Tag Archives: cancer

Bone cancer vaccine gives hope to dogs AND humans

iStock_000016358177XSmallA trial at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of veterinary medicine is introducing a groundbreaking treatment for dogs suffering from osteosarcoma. Dogs in the trial are receiving an experimental vaccine that trains the immune system to recognize tumor cells and to kill them- and it’s working!

More than 10,000 dogs are diagnosed each year with osteosarcoma, which is an aggressive type of bone cancer. Most dogs die within a year of diagnosis, but in this trial, many of the dogs in the study have survived for more than two years. Check out this video to see an update on Denali, a therapy dog enrolled in the trial.

The biology of canine osteosarcoma is the same as the biology of these tumors in children, so the information gained from this study could one day help children with osteosarcoma. There are also types of breast cancer that have similarities to osteosarcoma, so the human benefits aren’t limited to one type of cancer.

Researchers are looking for more dogs with osteosarcoma to participate in this trial. Does your dog qualify? If so, check out the link here for more information.

Virus may obliterate triple-negative breast cancer!

iStock_000013954899SmallNot all cases of breast cancer are the same, and patients can require very different treatments depending of the type of tumors involved. Because different types of tumors contain different receptors, it’s important to tailor the treatments in order to be as effective as possible. Now, researchers have found that a virus could prove to be an effective treatment for patients with triple-negative breast cancer, which is extremely aggressive and difficult to treat.

Adeno-associated virus type 2, or AAV2, is a virus that doesn’t cause illness in humans. It does, however, kill cancer cells without affecting normal cells. In cell cultures, AAV2 wiped out 100% of the targeted cancer cells! As an added bonus, when cancer cells were infected with AAV2, more proteins that promoted healthy cell growth were produced!

In mice with tumors derived from human breast cancer cells, researchers saw amazing results after injecting AAV2- tumors shrank, the mice didn’t show any signs of illness, and they all survived through the study, unlike the untreated mice. This research could mean hope on the horizon for patients with triple-negative breast cancer! Read more about it here:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-06/ps-vkt062414.php

Leukemia pill could bring hope to other cancer patients

iStock_000014156140SmallA pill intended for leukemia treatment may soon make a big difference for patients suffering from a variety of cancers. These drugs worked so well against leukemia that during trials, patients taking placebo pills were switched over to the real drug!

Cancer cells produce an enzyme called p110. This enzyme suppresses immunity, making it hard for the body to fight back against disease. The drug works by blocking that enzyme so the body can fight back more efficiently.

It turns out that this pill could be effective against a wider range of cancers than previously thought. Through research in mice with a variety of cancers, survival rate was greatly increased. Mouse studies indicate that this could be an effective treatment against breast cancer by not only minimizing the spread of the disease, but also by improving survival rates after removal of breast tumors!

P110 inhibitors could quickly become part of cancer treatments, as the drugs are already being successfully used on cancer patients. It will be interesting to see if administration of this drug for other types of cancer will be as successful as animal trials. Read more about it here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2655793/Pill-used-treat-leukaemia-used-beat-cancers-stop-deadly-disease-returning.html

Prospects for puppies with parvovirus: possibly pleasantly positive!

sick puppyAnyone who has worked at a vet clinic likely knows the nightmare called PARVO. Canine parvovirus is an extremely contagious viral disease that attacks white blood cells, can cause permanent damage to the heart, and is often fatal, even after expensive treatments. But thanks to geese, puppies may have a light at the end of the tunnel… and not that light!

While working on treatments for geese with West Nile virus, researchers at Avianax discovered that antibodies harvested from the yolks of goose eggs could be purified, put back into other birds, and effectively treat the animals.

Naturally, their next step was… saving puppies, of course! Incredibly, this new drug can work in as quickly as two days against parvovirus. So far, early tests are showing a 90% cure rate, and at a projected $75 a dose, this could be a game-changer! Trials will run through the fall of 2014, and the hope is that this treatment could be on the market by spring of 2015.

Avianax has also realized that these antibodies could potentially make a difference when it comes to treating rabies, dengue fever, bird flu, and some kinds of cancer. Human trials are considerably more expensive and time-consuming, so future studies are definitely further down the road, but this is something worth keeping an eye on!

http://bostonherald.com/business/business_markets/2014/06/trial_results_promising_for_curing_puppies_parvo

A single-shot cure for cancer

healthcareThat’s the goal: “a single-shot cure for cancer.” For Stacy Erholtz, a 49-year-old cancer patient battling multiple myeloma, a heavy dose of the measles virus put her in complete remission!

Mayo Clinic researchers injected patients with an engineered measles virus that is similar to the measles vaccine. But this wasn’t your normal vaccine; the virus was engineered to make it toxic only to cancer cells, and Stacy was given enough to vaccinate 10 million people.

The measles virus makes cancer cells group together and explode. This gets rid of the cancer cells and triggers the immune system to react against them. For Stacy, it worked. One other patient in the trial experienced a reduction in bone marrow cancer and tumor growth, but cancer returned after 9 months.

While success in one patient doesn’t prove that researchers have found this single-shot cure, it’s definitely a proof of concept. The virus killed cancer cells while leaving other body cells unharmed, and while cancer patients have been treated with viruses in the past, this is the first time that a patient with full-body cancer has experienced remission after virotherapy.

