6/29/2005 Augusta, Georgia staff report News-Medical.net (www.news-medical.net) A harmonic scalpel that uses ultrasound to coagulate as it cuts can reduce blood loss and postoperative facial paralysis in patients who need a portion of their salivary gland removed, surgeons say. Infection of the sponge-like parotid gland is uncomfortable but temporary, says Dr. Christine G. Gourin, otolaryngologist at the Medical College of Georgia. But when the gland develops cancerous or benign tumors or stones that interfere with saliva flow, a rather tricky surgery to remove part or all of the gland is needed. Surgical removal is delicate because the parotid sits between the cheekbone and jawbone and the facial nerve runs right through it, Dr. Gourin says of the gland which contributes a watery fluid to the saliva mix that helps lubricate the mouth and tongue and digest food. The standard approach is making an incision in a skin fold in front of the ear that runs back into the hairline - the same as for a facelift - then using surgical scissors to remove the gland and surgical ties or electrocautery to stop bleeding. A small pilot study published in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery in 2004 described how the harmonic scalpel could reduce operative time and blood loss in patients who had benign disease and needed only a portion of their gland removed. The new expanded study, published in the June issue of Laryngoscope, compared a larger mix of patients: 41 patients who underwent conventional surgery and 44 who [...]
6/29/2005 Scranton, PA Jeff Sonderman The Times Tribune Cancer researchers are always fighting a battle on two fronts: finding treatments that work while limiting the debilitating side effects. Doctors at the Northeast Radiation Oncology Center in Dunmore are testing a method that may do both. The new treatment — radioimmunotherapy — goes by the less tongue-tying nickname “liquid radiation.” It uses the body’s immune system to fight non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the sixth-most-common cancer in the United States. About a half-dozen people in Northeastern Pennsylvania have gotten this treatment in the past six months at NROC, which was created in October 2003 as a partnership between four cancer doctors and Mercy Hospital in Scranton. Clinical trials nationwide have shown that as many as eight of every 10 lymphoma patients are responsive to the treatment. Liquid radiation uses tiny radioactive particles attached to antibodies that target cancerous cells. When the antibody arrives, the particle then penetrates and kills that specific cancer cell, leaving other healthy cells undamaged. This allows effective treatment with little or no pain or side effects. “The problem with traditional chemotherapy is it gives you a lot of side effects,” said Chi K. Tsang, M.D., one of the four oncologists at the Northeast Radiation Oncology Center. “(Liquid radiation, however,) goes after where the cancer is, and only the cancer.” Patients get several diagnostic scans before the treatment, and report for blood tests in the weeks or months afterward. The injection itself takes only about 10 minutes from an IV needle, [...]
6/29/2005 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Pippa Wysong Medscape (/www.medscape.com) The routinely used whole body (WB) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) scans, also known as limited whole body (LWB), can miss more than 5% of metastatic cancer lesions, according to researchers from Saint Louis University (SLU) who presented their findings here at the Society of Nuclear Medicine 52nd Annual Meeting. Researchers suggest true whole body (TWB) scans would provide better staging and restaging. That is, scans from head to toe, as opposed to from the base of the skull to about midthigh. The term "whole body" is somewhat misleading, according to the poster, coauthored by Medhat Osman, MD, from SLU. These scans are done with the patients' arms up, and the most commonly used field of view does not cover the entire body. WB scans do not include the brain or the skull, plus it leaves out portions of the upper and lower extremities. A study was done to see whether performing TWB scans revealed additional lesions above and beyond the traditional approach. A total of 500 consecutive cancer patients underwent F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose-PET (FDG-PET)/CT scans that extended from the top of the skull to the bottom of their feet. Scans were done 60 minutes after patients received an injection of 0.14 mCi per kg of FDG. Patients in whom it was already known that malignancies were present outside of the normal LWB area were excluded from the study. The images were evaluated and newly suspected metastases outside the normal LWB areas [...]
