Concurrent Radiation Chemotherapy for Locally Advanced Head and Neck Carcinoma: Are We Addressing Burning Subjects?

11/30/2004 Houston, TX K. Kian Ang The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX Improving the outcome for patients with locally advanced head and neck carcinomas (HNC) by rational modification of radiation fractionation regimens or combinations of radiation with chemotherapy has been the subject of intensive clinical investigations for more than three decades. The two prototypes of biologically sound-altered radiation fractionation regimens are hyperfractionation and accelerated fractionation.1 Hyperfractionation was based on preferential sparing of late-responding tissues when the radiation dose per fraction is reduced. Accelerated fractionation regimens emerged through the recognition that tumor clonogen proliferation occurring during radiotherapy has a detrimental effect on outcome. Results of large randomized trials addressing the optimization of radiation fractionation collectively show that a number of biologically sound altered fractionation schedules improve the locoregional (LR) control rate on the order of 10% to 15%, but have only a modest impact on overall survival. Although several altered fractionation regimens consistently induce more severe acute mucositis than standard 7-week radiotherapy, the general consensus is that late toxicities are not appreciably increased. Scores of clinical trials testing combined-modality therapy have also been published. Meta-analyses of studies completed before 1995 reveal that cytotoxic agents given before or after surgery or radiation do not significantly improve the therapeutic outcome over LR treatment alone. In contrast, chemotherapy given concurrently with radiation improves 2- and 5-year overall survival rates by 8%. Although a variety of cytotoxic agents have been studied, cisplatin is the most extensively investigated, and will be the [...]

2009-03-25T17:28:11-07:00November, 2004|Archive|

Vaccine Truth or Dare

11/30/2004 Erika Jonietz Technology Review, Nov. 2004 A new vaccine in the works could prevent cervical cancer. But will it ever reach those who would benefit most? Before the end of the decade, preteens going to the doctor for the usual booster shots—tetanus, diphtheria, and perhaps an annual flu shot—may get a new jab. The vaccine would not only protect them against one of the most common sexually transmitted infections but also prevent cervical cancer—almost eliminating that form of malignancy, in fact, and saving the lives of nearly a quarter million women worldwide each year. But even before studies of the vaccine’s effectiveness are complete, conservative Christian groups are expressing concerns about inoculating adolescents against sexually transmitted infections. A study published in the November 13 issue of British medical journal The Lancet showed that women who received all three doses of the vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, maintained a strong immune response against the virus that causes cervical cancer, and that this immunity lasts for at least two years. The vaccine is one of two being developed against cervical cancer; Merck makes the second. “It's fabulous,” says Diane Harper, who directed the study and who heads research on prevention of gynecological cancer at Dartmouth Medical School. “It's safe, it's easy to make, and it's amazingly effective.” Both the Merck and GlaxoSmithKline vaccines target human papillomavirus, or HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer. Spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, HPV can also cause genital warts. There are more than 100 strains of [...]

2009-03-25T17:27:30-07:00November, 2004|Archive|

DNA content as a prognostic marker of oral lichen planus with a risk of cancer development.

11/30/2004 R Mattila, K Alanen, and S Syrjanen Anal Quant Cytol Histol, October 1, 2004; 26(5): 278-84 Objective: To assess the presence of aneuploidy in oral lichen planus (OLP) and its usefulness as a prognostic marker. Study Design: Eighty-one formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded biopsy samples taken from atrophic-erosive OLP from 70 patients were studied. Approximately 150 random nuclei in basal and/or parabasal epithelia were analyzed with static cytometry. Results: Aneuploidy was detected in 41% of samples. OLPs with ulcerations or location in the tongue had significantly higher values, respectively, for the 2.5c exceeding rate (ER) (p<0.001 and 0.001) and proliferation index (PI) (p = 0.012 and 0.013) than did lesions without ulcerations or at other locations. 2.5c ER was significantly higher in dysplastic OLP lesions (p < 0.001), and the significant value (p = 0.001)for 2.5c ER discriminating DNA aneuploidy was 15.3%. In multivariate analysis only the G2/M ER (G2/MER) was a significant independent predictor of developing cancer in OLP (OR 2.349, 95% CI 1.39-3.97, p = 0.001). Conclusion: Ulcerated atrophic-erosive OLPs of the tongue and with dysplasia are at increased risk of cancer development. 2.5c ER, PI and G2/MER might be useful in prognosticating the increased risk of malignancy in OLP.

