* Leukaemia - Latest News, Latest Research | CANCERactive

* Leukaemia - Latest News, Latest Research | CANCERactive


Increase your personal adds of survival by empowering yourself with the latest news and research on Leukaemia, (leakemia), which you can incorporate today into personal integrative cancer treatment programme.

"It's really great to have so many easy to read articles in one place. Thank you CANCERactive."  RJ Toronto.


Just click on the title below to read the article.

Go to:  ’An Overview of Leukemia cancer - symptoms causes and alternative treatments

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Grapeseed extract kills cancer cells

In laboratory studies conducted by the University of Kentucky (Clinical Cancer Research), found that leukaemia cancer cells exposed to grapeseed extract (GSE) were rapidly killed through a process of cell suicide known as "apoptosis."

76 per cent of the leukaemia cells committed suicide within 24 hours thanks to the ability of GSE to activate a protein called JNK, which regulates apoptosis.

The researchers concluded that the GSE helped the cells systems recognise in some way that the cell was ’flawed’. Although this is not the first time such an effect has been noted, the study will next need to be replicated in humans before any real conclusions can be made.

Myeloid leukaemia ten genetic factors could be combining!

According to The Times (November 4th 2008) ’Scientists in America have decoded the DNA of a cancer patient and traced the disease, acute myeloid leukaemia, to its genetic roots. The study identified ten mutated genes that may have led to the blood cell cancer.’

Child Leukaemia - three quarters are cured

Around three-quarters of children diagnosed with leukaemia today will be cured of their disease, according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer. Scientists have developed a formal method for estimating the number of children diagnosed with leukaemia in the UK who are cured meaning they have no greater risk of dying prematurely than children who never had leukaemia, rather than using the almost meaningless 5-year survival approach.

The cure rate has increased from 25 per cent in the early 1970s to 68 per cent in the early 1990s and this figure is predicted to rise to 73 per cent for children diagnosed more recently.  The success of leukaemia treatment has previously been judged on five-year survival rates, which increased from 33 per cent to 79 per cent during 1971-2000. For some types of leukaemia, five-year survival is as high as 83 per cent.

The team examined how survival has changed over the years and they defined ’cure’ as the point when the life expectancy of children diagnosed with leukaemia returned to normal for their age and sex.
First author Dr Anjali Shah, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, whose study was funded by charity ’CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA’ said: It’s great that children diagnosed with leukaemia can be told that the numbers cured of this terrible disease are increasing.

Child Leukaemia - interaction with other children reduces risk

UCLA Berkeley have reported on their findings that attendance at a play group reduces child leukaemia risk (of the ’variety’ ALL) by as much as 33 per cent. The researchers reviewed 14 worldwide studies and concluded that infection from other children is a necessary part of developing the immune system early in life. And a strong immune system affords more protection against leukaemia.

ALL accounts for about 80 per cent of child leukaemia and typically appears in the 2 to 5 age group, said the American team. In some of the studies, the figure was as high as 40 per cent.

Common herb kills leukaemia cells better than drug

For centuries Feverfew - which has small daisy-like flowers - has been used as a tea for treating ailments like arthritis and migraine. Now researchers from Rochester University in New York have shown that in higher concentrations parthenolide, the active ingredient, kills leukaemia stem cells whilst leaving healthy cells intact. When the researchers compared it to the chemotherapy drug cytarabine they found in turn that the drug showed only ’modest toxicity’ to the leukaemia stem cells, but relatively high toxicity to the healthy cells.

The US Government has put parthenolide onto its ’Rapid Access programme’, which is a fast track designed to take experimental drugs quickly into clinical trials.
Meanwhile the scientists are saying that leukaemia patients should not take feverfew (or any other herbal supplement ) without consulting a doctor first. Lead scientist Dr Craig Jordan says that, anyway, a patient would not be able to take enough of it to produce an effect.