6/27/2005 Tung-Kwang Lee et al. Mutagenesis 2005 20(4):237-243; doi:10.1093/mutage/gei041 A majority of potential radioprotective synthetic compounds have demonstrated limited clinical application owing to their inherent toxicity, and thus, the seeking of naturally occurring herbal products, such as ginseng, for their radioprotective capability has become an attractive alternative. In general, ginseng refers to the roots of the species of the genus Panax. As a medicinal herb, ginseng has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for its wide spectrum of medicinal effects, such as tonic, immunomodulatory, antimutagenic, adaptogenic and antiaging activities. Many of its medicinal effects are attributed to the triterpene glycosides known as ginsenosides (saponins). This review addresses the issue of the radioprotective effects of ginseng on mammalian cells both in vitro and in vivo. Results indicate that the water-soluble extract of whole ginseng appears to give a better protection against radiation-induced DNA damage than does the isolated ginsenoside fractions. Since free radicals play an important role in radiation-induced damage, the underlying radioprotective mechanism of ginseng could be linked, either directly or indirectly, to its antioxidative capability by the scavenging free radicals responsible for DNA damage. In addition, ginseng's radioprotective potential may also be related to its immunomodulating capabilities. Ginseng is a natural product with worldwide distribution, and in addition to its antitumor properties, ginseng appears to be a promising radioprotector for therapeutic or preventive protocols capable of attenuating the deleterious effects of radiation on human normal tissue, especially for cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. Authors: Tung-Kwang Lee1, Roberta M. Johnke1, [...]
Recurrent squamous cell carcinoma in the neopharynx treated successfully with topical 5-fluorouracil
6/26/2005 England R Banga, J Ramsden, and G Cox J Laryngol Otol, May 1, 2005; 119(5): 403-4 We present the first reported case of a squamous cell carcinoma recurrence on a reconstructed flap in the pharynx treated successfully with topical chemotherapy. The patient, treated for a pharyngeal cancer with resection and reconstruction with a free radial forearm flap, and post-operative radiotherapy, developed a tumour on the flap more than two years after surgery. The recurrence was also squamous carcinoma, but there was only superficial infiltration. This was treated with 5-fluorouracil paste placed in the pharynx, with resolution of the tumour. The patient was alive and well more than 28 months after this treatment, with no sign of disease recurrence. Topical chemotherapy for treatment of oral cancer is well described for early disease, but we show that it may be a useful treatment in recurrent disease in selected patients. Authors' affiliation: Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK
Michigan Dental Association Launches New TV Ad Campaign to Educate the Public About the Link Between Oral Health and Overall Health
6/26/2005 Lansing, MI press release biz.yahoo.com The 5,900-member Michigan Dental Association will launch a new campaign to alert the public that a healthy mouth is vital to a healthy body. The new campaign, "Want a healthy body? Start with a healthy mouth," kicks off June 27 with two television commercials that will air statewide, and will inform the public of some startling new research, including connections between dental health and birth complications in expectant mothers. To view the commercials and learn more about the campaign, go to http://www.smilemichigan.com and click on the public section. Each MDA member dentist will have patient education brochures and posters available in their offices. "More and more research shows that there is an important connection between oral health and overall health," according to Josef F. Kolling, DDS, MS, president of the MDA. "Since the condition of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole, your dentist may be the first health care provider to see signs of a health problem," according to Kolling. "If something unusual is discovered, a follow-up with your physician may result in early detection and successful treatment of a more serious medical problem." Kolling says, "The dentist may see symptoms on the lips, tongue and gums that can warn of trouble in your general health. Your dentist can screen for oral cancer, and may also observe oral symptoms of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and pregnancy complications." Oral Cancer Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer [...]
6/26/2005 Germany Josef Käs Science Daily (www.sciencedaily.com) Speaking at the Institute of Physics conference Physics 2005 in Warwick recently (Tuesday 12th April), scientists revealed a new test for cancer, more sensitive than any existing technique and capable of predicting for the first time whether a tumour has spread Unlike existing techniques which rely on expert visual assessment or unreliable biochemical measurements, the “optical stretcher” tests the physical strength of each cell and can give a diagnosis using as few as 50 cells, allowing doctors to test for cancer where traditional biopsies are dangerous or even impossible. The ability to measure the progress of a cancer by examining only the primary tumour should reduce the number of unnecessary and traumatic mastectomies in women with breast cancer. Professor Josef Käs and Dr Jochen Guck from the University of Leipzig have been developing the new procedure for several years and today described how the system is being tested, both to screen for oral cancers and in the “staging” of breast cancer tumours. Professor Käs’ technique for the first time uses a physical characteristic of each cell – its stretchiness or elasticity – instead of its biological make-up, to decide whether or not it’s cancerous. Cancer cells tend to de-differentiate, losing the special characteristics of the organ where they started life. Because of this, they no longer need the rigid cytoskeleton which holds them in shape, making them stretchier than normal cells. Käs and Guck’s machine uses a powerful beam of infrared laser light [...]
