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Pancreatic cancer

Cedars-Sinai study sheds light on bone marrow stem cell therapy for pancreatic recovery

Cancer • • Pancreatic cancer • • DiabetesOct 02 12

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute have found that a blood vessel-building gene boosts the ability of human bone marrow stem cells to sustain pancreatic recovery in a laboratory mouse model of insulin-dependent diabetes.

The findings, published in a PLOS ONE article of the Public Library of Science, offer new insights on mechanisms involved in regeneration of insulin-producing cells and provide new evidence that a diabetic’s own bone marrow one day may be a source of treatment.

Scientists began studying bone marrow-derived stem cells for pancreatic regeneration a decade ago. Recent studies involving several pancreas-related genes and delivery methods – transplantation into the organ or injection into the blood – have shown that bone marrow stem cell therapy could reverse or improve diabetes in some laboratory mice. But little has been known about how stem cells affect beta cells – pancreas cells that produce insulin – or how scientists could promote sustained beta cell renewal and insulin production.

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Oncolytic viruses effectively target and kill pancreatic cancer stem cells

Cancer • • Pancreatic cancerMay 09 11

Oncolytic viruses quickly infect and kill cancer stem cells, which may provide a treatment for tumors that are resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation, particularly pancreatic cancer, according to new research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The findings are especially important since pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis and is difficult to detect and treat at early stages.

Investigators led by Joyce Wong, MD, surgical researcher with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, investigated whether they could use oncolytic viruses, which are naturally occurring viruses that have been genetically engineered to be safe and express tracking genes, as a possible therapy against pancreatic cancer stem cells. These stem cells are thought to cause disease recurrence and metastasis, even after therapy, and oncolytic viruses may offer a new treatment strategy.

“What we learned is that oncolytic viruses have been engineered to selectively target cancer cells and have a low toxicity profile in animal studies,” said Dr. Wong. “Targeting the cancer stem cell may enhance our ability to eradicate tumors and prevent future recurrence of disease.”

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Genes map study finds clues to pancreatic cancer

Cancer • • Pancreatic cancerJan 20 11

xperts in the genetics of cancer said on Thursday they have found out why some people can live for years with the same kind of rare pancreatic cancer that affects Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

They identified new genes that, when mutated in a certain way, appear to cause a relatively less harmful form of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.

Patients with these mutations lived twice as long as those whose tumors carried other mutations, the team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore report in the journal Science.

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The utility of EUS and CEH-EUS in the diagnosis of small pancreatic tumors

Cancer • • Pancreatic cancerDec 09 09

Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) is a highly sensitive diagnostic method for the detection of small pancreatic carcinomas. Recently, there have been some reports describing the utility of contrast-enhanced harmonic EUS (CEH-EUS) which uses sonographic contrast agent for differentiation of a pancreatic mass.

A research team from Japan reported a case of small adenocarcinoma of the pancreas distinct from branch duct intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) in which investigation by EUS took place every 6 mo and diagnosis was made accurately by additional CEH-EUS during the follow-up of the branch duct IPMN.

Their study will be published on November 21, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

Their results suggest that the performance of periodical EUS with CEH-EUS imaging during the follow-up of branch duct IPMN allowed the establishment of an accurate diagnosis of the disease.

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Drug cuts diabetics’ pancreatic cancer risk: study

Cancer • • Pancreatic cancer • • DiabetesAug 04 09

Diabetics who took the drug metformin, which makes the body process insulin better, had a 62 percent lower risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those who had never received it, U.S. researchers said on Saturday.

But the risk of getting the cancer, one of the deadliest, was significantly higher among diabetics who took insulin or drugs that make the body produce more insulin, according to their study published in the journal Gastroenterology.

“We find that diabetics that had ever used metformin alone or in combination with other drugs had like a 60 percent reduced risk for pancreatic cancer, compared to diabetic patients who never used metformin,” lead researcher Donghui Li from The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center said.

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Study finds association between hepatitis B and pancreatic cancer

Cancer • • Pancreatic cancer • • InfectionsSep 30 08

A new study has shown that evidence of past hepatitis B infection was twice as common in people with pancreatic cancer than in healthy controls. This study is the first to report an association between past exposure to the hepatitis B virus and pancreatic cancer, but researchers cautioned that more studies are necessary to evaluate the nature of the link.

“While our findings indicate that past exposure to hepatitis B is associated with the development of pancreatic cancer, more research is needed to determine whether this relationship is one of cause and effect,” said lead author Manal M. Hassan, MD, PhD, assistant professor at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. “If these findings can be confirmed by other studies, hepatitis B could be another risk factor for pancreatic cancer that is readily modifiable with treatment, and even preventable with a vaccine.”

In this study, Dr. Hassan and her colleagues compared evidence of hepatitis B and C infection (as determined by blood tests assessing antibodies to these viruses) between 476 patients with pancreatic cancer and 879 matched healthy individuals. Evidence of past exposure to hepatitis B was found in 7.6 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer versus 3.2 percent of controls. The association between hepatitis B exposure and pancreatic cancer remained statistically significant even after controlling for other risk factors, such as smoking. People with both diabetes (an established risk factor for pancreatic cancer) and hepatitis B exposure had a 7-fold increase in pancreatic cancer risk, compared to controls. No association was observed between hepatitis C exposure and pancreatic cancer.

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Swayze ‘responding well’ to cancer treatment

Cancer • • Pancreatic cancerMay 28 08

Former “Dirty Dancing” star Patrick Swayze is responding well to treatment for pancreatic cancer, he told People magazine.

Swayze, 55, who announced in March that he had been diagnosed with cancer, is receiving treatment at Stanford University Medical Center near San Francisco.

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