Calls for teenage boys to be vaccinated against sexually transmitted virus after throat cancer cases double in UK

Source: Author: Charles Walford Boys must be immunised against the most common sexually transmitted virus, health experts have said. The call comes after figures revealed an alarming rise in cancer linked to oral sex in young men. Cases of throat cancer have more than doubled to more than 1,000 a year since the mid-1990s. Previously the figure had been stable for many years. More than 70 per cent of cases are caused by human papilloma virus, compared with less than a third a decade ago. HPV, which can be transmitted during sex and open-mouth kissing, is the main cause of cervical cancer in women, with almost 3,000 women a year in the UK affected. Since 2008 all girls aged 12 to 13 in the UK have been offered a vaccination to protect them from HPV. The decision not to give it to boys too was heavily criticised at the time. Now specialists are urging the Department of Health to review its immunisation programme and offer boys the vaccine too, the Independent reports. They say this would not only ensure both sexes are protected against throat cancer, but it would help reduce the risk of cervical cancer in girls and of other cancers caused by HPV. Research suggests boys are more prone to get throat cancer from oral sex because the virus is found in higher concentrations in the female genital tract. Cancer typically takes 20 to 30 years to develop and the rise in HPV-related throat cancer is being [...]

Big Tobacco led throat doctors to blow smoke

Source: Author: Tracie White Tobacco companies conducted a carefully crafted, decades-long campaign to manipulate throat doctors into helping to calm concerns among an increasingly worried public that smoking might be bad for their health, according to a new study by researchers at the School of Medicine. Beginning in the 1920s, this campaign continued for over half of a century. “Tobacco companies sought to exploit the faith the public had in the medical profession as a means of reassuring their customers that smoking was safe,” said Robert Jackler, MD, the Edward C. and Amy H. Sewall Professor in Otolaryngology. “Tobacco companies dreamed up slogans such as, ‘Not one single case of throat irritation with Camels;’ then, to justify their advertising claims, marketing departments sought out pliant doctors to conduct well-compensated, pseudoscientific ‘research,’ which invariably found the sponsoring company’s cigarettes to be safe,” Jackler said. “The companies successfully influenced these physicians not only to promote the notion that smoking was healthful, but actually to recommend it as a treatment for throat irritation.” Jackler is the senior author of the study, which was published in the January issue of The Laryngoscope. Hussein Samji, MD, a recent Stanford residency graduate, was his co-author. Using internal documents from tobacco companies from the Legacy Tobacco Document archives, the study’s authors reviewed a wealth of correspondence, contracts, marketing plans and payment receipts that shed light on the industry’s multifaceted, highly effective campaign. Jackler’s ongoing research into the history of tobacco company advertising has resulted in several [...]

Gold nanorods could improve radiation therapy of head and neck cancer

Source:National Cancer Institute Radiation therapy is an important part of head and neck cancer therapy, but most head and neck tumors have a built-in mechanism that makes them resistant to radiation. As a result, oncologists have to deliver huge doses of X-rays to the patient, damaging surrounding tissues and producing significant side effects. To overcome this resistance, researchers at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo and the University of Southern California (USC) have developed a nanoparticle formulation that interferes with the resistance mechanism, and as a result, increases the efficacy of radiation therapy in a mouse model of head and neck cancer. Reporting its work in the journal Integrative Biology ("Gold nanorod–sphingosine kinase siRNA nanocomplexes: a novel therapeutic tool for potent radiosensitization of head and neck cancer"), a research team headed by Paras Prasad of SUNY Buffalo and Rizwan Masood of USC's Keck School of Medicine describes how it used gold nanorods to deliver a small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecule to head and neck tumors. This siRNA molecule blocks the production of a protein known as sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1). Previous work by the USC team had shown that this protein prevents radiation-damaged cells from undergoing apoptosis, the cell death program triggered in healthy cells when they age or experience major damage. RNA interference, which uses siRNAs to reduce the production of specific proteins, has shown promise for treating cancer and other diseases, but these molecules are readily degraded in the blood stream. To overcome this problem, [...]

