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We Support World Cancer Day 2019!


4th February 2019 is World Cancer Day

Each year on 4 February, World Cancer Day empowers all of us across the world to show support, raise our collective voice, take personal action and press our governments to do more. World Cancer Day is the only day on the global health calendar where we can all unite and rally under the one banner of cancer in a positive and inspiring way.

Click here to find out more about WCD, download information sheets and share your support!

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New combination blood test for pancreatic cancer


A new approach to pancreatic cancer screening may help doctors detect the disease in people at high risk before it reaches more advanced and difficult-to treat stages.

A team led by Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) scientists has developed a new, simple blood test that, when combined with an existing test, detects nearly 70 percent of pancreatic cancers with a less than 5 percent false-positive rate.

The results of the blinded study were published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose because it often doesn't have obvious early symptoms.

By the time the disease is found, it typically is quite advanced, complicating treatment and leading to poorer outcomes.

Only 8.5 percent of people with pancreatic cancer survive past five years, a figure that has risen just slightly since the early 1990s.

"Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease made even more devastating by its tendency to spread before detection, which is a serious roadblock to successful medical treatment," said Brian Haab, Ph.D., a VARI professor and the study's senior author.

"We hope that our new test, when used in conjunction with the currently available test, will help doctors catch and treat pancreatic cancer in high-risk individuals before the disease has spread."

Both tests detect and measure levels of sugars produced by pancreatic cancer cells that subsequently escape into the blood stream.

The sugar measured by the new test - sTRA - is produced by a different subset of pancreatic cancers than CA-19-9, the sugar measured by the existing test.

When used together, the tests cast a broader net and detect subtypes of pancreatic cancer that may have been missed by using one of the two tests on its own.

The CA-19-9 test was developed almost 40 years ago and detects only about 40 percent of pancreatic cancers.

It currently is used to confirm diagnosis of pancreatic cancer or track disease progression rather than screen for the disease.

The improved detection rate offered by the combined use of the sTRA and CA-19-9 tests makes this approach a viable option for screening and early intervention, particularly in people who have a higher risk for developing the disease.

This includes people who have a family history of pancreatic cancer, who have had pancreatic cysts or chronic pancreatitis, or who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes later in life.

Emerging evidence has suggested that sudden onset of diabetes after age 50 could be an early symptom of some pancreatic cancers.

Currently, life-long diabetes is not considered to be a risk factor for or indicator of pancreatic cancer.

"We believe using these tests in a complementary fashion will help physicians detect pancreatic cancers much sooner in the disease process, which significantly improves a patient's chance for survival," Haab said.

"Right now, there are few options for people suspected to have pancreatic cancer. This combined blood test could be a simple, cost-effective way to detect disease early enough to improve patient outcomes."

Haab and his collaborators plan to partner with clinical laboratories to gain additional real-world validation for their method.

If successful as expected, they envision the test becoming widely available as a screening tool for high-risk individuals.

Source: Val Andel Research Institute

Click here to read more at ecancernews

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Scientists connect dots between colitis and colon cancer


Lingering inflammation in the colon is a known risk factor for colorectal cancer and now scientists report one way it resets the stage to enable this common and often deadly cancer.

Inflammation is supposed to be a short-term response to an infection or other irritant in the body that is essential to eliminating it. But when inflammation persists, it can contribute to a myriad of common conditions, from cancer to cardiovascular disease.

In their quest to determine just how chronic inflammation of our large intestines, or colon, enables cancer, a scientific team led by Dr. Kebin Liu at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University has found it turns one more protective mechanism against us and silences another.

The pathway to cancer they delineated in the journal Cell Reports goes like this: The chronic inflammation of ulcerative colitis prompts high levels of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, or MDSCs, to accumulate in the colon. High levels of MDSCs, in turn, produce higher levels of IL-10, a cytokine known to suppress inflammation. But at this high level, the function of IL-10, like the environment in the colon, changes. IL-10 instead activates STAT3, a protein that works as a gene regulator, which in turn increases expression of two genes—DNMT1 and DNMT3b—in the colon. These genes alter the DNA of and ultimately silence a tumor suppressor called interferon regulator factor 8, or IRF8.

