Wednesday August 22, 2018

Childhood Cancer Survivors More Likely to Experience Sleep Problems as Adults

Addressing disrupted sleep in these survivors may improve long-term psychological functioning

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer. Pixabay
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Childhood cancer survivors are more likely to experience sleep problems and daytime sleepiness as adults which may result in greater likelihood of persistent or worsened emotional distress, preliminary results of a study suggests.

The findings, presented during the SLEEP 2018 meeting in Baltimore, suggested that cancer survivors were more likely than siblings to report sleep problems as adults.

The researchers also found that survivors were 31 per cent more likely to report daytime sleepiness and 26 per cent more likely to have poor “sleep efficiency”.

“Our results indicate that for survivors of childhood cancer who reported sleep problems, there is a greater likelihood of worsening or persistent psychological distress,” said lead author Lauren Daniel, Assistant Professor at Rutgers University-Camden in New Jersey.

“Thus, addressing disrupted sleep in these survivors may improve long-term psychological functioning,” Daniel added.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

According to the researchers, sleep disorders are related to emotional and physical health in the general population, but research in survivors of childhood cancer is limited.

This study characterised sleep behaviours in adults who had survived childhood cancer and examined associations among sleep, cancer diagnoses, treatment exposures, and emotional functioning.

For the study, researchers examined 1,933 childhood cancer survivors. Participants had a mean age of 35 years and a mean time since diagnosis of 23.5 years. The study also involved 380 siblings with a mean age of 33 years.

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Both groups completed sleep quality, fatigue and sleepiness measures.

Emotional functioning was assessed about eight years before and two years after the sleep survey.

“Sleep is quite amenable to behavioural interventions. Efforts that improve sleep may improve both health and quality of life in long-term childhood cancer survivors,” said Daniel. (IANS)

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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Cancer
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

turmeric
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)