(Ed: fascinating. Here clearly is a herb that works: Naturally toxic to a rogue cell but, as we have lived with it for thousands of years, it doesn’t harm healthy cells. Next the researchers ’pan’ the current drug. Is it to be withdrawn? Then they  suggest that leukaemia patients could only get enough of the herb active ingredient in a new drug as yet unmade drug - haven’t they heard of tinctures? And finally you shouldn’t take a herb without consulting your Doctor. Considering he knows less than nothing about nutrition (according to the US Government - they are in the process of giving out 900 page nutrition books to doctors for this very reason) and therefore supplements, how is he going to advise you on a herb? For your information - herbs are not medicines in the USA. And, unlike Europe, no health claims can be made for them.)

Vaccine sees response in Leukaemia patients.

An experimental vaccine for patients with leukemia produced an immune response in 60% of patients with myeloid leukemias and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and also extended survival without relapse, according to new clinical trial results taking place at the MD Anderson cancer Center in Texas.

Muzaffar Qazilbash, M.D., an associate professor in M. D. Andersons Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, presented the results at the 49th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in December, 2007.

The Phase I/II trial involving 66 patients, which ran from 2000 to 2006, used a vaccine made from the PR1 peptide, a small part of a protein found on the inside of leukemia cells.

Clinical responses, ranging from improvements in blood counts to complete cytogenetic (chromosomal) remission, were observed in 36% of the responders, compared with 10% of non-responders.

Child Leukemia And EMFs - Help Wanted

A research study on the links between electromagnetic fields and child leukemia is looking for help. The charity Children with Leukemia at Great Ormond Street, London (0207 404 0808) is prepared to help parents with children diagnosed with leukemia, working with families, visiting homes, and measuring radiation levels.

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia - Immunotherapy May Help

Most patients with AML have complete remissions after induction chemotherapy. However, fewer than one third are completely cured because of relapses.

In new research (Mats Brune, Sahlgrenska Uni. Hosp., Gothenburg) a group who used histamine dihydrochloride (HDC) and interleukin 2, improved 3 year survival from 26 per cent to 40 per cent. Overall survival was not measured (Blood, March 28, 2006. DOI 10.1182/blood 2005-10-4073).

Child Leukaemia - Cell Transplantation More Effective

The Lancet (Aug. 4 2005) reports that children with very high-risk lymphoblastic leukaemia benefit more from cell transplantation (from a related donor) than they do from chemotherapy.

Five-year survival rates increased from 40.6 per cent to 56.7 per cent.

Household Insecticides May Double Child Leukaemia Risk

A study by French doctors at Inserm published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine supports previous questions about toxic insecticides used in homes and gardens. These include houseplant sprays, medicated shampoo, mosquito repellents, insecticides used on plants and lawns, head lice treatment and flea collars.

In a study using a matched sample of over 550 children the risk of developing acute leukaemia more than doubled in the homes where the insecticides were used. This exposure risk could even occur before birth. The offending ingredients appear to be carbamates, three of which - carbaryl, carbofuran and carbosuflan - are regular used in the UK.

Leukaemia accounts for about a third of all cancer in children and the incidence has doubled over the last 25 years.

Power Lines Could Cause Leukaemia

In a new study by Gerald Draper (Oxford - BMJ 2005, 330, 1290) and his colleagues, living within 200 metres of high voltage power lines could cause a 70 per cent increased risk of developing leukaemia amongst children.

"The finding is not likely to be explained by magnetic fields but by some other direct consequence of power lines", he says. The study involved 29,083 children in England and Wales between 1962 and 1995 and for each cancer patient, a controlled, matched equivalent was taken. Sander Greenland (UCLA) believes that the study "simply adds to the evidence that the association is real".

According to Heather Dickenson (Newcastle University, UK), the study is the largest case-controlled study of childhood cancers ever conducted in the world.

A Power Cable Study Suppressed

According to a team of scientists from Oxford, who studied 35,000 children diagnosed with cancer over a 33 year period (the UKs biggest ever such study), power cables are definitely linked with cancers, particularly leukaemia.

Children living within 100 yards of overhead cables were especially vulnerable.

