Latest cancer news and research on melanoma and skin cancer

Latest cancer news and research on melanoma and skin cancer

The latest cancer news and cancer research on skin cancer and melanoma;  Various research studies from 2006 to 2011 on factors that may cause skin cancer or melanoma, and factors that may protect, and factors that may treat non-melanoma skin cancer, and malignant melanoma  

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Your Cancer - Melanoma - Latest news

Melanoma skin cancer increases not correct
A new study in the British Journal of Dermatology (over a period from 1991 to 2004) shows that, whilst there were nearly 4,000 cases of melanoma, with an annual increase of 9.39 to 13.91 cases per 100,000 per year, the increased incidence was almost entirely due to minimal, stage 1 disease. ’There was no change in the combined incidence of the other stages of the disease, and the overall mortality only increased from 2.16 to 2.54 cases per 100,000 per year We therefore conclude that the large increase in reported incidence is likely to be due to diagnostic drift, which classifies benign lesions as stage 1 melanoma.’
The report goes on to look at the stage 1 lesions and concludes most have nothing to do with sun damage.
(Ed: In other words, people are being diagnosed with melanoma even when they have a minimal, often non-cancerous lesion. The researchers called these extra cases ’an artifact’! They also added that the majority of lesions do not correspond with sites damaged by the sun. As we told people in our Safe Sun campaign launch 18 months ago, most of the ’sun causes melanoma/skin cancer scaremongering is just junk science. Melanoma patients have low vitamin D levels implying a lack of sunshine; they have higher oestrogen levels, for example because they take the contraceptive pill; and there are chemicals in some sun creams that are known to be photoactive carcinogens and oestrogen mimics (xenoestrogens). It is time to sort out the mythology once and for all).


Common skin care products may increase skin cancer risk

In a rather bizarre accident, researchers from Rutgers University (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, March 2009) have discovered that all skin creams seem to increase the risk of skin cancer in tests on rats and they tried quite a few. The researchers had originally planned a study on the benefits of topically applied caffeine to see if it could reduce skin cancer risk, and were looking for a safe skin cream to act as a carrier.
When trying to ascertain first that the skin cream was safe, they continually got increased cases of squamous cell carcinoma, a slow growing and curable form of skin cancer..
The researchers could not say what ingredient was causing the heightened effect, suggesting it was possibly the mineral oil or the sodium laurel sulphate.

 

"We’d like to understand the mechanism," said lead researcher Conney. "What is most important is to see whether these moisturising creams are tumorigenic in people. Unfortunately Rutgers does not have the facilities to continue the studies. (www.naturalnews.com and uk.reuters.com)

 

Melanoma responds to selenium and a natural plant compound

 

Melanoma is one form of skin cancer that is hard to ’cure’. Previous research in icon has linked it to higher levels of oestrogen, the female sex hormone, and melanoma can be hard to treat if it has spread to other parts of the body. It responds poorly to the current drugs on offer and there are currently no drugs that can shut down the Akt3 protein which causes the cancer to develop.

Now research published in the March edition of the journal Clinical Cancer Research suggests there is a strong alternative: A natural compound derived from vegetables, especially when combined with the micronutrient selenium, seems to deliver the anti-melanoma goods.

Penn State College of Medicine scientists have discovered that natural compounds called isothiocyanates found in cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels spouts) target this protein. The researchers went on to conclude that the isothiocyanates were even more potent when used in combination with small doses of the mineral selenium.

"Selenium deficiency is common in cancer patients, including those diagnosed with metastatic melanoma," explained lead researcher Gavin Robertson, associate professor of pharmacology, pathology and dermatology at Penn State, in a statement to the media. "Besides, selenium is known to destabilise Akt proteins in prostate cancer cells."

