Tag Archive for: Digital Health Round Up

September 2022 Notable News

This month, researchers and scientists reveal the results from studies that are valuable tools for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Currently, they are studying the reasons why there has been a dramatic rise in the number of people getting cancer under the age of fifty. The results of this study may promote people to make changes in their lifestyle to prevent cancer. Stress is also a significant risk factor for causing cancer; it is now considered the 6th vital sign for detecting cancer. Researchers have discovered why air pollution causes cancer; the reason is different than what was previously thought. This discovery could offer hope for people diagnosed with lung cancer that are not smokers.

Dramatic Rise in Cancer in People Under 50

A study by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital reveals that the incidence of early onset cancers-including breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, liver, and pancreas- has dramatically increased around the world, with the rise beginning around 1990 reports news.havard.edu . People born a decade later have a higher risk of developing cancer later in life due to things they were exposed to earlier in life. Some factors that are causing this increased risk are diet, lifestyle choices, weight gain, environmental exposures, and a persons’ microbiome. The best weapons to fight cancer are still screening and early detection. Some other factors that are on the rise are alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, smoking, obesity, and a diet high in processed foods. There has also been an increase in eight cancers that are related to the digestive system. Many of these factors are easily changed with lifestyle modification. Find more information here.

The Role of Distress in Cancer

For those who do not know, cancer is not a specific disease but a cluster of over 200 diseases typified by dysfunctional cell growth that is rapidly replicated. The challenge is that the body’s immune system often misses detecting the stealth cell growth and then has difficulty eliminating it reports Psychologytoday.com . Stress causes inflammation, the proteins involved in inflammation are what feed cancer. Stress has been found to be the 6th vital sign in finding cancer. People can manage other risk factors for cancer such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and chemical exposures; stress can be managed as well. People need to be encouraged to overcome trauma, treat anxiety and depression, and promote emotional healing. More effort needs to be made to decrease stress to help prevent cancer. Find more information here.

Mystery of Why Air Pollution Causes Cancer is ‘Solved’ in Major Breakthrough Offering Hope for Treatment

Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London found that rather than damaging cells directly, air pollution instead ‘wakes up’ dormant mutations and causes them to become cancerous reports The-sun.com . This new research explains why non-smokers are getting cancer. This knowledge changed previous ideas that cancer was formed from a healthy cell mutating. Air pollution triggers the damaged dormant cells to turn into cancerous cells. Discovering the mechanism that causes the cancer cells to grow can help scientists develop cancer blocking treatments. The air pollution causes this mechanism to start in the lungs. Smoking is still the leading cause of lung cancer, but air pollution has a significant impact on lung cancer as well. Find more information here.

September 2022 Digital Health Roundup

The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer used to be considered a death sentence, due to its late detection and difficulty in treatment delivery. With the help of science and technology, pancreatic cancer is a now treatable cancer. Scientists have created a glass bubble nanocarrier to help make the treatment of pancreatic cancer more effective. An Artificial Intelligence program has been created to help detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages to help increase survivability for patients diagnosed with this cancer. Scientists have discovered that using photodynamic therapy to treat many cancers, including pancreatic cancer, is more specific in its delivery and less harmful to the patient.

‘Glass Bubble’ Nanocarrier Boosts Effects of Combination Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

In hopes of turning the tide, UCLA researchers have developed a technology that delivers a combination therapy to pancreatic tumors using nanoscale particles loaded with irinotecan, a chemotherapy drug approved as part of a drug regimen for pancreatic cancer, and 3M-052, an investigative drug that can boost immune activity and help overcome tumors’ resistance reports Phys.org . One of the reasons pancreatic cancers are hard to treat is that the cancer is protected by biological factors that make it resist treatment. The use of the nanoparticle for treatment helps to shrink the cancerous tumors and prevent metastasis. This nanocarrier attracts more cancer killing immune cells to the pancreatic tumors. There is a double layer of lipids surrounding the core of the glass bubble. The bubble is made of silica and has a hollow core filled with the cancer drugs. The fatty tail of the carrier is used for the second drug delivery. This nanocarrier method helps prevent drug leakage and toxicity to surrounding tissues. It can break through the rugged barrier that is around the pancreatic cancer tumors to deliver the treatment. Find more information here.

