Archive for the ‘Cancer Research/Findings’ Category

Black rice is low in sugar but packed with healthy fibre and plant compounds that combat heart disease and cancer, according to scientists.

Black rice – revered in ancient China but overlooked in the West – could be the greatest ‘superfoods’, scientists revealed today.  The cereal is low in sugar but packed with healthy fibre and plant compounds that combat heart disease and cancer, say experts.

Scientists from Louisiana State University analysed samples of bran from black rice grown in the southern U.S.   They found boosted levels of water-soluble anthocyanin antioxidants.  Anthocyanins provide the dark colours of many fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and red peppers. They are what makes black rice ‘black’.

Research suggests that the dark plant antioxidants, which mop up harmful molecules, can help protect arteries and prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer.

Food scientist Dr Zhimin Xu said: ‘Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar, and more fibre and vitamin E antioxidants.

‘If berries are used to boost health, why not black rice and black rice bran? Especially, black rice bran would be a unique and economical material to increase consumption of health-promoting antioxidants.’

Centuries ago black rice was known as ‘Forbidden Rice’ in ancient China because only nobles were allowed to eat it.  Today black rice is mainly used in Asia for food decoration, noodles, sushi and desserts.  But food manufacturers could potentially use black rice bran or bran extracts to make breakfast cereals, beverages, cakes, biscuits and other foods healthier, said Dr Xu.

When rice is processed, millers remove the outer layers of the grains to produce brown rice or more refined white rice – the kind most widely consumed in the West.

Brown rice is said to be more nutritious because it has higher levels of healthy vitamin E compounds and antioxidants.  But according to Dr Xu’s team, varieties of rice that are black or purple in colour are healthier still.  They added that black rice could also be used to provide healthier, natural colourants.

Studies linked some artificial colourants to cancer and behavioural problems in children.

The scientists presented their findings today at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.  Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘In reality, it’s unlikely there’s a single food out there that will have a great impact on lowering your risk of heart disease. Healthy eating is about a balanced diet overall.

‘It’s great if you can eat more of some groups of healthy foods, like having five portions of fruit and vegetable a day, but there is still no conclusive evidence that ‘super foods’ alone make a real difference to your heart health.’

(Source: Daily Mail, UK, 27 August 2010 –


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Compounds Found in Black Pepper and Curry Powder Appear to Thwart Growth of Early Cells That Lead to Breast Cancer.

A new study suggests that compounds found in black pepper and curry powder help halt the growth of stem cells that give rise to breast cancer.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center applied piperine, found in black pepper, and curcumin, the main ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, to breast cancer cells in a laboratory dish. The spices, when used in combination, reduced the number of stem cells but did not harm normal breast cells.

“If we can limit the number of stem cells, we can limit the number of cells with [the] potential to form tumors,” Madhuri Kakarala, MD, PhD, RD, clinical lecturer in internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and a research investigator at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, says in a news release.

Stem cells have the potential to develop into many different cell types. Cancerous stem cells are believed to fuel tumor growth. Some researchers believe that controlling or even curing cancer involves targeting stem cells.

The study team discovered that piperine enhanced curcumin’s effects. Curcumin and piperine are dietary polyphenols. Polyphenols are known to have anti-inflammatory and other protective properties. Together, the two spices prevented the breast cancer-initiating stem cells from regenerating and producing new cancer cells, a process called self-renewal. Yet the compounds appeared to have no effect on the normal cell development process.

“This shows that these compounds are not toxic to normal breast tissue,” Kakarala says. “The concept that dietary compounds can help is attractive, and curcumin and piperine appear to have very low toxicity.”

The spice solution in this experiment was about 20 times more potent than the individual spices found in a typical diet. Because piperine and turmeric have not been tested in patients at risk for breast cancer, the study team does not encourage supplement use at this time. They plan to conduct a clinical trial to determine the safe dose of curcumin and piperine in people.

This year in the United States, doctors will diagnose 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

(Source: WebMD Health News, 15 December 2009)

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New Drug Wipes Out Cancer Stem Cells That Fuel Tumor Growth

An experimental drug can slash the number of chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells in women with advanced breast cancer, curbing tumor growth, researchers report.

The findings are in line with the latest theory of what causes cancer, namely that cancer stem cells hiding within tumors fuel their growth. Conventional treatments fail to cure cancer, according to the theory, because they are targeting the wrong cells.

The new compound, called a gamma-secretase inhibitor or GSI, reduced the population of cancer stem cells in 35 women with advanced breast cancer, shrinking their tumors, says Jenny Chang, MD, of Baylor University in Houston.

At the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) here, Chang showed a before-and-after photo in which one could see a large breast tumor in a woman who had failed to respond to all other drugs shrinking after treatment with GSI.