To study the effectiveness of the isothiocyanates-plus-selenium compound (dubbed isoselenocyanate) the scientists injected laboratory mice with 10 million cancer cells. After six days, the rodents developed large tumors. Then half were treated with the vegetable compounds and the others were treated with the same naturally occurring chemicals supplemented with selenium. When combined with selenium, the compounds resulted in a 60 percent reduction in the rate of growth of the cancerous tumors, compared to the vegetable-only compounds. The researchers also tested three different human melanoma cell lines with the two versions of the compounds and determined the selenium-enriched version was 30 to 70 percent effective in inhibiting the human cancer cells.

"We found that the selenium-enhanced compounds significantly reduced the production of Akt3 protein and shut down its signaling network," Robertson, who is associate director of translational research and leader of the experimental therapeutics program at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, said in the press statement. "We have harnessed something found in nature to target melanoma. And since we only need tiny amounts to kill the cancer cells, it means even less toxic side-effects for the patient." (http://live.psu.edu/story/37998)

You can find out about the powers of Natural Compounds in my book ’The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer’

 

Can aubergine extract cure skin cancers?

 

According to Dr William Douglas’ Daily Dose, researchers from the Royal London Hospital conducted a double blind, placebo controlled study using an extract from aubergines (called BEC5). Doctors treated both invasive and non-invasive non-melanoma skin cancers and concluded, "In our view and experience, BEC5 is...safe and effective...it is a cost-effective treatment for both primary and secondary skin cancer."
Even more importantly, follow-up research on patients who used BEC5 shows once their cancer went away, it did not recur. Microscopic analysis consistently shows death of all cancer cells. And better still BEC5 does not kill any healthy human cells.

 

Skin cancer patients at higher risk later of another cancer

 

It is hardly new news - we covered it over 5 years ago. But now Cancer Research UK have published a study in the British Journal of Cancer adding some numbers. According to a study using data from the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry between 1993 and 2002, the chance of people developing a new primary cancer after they had developed non-melanoma skin cancer was increased by up to 57 per cent and the risk was much higher in those who had had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) than those who had basal cell carcinoma (BCC). The subsequent risk of developing a new primary cancer after melanoma was more than double.
Also, people who had been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer were almost two-fold more likely to go on to develop melanoma and had an increased risk of smoking-related cancers.
Professor Liam Murray, a study author based at Queen’s University Belfast, said: This study confirms that people with a diagnosis of skin cancer have an increased future risk of developing another type of cancer, especially one of the other types of skin cancer or a smoking related cancer and for those with melanoma the risk may be more than double that of the rest of the population.
Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of health information, said: We know that lifestyle factors such as excessive UV exposure, smoking, being overweight and drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of cancer.

(Ed: It’s your fault again! But it’s not as simple as all that. For example, research from The University of Mexico has actually shown people with the greatest sun exposure get fewer cancers, probably due to vitamin D production by the sun on your body. Several research studies covered previously in icon have shown a link between skin cancers and oestrogen. For example a woman on the pill is twice as likely to get skin cancer as her identical sister not on the pill. Some sun creams contain oestrogen-like chemicals (PABA has been banned in Japan and Sweden) causing localised oestrogen concentrations and possibly heightening risk. The NCI in America has long confirmed oestrogen as a driver of cancer. So it could cause the first skin cancer, and then bring on another. All the more reason to understand that cancer is a whole body disease, and needs a whole body solution even if your cancer is supposedly a ’minor’ skin cancer.)

Sun Safety - Free DVD

A DVD has been produced in memory of Becca Kaye who died last year of metastatic melanoma. Becca was a teacher at Lewannick Primary School in Cornwall and her class wanted to warn other young people of the potential dangers of burning in the sun. The DVD has already been distributed to all the schools in the south west of England where melanoma is being diagnosed at an ever increasing rate - particularly with 15 - 34 year olds where it is now the most common form of cancer. This DVD is designed to be shown to children and to teenagers and is available free of charge. Anyone with responsibility for the care of the young is encouraged to send for a copy via www.melanomaproject.com or by telephoning : 01208 75343.

Sunshine new report says it keeps you younger

Researchers from King’s College, London, led by Dr Brent Richards have concluded that: People who have higher levels of vitamin D may age more slowly than people with lower levels.
Despite concern that UV rays can actually damage the skin and cause premature aging under the surface the sun’s benefits seem to be producing a  long and healthy life.

