US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the cobas HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Test which identifies women at highest risk for developing cervical cancer. This test will help physicians make early, more accurate decisions about patient care, which may prevent many women from developing this deadly disease. Continue reading “FDA Approves Roche’s HPV Test for Identifying Women at Highest Risk for Cervical Cancer”
Nanotubes sniff out cancer agents in living cells
MIT engineers have developed carbon nanotubes into sensors for cancer drugs and other DNA-damaging agents inside living cells.
The sensors, made of carbon nanotubes wrapped in DNA, can detect chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin as well as environmental toxins and free radicals that damage DNA. Continue reading “Nanotubes sniff out cancer agents in living cells”
How eating fruit and vegetables can improve cancer patients’ response to chemotherapy
The leading cause of death in all cancer patients continues to be the resistance of tumor cells to chemotherapy, a form of treatment in which chemicals are used to kill cells.
Now a study by UC Riverside biochemists that focuses on cancer cells reports that ingesting apigenin – a naturally occurring dietary agent found in vegetables and fruit – improves cancer cells’ response to chemotherapy. Continue reading “How eating fruit and vegetables can improve cancer patients’ response to chemotherapy”
Researchers identify Achilles heel of common childhood tumor
Researchers have discovered a mechanism for the rapid growth seen in infantile hemangioma, the most common childhood tumor.
The tumors, which are made up of proliferating blood vessels, affect up to 10 percent of children of European descent, with girls more frequently afflicted than boys. The growths appear within days of birth—most often as a single, blood-red lump on the head or face—then grow rapidly in the ensuing months. The development of infantile hemangioma slows later in childhood, and most tumors disappear entirely by the end of puberty. However, while the tumors are benign, they can cause disfigurement or clinical complications. This new research offers hope for the most severe of these cases, pointing at a potential, non-invasive treatment for the condition. Continue reading “Researchers identify Achilles heel of common childhood tumor”
Bioengineers build first-ever multi-input ‘plug-and-play’ synthetic RNA device
Engineers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a “plug-and-play” synthetic RNA device–a sort of eminently customizable biological computer–that is capable of taking in and responding to more than one biological or environmental signal at a time.
In the future, such devices could have a multitude of potential medical applications, including being used as sensors to sniff out tumor cells or determine when to turn modified genes on or off during cancer therapy. Continue reading “Bioengineers build first-ever multi-input ‘plug-and-play’ synthetic RNA device”
Weight Loss Surgery Cuts Cancer
Its already known that weight-loss surgery for morbid obesity can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart problems. Now, new research shows that it may also cut a persons risk of cancer by 80-percent.
Nanodiamond drug device could transform cancer treatment
A Northwestern University research team has developed a promising nanomaterial-based biomedical device that could be used to deliver chemotherapy drugs locally to sites where cancerous tumors have been surgically removed.
The flexible microfilm device, which resembles a piece of plastic wrap and can be customized easily into different shapes, has the potential to transform conventional treatment strategies and reduce patients’ unnecessary exposure to toxic drugs. The device takes advantage of nanodiamonds, an emergent technology, for sustained drug release. Continue reading “Nanodiamond drug device could transform cancer treatment”
A new cellular pathway linked to cancer
In the life of a cell, the response to DNA damage determines whether the cell is fated to pause and repair itself, commit suicide, or grow uncontrollably, a route leading to cancer. In a new study, published in the July 25th issue of Cell, scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have identified a way that cells respond to DNA damage through a process that targets proteins for disposal. The finding points to a new pathway for the development of cancer and suggests a new way of sensitizing cancer cells to treatment.
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Vitamin A pushes breast cancer to form blood vessel cells
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that vitamin A, when applied to breast cancer cells, turns on genes that can push stem cells embedded in a tumor to morph into endothelial cells. These cells can then build blood vessels to link up to the body’s blood supply, promoting further tumor growth.
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Biology in Pictures: Microangiopathic Hemolytic Anemia
Morphology: Thrombocytopenia, 4+ schizocytes, 3+ spherocytes, 4+ polychromatophilic rbc.
Diagnosis: Disseminated carcinomatosis with DIC
DIC With Microangiopathic Hemolytic Anemia on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.
Antibody Engineering Cuts the Collateral Damage of Cancer Drugs
Killing cancer cells, while leaving normal tissue unscathed, is almost impossible.