2009-03-25T17:26:57-07:00November, 2004|Archive|

YM BioSciences’ TheraCIM Granted US Orphan Drug Status

11/30/2004 Mississuaga, Ontario, Canada Press release Yahoo! Finance YM BioSciences Inc. the cancer drug development company with an advanced-stage portfolio, and its majority-owned subsidiary CIMYM Inc., today announced that the Office of Orphan Products Development of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug Designation to their EGF receptor monoclonal antibody, TheraCIM hR3, for the treatment of glioma (brain cancer). The U.S. Orphan Drug Act is intended to assist and encourage companies to develop safe and effective therapies for the treatment of rare diseases and disorders. Orphan Drug Designation is granted to products that treat conditions affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. Orphan Drug Designation provides eligibility for a special seven-year period of market exclusivity at marketing approval, potential tax credits for research, potential grant funding for research and development, the possibility of reduced filing fees for marketing applications and, particularly, assistance with the review of clinical trial protocols. TheraCIM hR3 is currently undergoing two Phase II trials in Europe and is expected to become a Phase III candidate in early 2005. The Company's European licensee, Oncoscience AG, is enrolling children in a trial for pediatric brain cancer; and another trial is underway in metastatic pancreatic cancer. Oncoscience also expects to initiate the Phase III trial in adult glioma in early 2005. Orphan Drug Designation for glioma in Europe has already been conferred. "TheraCIM is currently undergoing a robust clinical program in Europe, which we anticipate will be paralleled by additional North American trials that [...]

2009-03-25T17:26:19-07:00November, 2004|Archive|

Coverage and quality of oral cancer information in selected popular press: May 1998 to July 2003.

11/30/2004 Bethesda, MD JA Graham, AM Horowitz, and MT Canto J Public Health Dent, September 1, 2004; 64(4): 231-6 Objectives: A 1998 study demonstrated a lack of coverage about oral cancer in the popular press between April 1987 and April 1997. Since that study, several oral cancer-related activities took place, many of which could have increased the media's attention to oral cancer. Therefore, this study analyzed coverage and quality of oral cancer information in selected popular press between May 1998 and July 2003. Methods: Articles from magazines and newspapers were retrieved from three databases and were analyzed by specific topics and subtopics for adequacy of content and accuracy of information. Articles were categorized as either "primarily oral cancer-related" or "primarily tobacco-related." Results: Sixty articles were identified, 39 of which were included in the analysis (14 magazines; 25 newspapers). Seventeen articles were "primarily oral cancer-related," and 22 were "primarily tobacco-related." Seventy-two percent of the articles mentioned at least one risk factor for oral cancer, the most common being tobacco use (69%). Far fewer articles noted alcohol (10%) or the combined use of tobacco and alcohol (5%) as risk factors. Only 8 percent of the articles recommended an oral cancer examination. Conclusion: Despite local and limited national efforts and activities aimed at increasing public awareness of oral cancer, the popular press coverage of those activities was minimal or nonexistent.

2009-03-25T17:25:38-07:00November, 2004|Archive|

Indian-American wins outstanding scientist award.

11/29/2004 New York, NY no attribution The Hindu ( Bhimu Patil, Associate Professor at the Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Associate Director of the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, has received the 2004 Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the Division of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Dr Patil, who received the award at a ceremony in Philadelphia, has credited his accomplished work in citrus, other fruits and vegetable health benefits research to his father who died 15 years ago. "My father was diagnosed with cancer when he was already in the third stage," He told The Valley Morning Star on his return to Texas from Philadelphia. "I could not help him, but through my research I hope to help others. That's my goal." Dr Patil and his eight-member staff are working to isolate compounds found in certain citrus fruits in the Rio Grande Valley, including Rio Red grapefruit, that may help reduce the risk of colon and oral cancer and help lower cholesterol, the Texas newspaper said. "I was happy to hear the news about the award," Dr Patil said. "I owe the success to the students who work with me." Last year, Patil won the Research Excellence Award from the university. He also has received the Paul Harris Fellowship from the Rotary Foundation in appreciation of "significant assistance for the better understanding and friendly relations among people in the world."

2009-03-25T17:24:55-07:00November, 2004|Archive|

Tougher action needed to stop cigarette sales to children.

