Tag Archives: breast cancer

Researchers Discover New Target for Personalized Cancer Therapy

Captured by Case Western Reserve University

A common cancer pathway causing tumor growth is now being targeted by a number of new cancer drugs and shows promising results. A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have developed a novel method to disrupt this growth signaling pathway, with findings that suggest a new treatment for breast, colon, melanoma and other cancers.

The research team has pinpointed the cancer abnormality to a mutation in a gene called PIK3CA that results in a mutant protein, which may be an early cancer switch. By disrupting the mutated signaling pathway, the Case Western Reserve team, led by John Wang, PhD, inhibited the growth of cancer cells, opening the possibility to new cancer therapies.

Their findings, “Gain of interaction with IRS1 by p110α helical domain mutants is crucial for their oncogenic functions,” was published on May 2 in the journal Cancer Cell.

Cancer arises from a single cell, which has mutated in a small number of genes because of random errors in the DNA replication process. These mutations play key roles in carcinogenesis.

“This discovery has a broad impact on the treatment of human cancer patients because so many cancers are affected by this particular mutation in the p110α protein, which is encoded by the PIK3CA gene,” said Wang, an associate professor in the Department of Genetics and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. “This is a significant advance because we can now disrupt this misdirected signaling pathway in cancer cells.”

“If you turn on a light, you have to turn on a switch. But in the case of the mutation of this protein, p110α turns on by itself,” Wang said. “The mutation rewires the circuit and is uncontrolled. This implies that if you break these wires, you can control the growth of cancer. Our current discovery may lead to finding less toxic drugs that can be used for personalized treatment for cancer patients in the future.”

“This research will impact the field by focusing us on new targets for treating and preventing metastasis in patients in a many different types of human cancers,” said Stanton Gerson, MD, Asa and Patricia Shiverick-Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology, and director of Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and of Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.  Read more…


Make Reconstructive Breast Surgery Part Of The Plan

COLUMBUS, Ohio – When some women learn they have breast cancer, they decide to have a mastectomy and reconstructive breast surgery at the same time. 

“When reconstruction is done immediately, you can more easily preserve the shape of the breast by restoring it before scars and other changes set in and distort the breast,” says Dr. Michael J. Miller, an advocate for this type of planning. 

Studies have shown that reconstructive surgery is safe and does not interfere with treatment or increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence, says Miller, a nationally recognized plastic surgeon specializing in cancer reconstruction at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State. 

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio StateHowever, surveys show a majority of surgeons do not discuss reconstruction with their patients – a statistic that Miller finds troubling, considering that the principle benefit for patients who have reconstructive surgery is an improved quality of life. 

“In women with breast cancer, there can be a tremendous deformity of their breast, and this can add to the emotional distress caused by the cancer,” says Miller, an expert in microvascular surgical techniques, which involve reattaching tiny blood vessels and nerves during reconstruction.

At a handful of cancer centers, including The James, reconstructive surgery is fully integrated into the treatment planning for breast cancer patients who need a mastectomy, says Miller, rather than being discussed as an afterthought following surgery. 

Miller meets with patients soon after their initial diagnosis to discuss possible reconstruction based on individual medical needs and personal preferences. For some women, the best option is using the patient’s own tissue; while for others artificial implants may be preferred. 

Concerns of appearance are very common, says Miller, who often works alongside a surgical oncologist in the operating room during the mastectomy surgery.

Once the breast tissue is removed as part of a skin-sparing surgery, Miller performs the reconstructive surgery, filling the remaining breast skin with tissue from the patient’s lower abdomen, buttocks, thighs or back.

 “Restoring the breast as much as possible to the woman’s normal appearance can significantly enhance her quality of life after cancer treatment,” says Miller, who also holds the title of director of the division of plastic surgery at The Ohio State University Medical Center. “Many experience a renewed sense of wholeness and femininity after reconstruction.” 

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute is one of only 40 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States and the only freestanding cancer hospital in the Midwest. Ranked among the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation, The James is the 175-bed adult patient-care component of the cancer program at The Ohio State University.