Cancer Stem Cells Fuel Tumor Growth

All stem cells — regardless of their source — share some general properties: They can reproduce and make exact copies of themselves, they live longer than ordinary cells, and they can give rise to other cells in our bodies.

Cancer stem cells are a perversion of other adult stem cells. Chang says that fewer than 10% of breast cancer cells have stem cell properties, but that it is this small number that continually reproduce and fuel tumor growth.

“If you can get rid of the ‘mother cells’ so they can’t have offspring, eventually the tumor will go away,” said Baylor University’s Ken Osborne, MD, who is president of SABCS.

Cancer Stem Cells Drop, Breast Tumors Shrink

In her first set of experiments, Chang took biopsies of breast tissue from dozens of women, before and after chemotherapy. The number of cancer stem cells shot up after chemo.

Then, she injected the post-chemo tissue samples into mice with compromised immune systems. Tumors identical to those in the women rapidly formed.

Then the researchers identified a cellular pathway – Called the Notch pathway – that regulates self-renewal of cancer stem cells.

“These breast cancer stem cells are dependent upon the Notch pathway for survival,” Chang says.

Chang theorized that shutting down the Notch pathway would deplete the supplies of cancer stem cells.

So she then tested the new compound [GSI] which is known to block the Notch pathway in mice that grew human tumors. It worked. The number of cancer stem cells that would otherwise have remained dropped.

Now, Chang and colleagues are testing the drug, in combination with a commonly used chemotherapy drug, in women with advanced breast cancer. So far, 35 women have been treated in the ongoing study.

Tissue samples after treatment showed a dramatic drop in the number of stem cells. And after several rounds of treatment, tumors started to shrink.

Cancer Stem Cells Drop, Breast Tumors Shrink continued…

The chemo attacks the ordinary tumor cells, and the experimental compound goes after the breast cancer stem cells, Chang explains.

This study was funded by Merck & Co. which makes the experimental GSI used in the study.

Osborne says that Baylor researchers are also testing a Notch inhibitor in people with leukemia. “In the first patient, we saw a dramatic decrease in cancer stem cells. Then after two to three months, as the mother cells were depleted, the patient began to get better,” he says.

William Gradishar, MD, a breast cancer expert at Northwestern University, tells that while current therapies shrink advanced tumors, they eventually start growing again.

“That’s because they are not targeting these cancer stem cells. So this appears to be an effective approach,” he says.

The next step is larger studies pitting the combination treatment against standard treatment in women with advanced breast cancer, Chang says.

Eventually the researchers hope to test the treatment to women with early-stage breast cancer, where there is better chance of a cure, she adds.

Other Breast Cancer Drugs in Pipeline

At the meeting, Gradishar reported that adding the cancer drug Nexavar to standard chemotherapy extends the time until advanced breast cancer progresses.

In the study of 220 women, tumors shrank in two-thirds of those treated with the Nexavar plus Taxol compared with about half of those treated with Taxol alone.

Also, women given the combination therapy were stable for an average of 8 months vs. 5.6 months for those treated with chemo alone.

Nexavar attacks tumors on multiple fronts, starving them of their blood supply, interfering with cell signaling that spurs tumor growth, and preventing cell division. It’s already approved to treat liver and kidney cancers.

Nexavar “may provide added benefit over what you might expect with chemotherapy alone,” Gradishar said. The study was funded by Bayer and Onyx, which make and distribute Nexavar.

In a third study presented here, researchers reported that a higher dose of the anti-estrogen drug Faslodex works better than the standard dose in postmenopausal patients with advanced breast cancer.

Importantly, women given the higher dose did not experience more side effects than those given the standard dose, says Angelo Di Leo, MD, PhD, of the Hospital of Prato, in Italy.

Astra Zeneca, maker of Faslodex, funded the work.

(Source: WebMD Health News,11 December 2009)

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Could lifestyle factors and behaviours affect the chances that a breast cancer survivor would develop cancer in the other breast?

A study analyzed data on 1,091 women, 40 to 79 years old, who had been treated successfully for breast cancer, including 365 who subsequently developed a new cancer in their other breast.

Women who were considered obese (with a body mass index of 30 or higher) when first diagnosed were 40% more likely than non-obese women to develop a second cancer. Those who consumed one or more alcoholic drinks a day were 70% more likely than no-drinkers to have a second cancer. The likelihood was about doubled among women who smoked, compared with those who had never smoked. Those who smoked and also had one or more alcoholic drinks daily had a seven-fold greater risk for cancer in other breast than did women who smoked or drank less.

