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Colon Cancer’s Cellular Crossroads

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Colon cancer development and progression involves alterations in several cell signaling pathways. Activation of the Wnt pathway is involved in the early stages of tumor development, while inactivation of signaling through the TGF-beta pathway (which typically suppresses tumor formation) is involved in later stages. However, the interactions between these pathways remain unclear. R. Daniel Beauchamp, […]

Urine Biomarker for Colon Cancer?

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

About half of colorectal tumors express elevated levels of COX-2, the key enzyme responsible for generating prostaglandins that promote cancer development. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is likely the primary mediator of most of COX-2’s tumor-promoting effects, and the PGE2 metabolite, PGE-M, can be measured noninvasively in urine. To assess the utility of PGE-M as a biomarker […]

‘Detangler’ Binds, Bends and Cuts DNA

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

When the double-stranded “rope” of DNA is unwound to be copied, it can become knotted or tangled. The enzyme topoisomerase II detangles DNA by cutting both strands, removing the tangles, and stitching the DNA back together. Because breaks in the DNA can lead to genetic mutations and cell death, topoisomerase II is a target of […]

Studies Pinpoint New Anti-Cancer Drug Target

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A few years ago, Alison Hanson, Ph.D., a student in Vanderbilt’s Medical Scientist Training Program, was invited to have lunch with a visiting Nobel laureate, Aaron Ciechanover, M.D., D.Sc. Hanson was working on her dissertation research at the time, and she described some interesting findings to Ciechanover. “He said, ‘that could either be a total […]

‘Acid Test’ for Cervical Cancer

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Women infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) constitute one of the populations at highest risk for human papillomavirus-induced cervical cancer. While HIV-infected women in developing countries, such as India, are living longer thanks to antiretroviral therapy, their risk of invasive cervical cancer remains high due to lack of access to affordable and accurate cervical cancer […]

Drugs Reverse Lung Cancer Cell Changes

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The protein transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) can act as either a tumor suppressor or a tumor promoter depending on the stage of cancer. Loss of TGF-β’s tumor suppressor activity may play an important role in lung cancer progression. Pran Datta, Ph.D., and colleagues previously showed that this loss of responsiveness to TGF-β occurs mainly […]

Prostate Size May Help Predict Cancer Severity

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

The size of a man’s prostate gland may help predict the severity of cancer, with a smaller prostate being more likely to harbor serious disease. This finding by a group of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers was published in the December issue of the Journal of Urology. Fourth-year medical resident Judson Davies, M.D., was first author […]

Investigators Seek Clues to Resistance to Melanoma Drug

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Investigators at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and several other centers may be one step closer to finding out why some melanoma patients relapse after treatment with a promising new drug. Approximately half of all patients with the most deadly form of skin cancer have a mutation in the BRAF gene in their tumors that drives the […]

Obesity Genes Linked to Uterine Cancer

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Endometrial cancer, or cancer of the uterine lining, is the most common gynecological malignancy. Obesity – defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher – is a well-established risk factor for endometrial cancer, with obese women having a 4- to 6-times higher risk of the malignancy than nonobese women. Ryan Delahanty, Ph.D., […]

When Childhood Cancer Survivors Have Children

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

A large, retrospective study of the children of childhood cancer survivors who were treated with radiation therapy and/or some forms of chemotherapy found that the offspring do not have an increased risk for birth defects compared to children of cancer survivors who did not receive these treatments. The findings provide reassurance that increased risks of […]