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More men with breast cancer removing unaffected breast: Study

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Washington: Men with breast cancer who underwent surgery to remove the unaffected breast nearly increased in 2004-2011, says a new study. download

Lead researcher Ahmedin Jemal, vice president of surveillance and health services research at the American Cancer Society said “Health care providers should be aware that the increase we have seen in removal of the unaffected breast is not limited to women”

Breast cancer in men is rare, accounting for only about one percent of all cases in the US.

In women (particularly younger women), the use of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) surgery to remove the unaffected breast, has increased.

The percentage of women with invasive breast cancer in one breast undergoing the surgery increased from about 2.2 percent in 1998 to 11 percent in 2011, the study said.

This increase has occurred despite the lack of evidence for a survival benefit from treatment, along with associated costs and possible complications.

To explore whether the same increase was occurring among men, the researchers looked at treatment among 6,332 men who underwent surgery for breast cancer limited to one breast between 2004 and 2011.

The researchers found the rates of CPM among men nearly doubled between 2004 and 2011, from three percent to 5.6 percent.

“Doctors should carefully discuss with their male patients the benefits, harms, and costs of this surgery to help patients make informed decisions about their treatments,” Jemal noted.

The findings appeared in the journal JAMA Surgery.

(with inputs from IANS)

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Tiny Bubbles In Body Better Than Chemotherapy, Research Suggests

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy

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Cancer, Treatment, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research
"What we've done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours." Pixabay

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy.

Healthy cells in our body release nano-sized bubbles that transfer genetic material such as DNA and RNA to other cells. It’s your DNA that stores the important information necessary for RNA to produce proteins and make sure they act accordingly.

According to the researchers, these bubbly extracellular vesicles (EV) could become mini treatment transporters, carrying a combination of therapeutic drugs and genes that target cancer cells and kill them.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, focused on breast cancer cells in mice.

“What we’ve done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours,” said the study’s lead author Masamitsu Kanada, Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University.

Cancer, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research, Treatment
A Caucasian female nurse smiles as she administers chemotherapy through a catheter to an African American male patient in a clinical setting. Wikimedia Commons

These drugs or prodrugs start out as inactive compounds. But once they metabolize in the body, they are immediately activated and can get to work on fighting everything from cancer to headaches.

Aspirin is an example of a common prodrug.

In this case, researchers used EVs, to deliver the enzyme-producing genes that could activate a prodrug combination therapy of ganciclovir and CB1954 in breast cancer cells.

Minicircle DNA and regular plasmid – two different gene vectors that act as additional delivery mechanisms for DNA – were loaded into the vesicles to see which was better at helping transport treatment.

This is known as a gene-directed enzyme, prodrug therapy.

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They found that the minicircle DNA was 14 times more effective at delivery and even more successful at killing cancerous tumours.

“Conventional chemotherapy isn’t able to differentiate between tumours and normal tissue, so it attacks it all,” Kanada said.

With EVs, treatment can be targeted and because of their compatibility with the human body, this type of delivery could minimize the risk of unwanted immune responses that can come with other gene therapies.

“If EVs prove to be effective in humans, it would be an ideal platform for gene delivery and it could be used in humans sooner than we expect,” Kanada added. (IANS)