcomes. Click to read the full story.

New Jersey Cancer Care Launches Remote Patient Monitoring

With the first cohort of patients onboarded for the RPM program, the center aims to achieve greater treatment compliance and drive oncology innovation with connected medical devices, a patient app, and an integrated cloud-based clinician portal reports Healthcare IT News. Providers and patients will both benefit from remote patient monitoring by seeing patient physiological data in real time. Providers can respond quicker and adjust treatment accordingly. Patients use a smartphone app to report and track their symptoms. The patients care team can follow the information gathered in the app and improve the patient’s quality of life. Patients can choose to allow other family members to follow their information through this app, allowing for better care and communication. This remote monitoring is a part of precision oncology, allowing for a more personalized approach to patient care. Using this technology from home is more convenient for the patient physically and financially. Providers can choose to adjust patient treatments to help prevent costly hospital stays. Click to read the full story.

Microbubbles Could Help Bowel Cancer Patients Avoid Life-changing Surgeries

By injecting microscopic bubbles of a safe gas into the bloodstream of bowel cancer patients, the researchers believe ultrasound could be used by surgeons in the future to identify which areas of tissue the cancer has spread to reports Medical Xpress. This method minimizes removal of healthy tissue and reduces the extent of bowel surgery. Reducing the extent of bowel removed decreases the risk of complications such as a stoma after treatment. These microbubbles have a safe gas inside a shell of fat that is like human cells. The bubbles are injected into the bloodstream and ultrasound waves are used on the patient. When the bubbles meet the sound waves, they expand and reflect more ultrasound energy back to the scanner causing a more accurate image. The researchers can see which lymph nodes have cancer and which do not. This method is already successfully used in cardiac and liver patients. Click to read the full story.

March 2023 Notable News

March highlights the daily discoveries that are having a big impact on cancer treatment. Scientists have discovered ecDNA, a genetic material outside of chromosomes, that may lead to a new way to treat cancer. A geriatrician has developed an assessment tool to help doctors to choose more individualized cancer treatments. A new urine cancer test makes it easier for everyone to have access to cancer screening, even outside of the doctor’s office. Each day presents new opportunities for fighting the war on cancer.

Breakthrough ecDNA Discovery Could Revolutionize Cancer Research

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has pinpointed the major role played by extrachromosomal DNA in the evolution of carcinogenic diseases. This kind of “external” oncogenes make cancer drug-resistance, and it could become one of the main targets for new and effective treatments in the future reports Tech Spot. This ecDNA is a piece of genetic material found outside of chromosomes in human cells. Genetic material outside of cells can be a sign of cancer. Researchers have found ecDNA’s role is to cause the cancer to spread rapidly, create tumors that are drug resistant, and can cause a relapse of the cancer. Oncogenes can hide in ecDNA for a period of time before becoming active again. Scientists are now using this knowledge to look at fighting cancer in a different way. Click to read the full story.

A Different Approach to Treating Cancer

Age is by far the biggest risk factor for getting cancer and it is the main factor in determining treatment options. Older patients are not all the same when it comes to activity and general health. There are patients in their 80’s that are healthier than some patients in their 60’s. Geriatrician Wiliam Dale’s team created a multi-dimensional assessment tool that looks at each patient’s physical and functional health reports WINK NEWS. The parameters of this tool look at patient nutrition, sleep, and mental health; focusing on the individual needs of the patient. The results of this new assessment have made for better outcomes for cancer patients. They experienced less chemotherapy toxicity, less nausea, and had better blood counts. The findings also showed that patients with hearing loss were at more risk for complications due to not hearing physician instructions clearly. Click to read the full story.

New Cancer Screening Urine Test has 99 Percent Accuracy Rate

Researchers from the Surface & Nano Materials Division of the Korea Institute of Materials Science recently developed a strip-type urine sensor capable of amplifying the light signal of metabolites in urine to diagnose cancer reports MITech News. The urine test needs no other analysis, making it simple to use outside of the hospital or doctor’s office. Cancer cells release metabolites, using a light scattering technique on the test strip, cancer can be detected using a small amount of urine. This test can detect cancer in various stages with 99% accuracy. It is a less invasive screening test, and the results can be used to get the patient to the doctor for further testing. Early screening for cancer allows for earlier treatment, making better patient outcomes. Click to read the full story.