Virotherapy has been tested in animal models in the hope of developing treatments for breast cancer, endometrial cancer, gallbladder cancer, and even canine cancer. A single-shot cure for cancer could revolutionize treatments for our loved ones and pets! Read more about this particular study here:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/15/health/measles-cancer-remission/

Drug could protect against deadly doses of radiation

iStock_000021920206SmallUnfortunately, the nuclear disasters in Chernobyl and Fukushima have shown us just how catastrophic radiation can be. But what if there was a way to intervene in the 24 hours after radiation exposure, limiting damage to the human body? Researchers are optimistic that they’ve discovered a promising treatment.

Normally, radiation exposure affects the integrity of the intestines, which can lead to radiation-induced gastrointestinal syndrome (RIGS). There is no cure for RIGS, but now, there might be a way to prevent it. But by administering a compound (DMOG) that blocks certain proteins, researchers found that in mice, tissues were modified in a way that allowed them to repair and regenerate.

A potential treatment for those exposed to radiation is really good news. The survival rate in mice was greatly increased after this therapy, and there’s a possibility that this could also have an impact on patients receiving radiation during cancer treatments. While it’s too early to tell whether or not cancer patients could benefit from this drug, the good news is that it’s already in clinical trials to treat a blood disorder, so safety assessments are already in the works. Read more about the research here:

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/05/drug-could-protect-against-radiation-exposure

Opossums, melanoma, and HIV research- oh, my!

google free mini opossumLaboratory opossums (Monodelphis domestica) are marsupials that are native to South America. Unlike North American opossums, which are the size of a full-grown cat, they’re only about six inches long. But for such a small size, they’ve made quite an impact in the field of biomedical research.

They are excellent research models for a variety of reasons. Mini opossums are the only mammal (besides humans) to develop malignant melanoma after UV radiation. Because of this trait, researchers can test new treatments for melanoma and research prevention strategies. And amazingly, these animals also have the ability to heal after severe spinal cord injuries sustained during the first week of life. Adults are unable to do this, so researchers are working to identify the genes that switch this capability on and off.

They give birth to extremely underdeveloped young (gestation is only 14-15 days!), which cling to the mother and remain attached to her for a few more weeks until they are fully developed. This unique trait makes them an excellent model for research on early development, as well as transplant and cancer research. The laboratory opossum is also the first marsupial to have its genome sequenced, and in addition to the applications above, it’s also important in heart disease research, HIV research, and comparative genetics. They’re pretty important animals- read more about them here!

https://txbiomed.org/about/extraordinary-resources/the-laboratory-opossum

Leukemia and Down syndrome: a link discovered

iStock_000020666748SmallIt’s been known for decades that the incidence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is 20 times higher in children with Down syndrome than in the general population. And now- thanks to mice- researchers know why!

People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of part or all of chromosome 21. And by working with mice that carry extra copies of genes that are found on chromosome 21, researchers have identified the link between Down syndrome and ALL. Long story short, this particular type of leukemia is caused by an excess of abnormal white blood cells that are supposed to fight infections but don’t work properly. These mice led researchers to the specific proteins involved in this process, and they found- and confirmed in human cell samples- that the gene responsible for spurring the creation of these abnormal cells was an extra gene on chromosome 21. Link: discovered.

While there currently aren’t any drugs that target this specific gene, researchers now know where to focus. Now that they know where the problem lies, they can work to develop drugs that could potentially reduce the chances of a child with Down syndrome developing leukemia! It’s also possible that ALL patients without Down syndrome could benefit from this research.

It’s not good news yet; there’s still work to be done. But I support the fight against pediatric cancer- and the mice do, too!

http://www.alnmag.com/news/2014/04/link-between-down-syndrome-and-leukemia-found-mice?et_cid=3895294&et_rid=655142386&type=headline

YOUR golden retriever could save lives!

golder retriever puppies with motherOK, I’m not assuming that your golden retriever is going to rescue mudslide victims, sniff out bombs or detect low blood sugar levels. But if you have a golden retriever, it’s entirely possible that your dog could help save lives by advancing scientific knowledge. Interested?

The Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is enrolling golden retrievers in an attempt to learn how to prevent cancer and other diseases in dogs. They’re hoping to enroll 3,000 dogs- could your dog be one of them? Click here to find out more about the study.

Golden retrievers are awesome. They’re one of the most popular breeds, but unfortunately, many die of cancer. Information gained from the dogs in this study will benefit all breeds and could possibly help humans, too. And it’s an easy enough job; during annual vet visits, it’s as simple as quick blood and urine samples sent off for analysis.

Do you own a golden? Do you have a friend with a golden retriever? Pass this along; let’s help them fill this study!

http://www.denverpost.com/rss/ci_25443269

Exploding cancer cells? Yes, please!

iStock_000006862055SmallGlioblastoma is an aggressive type of brain tumor. Glioblastomas are difficult to treat, very aggressive, and survival rates aren’t very good. But researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm have found a potential silver bullet- a substance called Vacquinol-1 that makes glioblastoma cells explode and die!

So how does it work? This molecule alters the cancer cells so they can’t control the substances being carried into the cell from the outside. This results in a large number of vacuoles forming inside the cell, and eventually, the cell explodes.

To develop this treatment, researchers used cell cultures and exposed tumor cells to different molecules. Once they found molecules that killed the tumor cells, they did more research to narrow down potential candidates for a treatment. They identified a single molecule that they wanted to pursue, and through further studies in mice, they found that tumor growth was reversed and the mice survived for longer than those in control groups.

This could potentially work on other types of cancer cells, too, but until clinical trials proceed, researchers won’t know. The hope is to get this treatment into clinical trials quickly, because this is definitely a novel approach to attacking this type of tumor! Read more:

http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/03/substance-makes-cancer-explode?et_cid=3836544&et_rid=655142386&type=cta