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Updates on Molecular Cancer Pathology

Posted May 22 2009 10:40pm
1) Molecular profiling may help determine patient's response to cancer therapies, research suggests.
A pilot study of molecular profiling of tumors, helped to identify therapies that ultimately had an impact on the disease.The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are "striving to profile individual tumors so that therapy can be personalized, which means that it has a better chance of working because it targets specific mutations found in that tumor. This also prevents patients from being exposed to drugs that have a limited chance of success, eliminating toxicity and improving quality of life.

2 )Scientists developing new techniques for detecting CTCs in cancer patients' blood-Medscape report
Measuring "circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of cancer patients" gives " an indication of whether or not the patient is responding" to treatment. Presently, "there is only one commercially available product to measure CTCs -- CellSearch (Veridex LLC)." Now, one device in development "promises to be cheaper and faster," say University of California-Los Angeles researchers. The "new technique is based on a microfilter device."

3) Bladder cancer cells may have two distinct genetic patterns, research suggests.
Bladder cancer cells have two distinct genetic patterns, depending on whether they are invasive or not," say University of Southern California-Los Angeles scientists. The " discovery opens the possibility of monitoring the disease by a simple urine test," which would enable clinicians to sidestep "invasive procedures."

4) Immune cells could be reprogrammed to attack prostate cancer, scientists say.
Reprogrammed immune cells could become targeted 'killing machines' against prostate cancer." In fact, "these reprogrammed T cells sharply reduced the levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in two patients with metastatic prostate cancer," scientists at the Roger Williams Medical Center said. But first, the team had to "isolate a patient's T cells from a blood sample and use genetic engineering techniques to make them sensitive to a molecule that only occurs in prostate cancer -- prostate specific membrane antigen, or PSMA."

5) Researchers say presence of certain variants in MC1R gene may increase melanoma risk.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania "analyzed 779 patients with melanoma and compared them to 325 healthy people." The investigators found that the "presence of certain variants in the MC1R gene was linked with at least a twofold increased risk of melanoma, and was largely confined to those people who would not normally be considered at increased risk."
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