January 2023 Notable News

This month the focus is on cancer screening and education, both equally important in improving patient outcomes. A new metabolite has been found in urine of patients with a form of liver cancer, allowing for a new urine screening tool to detect the cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers; education about symptom recognition could help save lives with earlier detection. Scientists are studying how cells move through the body with the hope of preventing metastasis of cancer cells in the future.

Urine Test Hope for Early Liver Cancer Diagnosis

Staff at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow have identified a metabolite never found before in mammals which could indicate the presence of the disease reports BBC News. Currently, there is no urine test available for any kind of cancer. Liver cancer is usually diagnosed through blood tests, ultrasound scans, and surgery. Scientists discovered a new metabolite while studying glutamine synthetase, which is a protein present in normal liver tissue of mice. This new metabolite is called N5-methylglutamine and is present in the urine of patients with a specific type of liver cancer. This specific liver cancer has a gene mutation of beta-catenin. This urine test will indicate if the patient has this form of liver cancer and may also be used to monitor growth of tumors. Diagnosis of liver cancer is often in the late stages, making the patient’s outcome less favorable. This test could allow for earlier diagnosis and treatment, leading to better patient outcomes. Click to read the full story.

14 Signs of Deadliest Cancer You’re Most Likely to Ignore

Pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease, is particularly hard to spot as it does not cause and signs of symptoms in the early stages reports The US Sun. This cancer typically has a lower survivability rate of death in less than 3 months of diagnosis. The pancreas is located behind the stomach and under the liver, this location makes it difficult to treat. The purpose of the pancreas is to put digestive enzymes in the stomach to break down food. It is also responsible for releasing hormones that regulate blood sugar. Understanding some common symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer could help with earlier cancer detection. Due to the pancreas’ functions, common symptoms are indigestion, abdominal or back pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. More symptoms can include weight loss, fatigue, changes in bowel habits, and difficulty swallowing food. Patients can experience jaundice, itchiness, and depression or anxiety. Pancreatic cancer diagnosis can sometimes be detected with a recent diabetes diagnosis since the pancreas regulates blood sugar. Finally, blood clots can occasionally be a sign of cancer. Click to read the full story.

A Look at How Cancer Cells Move and Metastasize Could Help Doctors Stop Them From Spreading

Instead of focusing on just the effect of the “solid” environment of cells, researchers are turning toward their “fluid” environment reports Popular Science. Scientists are studying how fluids affect cell migration. In cancer cells, the fluid between the cells is thicker than healthy cells. This thicker fluid causes cancer cells to move and spread quicker. The cancer cells maintain a memory after being in the thicker fluid and continue to move faster and leak out into surrounding tissue causing metastasis. Metastasis is usually what kills cancer patients. This new knowledge that fluid viscosity affects cell migration can be used to create potential drug targets to reduce the spread of cancer. Click to read the full story.

December 2022 Digital Health Roundup

Scientists and engineers have teamed up to create new treatments to help fight cancer. These treatments sound like something out of a science fiction movie but are bringing us closer to ending cancer. Bacteriabots are nanobots used to destroy tumors and trigger the patient’s own immune response to fight their cancer. CRISPR is using CAR T-cells to create therapies for cancer patients that have run out of treatment options. Nanobubbles in combination with ultrasound waves are being used to kill cancer cells with positive results in early testing. As science and technology advance, it opens new options for cancer treatment.

The Army of ‘Bacteriabots’ That Could Combat Cancer Tumors

In this case, the bacteriabots colonized 3D tumor spheroids. They delivered chemotherapeutic molecules, demonstrating an innovative on-demand drug delivery method for cancer treatment reports InterestingEngineering.com . Biobots are time limited and programmed to self-destruct without leaving anything harmful behind. They are targeted for a particular task such as going to places of high acidity as in tumor tissue. Using bacteriabots helps to limit the unwanted side effects of treatment on healthy tissue, unlike the current treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. The use of bacteriabots is a non-invasive way to get into a closed environment like tissue and blood vessels. These biobots can also be used to trigger the patient’s own immune system. There are many things biobots could eventually be used for; treating other diseases and even repairing a torn ACL without surgery. Click to read the full story.