The research findings were apparently presented to the Department of Health three years ago but the results have not surfaced and are still yet to be officially published.

Is it Really Leukaemia?

Worrying reports are coming out of the USA over Doctors who are mistaking serious fungal infections for some leukaemias.

Over 50 years ago Dr J Walter Wilson pointed out that cancers like leukaemia and Hodgkins disease were statistically linked to high levels of fungal infection.

In 1997 Mark Bielski linked leukaemia with the yeast candida albicans and in 1999 Dr Meinolf Karthaus detailed how three of his young patients with leukaemia went into remission after being treated with a cocktail of three anti-fungal drugs.

But fungi have largely been ignored by doctors when treating cancer patients. A number of knowledgeable people from our own Gerald Green to the American Dr Milton White believe cancers are always linked to chronic fungal infection. Mycotoxins from fungi are commonly found in grains and foods like peanuts; one, aflatoxin, is known to be directly carcinogenic.

But for one nurse in America recently, who was diagnosed first with leukaemia, then liver cancer, but later discovered she only had a fungal infection, there is the fear that such cancers can be caught. She cares for children in a leukaemia centre. (See Dr Mercola and http://iknowthecause.com.)

Older Mothers Linked to Childhood Leukaemia

Using data from the British National Registry of Childhood Tumours, the Oxford Childhood Cancer Research group found that children of older parents have significantly higher chances of having leukaemia.

For women over 40 that risk is double that of mothers age 30 or less. A mother aged between 35 and 39 was 30 per cent more likely to have a child with leukaemia than one aged 25 to 29 and those over 40 were 88 per cent more likely.

Sloppy drug for leukaemia

Glivec or Gleevec, has a problem. It works on people with chronic myeloid leukaemia, but only for a while. The cancer cells become resistant to it by changing the enzyme upon which it works. So the drug does "fit" exactly. Now researchers led by Dr Charles Sawyers at the University of California have invented a sloppier drug, delicately name BMS-354825 which can even tackle the mutated enzyme.

However some cells are resistant to both. The researchers are conducting further tests "to make sure the drug is safe in humans".

Green tea fights leukaemias, fact

Researchers at the Mayo clinic have shown that epigallocatechin-3-gallate in green tea seems to stop leukaemia in its tracks by interfering with crucial communication signals. Four to ten cups of green tea per day seems the appropriate level.

Higher Gleevec dosage and myeloid leukaemia

The M D Anderson Cancer Center In Texas reports a small research showing that twice the normal daily dose of Gleevec dramatically improves results in cases of chronic myeloid leukaemia. Lead researcher Jorge Cortes MD lead the study that looked at newly diagnosed early stage CML. Eighteen months after starting the test, 28 per cent of the 114 patients treated with 800 mgs of Gleevec a day had no evidence of the disease. By 24 months the figure was 48 per cent.

Petrol Station Risk For Children

The French Institute of Health and Medical Research have reviewed 280 cases of childhood leukaemia and found a four-fold risk amongst children living near petrol stations. The risk was even greater for acute nonlymphoblastic leukaemia. The longer a child lived in the proximity, the greater the risk.

Green tea seems to aid leukaemia patients

We have covered this same issue several times before in icon, but this time it involves clinical trials and the Mayo Clinic in the USA. Their researchers have found that a compound in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) may have beneficial effects in patients with chonic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

In the Phase I clinical trial, 33 adults with CLL received eight different doses of Polyphenon E, a substance made from decaffeinated green tea that contains EGCG. Participants received 400-2,000 milligrams of Polyphenon E twice daily for one month.

According to the results, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the supplement was well tolerated, and high doses helped decrease the white blood cells counts in one-third of patients with CLL, indicating cancer regression. Additionally, most people who had enlarged lymph nodes at the start of the study experienced at least a 50 percent reduction in lymph node size.

The research is now undergoing a second phase of clinical testing in which CLL patients will each receive 2,000 milligrams of Polyphenon E twice daily.

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.