Nanotechnology may do the trick, but big pharmaceutical companies are far from embracing that strategy. In the meantime, highly-engineered biological molecules will fill the void.
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Slipping through cell walls, nanotubes deliver high-potency punch to cancer tumors in mice
The problem with using a shotgun to kill a housefly is that even if you get the pest, you’ll likely do a lot of damage to your home in the process. Hence the value of the more surgical flyswatter.
Cancer researchers have long faced a similar situation in chemotherapy: how to get the most medication into the cells of a tumor without “spillover” of the medication adversely affecting the healthy cells in a patient’s body.
Now researchers at Stanford University have addressed that problem using single-walled carbon nanotubes as delivery vehicles. The new method has enabled the researchers to get a higher proportion of a given dose of medication into the tumor cells than is possible with the “free” drug-that is, the one not bound to nanotubes-thus reducing the amount of medication that they need to inject into a subject to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.
Continue reading “Slipping through cell walls, nanotubes deliver high-potency punch to cancer tumors in mice”
To protect against liver disease, body puts cells ‘under arrest’
A stable form of cell-cycle arrest known to offer potent protection against cancer also limits liver fibrosis, a condition characterized by an excess of fibrous tissue, according to a new report in the August 22nd Cell, a Cell Press publication. Triggered by chronic liver damage produced by hepatitis infection, alcohol abuse, or fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis can lead to cirrhosis, a major health problem worldwide and the 12th most common cause of death in the United States.
The new findings may have important implications for treating cirrhosis, a disease now considered to be irreversible. It could offer new insight into other disease states as well.
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Scientists discover major genetic cause of colorectal cancer
About one-third of colorectal cancers are inherited, but the genetic cause of most of these cancers is unknown. The genes linked to colorectal cancer account for less than 5 percent of all cases.
Scientists at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues have discovered a genetic trait that is present in 10 to 20 percent of patients with colorectal cancer. The findings strongly suggest that the trait is a major contributor to colorectal cancer risk and likely the most common cause of colorectal cancer to date.
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Synthetic molecules could add spice to fight against cancer
Seeking to improve on nature, scientists used a spice-based compound as a starting point and developed synthetic molecules that, in lab settings, are able to kill cancer cells and stop the cells from spreading.
The researchers are combining organic chemistry, computer-aided design and molecular biology techniques in developing and testing pharmaceutical compounds that can fight breast and prostate cancer cells. The synthetic molecules are derived from curcumin, a naturally occurring compound found in the spice turmeric.
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First-Ever Recording of Blood Vessel Development During the Formation of an Organ
A new microscope system that can take 3-D pictures of an embryonic mouse organ over 24 to 48 hours has shown Duke Medical Center researchers the first glimpse of the formation of blood vessels during development.
Among other things, a team lead by cell biologist Blanche Capel, Ph.D., has found a previously unknown mechanism in the formation of blood vessels that may help scientists better understand how a tumor rallies a blood supply to its aid. Continue reading “First-Ever Recording of Blood Vessel Development During the Formation of an Organ”
Major “Missed” Biochemical Pathway Emerges As Important in Virtually All Cells
A new study by Duke University researchers provides more evidence that the nitric oxide (NO) system in the life of a cell plays a key role in disease, and the findings point to ways to improve treatment of illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
The nitric oxide system in cells is “a major biological signaling pathway that has been missed with regard to the way it controls proteins,” and it is linked to cancer and other diseases when the system goes awry, said Jonathan Stamler, M.D., a professor of medicine and biochemistry at Duke University Medical Center who worked on the study. Continue reading “Major “Missed” Biochemical Pathway Emerges As Important in Virtually All Cells”
Estrogen helps drive distinct, aggressive form of prostate cancer
Using a breakthrough technology, researchers led by a Weill Cornell Medical College scientist have pinpointed the hormone estrogen as a key player in about half of all prostate cancers.
Estrogen-linked signaling helps drive a discrete and aggressive form of the disease caused by a chromosomal translocation, which in turn results in the fusion of two genes. Continue reading “Estrogen helps drive distinct, aggressive form of prostate cancer”
Researchers unmask proteins in telomerase, a substance that enables cancer
One of the more intriguing workhorses of the cell, a protein conglomerate called telomerase, has in its short history been implicated in some critical areas of medicine including cancer, aging and keeping stem cells healthy. With such a resume, telomerase has been the subject of avid interest by basic scientists and pharmaceutical companies alike, so you’d think at the very least people would know what it is.