CRISPR Gene-Editing May Boost Cancer Immunotherapy, New Study Finds

CRISPR is developing cancer treatments using CAR T-cell therapies. These are called “living drugs” because they’re living cells of the immune system, taken from cancer patients, and then reinfused after being genetically engineered in the lab to attack the patient’s tumors reports weku.org . Using a drug that is living can make it last a few weeks or even a few years. This therapy offers a treatment for people that have run out of other options like stem cell therapy. Scientists are trying to make an off the shelf version of this therapy that would be available quickly, made in large quantities, and less expensive. They take T cells from a healthy donor and use CRISPR to reprogram the T cells. It reprograms it in several ways; to leave healthy cells alone, to hide from the patient’s own immune system, and to destroy cancer. While studies are showing some positive results from the off the shelf CAR T-cell therapy, it is not as effective as using the patient’s own cells. Click to read the full story.

These Tiny Bubbles are “Warheads” for Killing Cancer

These infinitesimal gas bubbles surround the tumor and then can be exploded via ultrasound, creating “therapeutic warhead,” as they artfully put it in their study, published in the journal Nanoscale freethink.com . High frequency ultrasound can damage tissues surrounding tumors. The use of low frequency ultrasound in combination with the nanobubbles reduces harm to surrounding tissues. The tiny bubbles are injected into the bloodstream which goes into the blood vessels of a tumor and is then leaked into the tissue of the tumor. The low frequency ultrasound makes the bubbles explode and that kills the cancer cells. This is an effective treatment for tumors that are located deep within the body or where there are many tumors. The hope is that this method would replace surgeries to remove cancerous tumors. The trials are currently moving from mouse trials to human trials. Click to read the full story.

December 2022 Notable News

Research is a valuable tool in every aspect of cancer; prevention education, treatment advances, and effectiveness of new treatments. New research has shown that survivors of childhood cancer have a significant increase in risk for cardiovascular issues. Oral chemotherapy is a new modality for cancer treatment and research shows the pros and cons of this treatment. This month, research confirms that there is a direct link between alcohol consumption and increased risk in getting certain cancers. All these studies will help to educate cancer patients, causing better outcomes for people.

Survivors of Childhood Cancer Face a Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

The researchers said the risk of cardiovascular disease was significantly higher in cancer survivors in virtually all categories, including sex, race/ethnicity, income, education, smoking status, and physical activities reports healthline.com . The increased risk of cardiovascular disease for survivors of childhood cancer comes from the use of chemotherapy and radiation to treat the cancer at an early age. The class of chemotherapy commonly used is anthracyclines and it is known to place patients at risk for damaging the heart muscle. Radiation therapy directly to the chest causes damage to the heart muscle and the heart valves. The research did show an increase in risk to children that were treated for cancer in households making under $50,000. To reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for these patients, they should follow a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, and do not smoke. Oncologists need to refer childhood cancer patients to cardiologists for screening to find cardiovascular disease in its early stages. Catching the disease in its early stages allows for prompt treatment and better outcomes. Click to read the full story.

Oral Chemotherapy: What are the Advantages?

Chemotherapy kills or slows the growth of cancer cells. In some cases, it can eliminate cancer. In others, it prolongs life by slowing down the progression of the disease reports MedicalNewsToday.com . Oral chemotherapy can come in the form of a pill or liquid that can be swallowed or placed under the tongue. This treatment can be given at home which is less expensive and less inconvenient for cancer patients. The dosing of oral chemotherapy is especially important and requires clear instructions from the doctor. The medication requires special handling such as wearing gloves and storing it at a specific temperature. It needs to be kept secure and dry in an airtight container away from food, children, and pets. The side effects of oral chemotherapy are the same as IV chemotherapy; hair loss, fatigue, nausea, and bruising. It is important to log side effects and notify the doctor of vomiting. There are several disadvantages to taking chemotherapy orally. If a patient has an adverse reaction to the medication, they are at home instead of with a medical professional and will take longer to get help. This medication given orally is very dose dependent and patients can make errors at home that affect the treatment outcome. There is also a high out of pocket expense in using oral chemotherapy versus IV, some insurance companies will not cover the cost of oral chemotherapy. Oral chemotherapy is not available to treat all forms of cancer but in some cases, it has been proven to be more effective than IV chemotherapy. Click to read the full story.

