Rhod Gilbert: Doctor reveals how ‘brutal’ therapy tackled comedian’s cancer

Source: www.bbc.com Author: Natalie Grice, BBC News Prof Mererid Evans says Rhod Gilbert "wanted something positive to come out of his experience" "A patient once described it to me as brutal, and it's really stuck with me, because it's difficult to go through." What's so brutal? It's the cancer treatment Prof Mererid Evans routinely prescribes to the people who come to her, hoping she will save their lives, and which she aims to improve with research she is leading. It was the same word used by Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert when in 2022 he found himself sitting in front of the consultant oncologist after being diagnosed with throat, neck, tongue and tonsil cancer. Rhod Gilbert was a patron of Velindre Cancer Centre for 10 years before his diagnosis Her famous patient suddenly put her consulting room at Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff, in the limelight when he made a documentary about his treatment. "Rhod wanted something positive to come out of his experience," said Prof Evans, 54, head and neck specialist at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff, a professor at Cardiff University's cancer and genetics division, and head of the Wales Cancer Research Centre. "We talked about the treatment he'd be receiving and I think he felt it was an opportunity to highlight what it's like going through cancer treatment." The resulting Channel 4 programme, A Pain in the Neck for SU2C, followed Gilbert through diagnosis, treatment and the aftermath. Head and neck cancer is the eighth [...]

Newcastle innovator LightOx makes new breakthroughs in mouth cancer treatment

Source: www.business-live.co.uk Author: Coreena Ford, Chronicle and Journal business writer A Newcastle company says it has made breakthroughs in the treatment of early-stage mouth cancers on the back of an Innovate UK funding programme. Based in Newcastle city centre, LightOx uses technologies to develop light-activated treatment that can improve outcomes for patients and reduce the need for surgery. As well as a drug development arm, the company has a research tools business that sells products for research purposes. With funding from Analysis for Innovators (A4I), a grant funding programme run by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, the company is developing new light-activated chemotherapy for the treatment of early-stage oral cancer. It is the first of its kind in the UK and is currently completing pre-clinical testing. The company’s new class of light-activated chemotherapy should be administered by dentists or trained clinicians, who will apply a gel to the affected area and activate the drug with light. LightOx directors say the ground-breaking treatment is quick, simple and involves fewer side effects than surgery. They say the non-invasive treatment also significantly improves the overall patient experience, and has the potential to revolutionise light-based therapeutic markets globally. It lacked the research and development expertise to explore its potential further, and with help from A4I and its large network of partner organisations, the firm worked with Oxford-based Central Laser Facility (CLF), an institution of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, which gave the LightOx team access to its expertise and an unparalleled range [...]

“Immunotherapy is keeping me alive” – John’s story

Source: www.icr.ac.uk Author: John Dabell On his daughter’s second birthday in 2009, John Dabell was diagnosed with advanced head and neck cancer. He went through extensive surgery and treatment and was on the road to recovery when he was diagnosed with cancer again – this time, a tumour in his throat. John was told he didn’t have long to live. But then he started immunotherapy. Here, he talks about its incredible impact and the opportunity it’s given him to spend more time with his wife and daughter. The first red flag telling me something was wrong was when my tongue started to swell. I soldiered on because I didn’t think there was anything sinister going on. That was a mistake. I started having difficulty eating and swallowing, but I put that down to my throat being sore. I was also extremely tired, but I had a young daughter at home and was busy being a primary school teacher. After about a month, things hadn’t improved. I found that I couldn’t utter my words in the same way and things started to get painful. Then my tongue inflated, and I went to see my GP, who recommended I see my dentist. My dentist immediately referred me to a head and neck specialist at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. My life changed forever A biopsy and MRI scan revealed that I had a tumour growing inside my tongue and it was stage four head and neck cancer. This knocked me for [...]

