Monthly Archives: January 2007

Perceptronix Collaborates With BC Cancer Agency on Early Oral Cancer Detection Project

  • 1/31/2007
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • press release
  • NewsWire (www.newswire.ca)

Perceptronix Medical Inc. today announced its participation in a research project to detect early oral cancer lesions through a new initiative inside the BC Oral Cancer Prevention Program. This Program is bringing together a network of dentists, researchers and technology companies to develop early screening programs for oral cancer. Participation in this program is a result of a collaborative research agreement signed between Perceptronix and researchers with the BC Cancer Agency.

“The problem with oral cancer,” says Dr. Miriam Rosin, Director of the BC Cancer Agency’s Oral Cancer Prevention Program and lead investigator in the study, “is that there are often no symptoms in the early stages. And because it is a challenge to identify during the early stages, it is typically not diagnosed until the cancer has advanced and it is less responsive to treatment.”

The National Cancer Institute of Canada estimates there were 3,000 new oral cancer cases and 1,100 deaths from the disease in 2006.

“During a routine dental exam, there are few clear signs to tell a dentist whether a sore in the mouth is due to inflammation, infection or cancer. The tools developed by Perceptronix and LED Dental Inc. could assist dentists in making those distinctions,” added Dr. Rosin.

Patients volunteering for the screening program will be checked for early cancer using the VELscope(R) fluorescence device developed by LED Dental Inc. The VELscope will aid in identifying areas that require further investigation. The next step involves the ClearCyte(TM) Quantitative Cytology system developed by Perceptronix. The ClearCyte(TM) system can detect suspicious changes to DNA using non-invasive oral brushing samples taken by dentists during a routine check-up; these DNA changes could indicate a cancer risk. If there is a concern, patients will be referred quickly for further follow-up and treatment, whether cancer-related or not.

This research has been funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Institutes of Health. Research devices are provided by Perceptronix Medical Inc. and LED Dental Inc.

January, 2007|Archive|

GenVec Announces First Patient Treated with TNFerade™ for Head and Neck Cancer

  • 1/26/2007
  • Gaithersberg, MD
  • press release
  • BusinessWire (home.businesswire.com)

GenVec, Inc. today announced that the first patient has been dosed in a Phase I/II trial with TNFerade™ for head and neck cancer at the University of Chicago Medical Center. GenVec is sponsoring two separate Phase I/II studies at the University of Chicago to explore the use of TNFerade as a second-line treatment for unresectable, recurrent tumors, and as a first-line treatment for elderly or frail patients. The trials are being funded by the National Cancer Institute.

The two separate trials, which will be led by principal investigators Everett Vokes, M.D., and Tanguy Seiwert, M.D., could enroll up to 70 patients with unresectable, recurrent tumors and up to 60 elderly or frail patients with new onset, locally advanced disease. The investigators will first determine best dose in each indication, and will assess safety and locoregional control of the cancer following TNFerade treatment as a component of standard of care.

“The start of these trials marks another milestone in our clinical progress with TNFerade,” stated Mark Thornton, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., GenVec’s senior vice-president of product development. “We know that local control is crucial for effective treatment of head and neck cancers, and is a respected regulatory endpoint. Since TNFerade is administered directly at the tumor site, it is ideally suited for these specific indications. TNFerade also has a well-established safety profile, so we believe it is a potentially appropriate treatment for elderly or frail cancer patients who cannot tolerate the cytotoxic effects of systemically administered cancer therapies. We look forward to continued progress in these clinical trials,” added Dr. Thornton.

About TNFerade™

TNFerade is an adenovector, or DNA carrier, which contains the gene for tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα), an immune system protein with potent and well-documented anti-cancer effects, for direct injection into tumors. After administration, TNFerade stimulates the production of TNFα in the tumor. GenVec is developing TNFerade for use in combination with radiation and/or chemotherapy for the treatment of various cancers.

January, 2007|Archive|

BSD Medical Presents Hyperthermia Cancer Treatment Study at Head and Neck Cancer Symposium

  • 1/26/2007
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • press release
  • PharmaLive (www.pharmalive.com)

BSD Medical Corp. today announced that BSD was among 29 companies selected to exhibit at the 3-day Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, an international symposium dedicated to treatment of head and neck cancers, just concluded in Rancho Mirage, California. The symposium was jointly sponsored by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Head and Neck Society, partnering together for the first time in this meeting. At the symposium, attended by approximately 400 physicians, worldwide experts presented the latest advances in the management of head and neck cancer, focusing on treatment options, innovative technology, clinical management issues and supportive outcomes.

