Could fruit flies help match patients with cancer treatments?

Source: Author: Michele Cohen Marill Joel Silverman is facing down a nightmarish cancer prognosis. What he’d thought was a benign cyst in his jaw was actually a rare cancer that grew stealthily, supplanting the bone. And even after the tumor was excised, an undetectable remnant in his bloodstream seeded metastatic lesions in his lungs. His doctors can do little beyond removing the lesions as they appear. This cancer, myoepithelial carcinoma, doesn’t have a standard chemotherapy treatment. Silverman, 59, an internal medicine physician in Boca Raton, Florida, is accustomed to delivering both good news and bad to his patients, so he is realistic about his predicament. But he is also aware that science constantly pushes the bounds of what is possible. His hopes now hinge on a new paradigm of personalized medicine that will use a half million fruit flies to design and test a drug regimen tailored to his specific cancer. Not his type of cancer. His individual tumors. Drosophila melanogaster, the tiny creatures of high school genetics experiments, are actually sophisticated models of human biology. Some 60 percent of Drosophila protein-encoding genes (known as the exome) have a parallel in humans. Drosophila can become drunk or obese, can develop diabetes or Parkinson’s disease, and, with some tricks of genetic engineering, can be induced to develop tumors identical to those in humans. The signaling pathways among cells—the mechanisms that control cellular repair, for example—are the same in humans and flies. “If you find a drug that is going to [...]

2021-02-26T19:03:11-07:00February, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Sunstar Americas, Inc. Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of GUM® Hydral Dry Mouth Relief Oral Spray Due to Possible Microbial Contamination

Source: Yahoo! Finance Date: February 18th, 2021 CHICAGO, Feb. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunstar Americas, Inc. (SAI) is voluntarily recalling GUM® Hydral Dry Mouth Relief Oral Spray products bearing an expiration date from 2021-11 through 2022-05 (see specific lots below) to the consumer level. This product may be contaminated with the bacteria Burkholderia cepacia. Use of the defective product in the immunocompetent host may result in oral and, potentially, systemic infections requiring antibacterial therapy. In the most at-risk populations, the use of the defective product may result in life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia and bacteremia. To date, no adverse events have been reported to SAI related to this recall. The oral spray, available through retail, is indicated for use for lubricating, moisturizing, soothing, and refreshing properties to help relieve and manage the symptoms of dry mouth: 1800R/1800RA GUM® Hydral Dry Mouth Relief Oral Spray is distributed in 2.0 fluid ounce Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles with white polypropylene caps and a separate spray nozzle. GUM® Hydral Dry Mouth Relief Oral Spray was distributed Nationwide to Grocery and Drug Wholesalers, Grocery and Drug chains, Web distribution and sales, and direct to consumers. SAI is notifying its direct distributors and customers by USPS Priority mail and is arranging for return of all recalled products. Patients, pharmacies, and healthcare facilities in possession of these products should stop using and dispensing immediately. Consumers with questions regarding this recall can contact SAI by phone at 1-800-528-8537 or email on Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm CST. Consumers should [...]

2021-02-22T11:19:16-07:00February, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Machine learning is giving cancer detection new bionic eyes

Source: Author: Adam Benzion It’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) — or, as my nerdier friends call it, “the outcome of really good machine learning (ML)” — is changing the way we live; the way we shop, eat, sleep is all monitored and enhanced by AI, and now the medical industry is tapping into the capabilities of AI. Entrepreneurs, hackers, and engineers have discovered new ways to infuse off-the-shelf hardware with ML tools to deliver highly specialized and expensive medical diagnostics in a field that is known for costly equipment and high barriers to entry. Welcome to the new era of AI-powered medical care. Until recently, standard skin cancer lesion screening methods such as radiological imaging (x-rays) could miss the early signs of cancer in approximately 25% of cases, according to research published in the British Journal of General Practice. And in places where there is no access to expensive medical equipment, patients and doctors rely on experience and the naked human eye to perform early-stage cancer diagnosis. Not only does this present a non-standard level of diagnostics, but it also draws attention to the soft belly of medical care — only those who can afford quality treatment will get it. Either way, we are finding that there’s a need for other detection modalities that we’ve never tried before, breaking from traditional methods, and offering the same, top-quality early detection and diagnostics of cancer to everyone equally. Medical care meets computer science Meet Mohammed Zubair, associate professor at [...]