Head and neck cancer: Additional chemotherapy increases survival rate for older patients

Source: www.dental-tribune.com Author: Franziska Beir, Dental Tribune International Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and results in approximately 450,000 deaths per year. As a result of demographic change, the proportion of older patients with this type of cancer is continuously increasing, and these patients are under-represented in clinical trials. The question of whether older patients should be treated with chemotherapy or drug therapy—in addition to radiotherapy—can cause controversy, and the association with higher survival rates has remained unclear. A large-scale international study involving University of Leipzig Medical Center and 12 other university hospitals has now proved the effectiveness of this combined treatment. Cancer treatment for older patients is more individualised compared with that for younger patients, owing to an increasing prevalence of frailty, comorbidities and a higher vulnerability to chemotherapy-related toxic effects. Standardised treatment for head and neck cancer either entails surgical removal of the tumour followed by radiotherapy or organ-preserving radiotherapy in combination with chemotherapy. The latter treatment is especially controversial, and there has been a lack of clinical data to determine the best option. The study involved 12 university hospitals in Europe and the US. The researchers analysed data from 1,044 older patients (65 years or older) with head and neck cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx or larynx. Between 2005 and 2019, 234 of these patients were treated with radiotherapy alone and 810 with radiotherapy in combination with either chemotherapy (677) or an alternative drug therapy with an antibody against a growth [...]

These microbes found in tumours promote cancer. What if we just kill them?

Source: www.nationalgeographic.co.uk Author: Sanjay Mishra An unfathonable number of bacteria, live in and on our bodies; most providing some benefits. Now researchers have discovered that some species of bacteria are actually protecting cancer cells. This finding could inspire new strategies to fight cancer.Photograph by illustration by Russell Kightley, Science Photo Library Most bacteria living in the human body help us thrive, but recent studies show that some infiltrate tumours, helping them grow, spread, and become more difficult for the immune system to destroy. The human body contains 100 trillion or so microbial cells, almost as many, if not more, than the number of human cells in the body. Bacteria make up most of this microbiome, living in our gut, on our skin, in the respiratory and urogenital tracts, and in mammary glands. A number of recent studies have revealed that bacteria are also present in a wide variety of tumours, where they live not only between cells but even inside them. The bacteria were thought to be taking advantage of a favourable growing environment; scientists had no idea whether these microbes could alter cancer prognosis. Now a study published recently in Nature shows that bacteria in oral and colorectal tumors can directly promote cancer by suppressing the human immune response and helping cancer cells spread more rapidly. An accompanying study published in the journal Cell Reports finds that some anticancer drugs, such as 5-fluorouracil, may be effective because they also kill the bacteria which help the tumour develop. [...]

Treatment side effects to head and neck cancer patients reduced using immunotherapy

Source: www.theepochtimes.com Authors: Shan Lam, Nathan Amery Head and neck cancer patients suffer many side effects from conventional treatments, research shows such side effects can be reduced by using the recently developed “immunotherapy” treatment. Hong Kong Cancer Information Charity Foundation (CICF) announced the results of a questionnaire survey on “head and neck cancers” on Nov. 15. It was found that over 80 percent of the respondents experienced eating difficulties, including taste changes, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and oral ulcers; Respondents who received conventional treatment reported an average of 8.5 treatment side effects, and 43 percent had 10 or more side effects. CICF pointed out that the emergence of “immunotherapy” in recent years has reduced the side effects of conventional treatments and urged the government to include related treatments in funding projects. According to the CICF, head and neck cancers refer to cancer lesions in the head and neck, which can be divided into two types: head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. They are named after the original organs, such as oral cancer, hypopharyngeal cancer, and throat cancer. Over the past ten years, the number of new cases of head and neck cancers in Hong Kong has continued to rise, and the average number of deaths is 210 each year, accounting for 30 percent of those new cases. In the middle of 2022, the research team interviewed 97 head and neck cancer patients directly or through their caregivers in the form of an online questionnaire. The purpose was [...]

2022-11-30T21:31:35-07:00November, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Using artificial intelligence to help cancer patients avoid excessive radiation

Source: medicalxpress.com Author: by Case Western Reserve University A Case Western Reserve University-led team of scientists has used artificial intelligence (AI) to identify which patients with certain head and neck cancers would benefit from reducing the intensity of treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The researchers used AI tools similar to those they developed over the last decade at the Center for Computational Imaging and Personal Diagnostics (CCIPD) at Case Western Reserve. In this case, they asked the computer to analyze digitized images of tissue samples that had been taken from 439 patients from six hospital systems with a type of head and neck cancer known as human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPCSCC). The computer program successfully identified a subset of patients who might have benefited from a significantly reduced dose of radiation therapy. While that analysis was retrospective—meaning the computer analyzed data from patients in which the eventual outcome was already known—the researchers said their next step could be to test its accuracy in clinical trials. Their research was published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The work was led by Anant Madabhushi, CCIPD director and the Donnell Institute Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Case School of Engineering, along with Germán Corredor Prada, a research associate in the CCIPD lab. 'Overtreating patients' Although most others with HPV-driven cancer would still benefit from aggressive treatment—along with patients whose cancer was unrelated to the virus—the researchers said their study revealed a significant group was [...]