Liu notes that the pathway they found that ends with silencing IRF8, likely is not a factor for non-colitis associated colon cancer.

Next steps include finding ways to inhibit high expression of IL-10 in the colon.

"IL-10 has a dual function. It can either be promoting or interfering with an immune response," says Liu. "What we found here is IL-10 promotes colon cancer."

In a healthy state, IL-10 and IRF8 have no known interaction but both work in different ways to protect against invaders, says Liu, a cancer immunologist in the MCG Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The scientists set out to look at whether and how the two are connected in a chronically inflamed colon and test the hypothesis that IRF8 functions as a colorectal cancer suppressor.

Click here to continue reading this article sourced from Medical Xpress.


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Surgical Practices May Explain Survival Differences


Poor colorectal cancer survival rates in some countries could be due to lower rates of surgical resection in those areas, particularly among elderly patients, according to findings from a retrospective, tumor-registry study published in The Lancet Oncology.1 Surgical techniques did not appear to correlate with survival rates in the comparative study of treatment patterns and patient outcomes in England, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

“Survival from colon cancer and rectal cancer in England and colon cancer in Denmark was lower than in Norway and Sweden,” the authors reported. “Survival paralleled the relative provision of resectional surgery in these countries. Differences in patient selection for surgery, especially in patients older than 75 years or individuals with advanced disease, might partly explain these differences in international colorectal cancer survival.”

Click here to read the full article sourced from Cancer Therapy Advisor.

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UN Scientist Stands Behind Bacon Research


Christopher Wild, the outgoing director for the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has spoken in defense of research that links the consumption of processed meats like bacon to cancer.

The Guardian reports that the original research, which was released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2015, caused an outcry when it concluded that processed meat is carcinogenic, like smoking and asbestos. Just over three years later, Wild still stands by the study’s findings, which sparked headlines such as “save our bacon.”

“The science was crystal clear,” Wild said. “We placed quite a bit of emphasis on the dose-response, if you like – the relationship between quantities eaten and effect.”

Wild further explained the original research, stating that although tobacco, ultraviolet radiation, alcohol, and processed meat are all “grade 1 carcinogens,” this does not mean that they are all equally hazardous. Rather, risk factor depends on how much, and how often processed meat is eaten.

The IARC study is not alone in linking eating bacon and other processed meats to health issues. According to the WHO, diets high in red meat cause up to 50,000 deaths a year while processed meat is responsible for 34,000.

Last May, a study released by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) revealed that ditching processed meat, adopting a regular exercise regime, and avoiding alcohol and sugary drinks can reduce the risk of cancer by 40 percent.

Researchers noted that while processed meat raises the risk of cancer, a plant-based diet rich in whole foods like beans, grains, nuts and seeds, vegetables, and fruits can protect against it. The WCRF advises that people should “consume very little, if any, processed meat.”

Adding to the growing body of medical research on the health benefits of a vegan diet, a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that a plant-based diet may lower the risk of colon cancer by as much as 16 percent and rectal cancer by 29 percent. Meat-heavy diets such as keto and paleo, meanwhile, do not lower one’s risk of cancer. Additionally, a study published in The Lancet Public Health, which analyzed the diets of more than 16,000 adults, found that low-carb, high-meat diets could reduce life expectancy...

Click here to read the full article sourced from livekindly.com

Kat Smith
News Editor
January 2019

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Smile please, Dr AI will see you now


By Will Peakin/ December 15, 2018

A trial is underway in the Highlands and Islands of a potentially transformative procedure that will use artificial intelligence to detect bowel cancer.

A capsule containing a tiny camera is swallowed by a patient and passes through their gastrointestinal tract, capturing up to 400,000 images which are then transmitted for analysis.

The procedure is accurate, cost effective, and significantly less disruptive to patients than existing methods. The new funding will support the development of artificial intelligence in analysing the images.

Bowel cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in Scotland, and the second most deadly with around 1,600dying from the disease every year.

Currently, invasive, time-consuming and expensive optical endoscopes are used to investigate bowel cancers and gastrointestinal diseases; 30 million in the world, 1m in the UK and 100,000 in Scotland.

