August 23, 2017

Health Roundup, Cancer Edition: Blood cancer, alternative medicine, Vit C, HIV as cancer cure, gum disease, clinical trials

New treatment approved for deadly blood cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration on Thursday approved the anti-cancer drug Besponsa, or inotuzumab ozogamicin, to treat B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL...Besponsa was evaluated in clinical studies involving 326 people with relapsed or refractory B-cell ALL who had received one or two prior treatments with other medication. More than 35 percent of people evaluated achieved complete remission for about eight months after taking Besponsa, compared with about 17 percent of those who took a different chemotherapy drug.

Treating Cancer With Alternative Medicine More Than Doubles Your Risk of Dying

Choosing alternative medicine to treat curable cancer instead of conventional cancer treatments more than doubles your risk of dying in five years, according to researchers from Yale University who analyzed 10 years of records in the National Cancer Database from 2004 to 2013 and identified 281 patients who had presented with early-stage breast, prostate, lung, or colorectal cancer – but decided to forgo conventional treatments in favor of alternative approaches.

Cancer survivors share incredible pictures of themselves before and after they beat the disease

 Cancer Survivors Before After

'I survived': This woman faced 4 surgeries, 55 chemos and 28 radiation treatments and has come through to live a happy, healthy life

Vitamin C May Encourage Blood Cancer Stem Cells to Die

Vitamin C may “tell” faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health.  The scientists warned it is impossible to get the required amount through fruit, and that such high quantities would be given intravenously. By injecting patients with it, sufferers can get up to 500 times the amount than they would through eating fruit and vegetables. Super-strength vitamin C doses could be a way to fight leukemia, 'exciting' early trials suggest.

How HIV Became a Cancer Cure
The immunologist behind the revolutionary new treatment set to win approval from the FDA.

In 2011, a team of researchers led by immunologist Carl June, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, reported stunning results after genetically altering the T-cells of three patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer that affects white blood cells. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2011, opened the field of cancer immunotherapy.
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About 15 years ago June first considered using HIV to kill cancer cells. It turns out the HIV works better with human T-cells than the mouse virus does.”  A CAR T-cell is a “chimera”—Greek for a fusion of two animals. It combines the “killing machinery” of T-cells with the precise antibody targeting of B-cells. A CAR T-cell is designed to bind to a particular site on the cancer cell. That means, unlike with chemotherapy and radiation, other cells in the body aren’t damaged when patients receive CAR T-cell infusions. The result is fewer unpleasant long-term side effects.

The characteristic that makes HIV so deadly—it incorporates its DNA directly into host cells’—also makes it pliable for gene therapy. In the 1990s, Dr. June’s lab at Penn experimentally treated HIV patients using a re-engineered form of the virus. The researchers used modified HIV cells as a tool to alter the DNA of T-cells, which prevented the virus from replicating. Dr. June calls the cut-and-paste job “an anti-HIV molecular scissors.”“When we started in 2010, there were only three groups in the world trying to treat cancer with CAR T-cells,” he says. “Now there are over 200 trials.”

A Cancer Conundrum: Too Many Drug Trials, Too Few Patients

With the arrival of two revolutionary treatment strategies, immunotherapy and personalized medicine, cancer researchers have found new hope — and a problem that is perhaps unprecedented in medical research. There are too many experimental cancer drugs in too many clinical trials, and not enough patients to test them on. The logjam is caused partly by companies hoping to rush profitable new cancer drugs to market, and partly by the nature of these therapies, which can be spectacularly effective but only in select patients.

Gum disease raises a woman's risk of cancer by up to 14% as oral inflammation promotes tumor development

Researchers from the University of Buffalo analyzed 65,869 postmenopausal women with an average age of 68.  They found that periodontal disease is associated with both esophageal and gallbladder cancer. Pathogens from the mouth are thought to easily infect the nearby esophagus. Inflammation has previously been linked to both gum disease and cancer onset.

Posted by Jill Fallon at August 23, 2017 11:49 AM | Permalink