Tag Archives: therapy

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…

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Transplanted Brain Cells in Monkeys Light Up Personalized Therapy

Captured by University of Wisconsin-Madison

For the first time, scientists have transplanted neural cells derived from a monkey’s skin into its brain and watched the cells develop into several types of mature brain cells, according to the authors of a new study in Cell Reports. After six months, the cells looked entirely normal, and were only detectable because they initially were tagged with a fluorescent protein.

Because the cells were derived from adult cells in each monkey’s skin, the experiment is a proof-of-principle for the concept of personalized medicine, where treatments are designed for each individual.

And since the skin cells were not “foreign” tissue, there were no signs of immune rejection — potentially a major problem with cell transplants. “When you look at the brain, you cannot tell that it is a graft,” says senior author Su-Chun Zhang, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Structurally the host brain looks like a normal brain; the graft can only be seen under the fluorescent microscope.”

Marina Emborg, an associate professor of medical physics at UW-Madison and the lead co-author of the study, says, “This is the first time I saw, in a nonhuman primate, that the transplanted cells were so well integrated, with such a minimal reaction. And after six months, to see no scar, that was the best part.”

The cells were implanted in the monkeys “using a state-of-the-art surgical procedure” guided by an MRI image, says Emborg. The three rhesus monkeys used in the study at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center had a lesion in a brain region that causes the movement disorder Parkinson’s disease, which afflicts up to 1 million Americans. Parkinson’s is caused by the death of a small number of neurons that make dopamine, a signaling chemical used in the brain. Read more…

Video Games Help Patients and Health Care Providers

Captured by University of Utah

Can video games help patients with cancer, diabetes, asthma, depression, autism and Parkinson’s disease? A new publication by researchers from the University of Utah, appearing in the Sept 19 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, indicates video games can be therapeutic and are already beginning to show health-related benefits.

The lead author of the paper “Patient-Empowerment Interactive Technologies” is Carol Bruggers, a professor in the University of Utah’s Department of Pediatrics and physician at Primary Children’s Medical Center. Contributing to the paper were other faculty from the University of Utah’s Department of Pediatrics, the Brain Institute, College of Fine Arts, College of Pharmacy, School of Computing, Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center, students who recently graduated from the Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE) Master’s program, and a current medical student.

In the Perspectives article, the team describes therapeutic video games, including their own Patient Empowerment Exercise Video Game (PE Game), an activity-promoting game specifically designed to improve resilience, empowerment, and a “fighting spirit” for pediatric oncology patients. The researchers also looked at other games that have been shown to help patients with several chronic diseases.

“Therapeutic video games will push video game design into exciting new directions,” says Robert Kessler, director of EAE. “Meeting the needs of the competing goals of physical therapy through exercise and patient empowerment is extremely challenging. The PE Game is clearly the first of a whole line of research into therapeutic video games.” Read more…

Finding A Fix For America’s Obesity Problem

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Americans have some new insight into the obesity epidemic.  You may have seen or heard this story today in Central Ohio:
NBC 4
10TV
The Columbus Dispatch
 
4color_vert_medcenter_logoOr in the national media:
U.S. News & World Report-5 Lessons From the Nation’s Obesity Report Card
Forbes-Obesity Rates Continue to Climb in U.S.

Even WebMD, America’s go-to spot for consumer health information weighed in.

It’s estimated two out of three Americans are now overweight or obese – and spend about $60 billion a year to try and change it. But someday losing weight might be as quick as a single injection not in the arm but in the brain.

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