BSD Medical representatives used the symposium to emphasize a study conducted by Riccardo Valdagni, MD and Maurizio Amichelli, MD at the Oncology Center of Ospedale Santa Chiara, Trento, Italy, comparing the results for head and neck cancer patients who were treated with radiation alone to those who received hyperthermia therapy plus radiation. The patients involved had inoperable Stage IV head and neck cancer with metastatic lymph nodes. The study concluded that hyperthermia added to radiation improved complete response (tumor disappearance) from 41% to 83%, local relapse-free survival from 24% to 68% and overall survival at 5 years from 0% to 53%, as compared to radiation treatments alone. The study, published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics (see Vol. 28, pp. 163-169), was halted on an ethical basis at 41 patients because of the strongly favorable results from the addition of hyperthermia therapy to radiation.

BSD Medical’s exhibit at the symposium was well received, and many participants were surprised and previously unaware of the outcomes of this study. Many referrals were secured for follow-up visits.

More than 640,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with head and neck cancer every year, and more than 350,000 die from the disease annually. Head and neck cancer is a group of cancers that include cancers of the mouth, nose and throat. The treatment of inoperable metastatic lymph nodes in patients with head and neck cancer represents a therapeutic challenge. Clinical results using radiation therapy alone have been disappointing.

BSD Medical Corp. is the leading developer of systems used to deliver hyperthermia therapy for the treatment of cancer. Hyperthermia therapy is used to kill cancer directly and increase the effectiveness of companion radiation treatments. Research has also shown promising results from the use of hyperthermia therapy in combination with chemotherapy, and for tumor reduction prior to surgery. For further information visit BSD Medical’s website at www.BSDMedical.com or BSD’s patient website at www.treatwithheat.com.

January, 2007|Archive|

New Study Unravels Some Cancer Mysteries

  • 1/24/2007
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Marilyn Brooks
  • WTAE.TV (www.thepittsburghchannel.com)

Slowly but surely, scientists are unraveling the mysteries of cancer, and they said some of the discoveries are truly surprising.

The new study focuses on head and neck tumors, but it could have even wider implications.

Researchers in Cleveland said they’ve made a breakthrough discovery that could help future cancer diagnosis not just in head and neck tumors but all types of cancers.

Scientists study all types of cancer by examining the tumor. They’ve done that for years. But they made the recent discovery while looking at the DNA in tissue surrounding the tumor.

“This is, for the first time, we have looked at the stroma, or the innocent, surrounding cells in head and neck cancer and have found genetic alterations that are very similar to the cancer itself, so that’s a first and it’s stunning,” said Dr. Charis Eng.

Researchers analyzed DNA from 122 people with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and found it similar to the DNA found in more common forms of skin cancer caused by sun exposure. Researchers believe this one is not sun-related but rather caused by smoking or other kinds of tobacco use.

Head and neck cancers are difficult to treat, because it has already grown by the time the diagnosis is made. The American Cancer Society reports half of those diagnosed won’t survive the disease.

Eng said she hopes her findings will one day improve survival rates.

“We have now uncovered a new target for therapy,” said Eng. “Now we can target these surrounding cells.”

Eng said she also hopes a simple blood test will someday let doctors diagnose and treat the potentially deadly cancer much earlier.

January, 2007|Archive|

A study performed at the University of Navarra may help to optimize treatments for squamous-cell cancers of the head and neck

  • 1/24/2007
  • Usurbil, Spain
  • press release
  • Basque Research (www.basqueresearch.com)

A researcher of the University of Navarra Beatriz Honorato has developed a panel of markers which distinguish those patients with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck who have the best survival rates. Her doctoral dissertation, defended at the School of Sciences and developed in the Biotechnology Laboratory of the University Hospital, may help to optimize chemotherapy and X-ray treatments, according to the current situation of each patient.

For her dissertation, the scientist analyzed the response mechanisms to the therapies against tumorous tissues. In this way, knowing that the DNA repair systems are involved in the response to chemotherapy or X-ray therapy, Dr. Honorato has made advances in the study of the phenomena of resistance to these therapies in order to predict which patients will respond best. In speaking of resistance phenomena, we are referring to the absence of response to the treatment, which translates into the fact that the tumor either does not reduce in size, or else increases in size.

Despite recent advances in the struggle against this disease, those patients with locally advanced cancers constitute a group with a poor prognosis, and this situation has not improved over the last ten years. With the objective of halting this tendency, her research has examined the involvement of these repair systems in the prognosis of all types of cancer patients.

More than 4,000 new cases each year in Spain

Head and neck cancer is one of the tumors with the highest mortality rates in Spain, and affects twice the number of men as women. In addition, each year 4,000 new cases of this cancer are detected. The statistics around the world vary according to geographic factors. For instance, in the U.S. these cancers involve 5% of the malignant cancers diagnosed, whereas in Southeast Asia, they are responsible for 20% of the deaths from cancer.