2021-02-17T11:39:46-07:00February, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Head-and-neck surgeons buoyant about new, just-right robot

Source: Author: Brian Donohue You know how great it feels when someone makes a pie or cake just for you? University of Washington Medicine head and neck surgeons have been feeling that kind of love lately, and on Feb. 5 they shared the first slice, so to speak, with patient Steven Higley. Surgical assistants work near patient Steven Higley on Feb. 5. Lead surgeon Jeff Houlton is obscured by the robotics. The cake in this story is actually a da Vinci robotic-assist system built especially for head and neck procedures. It is easier to maneuver than the robotic device they’ve used for the past decade, which was designed for operations to the chest and abdomen. Higley underwent surgery to have a cancerous tonsil and part of his throat removed. Sitting at a console a few feet from the patient, Dr. Jeff Houlton manipulated the miniature surgical tools emanating from the robot’s single port, positioned just outside Higley’s open mouth. It was UW Medicine’s first trans-oral surgery with the new tool. “If you think about laparoscopic surgery in the belly area, robotics provides the advantage of multiple mechanical arms approaching from different angles,” Houlton said. “But it’s a challenge to have three robotic arms that all need to go through a patient’s mouth. With this machine, the three arms are designed to come through one garden hose-like entry port and then articulate out from there. “Pretty interesting, though, that in the past 10 years we built a nationally [...]

2021-02-12T18:43:12-07:00February, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

More parents balking at giving kids cancer-fighting HPV vaccine

Source: Author: Steven Reinberg From 2012 to 2018, more doctors recommended their patients get vaccinated with the HPV vaccine -- from 27% to 49%. But at the same time, the number of parents who were reluctant to have their kids vaccinated increased from 50% to 64%, researchers found. "Overall, more U.S. teens are getting the HPV vaccine, and the nation is making progress towards reaching the HPV vaccination goals; however, if parental reluctance continues to grow, the current rate of our progress might plateau or possibly decline," said lead study author Kalyani Sonawane. She's an assistant professor in the department of management, policy and community health at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. "In the long term, the lost opportunity to protect our teens from HPV might contribute to cases of HPV-associated cervical, oropharyngeal, penile, anal, vaginal and vulvar cancers in the future," Sonawane said. Parents' reluctance to have their kids vaccinated rose more for girls, from 54% to 68%, compared with 44% to 59% for boys, the researchers noted. The report was published online Feb. 9 in the journal Pediatrics. To increase the number of boys and girls who get vaccinated, doctors need to strongly recommend it, Sonawane said. "Further improvements in provider recommendations can be made, given that it is the most important factor for improving HPV vaccine uptake," she said. "Providers should be prepared to tackle hesitancy by conveying the importance of HPV vaccination to parents and debunking vaccine misinformation. Increasing vaccine confidence [...]

2021-02-10T10:56:54-07:00February, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

How enlisting dentists can speed up Covid-19 vaccinations

Source: Knowable Magazine Date: February 3rd, 2021 Author: Mary E. Northridge OPINION: Dental care providers have the skills, the facilities and the trust of patients who might otherwise miss out   Even as the Biden administration has upped its Covid-19 vaccine goal to 1.5 million per day, early reports say vaccination rates are lagging in hard-hit Black and Latino communities. On both fronts, America’s dentists can help. Dental professionals — dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants — have been responding to the pandemic from the outset, even as many practices were shut down by the emergency. At the health center where I work in Brooklyn, dental providers first donated their personal protective equipment (PPE) to the affiliated hospital. Then many of them were redeployed to perform arterial blood gas measurements and even transport deceased patients to makeshift morgues. Today, the urgent need is to get millions of shots in arms. States should immediately authorize dental providers to administer Covid-19 vaccines. That would not only expand the trained immunization workforce, it would open up additional sites to dispense the vaccine and bolster vaccine acceptance among patients who do not routinely go to the doctor. This is not without precedent. In 2019, Oregon became the first state to allow dentists to offer any vaccine to patients. Other states, including Illinois and Minnesota, allow dentists to administer influenza vaccines. Since late 2020, Arkansas, Massachusetts and California have permitted dentists to administer Covid-19 vaccines. During this devastating public health emergency, this idea needs to be extended [...]