Using the minimally invasive colon capsule endoscopy (CCE),a gastrointestinal investigation can be initiated by a GP, undertaken in the patient’s home, and overseen by a consultant remotely.

The pioneering programme involves a partnership comprising NHS Highland, the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI), the web services provider OpenBrolly, and Danish firm CorporateHealth International (CHI), which has established a base in Inverness.

Feasibility studies have already been conducted at primary care sites in Skye and Ullapool.

Now, from their base in Aurora House on Inverness Campus, CHI and its partners are developing a new ‘patient pathway’ that is locally-based and delivers fast results in a cost-effective way.

“By enabling what are currently complex hospital investigations to be done easily at home,” explained Hagen Wenzek, CorporateHealth’s chief innovation officer, “and by allowing a patient’s medical team to quickly see very accurate results, we’re delivering benefits for clinicians, for public spending and, importantly, for patients. The potential is huge.”

CHI’s founders, Hamburg- based Dr Cornelius Glismann and New York-based Dr Wenzek had been looking around the world for the right partners to develop their diagnostic pathway.

An existing collaboration between the University of Southern Denmark and Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Institute led to Wenzek and Glismann sharing their proposals with DHI’s chief executive George Crooks.

Professor Crooks introduced them to Professor Angus Watson at NHS Highland and James Cameron, Head of Life Sciences at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Professor Watson was already exploring this type of approach but lacked the resources to scale it up, which is CHI’s speciality.

Watson had also been working with Elgin-based IT specialists OpenBrolly on projects such as MyCancerPortal. OpenBrolly were experienced in pulling information across NHS firewalls and had learnt effective ways to anonymise patient information and then re-attach it to individual patient records.

Facilitated by DHI and HIE, the partners discovered that they shared the same commitment and confidence in the benefits the project promises. “I didn’t think a government agency could be so flexible and proactive,” added Wenzek. “The collaborative support we’ve had from HIE has been outstanding.”

CHI was one of the first companies to open a base at Inverness Campus,a 215-acre enterprise park with a particular focus on Life Sciences which is becoming a significant economic driver for the Highlands and Islands.

Thirty jobs, including AI and data specialists, are to be created at Inverness Campus over three years and, as demand rises, medical analysts based in Hamburg will be augmented by additional analysts in Inverness who will be reviewing images submitted from capsules across the UK.

Inverness will be CHI’s global research and development centre and, through its collaboration with HIE, the company has already won a contract with Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to research ways that the analytical process can be undertaken by artificial intelligence.

“This exciting initiative is leading the way toward scalable, community-based bowel cancer screening in a way that can address the substantive backlogs we currently face,” commented Adrian Smith, head of digital transformation at NHS Arden & GEM CSU.

“This is an exceptional and highly creative programme driven by a passionately committed and knowledgeable set of partners that will underpin significant patient, clinician and system-wide benefits.”

Click here to read the full article sourced by Future Scot.

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Study Identifies 40 New Genetic Variants


Collaboration involved researchers from more than 130 institutions globally.

December 3, 2018

The most comprehensive genomewide association study, or GWAS, of colorectal cancer risk to date has discovered 40 new genetic variants and validated 55 previously identified variants that signal an increased risk of colon cancer.

The study, published today in Nature Genetics, also has identified the first rare protective variant for instances of sporadic colorectal cancer, i.e., those not associated with a known familial risk syndrome, and which account for the vast majority of colorectal cancer cases.

Genetic variants occur from differences in our DNA. Most variants are believed to be benign, some are known to be associated with various diseases, and the significance of many others is unknown. While individual genetic variants have little impact on disease risk, several combined variants can become clinically relevant, and this could have an impact on future personalized screening recommendations.

Together, the findings are a significant step toward creating personalized screening strategies and better informing drug development for colorectal cancer. The study identified several loci, the physical location of the gene on a chromosome, near proposed drug targets and genes in pathways not previously known to be causally linked to colorectal cancer.

“A study of this magnitude was possible only through collaboration with our partners from institutions around the world,” said Ulrike “Riki” Peters, PhD, MPH, associate director of the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the institution which led the study. “Understanding the genetic architecture of colorectal cancer will revolutionize how we assess risk and treatment for this disease, which is the second most deadly cancer in the United States.”

