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Roots of Childhood Brain Tumors

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Identifying the cellular origins of medulloblastoma – the most common malignant brain tumor in children – may help focus treatment on cell types responsible for tumor initiation. Previous research has linked Sonic hedgehog signaling in neuronal cell precursors within the developing cerebellum to medulloblastoma. Now, Chin Chiang, Ph.D., and colleagues demonstrate that “turning on” Sonic […]

New Breast Cancer Gene Expression Identified

Monday, June 11th, 2012

A study led by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators has identified a gene expression pattern that may explain why chemotherapy prior to surgery isn’t effective against some tumors and suggests new therapy options for patients with specific subtypes of breast cancer. The study by lead author Justin Balko, Pharm.D., Ph.D., was published online June 10, 2012 […]

New Drug Mutes More Melanomas

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Therapies targeted to a specific mutation in the BRAF gene can significantly reduce tumor burden in metastatic melanoma. But these therapies are not suitable for melanomas lacking the mutation, and even tumors carrying the BRAF mutation eventually become resistant to those therapies. Using human melanoma tumors implanted into mice, Ann Richmond, Ph.D., and colleagues assessed […]

Wilms’ Tumors Differ in Developing Nations

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Diseases that are treatable in developed nations are often lethal in developing countries. For Wilms’ tumor, the most common childhood kidney cancer, survival rates in developed countries exceed 90 percent – but in developing nations, survival can be as low as 35 percent. Lack of adequate health care resources is largely responsible for this survival […]

Gut Germs Govern Growth

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Nearly half the world’s population is colonized by the gut bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Not only can this infection cause stomach ulcers and increase one’s risk of gastric cancer, colonization can also significantly slow growth in children. Antibiotic treatment to clear H. pyloriinfection causes growth to rebound in the short term, but it is unclear whether […]

Factor Sensitizes Cancer to Radiation

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Head and neck cancers have repeatedly been linked to infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), with more than half of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) positive for HPV. Interestingly, HPV-positive HNSCCs respond better to radiation therapy and have a better prognosis than HPV-negative tumors. But the molecular pathways responsible for their different sensitivities are unclear. In […]

Newly Identified Stem Cells May Hold Clues to Colon Cancer

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers have identified a new population of intestinal stem cells that may hold clues to the origin of colorectal cancer. This new stem cell population, reported March 30 in the journal Cell, appears to be relatively quiescent (inactive) – in contrast to the recent discovery of intestinal stem cells that multiply rapidly […]

Melanoma Drug Risks Studied

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Melanoma patients who are treated with new oral drugs inhibiting the BRAF gene are at increased risk for developing secondary skin cancers. A new study co-authored by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators and researchers from 12 other cancer centers discovered clues that may explain what is triggering these secondary cancers. VICC’s Igor Puzanov, M.D., assistant professor […]

Smoking Stokes Cells’ Cancer Capacity

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Smoking contributes to the vast majority (around 85 percent) of lung cancer cases. The TGF-beta signaling pathway – which regulates cell growth and proliferation – is altered in several cancer types, but little is known about how smoking affects this pathway. To investigate this, Debangshu Samanta, Pran Datta, Ph.D., and colleagues exposed human lung epithelial […]

iPOND Method Goes Fishing for Proteins

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Understanding DNA replication and DNA damage responses – which must proceed faithfully to prevent diseases such as cancer – requires the ability to monitor protein dynamics at active and damaged replication forks (sites of DNA duplication). Existing methods for studying replication fork machinery have been limited in resolution and sensitivity. Now, David Cortez, Ph.D., and […]