From 1990 to 2005, the cure rate for the most common form of childhood leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, has increased to 90%. Given that the disease was essentially incurable just fifty years ago, this is a tremendous achievement. The author of the article, Dr. Stephen Hunger, stressed that the work will not stop until the cure rate is 100%
Patients treated with chemotherapy sometimes suffer from what is commonly called 'chemo-brain', a group of symptoms related to memory and concentration defects. A study was done with long-term breast cancer survivors who had been treated with a specific chemotherapy regimen (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil). The survivors were compared to women of the same age who had NOT had cancer. The results showed that the women treated with chemotherapy had memory and processing defects many years after the treatment ended.
Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, collards, and kale, are thought to have anti-cancer activity. The chemical responsible for the majority of the cancer-cell fighting effects is called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is found at particularly high levels in broccoli.
Much work has been done to identify the ways in which sulforaphane inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Previously, it has been shown that the chemical changes the way that DNA is utilized. It does this by interefering with proteins (histone deacetylases) that modify the proteins that organize our DNA (called histones).
New research with prostate cancer cells has shown that sulforaphane has more tricks up its sleeve. The chemical is able to change the way other enzymes modify DNA, again leading to altered cell behavior and inhibition of cancer cell growth.
Cancer cells that spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body from an original location frequently travel through the bloodstream. Because there are so few of these cells in blood, compared to the enormous number of red and white blood cells, the circulating tumor cells (CTC) are very difficult to find. A test that could find CTC would make diagnosing cancer easier and help doctors to design treatment plans.
New research has shown that it is possible to create small sheets coated with tiny 'nano dots'. Researchers then attached antibodies to the dots and showed that this new (bumpy and sticky) surface, was very good at capturing CTC. The researchers hope to develop a laboratory test to detect CTC with their technology.
Scientists from Florida and Canada have teamed up to develop a new tool for watching how cancer drugs affect their targets. The researchers linked drugs to tiny structures known as quantum dots (Qdots). When the drug-Qdot combination enters the cancer cells, the Qdots give off a reddish color, allowing them to be easily detected. The research should speed up the testing of new cancer drugs and allow tracking of drug activity over time.