In Pursuit of New Colorectal Cancer Treatment Targets

In 2009, Dr. Peters initiated and has since led the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, the world’s largest molecular genetic consortium for colorectal cancer. Using GWAS results to inform cancer drug development, the authors believe, could improve the drug-development success rate and even lead to chemoprevention drugs for high-risk individuals.

“There’s great potential in using GWAS results to inform target discovery for anticancer drugs. For diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the GWAS approach drives the discovery of new biology and potential drug targets,” explained Jeroen Huyghe, PhD, who co-led the study’s statistical genetic analysis and is a staff scientist at Fred Hutch.

“To date, the search for new targets for cancer therapy has been limited to focusing primarily on the molecular characteristics of cancer cells. We think there is a huge opportunity in using the GWAS approach to inform drug development for colorectal cancer,” says Huyghe...

Click here to continue reading this article sourced from Everyday Health.

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PASYKAF Cyrpus wins ImpactPANC Award!


Empowering Caregivers of Pan Can Patients for Enhanced Patient Outcomes (EC for EPO)

Celgene launched the 2018 “ImpactPANC” competition designed to recognise and honour patient organisations that demonstrate excellence in crafting novel solutions that innovatively meet the needs of people living with pancreatic cancer and those who care for them.

2018 Theme: Supporting the Needs of Caregivers in Pancreatic Cancer

Celgene extends its sincere thanks to all WPCC organizations who participated in their 2018 ImpactPANC award program indicating that this year’s theme, “Supporting the Needs of Caregivers in Pancreatic Cancer” resulted in some outstanding submissions. They indicated that the panel of judges spent significant time reflecting upon the applications and reviewed each independently giving much consideration to the evaluation process. According to Celgene, it was a very challenging and difficult task to select the five winners of this year’s program.

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Screening for CRC may benefit male patients


According to a recent study, screening for colorectal cancer can benefit male patients, while similar benefits were not found among women. The study appeared in the British Journal of Surgery. Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in the world. Every year, approximately 3,000 new cases are diagnosed, and roughly 1,200 patients die of it.

Between 2004 and 2016, an extensive screening programme was conducted in Finland, intending to study the potential benefits and downsides of a nation-wide screening for colorectal cancer.

The study targeted people aged 60-69 years, and just under half of the age group, or a little more than 300,000 people, were randomised by late 2011. Half of the population in the study was invited for screening, while the other half of the age cohort served as a control group. Faecal occult blood tests (FOBT) were used in the screening, and patients who tested positive for blood were referred for a colonoscopy.

The first study based on the screening results indicated no significant decrease in mortality, so the screenings were discontinued after 2016. However, researchers from the Helsinki University Hospital and the Finnish Cancer Registry wanted to examine whether the screening had offered benefits to patients with colorectal cancer.

"Practically no cancer screenings have been found to have an impact on overall mortality. However, they may still be useful in other ways. We wanted to study whether the patients could avoid the more intense treatments if they participated in screening for colorectal cancer," said Dr. Laura Koskenvuo.

The study examined the data of approximately 1,400 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The results indicated that among patients from the screening group, the surgical removal of an entire tumour was more commonly successful than it was among the control group patients, and they were less likely to require chemotherapy. The patients from the screening group were also less likely to undergo emergency surgery because of their tumour than the control group patients.

"The control group had 50 percent more emergency surgeries, 40 percent more incomplete tumour removals and 20 percent more chemotherapy treatments than patients in the screening group," said Adjunct Professor Ville Sallinen, gastrointestinal surgeon.

Closer inspection of the results showed that these benefits were particularly prevalent among male patients. Similar benefits were not seen among women.

Additionally, the researchers found that the screening was most efficient at detecting left-sided colorectal cancer and the screening was found to have no benefit for patients with cancer on the right side, possibly because blood seeping from tumours on the right side becomes so diluted as it travels through the colon that the gFOBT can no longer detect it.

"In the future, we must examine whether different screening techniques could improve the situation of female patients and facilitate the diagnosis of right-sided colorectal cancer," the researchers stated.

Click here to read the full article sourced from timesnownews.com

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