Monday January 21, 2019
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Indian-origin scientist identifies cancer’s food sensors

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London: An Indian-origin researcher from Oxford University has identified a protein used by cancer tumours to help them detect food supplies.

Initial results show that targeting the protein could restrict cancerous cells’ ability to grow.

“We found that aggressive cancer cells manufacture more protein named PAT4 which enables them to make better use of available nutrients than the cells around them – including healthy tissue,” said Dr Deborah Goberdhan from Oxford University’s department of physiology, anatomy and genetics.

Cancer cells often have restricted access to the body’s nutrient-rich blood supply.

The ability to sense and acquire nutrients is critical for a cancer to grow.

Dr Goberdhan and cancer researcher Adrian Harris collaborated to develop an antibody that could be used to highlight PAT4 in human tissue samples.

This was then used to study anonymous tumour samples taken from patients with colorectal cancer, a common form of the disease.

The results were compared to the known outcomes for the patients.

Those who had higher levels of PAT4 in their tumours did less well than those with lower levels – being more likely to relapse and die.

The researchers then looked at what happened when PAT4 levels were reduced. They showed that by reducing PAT4 levels, cancerous tumours grew more slowly.

“’These findings support each other. Not only do higher levels of PAT4 mean a worse outcome, but lowering levels improves the situation,” Dr Goberdhan pointed out.

“This means that we have identified a mechanism which cancer cells prefer to use and which we might be able to target as part of a combination treatment,” he concluded.

The research was published in the science journal Oncogene.

(IANS)

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Risk Of Suicide Quadruples With Cancer: Study

The results could be used to help identify patients who may be at a higher risk for suicide and help health care providers tailor their treatments accordingly.

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While the risk of suicide decreases five years after a diagnosis, the risk remains high for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma and testicular cancer.

People with cancer are over four times more likely to commit suicide than people without the deadly disease, finds a study.

According to researchers from the Penn State Cancer Institute in Pennsylvania, while a lot of progress has been made in treating cancer, not as much research has been put into how cancer affects patients mentally and emotionally.

“Even though cancer is one of the leading causes of death, most cancer patients do not die from cancer, the patients usually die of another cause,” said Nicholas Zaorsky, radiation oncologist at the Penn State Cancer Institute.

“There are multiple competing risks for death, and one of them is suicide. Distress and depression can arise from cancer diagnosis, treatment, financial stress, and other causes. Ultimately, distress and depression may lead to suicide. Our goal was to quantify the risk of suicide among cancer patients,” he added.

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The study, published in the Nature Communications journal, the team compared the risk of suicide in eight million patients who had been diagnosed with cancer and those without.

They found that among people with cancer, males, patients who were diagnosed at a younger age, patients with lung, head, neck and testicular cancer, and lymphomas were more likely to commit suicide.

While the risk of suicide decreases five years after a diagnosis, the risk remains high for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma and testicular cancer.

“Treatments for some cancers — like leukemia and testicular cancer among adolescents and young adults, for example — can decrease a patient’s fertility, and that seems to be one of the risks for suicide in the long term,” Zaorsky said.

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“In contrast, elderly patients who are diagnosed with lung, prostate and head and neck cancers, are at an increased risk of suicide for the remainder of their life.”

The results could be used to help identify patients who may be at a higher risk for suicide and help health care providers tailor their treatments accordingly. (IANS)