Alpha Particles Technology for Solid Tumors, Vancomycin Prior to Radiotherapy and More

  • New cancer therapy developed by scientists from Israel achieves “a 100% Tumor Shrinkage Rate”. The new “ALPHA DaRT” treatment achieves total tumor destruction in over 78% of cases by using alpha radiation for solid tumor treatment in a way tolerated by the human body. Until now using alpha particles for cancer treatment presented a challenge – while being highly efficient in tumor destruction without causing damaging side effects, the particles simply can’t travel the long distance to penetrate all of the tumor. The new technology uses an isotope called radium-224 to push alpha particles across entire the tumor. This technology was recently reported by Jerusalem Post and reporting on this research can be found in scholarly literature.
  • Scientists at the University of Toronto have identified a protein related to developing colorectal cancers. The protein, called Importin-11, carries beta-catenin, a protein involved in cell adhesion and gene transcription, into the nucleus of colon cancer cells, where it may promote cell growth. Blocking the function of Importin-11 could lead to new approaches in developing therapies to treat colorectal cancer. The study was published in Journal of Cell Biology.
  • Currently, cancer immunotherapy using CD-40 antibodies is unable to demonstrate efficacy in human clinical trials. However, recently scientists at the University Hospital Basel and Roche Innovation Center combined anti-CD40 antibodies with two other antibodies, whose mechanism of action was hypothetically conducive to boosting the anti-CD40 effect, and the combination demonstrated an increased treatment effect in animal models of colorectal, breast and skin cancer. According to study leader Dr. Abhishek Kashyap, “patients with ‘cold’ tumors — tumors that do not respond well to immunotherapy — could benefit most from this new combination.” The study, authored by academic and pharmaceutical scientists and supported, in part, by a Roche grant, was published in PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
  • New animal research found that taking the antibiotic vancomycin before undergoing radiation therapy boosts the immune system and enhances the anti-tumor effect of radiotherapy (specifically, hypofractionated therapy) by altering gram-positive bacteria in the gutThe study conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania was related to lung cancer, melanoma and cervical cancer. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation

The Latest Research on Cancer and Hair

A recent study has made the news by showing a correlation between hair products including dye and straighteners and an increased risk for breast cancer. Over a six-year period, it found that hair dye use was associated with 45% higher breast cancer risk in black women and 7% higher risk in white women. Dr. Larry Norton, medical director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at MSK was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “You cannot, based on these data, make the statement that hair dyes and straighteners cause breast cancer” and that “these effects were small.”

While this study does not show a direct causal link between breast cancer and hair products, there is other interesting research related to cancer and hair. Recently, researchers including Dr. Mario E. Lacouture (Director of the MSK Oncodermatology Program) have studied how cancer treatment can adversely affect cancer patients hair.

Dr. Mario E. Lacouture. Source: Robert A. Lisak.

While most people are familiar with hair loss during chemotherapy, cancer treatments have been shown to contribute to a range of hair disorders. Researchers are now beginning to investigate how these hair disorders can affect cancer patients’ quality of life.

CRISPR in Cancer Treatment, New Blood Test for Early Detection of Breast Cancer, and More