Saturday April 20, 2019

Whole-brain radiation technique to treat brain cancer causes memory loss: Study

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Washington: The widely used whole-brain radiation technique to treat brain cancer is not an effective strategy and results in more memory loss than treating patients with radiotherapy alone, study says.

First used in 1954, whole-brain radiation has long been a standard strategy for brain metastases (cancer cells that have spread to the brain from primary tumours in other organs in the body).

“The potential benefits of whole brain radiation therapy are far outweighed by the detriments of the therapy itself,” Paul Brown, professor of radiation oncology at the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Centre was quoted as saying in a Wall Street Journal report.

For the study, patients were assigned to either radiosurgery followed by whole-brain radiation or radiosurgery alone.

The research involved 213 patients, who had one to three small tumours or metastases in the brain.

Patients treated with both approaches performed significantly worse three months later on tests involving cognitive abilities.

Median overall survival was 7.5 months for those receiving both treatments and 10.7 months for those on radiosurgery alone.

Both whole-brain radiation and recurrent metastases are “bad for the brain.”

Lung cancer is the most common malignancy to spread to the brain, followed by breast cancer and melanoma.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on May 31. (IANS)

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Engineers Develop Novel Wearable Device That Grabs Cancer Cells From Blood

It can also be used to grow the captured cancer cells, producing larger samples for further analysis

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Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A team of US engineers have developed a prototype wearable device that can continuously collect live cancer cells directly from a patient’s blood in an advance that could help patients avoid biopsy as well as get treatment for cancer more effectively.

Most cancer cells cannot survive in the bloodstream, but those that do are more likely to start a new tumour.

Typically, it is these satellite tumours, called metastases, which are deadly, rather than the original tumour. They can release more than 1,000 cancer cells into the bloodstream in a single minute.

This means cancer cells captured from blood could provide better information for planning treatments than those from a conventional biopsy, the researchers explained.

“Nobody wants to have a biopsy. If we could get enough cancer cells from the blood, we could use them to learn about the tumour biology and direct care for the patients. That’s the excitement of why we’re doing this,” said Daniel F. Hayes, Professor at the University of Michigan.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

The wearable device contains a cell-grabbing chip, which in animal tests trapped 3.5 times as many cancer cells per millilitre of blood as it did running samples collected by a blood draw, according to the paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

The chip uses nanomaterial graphene oxide to create dense forests of antibody-tipped molecular chains, enabling it to trap more than 80 per cent of the cancer cells in the blood that flows across it.

Also Read- Why Scientists Uncovering New Genomes for Quite a While?

It can also be used to grow the captured cancer cells, producing larger samples for further analysis.

The team estimates the device could begin human trials in three to five years. It would be used to help optimise treatments for human cancers by enabling doctors to see if the cancer cells are making the molecules that serve as targets for many newer cancer drugs. (IANS)