King’s College specialises in the study of twins researchers have found that the bodies of women with high levels of vitamin D are biologically younger and the main source of the vitamin came from exposure to sunshine. The team studied 2,160 women aged between 18 and 79 by looking at part
of their DNA known as telomeres, which are biological markers stuck on to the end of certain strands of DNA. As people get older, these telomeres shrink. But scientists have realised that
the rate at which they reduce depends on the lifestyle of the person involved. The shorter the telomeres get, the higher the risk that the person will suffer cell damage and disease.

The latest study found women with higher levels of vitamin D had longer telomeres suggesting that exposure to sunshine can not only keep telomeres long, which protects against disease, but also
means the body is biologically younger.

Skin Cancer rub in broccoli sprouts

Seriously, according to research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences October 30, 2007, vol. 104, no. 44, 17500-17505, broccoli, and the sprouting seeds in particular, contain a
chemical called sulphoraphane, which activates cancer-fighting enzymes inside your skin cells. The researchers used broccoli seed extract to reduce skin cancer risk, burning and redness from UV exposure. They are now looking at the effects on other cancer tissues.

Melanoma - Check Your Back

More men than women are dying from melanoma, and a recent survey has found over 60 per cent of men never check their backs.

Fewer men than women are diagnosed, but more men die from the disease, and research shows this is largely due to the disease not being diagnosed until a later stage. Latest figures show 1,777 people died from melanoma last year, 1,002 of them were men. The disease has risen 31 per cent in men in a decade. Daily Mail 16/5/06.

Suntan Oil Can Change The Sex Of Fish

Whatever next! Scientists have found that male hornyhead turbot and English sole feeding near sewage outlets off the California coast are being feminised. And the chemical culprit that seems most likely (oxybenzone) is an ingredient of sunscreens. Meanwhile, Swiss researchers have found other suspected gender-bender chemicals from suncreams are building up in fish in rivers. Don’t the fish know that some sunscreens contain carcinogens? They should read icon more often!

Melanoma Vaccine To Stop Spread?

The National Academy of Sciences Journal reports that scientists have invented a vaccine (NY-ESO-VISCOMATRIX), which can be given to cancer patients at three monthly intervals.

The aim is to boost the immune system and stop recurrence and spread. Scientists in Melbourne claim 14 out of 19 patients were cancer-free two years on. Only melanoma has been tackled so far.

Wild speculation" about sunshine levels

Dr Hollick, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine believes that four in ten Brits could be vitamin D deficient, due to lack of sun exposure. This he claims could cause thousands of unnecessary cancer deaths each year Cancer Research UK have described it as wild speculation.

Prostate and skin cancer rates soar in UK

The Office of National Statistics has just published figures on the most common cancers.

Over the nine-year period to 2000, prostate cancer rose 62 per cent, breast cancer 8 per cent while melanoma increased 64 per cent in men and 45 per cent in women.

The reason for the increased prostate incidence was deemed due to increased detection through the PSA test.

Ed: Interestingly all the rapidly growing cancers are oestrogen driven as we have reported before. The report doesn’t show figures for child cancers either As always the researchers give credit to the PSA test for spotting prostate cancers. Yet the PSA test is only 70 per cent accurate, and dairy and exercise, if taken before the test, will result in high readings. The PSA is if anything viewed as flawed and likely to over-diagnose the incidence of a disease where cancer charities in the US say 90 per cent of cases could probably be left for ten years or more without taking any action.

The main reason these cancers are growing is the plethora of chemicals surrounding us that once in our bloodstreams, mimic the action of oestrogen. This has been understood for over 20 years and the Government takes no action. We continue to report on this huge modern threat to our health. Only last month the WWF report showed heavy levels of toxins in our bodies, confirming the threat reported by the Royal Commission in 2002.

Skin Cancer - Worse to follow?

