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Robot-assisted Tumour Surgery Performed for the First Time in India

"This would be a first ever use of a robot in this manner -- a rare approach to an already rare and complex case," Neil Malhotra, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery said in a statement.

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Technology lends a hand to cure tumour. Pixabay
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A team of neurosurgeons led by an Indian-origin professor from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine performed the first-ever robot-assisted spinal surgery to successfully remove a rare tumour on the patient’s neck.

The robotic approach assisted with a three-part, two-day complex procedure for a rare chordoma tumour removal from a patients’ neck, where the skull meets the spine.

Chordoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the bones of the skull base and spine. A chordoma tumour usually grows slowly and is often asymptomatic for years.

He added that due to the placement of the tumour, the removal could compromise the structural integrity of the patient's spine, causing permanent paralysis.
Surgical Equipments are used for tumour surgery. Pixaby

It is extremely rare and it affects only one in a million people each year.

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“This would be a first ever use of a robot in this manner – a rare approach to an already rare and complex case,” Neil Malhotra, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery said in a statement.

“Our team needed to reconstruct the removed area of patient’s spine using bone and rods, and that was only the beginning,” Malhotra added.

He added that due to the placement of the tumour, the removal could compromise the structural integrity of the patient’s spine, causing permanent paralysis.

There was also a risk of complications such as bone and tissue breakdown, loss of sense of smell, fine motor skill issues and complete paralysis.

“If we could not remove the entire tumour, it would likely grow back, perhaps more aggressive than before,” Malhotra added.

The surgery was performed in three parts and now nine months after the surgery, the patient is back to work in commercial contracting. (IANS)

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New Therapy for Drug-Resistant Skin Cancer Suggested by Researchers

A team of researchers has managed to exploit a vulnerability in melanoma or skin cancer that develops resistance to a targeted therapy, providing a potential new therapeutic strategy to selectively kill the drug-resistant cancer cells.

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The reason for increased bleeding is not known. It may be because rivaroxaban is more 'potent', the paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology said. (IANS)
Representational image, pixabay

A team of researchers has managed to exploit a vulnerability in melanoma or skin cancer that develops resistance to a targeted therapy, providing a potential new therapeutic strategy to selectively kill the drug-resistant cancer cells.

The study has shown that when cancer cells develop drug resistance, they also acquire a new vulnerability, the Xinhua reported.

The researchers, led by Rene Bernards of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oncode Institute in Denmark, exposed this new vulnerability in melanoma that has developed resistance to treatment with a BRAF inhibitor — a targeted therapy that blocks a signalling pathway in the cancer cell through which it gets the message to keep on dividing.

Since more than half of all melanoma patients have a mutation in this BRAF gene, the BRAF-inhibitor stops tumour growth in those patients.

But within a few months, the tumour cell adapts the original signalling pathway and becomes active again, and even hyperactive.

The researchers, however, found that the hyperactive resistant melanoma cells produced large amounts of reactive oxygen species, but cancer cells still sensitive to the drug did not do so.

Combining the new compound with vitamin D allowed certain protective genes to be expressed at much higher levels than they are in diseased cells.
Representational image, pixabay

The study, published in the journal Cell, found that the abundance of free radicals caused the resistant melanoma cells to stop dividing, but they did not die.

When tested on mice along with an existing drug, vorinostat, which is known to stimulate the production of free oxygen radicals, the researchers saw tumours shrink under the influence of the drug, the report said.

This laid the foundation for a new therapeutic strategy: Treating patients with BRAF-mutated melanoma, as usual, with signal pathway inhibitors.

When the tumour becomes resistant, stop giving those inhibitors and immediately treat the patients with vorinostat to kill the resistant cancer cells.

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“It is not a combination drug. It is very important that you first stop the signalling pathway inhibitors because they suppress the free radicals and thus eliminate the effects of vorinostat,” Bernards said. (IANS)

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