By distinguishing patients with higher probabilities of survival will also enable the creation of response profiles to the most effective treatments, which have the lowest rates of reappearance after the period of convalescence.

January, 2007|Archive|

Revealing test

  • 1/24/2007
  • Boston, MA
  • Dr. Deanna Lites
  • WHDH (www.whdh.com)

Every hour someone in this country dies of oral cancer. One of the reasons: it’s often not detected until it’s too late. But new technology approved by the FDA is hoping to change that.

Dentist Steven Spitz is performing a cancer screening.

An oral cancer screening is part of a routine dental exam where dentists look for abnormal tissue, but there are limitations with the naked eye.

That’s why some dentists, like Dr. Spitz, are turning to high tech equipment for help. It’s called Velscope and can help dentists find oral cancer in its earliest stage.

“The Velscope uses a natural fluorescence of light to excite the tissues and give a fluorescence of tissue back so that we can see the different colors,” Dr. Steven Spitz, of Smileboston, said.

Normal tissue looks pink to your eye. When you look at healthy tissue with the Velscope it will appear green and if it’s abnormal it will be dark.

“This black area, that’s an area of concern telling us there’s abnormal tissue,” Dr. Spitz said. “We can see things that we never would have looked at or given a second thought of before.”

Dentists aren’t the only ones happy with the quick and painless test. Joanne Finnegan’s oral screening was A-okay.

“I think it’s great it was so simple and to be able to find that information before it becomes more advanced it’s a great tool,” Joanne said.

Not all insurance companies cover the Velscope. It costs between $35 and $55.

January, 2007|Archive|

BSD Medical Presents Hyperthermia Cancer Treatment Study at Head and Neck Cancer Symposium

  • 1/23/2007
  • Salt Lake CIty, UT
  • press release
  • biz.yahoo.com

BSD Medical Corp. today announced that BSD was among 29 companies selected to exhibit at the 3-day Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, an international symposium dedicated to treatment of head and neck cancers, just concluded in Rancho Mirage, California. The symposium was jointly sponsored by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Head and Neck Society, partnering together for the first time in this meeting. At the symposium, attended by approximately 400 physicians, worldwide experts presented the latest advances in the management of head and neck cancer, focusing on treatment options, innovative technology, clinical management issues and supportive outcomes.

BSD Medical representatives used the symposium to emphasize a study conducted by Riccardo Valdagni, MD and Maurizio Amichelli, MD at the Oncology Center of Ospedale Santa Chiara, Trento, Italy, comparing the results for head and neck cancer patients who were treated with radiation alone to those who received hyperthermia therapy plus radiation. The patients involved had inoperable Stage IV head and neck cancer with metastatic lymph nodes. The study concluded that hyperthermia added to radiation improved complete response (tumor disappearance) from 41% to 83%, local relapse-free survival from 24% to 68% and overall survival at 5 years from 0% to 53%, as compared to radiation treatments alone. The study, published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics (see Vol. 28, pp. 163-169), was halted on an ethical basis at 41 patients because of the strongly favorable results from the addition of hyperthermia therapy to radiation.

BSD Medical’s exhibit at the symposium was well received, and many participants were surprised and previously unaware of the outcomes of this study. Many referrals were secured for follow-up visits.

More than 640,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with head and neck cancer every year, and more than 350,000 die from the disease annually. Head and neck cancer is a group of cancers that include cancers of the mouth, nose and throat. The treatment of inoperable metastatic lymph nodes in patients with head and neck cancer represents a therapeutic challenge. Clinical results using radiation therapy alone have been disappointing.

BSD Medical Corp. is the leading developer of systems used to deliver hyperthermia therapy for the treatment of cancer. Hyperthermia therapy is used to kill cancer directly and increase the effectiveness of companion radiation treatments. Research has also shown promising results from the use of hyperthermia therapy in combination with chemotherapy, and for tumor reduction prior to surgery. For further information visit BSD Medical’s website at www.BSDMedical.com or BSD’s patient website at www.treatwithheat.com.

Source: BSD Medical Corp.

January, 2007|Archive|

Weizmann Institute scientists discover a genetic risk factor for smoking-linked head and neck cancer

  • 1/22/2007
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • press release
  • Weizman Institute of Science

A simple blood test may be able to identify those most at risk for developing head and neck cancer as a result of smoking. This was the finding of a recent study by Prof. Zvi Livneh, Head of the Weizmann Institute’s Biological Chemistry Department, Dr. Tamar Paz-Elizur of the same department, and their research team that worked in collaboration with Dr. Rami Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv-Sourasky Medical Center, Prof. Laurence Freedman of Sheba Medical Center and Prof. Edna Schechtman of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Livneh’s research deals with repair mechanisms for DNA, the material of genes. Cells maintain sophisticated repair systems to prevent the accumulation of mutations that might lead to cancer. In these systems, molecular detectors scan the DNA for injury. A sort of local operation is then performed to cut out and dispose of the damaged segment and replace it with a new one.