Women with common and usually treatable forms of skin cancer have double the risk of developing other subsequent unrelated cancers, according to a large study by Dr. Carol Rosenberg of Evanston-Northwestern Healthcare and her team at Northwestern University’s medical school. The skin cancer link was found for several malignancies, including cancer of the brain, breasts, liver, ovaries and uterus.

Previous studies have shown that men and women with skin cancer face an increased risk of skin cancer returning. Some studies also have found that people with non-melanoma skin cancer are prone to later developing non-skin cancers.

But according to the new report, involving 92,835 post-menopausal women, there was a clear increased risk of unrelated cancers associated with skin cancer. Rosenberg said she suspects her results would also apply to men, since previous studies involved both genders.

Of 7,685 women who had a mild form of skin cancer nearly 25 per cent developed a second cancer, yet amongst the 85,000 who had no first skin cancer the figure was just 11 per cent. The results appear in the January 2004 issue of Cancer, an American Cancer Society journal.

ED - Several Research studies (e.g. The Harvard Medical School 1999) have linked higher blood oestrogen levels to skin cancers and melanoma. So we are not at all surprised by the list of other second cancers as all are known to be oestrogen driven.

Vitamin A helps beat skin cancers

If you have sunburn, you may develop actinic keratoses later in life, which will result in lesions in the skin and may lead to basal cell cancer or non-melanoma squamous cell cancer.

Scientists of the Arizona Cancer Centre, University of Arizona, report in Clinical Cancer Research that vitamin A supplements significantly reduce this problem.

In fact having tested at different levels they concluded that 50,000 IU’s was the best daily dose. (It produces 81 per cent less skin damage). A good source would be cod liver oil. However synthetic vitamin A can be dangerous in high doses.

Will sun beds be banned by councils

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has suggested that it is "inappropriate" for councils to profit from sun beds because of their link to skin cancer. The BMA has warned against sun bed use, and now research is the Journal of the National Institute of Cancer Research has claimed basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas also have links to sun lamps.

New skin cancer treatment

Researchers at Birmingham University under Professor Lawrence Young believe that they have found a unique way of boosting the immune system to fight off skin cancer, without the use of drugs.

The treatment involves taking samples of blood cells from the patient and treating the cells with proteins from the melanoma. The cultured cells "develop an appetite" for the melanoma. They are then injected back into the patient to start a chain-reaction amongst the whole immune system.

So far the trials have been with human cells in the laboratory, and with live rats and mice. But now the team has won permission to test their techniques on humans.

Melanoma - sunscreen and the pill

With sun creams and lotions a 146 million business in the UK alone, a UK Professor, Roy Saunders, has warned that they may not protect fully against UVA. After a 13 year study Professor Saunders from Mount Vernon has concluded that none of the sun creams tested was more than 80% effective against UVA. Originally UVB was thought to be the apparent danger in melanoma, but now more focus is being placed on UVA.

Meanwhile the National Cancer Institute in the USA has confirmed that women who are on the oestrogen pill have twice the risk of melanoma as those not on the pill when they go in the sun.

Insulin resistence/intolerance found to increase cancer risk

A while ago, at CANCERactive we told you all about Insulin Resistance. ’Do you have trouble losing weight?’ This is a common sign, as are low levels of HDL, high triglycerides, high blood glucose levels and more. And while you are not a true diabetic, the principles seem the same for an estimate of up to 70 per cent of the population, who (frankly) just eat badly. We have also given you a number of research studies showing glucose drives cancer.

Not surprisingly, insulin resistance is a step along the road to diabetes and heart disease. Now it has been shown to be a step along the road to cancer too.

New research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, concluded that ’there is a strong link between insulin resistance and the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.’ Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York have concluded that the elevated insulin levels linked to insulin resistance result in post-menopausal women having a higher risk of breast cancer.

The researchers also found that elevated blood glucose and triglyceride levels raised the risk of breast cancer by 1.7 times. Increased diastolic blood pressure (the second number when you have your blood pressure measured ) raised the risk of breast cancer 2.4 times.