2012-01-19T17:08:52-07:00January, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Fatal Infusion Reactions to Cetuximab: Role of Immunoglobulin E–Mediated Anaphylaxis

Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology To the Editor: In Journal of Clinical Oncology, Tronconi et al1 report a fatal hypersensitivity reaction to cetuximab in a 63-year-old patient with metastatic colon cancer and outlined a 0.1% incidence of death in the literature. We greatly acknowledge the authors' desire to communicate the risk of fatal anaphylactic reaction with cetuximab. Over the past 2 years in our center in Tours, France, four instances of grade 4 anaphylactic reactions occurred in patients treated for head and neck cancer (locally advanced or metastatic), with one immediately fatal; another patient died within 5 days (unpublished data). Seven lethal anaphylactic reactions were registered in a pharmacovigilance survey in France, based on spontaneous declarations (Grandvuillemin et al, manuscript in preparation). Anaphylaxis to cetuximab is a problem that merits serious clinical attention. In the authors' words, “the pathogenic mechanisms underlying the development of this phenomenon remain to be elucidated.”1 They raise the hypothesis of immunoglobulin E (IgE) –independent mechanisms, even in the context of a paradoxic atopic history. Moreover, Tronconi et al suggest that the field “search for reliable risk factors that can facilitate the safe selection of patients as candidates for cetuximab-based treatment.”1 These comments are quite surprising, because they do not integrate major contributions that have been previously published. Indeed, it has been known for 3 years that anaphylaxis to cetuximab is the result of antidrug IgE antibodies present in patient serum before therapy.2 These IgE antibodies are directed against galactose-α-1, 3-galactose (α3Gal) residues, present in the [...]

2012-01-19T10:24:57-07:00January, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

FDA to weigh safety of tobacco lozenges, strips

Source: USA Today They may look and smell a lot like candy, but dissolvable, smokeless tobacco products aren't for kids. The safety and risks of "dissolvables" are the subject of a three-day U.S. Food and Drug Administration meeting this week. This is a concept of the Camel Orbs a smokeless tobacco product by RJ Reynolds company. The company is test marketing Camel Orbs, Camel Strips and Camel Sticks in two cities. "Dissolvables" are flavored mints, strips and sticks of smokeless tobacco. These products are not stop-smoking aids. Instead, they are designed to allow people to satisfy their cravings for nicotine in places where smoking is banned. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is test marketing Camel Orbs, Camel Strips and Camel Sticks in two cities, and Star Scientific Inc., is marketing two other dissolvable tobacco products, Ariva and Stonewall. Many public health advocates are concerned about the risks these products pose to children and teens, namely possible addiction and nicotine poisoning. "If you wanted to design a product that would appeal to youth and addict younger adolescents and adults to nicotine, this would be it," said Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "These products are designed to look like a candy and addict the user permanently." Teens can pop these products without any of the telltale signs of smoking cigarettes or the mess associated with snus, which are teabag-like pouches placed between the upper lip and gun. Before long, he said, they're addicted. Another worry is accidental [...]

2012-01-19T10:17:01-07:00January, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Many Head and Neck Cancer Survivors Face Eating Problems

Source: HealthDay News Persistent pain, eating problems and depression are the most common problems experienced by long-term survivors of head and neck cancer, a new study finds. In the study, published in the Jan. 16 online issue of the journal Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, researchers looked at 337 people who were diagnosed with head and neck cancer from 1995 to 2004 and survived at least five years. More than 50 percent of the survivors had problems eating because of poor throat functioning, 28.5 percent had symptoms of depression and more than 17 percent had substantial pain, the researchers found. However, when the long-term survivors were compared to age-matched people in the general population, their average general health was similar, Dr. Gerry Funk, of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, and colleagues explained in a journal news release. The investigators also found that pain and diet in the first year after cancer treatment were the strongest independent predictors of five-year, health-related quality-of-life outcomes. Problems with mouth and throat function in head and neck cancer survivors can be due to factors such as neuromuscular changes, anatomic deficits after surgery, pain and dental problems, the researchers noted. "Early interventions addressing eating issues, swallowing problems and pain management will be a crucial component in improving this patient population's long-term quality of life, especially in those who are functioning poorly one year after diagnosis," the study authors concluded. This story was also covered in a narrative form [...]

2012-01-18T13:54:28-07:00January, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Fluorescent spray that can catch throat cancer early offers hope to 8,000 Britons diagnosed each year

Source: A throat spray has been developed to spot cancer of the oesophagus at an early stage. The disease, which killed Morse star John Thaw, is one of the most deadly cancers because it is often missed or wrongly diagnosed until too late. Current methods used to detect it can be inaccurate, so many patients are given unnecessary invasive treatment including removal of their oesophagus, the ‘food pipe’ that connects the throat to the stomach. Early detection key: If caught early, the cancerous cells can be zapped with an electric current which kills them without surgery. Now scientists have developed a fluorescent dye spray which sticks to healthy cells in the oesophagus but cannot attach itself to cancer cells or those in the early stages of turning cancerous. This gives a clear signpost to where the disease is developing. If caught at this stage, the cancer cells can be ‘zapped’ with an electric current which kills them without surgery. The treatment offers hope to more than 8,000 Britons a year who are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. One of the patients in the study had their entire oesophagus removed because a small pre-cancerous area had been identified – which using the dye was found to have been very small and could have been treated without surgery. Deadly: Oesophageal cancer is one of the most fatal because it is often missed or wrongly diagnosed until it is too late. Two patients whose cancer had not shown up using the current imaging [...]