In their study, which appeared in Cancer Research, the scientists asked whether a reduced individual ability (non-inherited) to repair DNA damage increases chances of getting head and neck cancer. Smoking damages DNA and is known to be a major cause of this disease, which can affect the throat, mouth and larynx. The researchers focused on a DNA repair enzyme called OGG1, for which they had previously developed a blood test to measure activity levels. By comparing OGG activity in healthy people with those in head and neck cancer patients, the research team found that the test was able to single out those with a heightened risk of this type of cancer: Weak levels were correlated with greater risk. According to Prof. Livneh, a smoker with low OGG activity is 70 times more likely to develop head and neck cancer than a non-smoker with normal OGG levels.

These findings join a previous study by the group in which they found that low OGG activity is an indicator of elevated risk for lung cancer, a disease also caused by smoking. Together, these studies show that a combination of low OGG activity and smoking can skyrocket a person’s chances of becoming ill with a smoking-related cancer. Also participating in the study were Dalia Elinger of the Biological Chemistry Department, Dr. Akiva Vexler of Tel Aviv-Sourasky Medical Center, Profs. Adi Shani and Alain Berrebi of Kaplan Medical Center, and Dr. Meir Krupsky of Sheba Medical Center.

The OGG blood test might be used, in the future, to identify those most at risk for lung and head and neck cancers, hopefully giving added incentive to those with the risk factor to quit smoking. In addition, drugs might be developed to reduce this risk, similar to those prescribed today to reduce the risk of heart disease.

January, 2007|Archive|

New Screening Process Helps Better Diagnose Oral Cancers

  • 1/22/2007
  • Rancho Mirage, CA
  • staff
  • sciencedaily.com

Patients with early stage oral cancer may benefit from a more advanced screening process allowing for a more accurate diagnosis, according to a study presented at the plenary session today at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Rancho Mirage, Calif., co-sponsored by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Head and Neck Society.

“By combining conventional techniques with more modern techniques, we were able to better diagnose and determine the best options for patients with oral cancer,” said J.B. Epstein, lead author of the study and Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “This approach to diagnosing oral cancer may lead to easier identification of serious pathology, significantly lessening the need for unnecessary biopsies without additional risk of false negatives.”

Patients with early stage oral cancer are typically examined by their doctor for suspicious areas in the mouth and throat area. Doctors in this study wanted to test the value of two diagnostic aids in evaluating lesions in the oral cavity. Chemiluminescent light, or brand name Vizilite and toluidine blue, a pharmaceutical grade dye, were used in addition to the conventional, visual and manual observations of the patient.

Patients were given routine visual examinations under incandescent light for suspicious lesions. The lesions that were deemed suspicious were then assessed with Vizilite, followed by the toluidine blue dye and then biopsied. Doctors then compared the findings from the conventional exam to the advanced, illumination and stain exam.

This study found that of the 84 patients studied, Vizilite improved either the brightness or sharpness of the identified lesions by 61 percent. Only biopsing lesions which retained the toluidine blue stain reduced the false positive rate by nearly 59 percent while maintaining zero false negatives.

Source:
American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology

The abstract, “Analysis of Oral Mucosal Biopsies Identified and Evaluated by Visual Examination, Chemiluminescense and Toluidine Blue,” will be presented at the plenary session on January 19, 2007.

January, 2007|Archive|

Head and neck cancer combo therapy effective

  • 1/22/2007
  • Rancho Mirage, CA
  • Health News Editor
  • earthtimes.org

Patients with head and neck cancer given both chemotherapy and radiation therapy may result in many avoiding additional surgery, says a U.S. study.

“Our goal is to cure the cancer as effectively as we can while using as few treatments as possible,” said lead author Dr. Ramesh Rengan of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. This study is so exciting because it demonstrates that giving patients with head and neck cancer a non-invasive regimen of cisplatin-based chemotherapy and radiation therapy effectively treats many advanced head and neck cancers, meaning some patients can safely avoid an invasive surgery.The study, performed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, instead focused on treating the patients with chemotherapy and radiation and then measuring the patients’ response to the therapy to see if they still needed the follow-up neck surgery.

Eighty percent of the patients with advanced head and neck cancer who participated in this study had a complete response to chemoradiation alone with elimination of any detectable disease in the neck, according to the study performed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

The findings were presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

January, 2007|Archive|