Alcohol and Cancer Risk: Most Americans Aren’t Aware

The new study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, notes that there are seven cancer types that have been linked to alcohol consumption reports Healthline.com . The types of cancers linked to alcohol consumption are mouth and throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, and breast cancer. Alcohol consumption is one of the leading modifiable risk factors for people to prevent cancer. Since the pandemic, consumption of alcohol is on the rise. There needs to be interventions made to help educate people on the direct link to cancer such as media ads, warning labels, and doctor’s educating their patients. Older Americans are less aware of the increased risk of cancer form drinking alcohol. There is no safe level of drinking of any kind of alcohol and this needs to be emphasized to help prevent cancer. Click here to read the full story.

November 2022 Notable News

Looking at things from a different point of view can often lead to insights to advance the treatment of cancer. Studying the genes of a unique cancer patient is helping scientists learn about harnessing the immune system to fight cancer. A single blood test is being refined by scientists to help doctors with early cancer detection. Doctors also address common myths about lung cancer to raise awareness in the month of November.

Unique Patient Offers New Hope for Beating Cancer

A unique cancer patient who has survived a dozen tumors could hold the key to beating the disease, according to scientists’ reports independent.co.uk/ . This patient has developed different types of cancers after getting mutations in a gene inherited from both parents. The patients’ immune system fights these cancerous tumors and scientists want to learn how the patients’ immune system does this. If they can learn how, this could help with earlier cancer diagnosis and development of new immunotherapy drugs to fight cancer. Throughout this patient’s life, from birth to age 40, the patient has developed 12 tumors. Five of those tumors were malignant. By mapping the patient’s genome, scientists found mutations in MAD1L1 gene. It had the wrong number of chromosomes. This gene is important for cell division and proliferation. This patient had five forms of aggressive cancers that disappeared easily. This patient has constant tumors, causing the immune response to be elevated to fight the cancers. Scientists have learned that the immune system can fight against cells with the wrong number of chromosomes. Find more information here.

A Blood Test That Screens for Multiple Cancers at Once Promises to Boost Early Detection

This year, President Joe Biden identified developing MCED’s (multicancer early detection) tests as a priority for the Cancer Moonshot, a US$1.8 billion federal effort to reduce the cancer death rate and improve the quality of life of cancer survivors and those living with cancer reports theconversation.com/us . Tumors shed DNA in blood when the cells die. MCED tests look for trace tumor DNA, these tests are being used to help guide treatments for advanced stage cancers. Later stages of cancer have larger amounts of tumor DNA, testing for this is called liquid biopsy. The MCED test tried to detect cancer in earlier stages when the tumor cell DNA is less which is harder to detect. There are also abnormal DNA shed as part of the aging process and this can be confused for cancer DNA. The new tests focus on molecular barcodes in which DNA methylation is specific to cancer cells. There is one biotech company that launched the first MCED test in the U.S. It tests for 50 types of cancer, but it is not covered by insurance. Doctors are trying to work out appropriate circumstances to use a MCED test and what follow up testing would be required. Find more information here.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Myths about Lung Cancer Everyone Needs to Stop Believing

November marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month- a disease many of us think we know the key causes and symptoms of. However, there are still some misconceptions around lung cancer– it’s not necessarily just a ‘smoker’s disease’ reports independent.co.uk. Lung cancer is more common in people ages 6-70 with a history of smoking for many years. However, lung cancer can be diagnosed in people as young as 20 years old. In 10% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer, there is no history of smoking. Causes of lung cancer in non-smokers can be genetic or exposure to harmful substances like asbestos. Some of the damage to the lungs can be reversed after smoking cessation unless the patient is diagnosed with emphysema. Lung cancer patients have a 65% survival rate if the cancer has not spread and is localized. CT scans for smokers over the age of 50 can help find small tumors that can be removed, this increases chances of survival. Men and women are both at risk for getting lung cancer, men’s risk is only slightly higher. People should pay attention to symptoms such as a cough for 2-3 weeks, recurring chest infections, shortness of breath, and painful breathing. If you have any of those symptoms, see your doctor. Find more information here.

October 2022 Digital Health Roundup

Scientists have out done themselves in the arena of innovation for cancer treatments and detection this month. Fibroscan is a tool using ultrasound for oncologists to detect liver changes that could lead to further testing for diagnosing and treating liver cancer. A group of researchers have developed artificial intelligence to help oncologists determine the best drug therapy for each patient and their individual cancer. A small wireless implant is being tested to help battle deadly brain cancer tumors with less side effects than standard treatments for the patient.