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Soy compound may halt spread of prostate cancer
A compound found in soybeans almost completely prevented the spread of human prostate cancer in mice, according to a study published in the March 15 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Researchers say that the amount of the chemical, an antioxidant known as genistein, used in the experiments was no higher than what a human would eat in a soybean-rich diet.
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Camera In A Pill Offers Cheaper, Easier Window To Your Insides
What if swallowing a pill with a camera could detect the earliest signs of cancer? The tiny camera is designed to take high-quality, color pictures in confined spaces. Such a device could find warning signs of esophageal cancer, the fastest growing cancer in the United States.
A fundamentally new design has created a smaller endoscope that is more comfortable for the patient and cheaper to use than current technology. Its first use on a human, scanning for early signs of esophageal cancer, will be reported in an upcoming issue of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. Continue reading “Camera In A Pill Offers Cheaper, Easier Window To Your Insides”
Light powered platinum more targeted and 80 times more powerful than similar cancer treatments
Researchers from the Universities of Warwick, Edinburgh, Dundee and the Czech Republic’s Institute of Biophysics have discovered a new light-activated platinum-based compound that is up to 80 times more powerful than other platinum-based anti-cancer drugs and which can use “light activation” to kill cancer cells in much more targeted way than similar treatments.
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Ancient retroviruses spurred evolution of gene regulatory networks in humans and other primates
When ancient retroviruses slipped bits of their DNA into the primate genome millions of years ago, they successfully preserved their own genetic legacy. Today an estimated 8 percent of the human genetic code consists of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs)–the DNA remnants from these so-called “selfish parasites.”
Surprisingly, the infected hosts and their primate descendants also appear to have benefited from this genetic invasion, new evidence suggests. The ancient retroviruses–distant relatives of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–helped a gene called p53 become an important “master gene regulator” in primates, according to a study published this week in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Preclinical Results Report Radio Waves Fire Up Nanotubes Embedded In Tumors, Destroying Liver Cancer
Cancer cells treated with carbon nanotubes can be destroyed by non-invasive radio waves that heat up the nanotubes while sparing untreated tissue, a research team led by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Rice University has shown in preclinical experiments.
In a paper posted online ahead of December publication in the journal Cancer, researchers show that the technique completely destroyed liver cancer tumors in rabbits. There were no side effects noted. However, some healthy liver tissue within 2-5 millimeters of the tumors sustained heat damage due to nanotube leakage from the tumor.
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Appetite Regulation Molecule Found: Could Lead To Treatments For Obesity And Unwanted Weight Loss
A team of researchers from the St Vincent’s Campus in Sydney have developed a novel way to control the extreme weight loss, common in late stage cancer, which often speeds death. Continue reading “Appetite Regulation Molecule Found: Could Lead To Treatments For Obesity And Unwanted Weight Loss”
Newly created cancer stem cells could aid breast cancer research
In some ways, certain tumors resemble bee colonies, says pathologist Tan Ince. Each cancer cell in the tumor plays a specific role, and just a fraction of the cells serve as “queens,” possessing the unique ability to maintain themselves in an unspecialized state and seed new tumors. These cells can also divide and produce the “worker” cells that form the bulk of the tumor.
These “queens” are cancer stem cells. Now the lab of Whitehead Member Robert Weinberg has created such cells in a Petri dish by isolating and transforming a particular population of cells from human breast tissue. After being injected with just 100 of these transformed cells, mice developed tumors that metastasized (spread to distant tissues).
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‘Western’ diet linked to increased risk of colon cancer recurrence
Colon cancer patients who eat a diet high in red meat, fatty products, refined grains, and desserts — a so-called “Western diet” — may be increasing their chance of disease relapse and early death, report researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
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Obesity and lack of exercise could enhance the risk of pancreatic cancer
Obesity and aversion to exercise have become hallmarks of modern society – and a new study suggests that a blood protein linked to these lifestyle factors may be an indicator for an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Researchers from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute report their findings in the August 15 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
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Green tea boosts production of detox enzymes, rendering cancerous chemicals harmless
Concentrated chemicals derived from green tea dramatically boosted production of a group of key detoxification enzymes in people with low levels of these beneficial proteins, according to researchers at Arizona Cancer Center.