2012-01-17T10:22:33-07:00January, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

New Indicator May Help Identify Patients With Increased Risk From Throat Cancer

Source: ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Independent of other factors, such as smoking history and HPV status, matted lymph nodes appear to signal increased chance of oropharyngeal cancer spreading to other parts of the body. Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found a new indicator that may predict which patients with a common type of throat cancer are most likely have the cancer spread to other parts of their bodies. Patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who had "matted" lymph nodes - nodes that are connected together - had a 69 percent survival rate over three years, compared to 94 percent for patients without matted nodes, according to a study published online ahead of print publication in Head & Neck. The oropharynx is an area that includes the back of the tongue, soft palate, throat and tonsils. "The spread of cancer throughout the body accounts for about 45 percent of the deaths from oropharyngeal carcinoma," says the study's senior author, Douglas B. Chepeha, M.D., M.S.P.H., an associate professor of otolaryngology head and neck surgery at the U-M Medical School. "Our findings may help doctors identify patients who are at higher risk for having their cancer metastasize and who would benefit from additional systemic therapy. Conversely, some patients without matted nodes may benefit from a reduction of the current standard treatment, which would cut down on uncomfortable side effects." Notably, the findings indicate an increased risk independent of other established prognostic factors, [...]

2012-01-16T10:04:24-07:00January, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Lab-made tissue picks up the slack of Petri dishes in cancer research

New research demonstrates that previous models used to examine cancer may not be complex enough to accurately mimic the true cancer environment. Using oral cancer cells in a three-dimensional model of lab-made tissue that mimics the lining of the oral cavity, the researchers found that the tissue surrounding cancer cells can epigenetically mediate, or temporarily trigger, the expression or suppression of a cell adhesion protein associated with the progression of cancer. These new findings support the notion that drugs that are currently being tested to treat many cancers need to be screened using more complex tissue-like systems, rather than by using conventional petri dish cultures that do not fully manifest features of many cancers. "Research on cancer progression has been drawn largely using models that grow cancer cells in plastic dishes. Our research reveals a major shortcoming in the experimental systems used to study cancer development. When using simplified culture systems in which cells are grown on plastic, cancer cells grow as a two dimensional monolayer and lack the three-dimensional tissue structure seen in human cancer. As a result, complex interactions that occur between the cancer cells and the surrounding tissue layers are not accounted for," said first author Teresa DesRochers, PhD, a graduate of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts, currently in the department of biomedical engineering at Tufts University School of Engineering. The researchers report that the three-dimensional network of cell interactions activates epigenetic mechanisms that control whether genes critical for cancer development will be [...]

2012-01-11T15:02:12-07:00January, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Patients to try out gum shield – could end dry mouth misery caused by radiation

Source: Author: staff Mouth cancer patients in Bradford will be the first in the world to try a new battery-powered gum shield that could end the misery of a dry mouth. The pacemaker device fits over the lower teeth and uses minor, painless, electric shocks to trigger saliva production. A dry mouth is a common side-effect of radiotherapy for cancer of the head and neck. Healthy people produce around three pints of saliva a day. It is crucial for aiding digestion by softening food as well as fighting dental bacteria. It is also necessary for basic functions, such as speaking and swallowing. Patients being treated at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are being recruited to the double-blind trial, along with patients in London. Forty will be given a functioning device, while the remaining 44 will receive a placebo one. Neither the patients nor the doctors will know who has been given the active device. More than 15 patients have already been recruited in Bradford. Dr Jim McCaul, a consultant maxillofacial surgeon at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation, said: “Having a horrible dry mouth makes it impossible to chew food and difficult to speak. Patients worry about things like eating out in public and can’t taste their food as saliva facilitates taste. There is also an immune function in saliva.” Dr McCaul said up to now the only solution to the problem was for patients to sip water or use a saliva substitute in spray form, but the new [...]

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