Can A Fibroscan Detect Liver Cancer

Fibroscan is a noninvasive imaging test that may help diagnose liver cancer reports Healthline.com. Fibroscan uses ultrasound or sound waves to see the liver. It bounces sound waves off of the liver and can show signs of damage such as scarring and stiffness. Scarring or stiffness can be signs of cancer. Fibroscan shows more detail than a standard ultrasound and it can show changes to the liver over time. This tool has been helpful for finding hepatocellular carcinoma which is the most common type of liver cancer. If the Fibroscan detects certain changes to the liver, a biopsy can be done to detect if cancer is present. The Fibroscan is a quick test lasting about 15 minutes that requires fasting 3 hours before the test. Early detection of liver cancer increases the patient’s chance of survival. Click to read the full story.

It’s Like Molecular Speed Dating: LSU Using Artificial Intelligence In Cancer Treatment

Using algorithms originally designed to map complex social networks, like those utilized by Facebook, researchers generated three-dimensional graphs of molecular datasets that include cancer cell lines, drug compounds and interactions among proteins inside the human body reports TheAdvocate.com. This AI helps oncologists find drug therapies that work best on each patients different cancer. The information this AI provides will help patients get the correct treatment quicker and cut cost by choosing the right treatment the first time. The graphs created are analyzed by the AI. Researchers train the AI by inputing data, then ask it for what medicine would work best for that particular cancer. The AI makes a prediction based on the data and the researchers test the results in a wet lab. The team used six combinations of cancer cell lines with the drugs most toxic to their gene profile. The AI is able to match the cancer cell lines with the best drug much quicker, giving the patient the best treatment option. Click to read the full story.

A Small Wireless Implant Could Help Kill Deadly Brain Tumors

Researchers at Stanford Medicine developed and tested a wireless device in mice that is small enough to be inserted into a mouse’s brain to kill cancerous cells reports InterestingEngineering.com. This implant is activated remotely and heats up nanoparticles that are injected into the cancerous tumor to kill the cancer. The nanopartilces treat only the tumor so it has less side effects than chemotherapy and radiation. The implant uses photothermal treatment which uses light to heat up the nanoparticles. Photothermal treatment used to only be used during surgery when the brain was exposed to a light, but with the implant it can be done remotely. The device generates heat at the precise site of the tumor and is implanted between the skin and the skull. Then gold nanoparticles are injected into the tumor through a tiny hole in the skull. The implant then sends out infrared light that penetrates the brain tissue to activate the nanoparticles, it increases the temperature by up to 5 degrees Celsius. The power of the implant and wavelength of light can be adjusted to treat the cancer. Click to read full story.

October 2022 Notable News

The month of October brings exciting legislature to help patients afford available cancer treatments. Once passed, this legislature could make cancer treatment equitable and affordable while having a profound impact on the future. Scientists have created a new cancer vaccine for high risk melanoma patients that when given in combination with a cancer medication has encouraging results. Scientists have also found an experimental treatment for cancer that uses a modified herpes virus that has very promising early results. Lawmakers have an impact on cancer treatment by regulating laws that govern the insurance companies and are equally as important as the scientists finding the new cancer treatments.

Insurance Companies Shouldn’t Decide Which Cancer Treatment You Get. That Could Change.

There is a term that is familiar to cancer patients and providers, financial toxicity. Financial toxicity is when patients cannot afford the available treatment for their cancer. New options for cancer treatment are available; it used to be just IV medications but now there are oral medications to treat cancer. Insurance companies do not look at the two cancer treatments the same. They often deny coverage or impose huge out of pocket costs for the oral medication despite that doing so puts the patient at risk and violates the doctor-patient relationship by ignoring a prescribed treatment plan, in favor of saving money reports CharlotteObserver.com. There is legislation in front of congress called Cancer Drug Parity Act that could change this for cancer patients. This Act asks for the health plan to cover the level of cost share for all different kinds of cancer medications; it would assure the patients under the plan would get the treatment that they needed. There have been 40 states that have passed legislation regulating insurance plans, this act addresses the federal government. This legislation keeps the decision about cancer treatment between the patient and the oncologist. Click to read the full story.