These findings, published in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that a green tea concentrate might help some people strengthen their metabolic defense against toxins capable of causing cancer.
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Cancer Fighting Technology for Brain Tumors
Trilogy Stereotactic Radiation Therapy to treat brain tumors. Trilogy precisely pinpoints the exact location of the cancer and treats it with a highly accurate beam of radiation.
Scientists discover a control mechanism for metastasis
Metastasis – when cancer cells dissociate from the original tumor and migrate via the blood stream to colonize distant organs – is the main cause of cancer death. A team of scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science has now revealed new details about the mechanisms controlling metastasis of breast cancer cells. Their findings, published recently online in Nature Cell Biology, add significantly to the understanding of metastasis and may aid, in the future, in the development of anti-cancer drugs.
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Biologists discover a reason why chromosomes break, often leading to cancer
In the past ten years, researchers in genome stability have observed that many kinds of cancer are associated with areas where human chromosomes break. They have hypothesized – but never proven – that slow or altered replication led to the chromosomes breaking.
In a Tufts University study published in the Aug. 3 journal “Molecular Cell,” two molecular biologists have used yeast artificial chromosomes to prove the hypothesis. The Tufts researchers have found a highly flexible DNA sequence that increases fragility and stalls replication, which then causes the chromosome to break.
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Scientists develop a model that could predict cells’ response to drugs
MIT researchers have developed a model that could predict how cells will respond to targeted drug therapies. Models based on this approach could help doctors make better treatment choices for individual patients, who often respond differently to the same drug, and could help drug developers identify the ideal compounds on which to focus their research.
In addition, the model could help test the effectiveness of drugs for a wide range of diseases, including various kinds of cancer, arthritis and immune system disorders, according to Douglas Lauffenburger, MIT professor of biological engineering and head of the department. Lauffenburger is senior author of a paper on the new model that will appear in the Aug. 2 issue of Nature.
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Broccoli and cauliflower reduce aggressive prostate cancer risk
A study reported in the August 1, 2007 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that men who consume more cruciferous vegetables, particularly broccoli and cauliflower, have a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer. The cruciferous family of vegetables, which also includes cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts, has been associated in previous research with protection from colon, breast, prostate, thyroid, cervical, and other cancers, as well as with slower disease progression.
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Caffeine and exercise can team up to prevent skin cancer
Regular exercise and little or no caffeine has become a popular lifestyle choice for many Americans. But a new Rutgers study has found that it may not be the best formula for preventing sun-induced skin damage that could lead to cancer. Low to moderate amounts of caffeine, in fact, along with exercise can be good for your health.
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Nanotech Trojan Horse That Kills Cancer
Scientists have created the nanotechnology equivalent of a Trojan horse to smuggle a powerful chemotherapeutic drug inside tumor cells – increasing the drug’s cancer-killing activity and reducing its toxic side effects.
Previous studies in cell cultures have suggested that attaching anticancer drugs to nanoparticles for targeted delivery to tumor cells could increase the therapeutic response. Now, U-M scientists have shown that this nanotechnology-based treatment is effective in living animals.
Scientists find key to stem cell immortality
One of the medical marvels of stem cells is that they continue to divide and renew themselves when other cells would quit. But what is it that gives stem cells this kind of immortality. Researchers now report in the June 16, 2005 issue of the journal Nature that microRNAs — tiny snippets of genetic material that have now been linked to growth regulation in normal cells as well as cancer growth in abnormal cells — appear to shut off the “stop signals” or brakes that would normally tell cells to stop dividing.
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Cells re-energize to come back from the brink of death
The discovery of how some abnormal cells can avoid a biochemical program of self-destruction by increasing their energy level and repairing the damage, is giving investigators at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital insights into a key strategy cancer cells use to survive and thrive.
The finding offers an explanation of how abnormal cells that have cheated death once by disabling the main suicide pathway called apoptosis can also foil a backup self-destruct program, which allows them to survive and become cancerous.
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Innovative device to treat brain cancer shows promise in early studies
New early data showed that an investigational device that specifically targets rapidly growing cancer cells with intermediate frequency electrical fields — called Tumor-Treating Fields (TTFields) — more than doubled the median overall survival rates in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and aggressive type of malignant brain tumor. These survival rates observed in the data were compared to historical data.