Who may be affected? Breast cancer survivors, who have a considerably greater chance of developing a tumor in their other breast than the average woman who does of getting an initial breast cancer diagnosis.

Some of the lifestyle data came from the women’s responses to questionnaires. The first breast cancer for all participants was oestrogen receptor-positive; whether the findings would apply to women with oestrogen receptor-negative tumors was not tested.

(Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology, September 8, 2009)

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Increased oxygen consumption associated with moderate- to high-intensity exercise appears to reduce the risk of cancer, a new study has found.

The Finnish study included 2,560 men, aged 42 to 61, whose leisure-time physical activity was assessed over one year. None of the men had a history of cancer, according to the report published online July 28 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

During an average follow-up of 16 years, 181 of the men died from cancer. Those who engaged in moderate- to high-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes a day were 50 percent less likely to develop cancer compared with the other men.

The researchers found that an increase of 1.2 metabolic units (oxygen consumption) was related to a decreased risk of cancer death, especially in lung and gastrointestinal cancers, after they took into account factors such as age, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and fiber/fat intake.

“The intensity of leisure-time physical activity should be at least moderate so that beneficial effect of physical activity for reducing overall cancer mortality can be achieved,” the study authors wrote in a news release.

(Source: HealthDay News, July 29,2009)

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Can you believe this???

For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you.

It is nice to have a cup of a cold drink after a meal.
However, the cold water will solidify any oily stuff that you have just consumed.
It will slow down the digestion.
Once this ‘sludge’ reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food.
It will line the intestine.
Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer.

It is best to drink warm soup or warm water (coffee, tea, etc.) after a meal.

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Study Shows PARP Inhibitors Fight Triple-Negative.

An experimental class of drugs may have potential for the treatment of two types of breast cancer that are notoriously difficult to treat.

Called PARP Inhibitors, the drugs block the ability of damaged cells to repair themselves, causing cancer cells to die off or become more susceptible to chemotherapy drugs.

One PARP Inhibitor, dubbed BSI-201, improved survival by 60% when added to standard chemotherapy drugs in women with so-called triple-negative breast cancer. Such tumors are hard to treat because they lack receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone as well as the protein HER2, which are targeted by current therapies.

The other PARP Inhibitor, known as olaparib, shrank tumors in nearly half of women with cancer caused by mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These inherited breast tumors often strike young women and are particularly aggressive.

“While preliminary, these are some of most exciting results we’ve seen in a long time,” says Eric P. Winer, MD, Director of the Breast Oncology Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Winer, who wasn’t involved with the work, moderated a news conference to discuss the findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

How PARP Inhibitors Work

PARP is short for poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, an enzyme used by cancer cells to repair DNA damage.

All cells, cancerous and healthy alike, have multiple systems for DNA repair. Even if one pathway is turned off, most cells can survive.

Researchers are using PARP Inhibitors to target tumors where one pathway is already shut down due to damage caused by genetic mutations or chemotherapy. Women with BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations lose a form of DNA repair and thus rely more heavily on the PARP pathway. Chemotherapy drugs damage the ability of cancer cells to repair DNA damage.

By blocking PARP in the already compromised tumor cells, the PARP Inhibitors push the cells over the edge.

“There’s DNA catastrophe, and tumors shrink,” says Andrew Tutt, MD, PhD, Director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit at Kings College in London and Head of the Olaparib Study.

The first study involved 116 women with triple-negative breast cancer whose disease had spread to other parts of the body. These women, who account for 15% to 20% of breast cancer patients, have a very aggressive form of the disease for which chemotherapy is the only available therapy, says Researcher Joyce O’Shaughnessy, MD, Co-Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Baylor-Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center in Dallas.

The women were randomly assigned to receive standard chemotherapy plus BSI-201, or standard chemo alone.

Women who received BSI-201 lived a median of 9.2 months, compared with 5.7 months for the chemotherapy-only group. Tumors shrank in 48% of patients treated with the PARP Inhibitor, compared with 16% of patients on chemotherapy alone.

The new drug was well tolerated, with minimal side effects.

BiPar Sciences Inc., which makes the drug and funded the work, plans to launch a larger study this summer.

In the second study, 54 women with breast cancer that was deficient in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and that persisted despite several rounds of standard chemotherapy were given one of two doses of olaparib. Olaparib is given in pill form, while BSI-201 is injected.

Tumors shrank in 41% of those given the higher dose. The most common side effects were low-grade fatigue and nausea.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca, which funded the work, is in the process of designing a larger study.

More research is needed, all agree. But if the positive results hold up in future studies, PARP Inhibitors will “be a real advance” for women with aggressive, hard-to-treat breast tumors.

(Source: WebMD HealthNews, June 2,2009)

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