A Cancer Vaccine for High-Risk Melanoma Patients

Scientists have created a cancer vaccine for Stage-2 melanoma that is custom for each patient. This vaccine is based on messenger RNA technology. The goal of Moderna’s vaccination is to stimulate the immune system to release killer T cells that specifically target particular mutations in patients reports HealthDigest.com. Scientists will give the vaccine with a drug already FDA approved called Keytruda. Keytruda is a monoclonal antibody that is already used to treat certain cancer types. Melanoma is a skin cancer that starts in the cells that make melanin and it is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. It is caused by UV exposure from the sun or tanning bed and the UV rays damage DNA. Early detection increases survivability. Wearing sunscreen that blocks the damaging UV rays is important for prevention of melanoma. This vaccine in combination with Keytruda offers hope for people at high risk of developing melanoma. Click to read the full story.

Experimental Treatment With Modified Herpes Virus Cured Terminal Cancer

Scientists have managed to wipe out terminal cancer using a modified version of the herpes virus. A patient in a trial for the cancer-extermination virus saw his cancer completely disappear after the treatment. Over 15 months later, he has remained cancer free, according to the Institute of Cancer Research in London reports BGR.com. This treatment is still in it is early stages but is offering positive results and hope for cancer patients.There have been other viruses used to treat disease and cancer, the safety of the virus dosage is scientists biggest concern. The virus multiplies in the tumor and causes the tumor to burst from the inside out. The virus also increases the immune system’s ability to kill the cancer. Viruses help scientists target the cancer cells specifically. It is an example of looking at something that typically harms the body, in a new light to kill cancer. Click to read full story.

August 2022 Digital Health Roundup

As technology improves, it has a direct effect on improving cancer detection and patient outcomes. New artificial intelligence (AI) is combing several types of available health and research data to predict patients’ cancer outcomes. Improvements in the abilities of the CT scan increase precision of treatments, increasing quality of life for patients. Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia is using AI to improve colon cancer detection for their community.

New AI Technology Integrates Multiple Data Types to Predict Cancer Outcomes

A new study from researchers from the Mahmood Lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital reveals a proof-of-concept model that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to combine multiple types of data from different sources to predict patient outcomes for 14 different types of cancer reports MedicalXpress.com . The researchers used publicly available information from The Cancer Genome Atlas about the many genomic types of cancer. In considering how to treat cancer patients’, clinicians get information from many sources. They use patient health information, patient family history, histology, as well as the genomic sources. This is a large amount of information to consider and is time consuming to gather from all available resources to make accurate predictions of the patient outcome. Researchers have developed an algorithm that learns prognostic information from many sources. This new AI uses the algorithm to help predict the cancer patient’s outcome. Included in this algorithm is information from the doctors about the patient’s immune response, patient radiology, and the patient’s electronic medical record. This AI is another tool to help the physician and patient treat the cancer and have a better outcome. Find more information here.

New CT Technology to Diminish the Overall Burden of Cancer Treatment

The flat table of a CT could only move right to left, back to front, and up and down. The newest technology allows the table to roll, and Dover explained that it is similar to a “log roll,” and it also can move like and “X” reports TrussvilleTribune.com . Radiation used for cancer treatment is a valuable tool, but it can also be very damaging to the surrounding organs and tissues. Clinicians must align the patient in exactly the right position to give the dose of radiation needed, this new CT allows for millimeter precision. The new availability of table positions allows for a higher dose with fewer treatments and greater accuracy. This new CT also is better for patient convenience by decreasing patient travel time with the need for fewer treatments. More of the radiation dose can go directly to the tumor which allows for better chances of a successful treatment. With less radiation damaging other areas of the body, there are less long-term side effects. This gives patients better outcomes short-term and long–term. Another advance with this CT scan is that it can monitor patient breathing cycles. It can show changes in the body position throughout the breathing cycle in real time to help the clinician make the needed adjustments. Find more information here.

Grady Memorial Hospital to Use AI Technology to Improve Colon Cancer Screening

Grady Memorial Hospital is using a new technology platform donated by Medtronic to improve colon cancer screening in medically underrepresented communities reports healthleadersmedia.com . The GI Genius modules uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to help doctors find colorectal polyps in real time. There is a higher risk for colon cancer in Black adults. Once diagnosed, Black adults have been having worse outcomes. Research shows that part of the problem is a knowledge barrier; patients are not aware that the screening age for colon cancer has changed to 45 years of age. At Grady Memorial, 30% of their patients are uninsured so there is a cost barrier to cancer diagnosis and treatment. This technology is an AI-assisted colonoscopy, combining the AI with the physicians’ own eyes and experience. The GI Genius has been shown to improve cancer detection by 50%. Earlier colon cancer detection equals better outcomes for patients. Find more information here.