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Dietary vitamin B6, B12 and folate, may decrease pancreatic cancer risk among lean people
Researchers exploring the notion that certain nutrients might protect against pancreatic cancer found that lean individuals who got most of these nutrients from food were protected against developing cancer. The study also suggests this protective effect does not hold true if the nutrients come from vitamin supplements.
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Scientists Locate And Treat Tumors Using Novel Technology, In Mice
Research teams at Yale University and the University of Rhode Island have demonstrated a new way to target and potentially treat tumors using a short piece of protein that acts like a nanosyringe to deliver “tags” or therapy to cells, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
pHLIP accumulation in a mouse breast tumor grown on the right flank of a mouse. (Credit: Engelman/Reshtnyak)
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Moderate coffee drinking reduces many health risks
Coffee is among the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and that the preponderance of scientific evidence suggests that moderate coffee consumption (3-5 cups per day) may be associated with reduced risk of certain disease conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease. Some research in neuropharamacology suggests that one cup of coffee can halve the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Other studies have found it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, kidney stones, gallstones, depression and even suicide.
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Pomegranate Juice May Help Fight Lung Cancer
Researchers are adding to the list of cancer types for which pomegranates seem to halt growth. A recent study at the University of Wisconsin–Madison using a mouse model shows that consuming pomegranates could potentially help reduce the growth and spread of lung cancer cells or even prevent lung cancer from developing.
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Antioxidant found in many foods and red wine is potent and selective killer of leukemia cells
A naturally occurring compound found in many fruits and vegetables as well as red wine, selectively kills leukemia cells in culture while showing no discernible toxicity against healthy cells, according to a study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. These findings, which were published online March 20 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and will be in press on May 4, offer hope for a more selective, less toxic therapy for leukemia.
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Gleevec decreases cancer recurrence for patients with primary gastrointestinal stromal tumor
Preliminary results from a large, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial for patients with primary gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), a type of tumor usually found in the stomach or small intestine, showed that patients who received imatinib mesylate (Gleevec ®) after complete removal of their tumor were significantly less likely to have a recurrence of their cancer compared to those who did not receive imatinib. The clinical trial was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and conducted by a network of researchers led by the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG).
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Discovery in plants suggests entirely new approach to treating human cancers
For the first time, scientists from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Indiana University Bloomington and the University of Cambridge have determined how a plant hormone — auxin — interacts with its hormone receptor, called TIR1. Their report, on the cover of this week’s issue of Nature, also may have important implications for the treatment of human disease, because TIR1 is similar to human enzymes that are known to be involved in cancer.
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Chemists develop new method for synthesizing anti-cancer flavonoids
Flavonoids. You’ve heard of them — the good-for-your-health compounds found in plants that we enjoy in red wine, dark chocolate, green tea and citrus fruits. Mother Nature is an ace at making them, producing different ones by the thousands, but no chemist has figured out a good way to synthesize a special class of these chemicals in the laboratory. Until now.
Karl Scheidt, assistant professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, and his research team have synthesized 10 different flavanones, a type of flavonoid, using a new general method they developed that takes advantage of one simple catalyst.
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Blueberries contain chemical that may help prevent colon cancer
A compound found in blueberries shows promise of preventing colon cancer in animals, according to a joint study by scientists at Rutgers University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The compound, pterostilbene, is a potent antioxidant that could be developed into a pill with the potential for fewer side effects than some commercial drugs that are currently used to prevent the disease. Colon cancer is considered the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, the researchers say.
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Fantastic voyage: From science fiction to reality?
Some 40 years after the release of the classic science fiction movie Fantastic Voyage, researchers in the NanoRobotics Laboratory of École Polytechnique de Montréal’s Department of Computer Engineering and Institute of Biomedical Engineering have achieved a major technological breakthrough in the field of medical robotics. They have succeeded for the first time in guiding, in vivo and via computer control, a microdevice inside an artery, at a speed of 10 centimetres a second.
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Green tea and COX-2 inhibitors combine to slow growth of prostate cancer
Drinking a nice warm cup of green tea has long been touted for its healthful benefits, both real and anecdotal. But now researchers have found that a component of green tea, combined with low doses of a COX-2 inhibitor, could slow the spread of human prostate cancer.
In the March 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison demonstrate that low doses of the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib, administered with a green tea polyphenol called pigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), can slow the growth of human prostate cancer. Their experiments were performed in cell cultures and in a mouse model for the disease.
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