Alteration of radiotherapy fractionation and concurrent chemotherapy: a new frontier in head and neck oncology?
6/26/2005 Jacques Bernier Nature Clinical Practice Oncology (2005) 2, 305-314 Summary Despite recent advances in multimodality management of patients with stage III−IV head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, the prognosis in these patients remains disappointing. In an attempt to improve treatment outcome, several teams recently investigated the role of altered fractionation radiotherapy in conjunction with systemic chemotherapy. The controlled trials that investigated this combined approach indicate that, although the magnitude of its effect was less marked for survival indices than for local-regional control, the addition of chemotherapy to altered fractionation regimens results in a clear improvement for these endpoints compared with hyperfractionated or accelerated regimens alone. The key challenge now is to optimize the synergism of these regimens in order to increase their therapeutic ratio in terms of both local-regional and systemic outcomes. This review is a critical appraisal of the real opportunities offered by the application of treatments aimed at increasing the dose intensity of radiotherapy delivered concurrently with cytotoxic drugs. Introduction Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) represent 4−5% of all solid malignancies, with almost half a million cases diagnosed annually worldwide.1 Until the late 1970s radiation therapy was the treatment of choice for locally advanced HNSCC but, despite significant technologic improvements in radiation therapy, the high incidence of local-regional recurrences continued to pose the greatest threat.2 Tumor hypoxia, repopulation of tumor cells during treatment, and intrinsic resistance to radiotherapy, have all been implicated as causes of treatment failure.3, 4 From the late 1970s, altered fractionation radiation [...]
6/26/2005 New York City, NY press release Genetic Engineering News (www.genengnews.com) ImClone Systems Incorporated announced today that, following discussions with the FDA, the Company intends to submit a supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) to seek approval for use of Erbitux(R) (Cetuximab) in combination with radiation and as a single agent in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck (SCCHN) in the third quarter of 2005. The following clinical trials would serve as the basis of the sBLA, together with other supportive data: 1. a randomized, international phase III trial (IMCL-9815), conducted by ImClone Systems and Merck KGaA, presented at the 2004 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting examining the impact of combining Erbitux with radiation on locoregional control and overall survival in 424 patients with locally advanced SCCHN. and 2. a multicenter phase II trial (EMR-016) conducted by Merck KGaA presented at the 2004 ASCO annual meeting evaluating the response rate of Erbitux as a single agent in 103 patients with advanced recurrent and/or metastatic SCCHN not suitable for further local therapy and who have failed platinum-based chemotherapy. About Head and Neck Cancer According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral, head and neck cancer this year, including cancers of the tongue, mouth, pharynx, and larynx. More than 11,000 will die from the disease in 2005. About Erbitux (Cetuximab) On February 12, 2004, the FDA approved Erbitux for use in the United States in combination with irinotecan in the treatment of [...]
6/26/2005 Austin, TX press release Austin Business Journal Austin biopharmaceutical company Introgen Therapeutics Inc. received a patent that covers many of the features of its Advexin molecular therapy for cancer patients. The patent is one of a family of patents that cover Advexin issued to the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System and exclusively licensed to Introgen. "This important patent further expands Introgen's formidable adenoviral p53 patent portfolio. This particular patent was specifically crafted to directly cover many of the special features of Introgen's ADVEXIN product candidate, as well as to the host cells that are employed to produce the product," says David Parker, Introgen's vice president of Intellectual Property. To date, Introgen has 30 issued patents and a number of pending patent applications in the U.S. and in foreign countries relating to its Advexin. In 2003, Introgen's investigational drug, Advexin, was granted "fast track" designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for head and neck cancer. Introgen develops biopharmaceutical products for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The company conducts research, development, manufacturing, clinical and regulatory activities at its Austin headquarters.