11/29/2004 Australia no attribution News-Medical.Net Retailers should be licensed to sell cigarettes, and the licence revoked if they are caught selling tobacco to children, the Australian Medical Association (WA) said today. "The State Government is relying on heavy fines to deter retailers, but the threat of losing their licence would be a far stronger deterrent," said AMA (WA) President Dr Paul Skerritt. "One has to question how effectively we can police the fines system and how often the courts have imposed the maximum penalty in the past." Dr Skerritt said banning point-of-sale-advertising, limiting displays of tobacco products and restricting cigarette vending machines to licensed premises were welcome initiatives by the State Government - but they should have been introduced much earlier. "The measures being announced now by the Health Minister were advocated by the Health Department more than 18 months ago," said Dr Skerritt. "The Government refused to act because it did not want to upset the tobacco and liquor industries. On the eve of an election they have promised a raft of reforms which will do nothing to reduce passive smoking for at least another 18 months." Dr Skerritt said the AMA (WA) was disappointed that Mr McGinty had attacked the association's zero-tolerance attitude to passive smoking as "playing politics". "We are not prepared to compromise on this issue and we make no apology for putting the health of the community ahead of everyone else's business interests," he said. "Sadly, our members deal directly with the victims of lung [...]

2009-03-25T17:24:21-07:00November, 2004|Archive|

A poet for the people

11/28/2004 Garland, Nebraska John Mark Eberhart Kansas City Star ( The new U.S. poet laureate, Nebraska's Ted Kooser, wants to bring verse back to the masses. Just north of this nondescript village, the pavement ends and the gravel begins. Down one of those gravel roads stands a roomy farmhouse. Built into the wall of one of those rooms is a ladder. At the top of the ladder lies a lair. A writer's lair. One side stands open; one “wall” is slanted ceiling. This is the place the new poet laureate of the United States does his work. Six years ago there were days Ted Kooser had no need of that lair. He wasn't writing poetry; he was too busy fighting for his life. He had oral cancer, and it was advanced. “Tumor of tongue on the back side,” he recalls, “and it had spread into the lymph nodes and upper part of my neck, so I had to have radiation. (But you) keep yourself in the present. (You) wake up and say, ‘You know, I don't think I'm going to die today. I'm probably not going to die this week. I may not die for months and months, so what am I going to do?' You can't just sit around and stare into space.” Instead Kooser made not one but two books out of cancer. As he recovered, he began taking two-mile treks each morning and by 2000 had produced Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison, a [...]

2009-03-25T17:23:36-07:00November, 2004|Archive|

Antioxidant supplementation may reduce risk of cancer in men, not women

11/28/2004 no attribution Mediacal News Today Low-dose antioxidant supplementation may reduce the risk of cancer among men, but not in women, according to an article in the November 22 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. According to the article, antioxidants including beta carotene, ascorbic acid, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc may prevent some of the harmful effects caused by free radicals - reactive molecules produced by metabolism in the body. It has also been suggested that a low dietary intake of antioxidants increases the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Serge Hercberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) and Unite de Surveillance et d'Epidemiologie Nutritionnelle, Paris, and colleagues tested the efficacy of dietary supplementation with a combination of antioxidant vitamins and minerals in reducing the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease among 13,017 French adults. There were 7,876 women aged 35 to 60 years old, and 5,141 men ages 45 to 60 years old included in the study. Participants were randomly assigned to take either a daily capsule containing 120 milligrams of ascorbic acid, 30 milligrams of vitamin E, six milligrams of beta carotene, 100 micrograms of selenium, and 20 milligrams of zinc; or a placebo capsule. Participants were followed-up for a median of 7.5 years. The researchers found no differences between the antioxidant and placebo group in terms of cancer incidence (4.1 percent of the antioxidant group vs. 4.5 percent of the placebo group), [...]

2009-03-25T02:49:38-07:00November, 2004|Archive|

PET Scan Could Help Cancer Survivors

11/28/2004 Chicago, IL no attribution Follow-up care is extremely important for survivors of head and neck cancer. Blood tests, X-rays, CT scans and MRI's can spot a recurrence of the disease. Now new findings suggest a PET scan may provide other life-saving information. Ed Menassaka, 50, had to face the music two years ago when he was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. “It was in the base of my tongue, in my right tonsil, was in my neck and my lymph nodes,” Menassaka said. After chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, Menassaka is now cancer-free. But he still needs frequent checkups to see if the disease comes back. “Essentially if you have a cancer that occurs in this area, the most likely area where it’s gonna recur is in this area,” said Suresh Mukherji, a neuroradiologist at the University of Michigan Health System. But even if that area is clear, University of Michigan researchers say, the cancer can recur somewhere else. “What we found out with our PET study was that unknowingly to anyone else, patients may have done fine here but some of them popped up with disease in their lungs," Mukherji said. Unlike other imaging tests, positron emission tomography – or PET – shows metabolic changes in cells. “With the CAT scan or an MRI, you see basically the anatomy that’s before you. With a PET scan, what it allows you to do, it actually allows you to look inside the molecule,” said Mukherji. Because of the findings, [...]

2009-03-25T02:48:34-07:00November, 2004|Archive|
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