Women can pass cancer to their babies

October 2009, New Scientist: Scientists in Japan have proven ’without doubt’, for the first time, that cancer cells could be passed from mother to foetus. Dr Frederick van Delft, a member of the research team from the British Institute for Cancer Research, added that cases were very rare. The Japanese detailed the case of a woman with leukaemia, and how the cancer beat the baby’s immune system and the mother’s placenta.

Household pesticide link to child leukaemia and child brain cancer

A finger is firmly pointed at pesticides used inside the house in a research study in urban Washington and published by Lombardi and Childrens National Medical Center in the American magazine, Therapeutic Drug Monitoring.

41 pairs of children with a form of leukaemia termed ALL, and their mothers were matched with an identical group of healthy participants. The researchers analysed urine samples and found significantly higher levels of two common organophosphate metabolites, diethylthiophosphate (DETP) and diethyldithiophosphate (DEDTP) in the urine of the cancer patients than the healthy children. Not surprisingly in the questionnaires completed by the mothers, those households used significantly more pesticides in home.

Worryingly, even the healthy children had some evidence of pesticide organophosphates.

In a second study, reported in the American magazine Environmental Health Perspectives, children living with parents who use in-home pesticides are more likely to develop brain cancers. This time researchers matched 400 fathers and 250 mothers who all use fungicides, insecticides and herbicides around their homes (for example in garden or lawn care use), with identical non-users.They then looked at the level of exposure two years prior to birth!

The researchers found that children whose parents had been exposed to pesticides were significantly more likely to develop brain cancer. The risk of astrocytoma was especially increased by the use of herbicides.

Among the exposed fathers, those who wore protective clothing or who washed immediately after pesticide use were significantly less likely to have children who developed a brain tumour.

No explanation was given for the method of developing the cancer, but it is known that developing babies and foetuses are especially vulnerable to pesticides.

Formaldehyde linked to cancer risk, again

In Cancer Watch we have covered the dangers of formaldehyde before specifically links to lung cancer and leukaemia.

This known carcinogen is banned in countries such as Sweden and Japan. But you can find it readily available in products in your local supermarket from shampoos to nail polishes. In your home it can be found in fungicides and disinfectants, in the glues used to affix carpet and ceiling tiles, or produced by wood chip board products. Its presence is so common that researchers following students with respirators for two weeks in New York and Los Angels showed that it was the number 1 pollutant in our daily lives, well ahead of benzene and outdoor contaminants.

Now a somewhat bazaar study on Morticians, who use formaldehyde for embalming, has shown that those who regularly use it have a much greater risk of myeloid leukaemia, than those who don’t. (Journal of National Cancer Institute).

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Second string Leukaemia drug outperforms Gleevec
Patients using the second-line drug dasatanib (also known as Sprycel) as the first line of defense against chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) experience more positive results compared to patients who use the current approved initial therapy. A multinational Phase III study proved that dasatanib produced faster, better responses in 11% more of CML patients than the current first-line drug imatinib also known as Gleevec. (New England Journal of Medicine, June 17)

CML is caused by the abnormal Philadelphia chromosome, which produces the aberrant protein Bcr-Abl. This protein creates an overproduction of a type of white blood cell that feeds the cancer.

Dasatinib inhibits the action of the Bcr-Abl protein. It is currently given to patients who either cannot tolerate imatinib or whose CML resists imatinib.

The drug imatinib, is currently the first line of therapy for CML patients. It has increased the five-year survival rate for the disease from 50% to 90%.

However, after one year, only 30% to 40% of patients using imatinib achieve a state of complete cytogenetic response (CCyR), or the absence of the Philadelphia chromosome that causes the disease.

According to MD Anderson, patients who achieve CCyR within a year of treatment have a more favorable long-term survival rate.

The Phase III study involved 519 newly diagnosed CML patients who had received no prior treatment for the disease. Participants were randomly split into two groups: 259 patients received 100 milligrams of dasatinib once daily and 260 patients received 400 milligrams of imatinib once daily.

After a minimum one-year follow-up, rates of confirmed CCyR were:

77% for those taking dasatinib 

66% for those taking imatinib

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