Pancreatic Cancer: New AI Program Could Help with Early Detection

If caught early, pancreatic cancer is treatable. Experts say that early detection is the best way to improve the chances of survival as the prognosis worsens significantly once the tumor grows beyond 2 centimeters reports healthline.com . There are currently no valid screening tests for this deadly cancer for patients without any symptoms. The standard use of CT scans for detection does not always find the tumors in the difficult to visualize pancreas. The pancreas is close to many other structures and varies in size and shape. In Taiwan, scientists have made a clinically applicable computer aided detection tool that helps to easily find the pancreas. This program is accurately finding pancreatic cancer in its early stages. The use of liquid biopsy in combination with this AI program work together for early detection. Liquid biopsy is a blood test that finds the biomarkers showing there is cancer present. This program offers hope for early detection of pancreatic cancer and increases survivability for patients. Find more information here.

Photodynamic Therapy Offers Promise for Cancer Treatment

Photodynamic therapy –the use of precisely targeted light, usually from a laser, that activates or “turns on” a drug to kill cells- has been used mostly to treat skin cancers, since it is easier to deliver light to the outside of the body. But light does not travel far through the body tissues reports MedicalXpress.com . The goal of this therapy is to get the light as close as possible to red light, which has the longest wavelength, to penetrate tissue using the lowest energy. The use of the lower energy causes less harm to surrounding tissues. Doctors use a two-photon light, in which two particles of light hit at the same time. The cancer killing molecule that is activated only by light can destroy cancer cells that are resistant to chemotherapy. This therapy has been tested on drug resistant pancreatic and breast cancers. Scientists can examine cancers for levels of a certain protein using phototherapy. The light fluoresces differently for various levels. A high level of the protein shows red, and a low level shows yellow. This test shows whether the patient will be responsive or resistant to chemotherapy. If the patient is resistant, doctors can use the photodynamic therapy. This therapy is given via IV infusion in an outpatient setting and fiber optics deliver the light. Find more information here.

May 2022 Digital Health Round Up

This month brings great strides in the advancement of technology available to physicians treating cancer patients. Scientists are using artificial intelligence to help physicians predict cancer reoccurrence for patients, helping patients have better outcomes. New imaging technology, using fluorescent probes, aids in tracking the patient’s cancer drug progress. Researchers have also developed a procedure using photodynamic therapy to help in the fight on colorectal cancer.

AI Tool Accurately Predicts Tumor Regrowth in Cancer Patients

Doctors and scientists have developed an artificial intelligence tool that can accurately predict how likely tumors are to grow back in cancer patients after they have undergone treatment reports, TheGuardian.com. Using this AI for the patients that are at highest risk of having the cancer reoccur helps with getting detection sooner and increases the patients’ chance of a better outcome. Cancer patients carry the burden of worrying about reoccurrence daily, and this AI can help decrease some of that anxiety. Accurate prediction of recurrence can decrease the amount of CT scans for patients, decreasing the amount of radiation that the patients are exposed to. This study tested the AI on lung cancer, but this artificial intelligence tool can be used for many other cancers throughout the body. Find more information here.

Fluorescent Probe Can Track Cancer Drug Progress, Study Shows

Researchers say the fluorescent probe can track how tumors are responding to the drugs, which harness the body’s immune system to fight disease. The light-sensitive technology is able to detect which key immune cells-a small group known as T cells- are involved in attacking tumors reports, MedicalXpress.com . This new imaging technology can show doctors how the patient’s body is responding to the treatment right away. The doctors can see the response through tissue or blood samples and make changes to treatment based on the findings. This imaging allows for a more personal approach to each cancer patient, improving patient outcomes. Find more information here.

Wireless Device to Provide New Options for Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Photodynamic therapy is a new tool available in the fight on colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer. The researchers will use photodynamic therapy (PDT) during surgery by using a photosensitizer- a drug activated by light- to kill the cancer cells. During this process, surgeons will be able to remove the bulk of the tumor, then fully irradiate the tumor bed when the photosensitizer is activated by the light reports, MedicalXpress.com . The primary treatment for colorectal cancer is surgery and chemotherapy, this allows for another option for treatment of this cancer. Using the photodynamic therapy helps the surgeon get out all the cancerous cells, helping to prevent reoccurrence of the cancer. This method of treatment also helps decrease the toxic side effects that chemotherapy has on the body. Photodynamic therapy can be used for treatment of other cancerous tumors throughout the body. Find more information here.