2021-02-08T12:25:34-07:00February, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Using proteogenomics to improve the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma

Source:, Baylor College of Medicine Author: Molly Chiu Patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), the sixth most common epithelial cancer worldwide, are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In addition, targeted agents, including an EGFR monoclonal antibody (mAb) inhibitor and two programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitors, have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for HNSCC treatment, but response rates are moderate. In this study, researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University and the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC) investigated what new insight proteogenomic analysis might offer into understanding why certain patients respond to certain treatments while other patients do not. They propose that their findings may help better match patients to an appropriate course of treatment in the future. Building a proteogenomic profile The team profiled proteins, phosphosites (a site on a protein associated with phosphorylation) and signaling pathways in 108 human papillomavirus-negative HNSCC tumors in order to understand how genetic aberrations drive tumor behavior and response to therapies. “We found three subtypes of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and each subtype may be a good candidate for a different type of therapy – EGFR inhibitors, CDK inhibitors or immunotherapy,” said Dr. Bing Zhang, lead contact of the study and professor in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center and the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor. “We also identified candidate biomarkers that could be used to match patients to effective [...]

2021-02-04T21:09:30-07:00February, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Patients with oral cancer may get relief from dry mouth through MU research

Source: Author: Tia Alphonse Gary Rackers bit his tongue one night, and it began to bleed. Thinking it wasn’t serious, he waited a couple of weeks, but something still didn’t feel right. So, he asked his wife to take a look. She was shocked, Rackers said. His tongue was black. After seeing his family physician and a local ear, nose and throat doctor in Jefferson City, Rackers was referred to Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. There, he connected with a physician who specialized in surgical treatment for patients with head and neck cancers. He was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma — a common oral cancer. The doctor ended up surgically removing half of Rackers’s tongue and nearly all of his teeth, and he began radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Since then, Rackers said he‘s had 33 radiation treatments and three rounds of chemotherapy. He is pleased and proud of the work his physician did, he said. Because of her, he’s in the recovery phase: “I’m doing good...and I’m feeling good.” Many head and neck cancer patients like Rackers lose their ability to produce saliva after radiation treatment. He said it doesn’t affect him much during the day, but his mouth gets quite dry at night. Dry mouth frequently disturbs his sleep, he said, causing him to often fetch water or juice for relief. “If I could get through the night,” he said, the days are easy. MU researcher and former dentist Olga Baker hopes to help patients like Rackers by dedicating [...]

2021-02-04T20:59:31-07:00February, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Distinct subtypes and potential treatment options found in analysis of head and neck cancers

Source: Author: Matthew Fowler Data published in the journal Cancer Cell presented possible new treatment options and elaborated on the contributions of key cancer-associated genes, phosphosites, and signaling pathways in human papillomavirus (HPV)­–negative head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC).1 The data systematically recorded information regarding the disease, with multi-omic analysis determining 3 distinct subtypes with high potential for treatment with respective available therapeutics. “This study extends our biological understanding of HPV[-negative] HNSCC and generates therapeutic hypotheses that may serve as the basis for future preclinical studies and clinical trials toward molecularly guided precision treatment of this aggressive cancer type,” wrote the investigators.2 The first subtype, called CIN for “chromosome instability”, was determined to have the worst prognosis. It was associated with the larynx, a history of smoking, and increased instability of chromosomes. The research team suggested that this cancer type would respond best to CDK4/6 inhibitor treatment given its relation to aberrations of the CCND1 and CDKN2A genes as well as a high activity of the CDK4 and CDK6 enzymes. The investigators analyzed a number of protein elevations of basal factors in the second subtype discovered, which was in turn called Basal. These represent the most basic proteins necessary for gene transcription activation. The subtype had both high activity in the EGFR signaling pathway and high expression of the AREG and TNFA molecules. This led the investigators to suggest that treatment with monoclonal antibodies targeting EGFR would best treat this subtype. Immune, the final subtype, was discovered among [...]

2021-02-03T10:49:17-07:00February, 2021|Oral Cancer News|
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