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy issues: What audiologists need to know

Source: journals.lww.com Author: A. Croutch, Carl AuD With hearing loss, tinnitus, and imbalance as among the numerous side-effects of cancer treatment,1 audiologists play a critical role in monitoring patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) attributed to chemotherapy and radiation therapy is usually permanent, making audiometric monitoring essential to detect its early occurrence.2 Cisplatin, carboplatin & radiation therapy Chemotherapy is used to treat cancer, control the growth and spread of cancer cells, and ease cancer symptoms. Cisplatin and carboplatin are two common antineoplastic agents used to treat testicular, ovarian, breast, esophageal, lung, and head and neck cancers among others. Besides hearing loss, these can cause other side effects including kidney, gastrointestinal disorders, allergic reactions, decreased immunity to infections, and hemorrhaging. Cisplatin was first found to have cytotoxic properties in the 1960s, and in 1978 was the first platinum compound approved by the FDA for cancer treatment.3 On the other hand, carboplatin is less potent than cisplatin and does have fewer side effects, especially on kidney problems.3 Both drugs work by interfering with DNA repair mechanisms causing DNA damage and inducing apoptosis in cancer cells. Cancerous cells cannot limit cell division as do normal cells. Normal cells cease dividing when they encounter similar cells whereas cancerous cells do not. The effectiveness of chemotherapy is determined by its ability to damage the RNA or DNA that gives the cell instructions to copy itself. The cells will die if they are unable to divide. The more quickly they are dividing, [...]

2021-09-09T06:48:49-07:00September, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Giving hope: research on rare head and neck cancer treatment options

Source: www.curetoday.com Author: Antonia DePace Findings from a phase 3 clinical trial demonstrated improved tumor shrinkage rates with the immune checkpoint inhibitor toripalimab and a first-line chemotherapy combination for nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a tumor that occurs in the nasopharynx (located behind the nose and above the back of the throat). The promising results may open the door to new clinical trials assessing triplet therapies with Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs and provide hope for better treatment options for this patient population. Results from the JUPITER-02 trial were presented at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. In 2020, toripalimab received a breakthrough-therapy designation (approval to expedite drug development) for metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Of note, toripalimab is approved in China for several indications, but it is not FDA approved. Currently, the worldwide standard of care for these patients is first-line chemotherapy with gemcitabine and cisplatin. “By adding immunotherapy to the combination, we hope to improve survival and increase the time from starting therapy to progression of the cancer,” said Dr. Glenn Hanna, director of the Center for Salivary and Rare Head and Neck Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, in response to the trial results. “If the triplet (therapy) has better rates of tumor shrinkage and prolongs survival with a reasonable side effect profile, that’s a win.” The possible addition of a novel regimen is exciting. “Treatment advances for late-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma have lagged behind those of other cancers,” Dr. Julie R. Gralow, ASCO chief medical officer [...]

Calls grow for treatment deintensification of HPV-positive OPC

Source: ww.pharmacytimes.com Author: Bryan Fitzgerald, PharmD, BCOP Health-System Edition, July 2021, Volume 10, Issue 4 Oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) is a type of head and neck cancer that affects structures in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue, the posterior pharynx, the soft palate, and the tonsils.1 In the United States, rates of OPC are increasing each year, with an estimated 54,010 new cases in 2021.2 Well-established risk factors include alcohol abuse; exposure to tobacco, including chewing tobacco, cigarettes, and pipes; and infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). With an estimated 43 million infections in 2018, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States.3 HPV infection is causally linked with cancers of the anogenital region, including anal, cervical, penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. When HPV is spread orally, infections can also lead to the development of OPC. In the United States, more than 70% of OPC cases are caused by HPV.4 HPV is a group of more than 100 viruses, including certain high-risk strains associated with the development of cancer. The HPV-16 strain is responsible for causing the majority of HPV-positive (HPV+) OPC cases, with HPV-18, HPV-33, and HPV-35 also contributing, albeit significantly less than HPV-16.1 In these high-risk HPV strains, the viral genome encodes several oncogenic proteins that inhibit tumor suppressor proteins, leading to chromosomal instability and malignancy in infected cells. HPV+ OPC is considered a genetically distinct form of OPC. Compared with HPV-negative (HPC–) OPC cases, HPV+ OPC is associated with a [...]

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