Two factors are important here:

  1. Although this research was conducted looking at breast cancer, you can bet this is true for many cancers, male and female.
  2. Yet again it highlights the point we consistently make about the daft sugar-laden diets given to cancer patients in UK Hospitals.

 


We have complained that the NHS booklet on ’a diet for chemotherapy’ shows little drawings of cheese burgers, milk shakes and sticky doughnuts on every page. My daughter was given ice cream and Ribena endlessly in her oncology unit.

 

Of course the good news for everyone preventers and people with cancer - is that insulin resistance and blood sugar levels are controllable and reverse-able. Just change your diet!!!

I will list here for everyone’s benefit some of the tips from my book ’The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer’:

  • Eat six small meals a day, not one or two big ones

  • Eat whole foods and whole grains (never refined, processed or fast foods)

  • Avoid alcohol, fizzy soft drinks, sweets, cakes, white bread, white pasta, biscuits, chocolate. Diet drinks are especially bad! As are smoothies and purchased fruit juices; even many so-called health drinks.

  • Eat raw most days, on an empty stomach if possible
  • Eat your fruit first thing in the morning on an empty stomach

  • Eat steamed or grilled never fried
  • Avoid Dairy (lactose is a sugar)

  • Take probiotics in several strains
  • Ensure you have no yeast excesses in your body (take cinnamon, oregano, Pau D’Arco and wormwood).

  • And eat fresh raw garlic.

Remember, research from North Western shows that if you lose excess weight you reduce risk and even improve survival times.

The book contains far more detailed advice.

Being overweight increases cancer risk fact

Cancer Research UK have just researched 4,000 people and come up with the staggering fact that 97 per cent of people have no idea that being overweight is a significant cancer risk. Of course, had they read our report on the research we conducted 4 years ago they would have known that people haven’t much a clue what does cause cancer anyway. Indeed we went into all the key issues in our 2004 Cancer Prevention Conference, which was poorly attended by the ’major’ charities.

As we have been telling people for seven years, it all depends which report you read, and how much overweight you are, but to be just 7 kgs overweight knocks over 5 years off your life expectancy, and a whopping 13 years if you smoke as well. .All this is well documented in my book, ’Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer’  indeed it has been there since the first edition some 7 years ago.

All this comes in parallel with new Swedish research showing overweight women tend to be diagnosed with higher grade cancers than ladies who have restrained their weight.

One of the real issues is that many overweight people are in denial. We have had ladies write to us with breast cancer and they are 13 kgs over normal weight for their height. One described herself as ’cuddly’, another as ’being a bit chunky’.

In our original 2004 prevention research, people stated that giving up smoking was important, as was avoiding excess alcohol, and staying out of the sun. As we pointed out at the time, ’Burning is bad, sunshine is sensible’. 4 years ago there was too much bad science coming from cancer charities suggesting sunshine was carcinogenic. In fact there is actually a great deal of research that suggests that a daily dose of sun shine promotes vitamin D synthesis in the body, and reduces cancer risk. A few people also knew that exercise was a risk reducer. But, in all, few people knew any information about preventing cancer (unlike Heart disease or AIDS) and blame for this lack of information can only be laid at the doors of the Government and the cancer charities. It was in response to this research finding that CANCERactive decided to adopt the Precautionary Principle (that where there is expert research expressing concern, we will pass on that research information so that the people of Britain can make more informed choices). As a result just compare the volume of Prevention Topics we cover against those listed on the major charities web sites. Pesticides? EMF’s? Melatonin? Toxic Chemicals, from dioxins to oestrogen mimics in plastic bottles and preservatives?

Anyone who is unsure of the factors that may increase cancer risk should go to the prevention part of our web site where they will find more information on more possible causes than on any other UK charity web site. As you will see, we have given some weight to the issue of cancer prevention!

Men more likely to get cancer the issue is why?

Men are almost 40 per cent more likely than women to die from cancer, reveals a report published by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN).

And they are 16 per cent more likely to develop the disease in the first place.

