Friday October 18, 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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Subjecting Cancer Cells to Microgravity Results in Formation of Giant Cancer Cells with Stem Cell Properties

Stem cells are difficult to isolate and grow

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Cancer Cells, Microgravity, Stem Cell
In a statement issued here on Tuesday, IIT-M said these cells can conceivably be used for cancer research and drug development. Pixabay

 Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) have found that subjecting cancer cells to microgravity results in the formation of giant cancer cells with stem cell properties.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, IIT-M said these cells can conceivably be used for cancer research and drug development.

Stem cells are difficult to isolate and grow. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) generally make up just one per cent to three per cent of all cells in a tumour.

Research is being conducted all over the world to extract and culture CSCs for cancer understanding and drug development, the statement said.

Cancer Cells, Microgravity, Stem Cell
Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) have found that subjecting cancer cells to microgravity results in the formation of giant cancer cells with stem cell properties. Pixabay

The research was led by Professor Rama S. Verma of the Stem Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Bhupat, and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, Department of Biotechnology, IIT-M.

“We have shown that simulated microgravity can be used for development of stem cell structures for drug testing, instead of animal models. CSCs are important in cancer research because they not only instigate formation of tumours, but are also involved in recurrence of tumours after cancer treatment,” Verma was quoted as saying in the statement.

He said the stem cells obtained using microgravity can also be used to understand the nature of the cancer cells, their proliferation and cell death pathways, which in turn can help in identification of target zones for drug development.

In an earlier study, the IIT Madras team had found that colorectal cancer cells died under simulated microgravity but once the microgravity condition was removed, they resurrected.

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This meant that while microgravity conditions destroyed full-grown cancer cells, they must have allowed stem cells to live, or perhaps converted the cancer cells to stem cell-like forms.

“Either way, these stem cells can be used for cancer research and drug development,” said Verma. (IANS)