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Researchers find link between throat cancer and HPV
Date: 2013-07-28 14:50:51

A recent study from the University of New South Wales in Australia found that a human papillomavirus infection may increase the risk of throat cancer by as much as threefold.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is linked to cervical cancer, genital cancers and oropharyngeal cancer, which originates in the back of the throat.

University researchers examined the rate of HPV patients diagnosed with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, or throat cancer, through lab tests. The disease's most common causes are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or extremely hot liquids, eating a diet rich in red meat and possibly consuming a certain amount of toxins.

"This is an important new finding which resolves a previous uncertainty," said Raina MacIntyre, senior author of the study. "Given that the most common two cervical-cancer-causing HPVs are now preventable by early vaccination, this may be significant in countries where [esophageal squamous cell carcinoma] is frequently found."

MacIntyre went on to note that this type of cancer is responsible for a large number of deaths in China, so having a proven preventative measure, such as an HPV vaccine, may be of particular interest to their health authorities.

The report noted that while the team established a link between HPV and throat cancer, further research is required to determine whether HPV is the actual cause.

HPV and medical complications... Full Story

Researchers find new method of detecting bladder cancer
Date: 2013-07-24 11:35:15

A recent study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University has uncovered a novel gene target that may help doctors to detect and treat bladder cancer. The gene is known as melanoma differentiation associated gene-9/syntenin (mda-9/syntenin), and researchers have expressed hope that it might be used as a means of destroying bladder cancer cells, diagnose the cancer non-invasively and prevent metastasis.

"Currently, there are no biomarkers that can accurately predict bladder cancer metastasis, or monitor its progression," said Paul Fisher, coauthor of the study. "Our findings could assist in the development of innovative ways to detect, monitor and treat bladder cancer."

The report used lab tests of cell cultures and mouse models of the bladder cancer found in humans to determine that mda-9/syntenin helps to regulate the growth and metastasis of bladder cancer cells. Researchers also experimented with increasing the gene's expression, and they found that it was linked to disease progression. When they suppressed the expression, the cancer cells grew at a significantly slower rate, and they were less able to divide.

Mda-9/syntenin controls the progression of bladder cancer by affecting epidermal growth factor receptor signals. EGFR contributes to cell proliferation, cell migration, resistance to cell suicide and the growth of new blood vessels. It can be found on the surface of bladder cancer cells.

Current bladder cancer treatment... Full Story

Information regarding immune cells revealed
Date: 2013-07-24 11:10:57

New research conducted by the University of Manchester has uncovered more information on how white blood immune cells fight tumors and viral infections. University scientists revealed how the cells alter the construction of surface molecules in response to proteins that are carried by tumor or viral-infected cells.

The report expressed hope that these findings will lead to better treatments for chronic diseases. Researchers specifically discovered that the protein found on viral-infected or tumor cells is not evenly spaced, but instead can be found in clusters. The study likens the pattern to how stars appear in the galaxy.

"This is the first time scientists have looked at how theses immune cells work at such a high resolution," said Daniel Davis, lead investigator. "The surprising thing was that these new pictures revealed that immune cell surfaces alter at [the nano scale] which could perhaps change their ability to be activated in a subsequent encounter with a diseased cell."

Researchers used high quality fluorescence microscopy with super-resolution to examine samples taken from blood tests and to learn more about the white blood immune cells. Previously, light microscopy has been unable to look at the cells at such an extreme scale.

Davis noted that being able to look at the cells in such great detail enabled the researchers to better understand the function of the immune system.

What do white blood cells do?... Full Story

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