After excluding breast cancer and cancers specific to one or other sex from the analysis, the difference is even greater with men being almost 70 per cent more likely to die from cancer and over 60 per cent more likely to develop the disease.

The researchers then looked at the figures, excluding lung cancer as well, because the disease and its main risk factor, smoking, is known to be more common in men.They expected to see that, across the broad range of remaining cancer types, men and women were just as likely as each other to die from and get the disease. But they found that for all of these cancers combined, men were still 70 per cent more likely than women to die from cancer and 60 per cent more likely to get cancer.

Experts suggest that a possible explanation for the differences seen for some types of cancer could be down to stereotypical male behaviour like down-playing important early symptoms and having an unhealthy lifestyle.

Even rogue cancer DNA repairs itself

CRUK scientists (Nature) have discovered a sensor which exists even in cancer cells. Some drugs try to damage cancer DNA. This sensor system is actually a family of proteins (alkyltransferase-like proteins or ATL’s) warns the cell and activates the DNA repair systems and so the drugs lose their effect.

Organic foods are better ignore the UK Food Standards Agency

All over the UK papers comes news of the ’ruling’ from the FSA that ’organic food is no more nutritious than other foods’. According to that well known medical journal, the Daily Mail, ’watchdogs’ have declared this to be true.

Claiming to be the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’ trawled through more than 50,000 studies on the value of foods since 1958.’ The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr Alan Dangour (a public health nutritionist, no less) who was the lead researcher stated that, ’Currently there is no research to support the selection of organically produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority’.

Spokesperson Gill Fine from the FSA burbled on about, ’Ensuring people had accurate information’ and ’no evidence of additional health benefits from eating organic foods’.

What staggers us at CANCERactive is that in order to resolve this very same question the EU has just spent 12 million of tax payers’ money conducting as near as can be, the definitive Clinical Trial, growing fields of organic food in parallel with normal pesticide and fertiliser-grown crops and then employing top scientists to give us the results. The FSA, which is after all a Government funded unit, ought to know this and use the data. And be clear, Gill: The ’accurate information’ is that there is a considerable difference. And this is just from early assessments. The project will continue for a few more years yet, as that is how long it takes to be sure. Professor Carlo Leifert, one of the CANCERactive patrons, is a lead member of the team.We covered the early conclusions in this very magazine.

The Daily Mail falls into the usual ’bad science’ trap too, meandering on about 50 years of research and 50,000 studies. But, the researchers didn’t use 50,000 studies, they used, sorry selected, 55 that ’met their criteria’, whatever they were. So one concludes therefore they left out a mere 49,945 studies from their conclusions. Perhaps one was the definitive EU study?

Then there is Dr Alan ’no evidence to support nutritional superiority’ Dangour. I quote about 10 - 15 such studies in my book ’The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer’. Leifert and his team have a hundred more! What planet do these people live on? Al, old chap, there is rather a lot of scientific evidence actually; I cannot believe you think there is none..

But for the last word we will return to Gill ’no additional health benefit’ Fine. All I can conclude is that she finds pesticides tasty and of absolutely harmless. Of course that view would put her directly at odds with the EU, which recently concluded that there were ’deep concerns’ and cited health hazards including cancer as a need for more regulation. It is puzzling that Gill ’ensuring people have accurate information’ Fine does not seem to be telling you all about  research studies showing that farmers using pesticides develop more multiple myeloma, and another that this is due to the pesticide making pre-cancerous MGUS proteins in the blood, or (for example) that some third world suppliers to British retailers still use the banned pesticides of DDT and Lindane, each linked to higher rates of Breast Cancer. (If she is unsure, she could always trawl through back issues of Cancer Watch for more ’accurate information’.)

For the record, there is concern that organic foods grown on depleted soils offer little in additional mineral content over mass-farmed foods. How could they? On basic vitamins there is quite a lot of evidence that organic food is superior, but sometimes not by much. The real advantage seems to come in the area of complex natural compounds (like resveratrol, quercitin, omega 3 or polyphenols) where organic foods score much more highly. For example, the use of fungicide negates the need for grapes to produce fungus fighting resveratrol of their own several studies have measured this. And even 10 years ago researchers didn’t know too much about these compounds or their health benefits, and so did not research for them. How many such studies were in the ’selected’ group?

Personally I don’t think everybody should rush off and buy everything organic we have told you which foods research studies show are more likely to hold their pesticides, and which do not. So in a number of cases there is not a lot to worry about. But red fruits like strawberries and greens like broccoli do need extra caution before using the sprayed versions.

It is all very sad really. I think that the people, and especially the patients who want to beat cancer deserve better than this. But then, that’s why we set up CANCERactive.

Need to prevent thousands of older people dying from cancer, prematurely

As many as 15,000 people over 75 could be dying prematurely from cancer each year in the UK, according to research presented today at the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) conference.

These premature deaths could be prevented if cancer mortality rates in the UK dropped to match countries in Europe and America which have the lowest rates.

The researchers from the North West Cancer Intelligence Service (NWCIS) in Manchester compared cancer death rates in the UK with Europe and America.

They found that over the past decade the numbers of people dying from cancer in the under 75s has significantly dropped in the UK. But, little progress has been made in the over 75s and the gap in death rates with other countries is getting wider.

Dr Tony Moran, lead researcher from NWCIS, said It’s worrying that so many older people die from cancer in the UK compared with other countries. But, it’s not clear why this is. Research is urgently needed to understand the reasons for the extra deaths so that steps can be taken to prevent them.

New scientific study reveals flaws, even fraud, in Clinical Trials

Scientific study. Clinical Trial, Gold Standard. Non Sequetor. Well, at least according to Dr Daniele Fanelli at the University of Edinburgh. In a recent study Fanelli lists findings such as

Most clinical results are misleading


  • 5 per cent of scientists have admitted falsifying results

  • One third of scientists admitted observing such bad practice in others

Fanelli’s report states that the misconduct is more prevalent in clinical, medical, and pharmaceutical research. So much for the ’gold standard’; but then he goes on to refer to the high profits at stake where a few word changes can make all the difference, even if it’s not fraud but ’presentation’.

He also comments on studies that criticise vitamins suggesting that all too often, doses used are too low to have an effect, or the where vitamin tested is known not to have an effect on a particular disease whereas another, untested one, is.

All this coincides with a USA FDA report that reports deficiencies and flaws in up to 20 per cent of US drug clinical trials.

Melanoma responds to new vaccine

A new peptide vaccine, known as gp100:209-217 (200M), developed in conjunction with the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Texas works by stimulating patients’ T cells, which help control immune responses.
"This vaccine activates the body’s cytotoxic T cells to recognize antigens on the surface of the tumor, said Professor Hwu, head of Melanoma Oncology. The T cells then secrete enzymes that poke holes in the tumor cell’s membrane, causing it to disintegrate."
Patients with advanced melanoma, one of the most dangerous cancers, showed improved response to treatment and length of progression-free survival when a vaccine was added to their treatment with the immunotherapy drug interleukin-2 (IL-2).
Results from the Phase III clinical trial the first of its kind in melanoma and one of the first in any type of cancer were presented by M. D. Anderson researchers at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in May.
According to the American Cancer Society, the incidence of melanoma is growing quickly. In 2009, more than 68,720 people in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease, and 8,650 will die because of it. The five-year survival rate for melanoma that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body) is just 16 per cent.
A previous Phase II study combining the vaccine with IL-2 showed response rates of 42 per cent in metastatic melanoma patients.

Nanoparticles use bee venom to kill cancer

Neelesh R Soman and colleagues at Washington UniversitySchool of Medicine, St Louis, (Journal of Clinical Investigation ) looked into how melittin (a component of honey-bee venom which punches holes in cell membranes, could help deliver cancer killing nanoparticles to tumours in mice.
The tests were conducted with melanoma and breast cancer, and in these early stages the nanoparticles stopped tumour growth and caused some reduction in size when compared to placebos. 

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