Cheap breath test may detect stomach, oesophageal cancers

Cheap breath test may detect stomach, oesophageal cancers (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)Cheap breath test may detect stomach, oesophageal cancers (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)
Scientists have developed a cheap and non-invasive test that can measure the levels of five chemicals in the breath to detect cancers of the oesophagus and stomach with 85 per cent accuracy.

Together, stomach and oesophageal cancer account for around 1.4 million new cancer diagnoses each year worldwide.

Both tend to be diagnosed late, because the symptoms are ambiguous, meaning the five-year survival rate for these two types of cancer is only 15 per cent.

Currently, the only way to diagnose oesophageal cancer or stomach cancer is with endoscopy — an expensive, invasive method with some risk of complications.

“A breath test could be used as a non-invasive, first-line test to reduce the number of unnecessary endoscopies. In the longer term this could also mean earlier diagnosis and treatment and better survival,” said Sheraz Markar from Imperial College London.

Previous research suggested that there are differences in the levels of specific chemicals — butyric, pentanoic and hexanoic acids, butanal, and decanal — in patients with stomach or oesophageal cancer and patients with upper gastrointestinal symptoms without cancer.

In the new study, presented at the European Cancer Congress 2017 in The Netherlands, the team collected breath samples from 335 people, who were measured for levels of the five chemicals to see which ones matched to the ‘chemical signature’ that indicated cancer.

The results showed that the test was 85 per cent accurate overall, meaning that the breath test was good at picking up those who had cancer (80 per cent sensitivity) and was also good at correctly identifying who did not have cancer (81 per cent specificity).

“This study suggests that we may be able detect these differences and use a breath test to indicate which patients are likely to have cancer of the oesophagus and stomach and which do not,” Markar said.

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uncommon eye disease that struck Oliver Sacks gives upward push to new most cancers treatment method

Eye cancer took the life of writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks final yr, bringing interest to the uncommonand deadly sickness. Scientists have attempted to develop precision treatments against cancers like this one, however the mutations that purpose them have established tough to block with capsules.

Now, a crew led by means of scientists at Huntsman cancer Institute on the college of Utah, college of Utah faculty of medicine, and Navigen, Inc., record a new treatment that suggests promise against thedifficult-to-treat cancer. They observed that the mutation relies on a protein, ARF6, to distribute most cancerspromoting signals. further, a drug that blocks ARF6 inhibits eye tumors in mice. The studiesappears in cancer cellular on line on June 2.

“We completely bypass the mutations in Gαq oncogenes that have been so difficult to target, and featurelocated a distinct method for slowing the sickness,” says Dean Li, M.D., Ph.D., Huntsman cancer Institute investigator and H.A. and Edna Benning Endowed Professor of inner medicine at the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics. He and Kirill Ostanin, Ph.D., senior director at Navigen, Inc., have been senior authors at the examine.

a brand new information of ways eye cancer works brought about the unexpected finding. ordinarilyARF6 works to relay molecular signals inside healthful cells. here, the scientists report that a mutation thatreasons eye most cancers hijacks ARF6, redirecting it to relay alerts to cancer selling pathways. blockingARF6 with the drug inhibits dissemination of the cancer message.

“In eye most cancers, ARF6 is like a visitors cop at a primary intersection that directs the visitors ofcancer signals down a number of paths. The drug forces ARF6 to maintain back site visitors,” says Li. “We suppose this identical remedy strategy could also work in opposition to other cancers.” thoseconsist of skin, breast, brain, renal and further cancers wherein ARF6 is known to play a role inside thedisorder. Li and Ostanin at the moment are leading research to similarly optimize and check the drug.further, Li is investigating whether or not the overall method, inhibiting proteins that distribute most cancers signals, might be carried out to greater extensively.

The findings bring new insights to treating eye cancer, a disorder that has largely flown under the radardue to the fact it’s so rare, with fewer than three,000 cases identified within the U.S. every yr. Sacksbecome struck by means of the most commonplace type of eye most cancers, uveal melanoma, that’srelated to the pores and skin most cancers, cutaneous melanoma. 3 years in the past, Li’s teamdiscovered that ARF6 regulated past due levels of skin most cancers progression main them to testwhether or not it does the identical in eye cancer.

the new examine well-knownshows that ARF6 does a great deal greater, acting a lot like the causative mutation that units eye cancer into movement. for instance, addition of either the mutated most cancerscausing protein, or of a version of ARF6 this is continually became on, triggers molecular pathwaysrecognized to pressure cancer (Rho/Rac, %/percent, YAP pathways, and beta-catenin pathway, newlyidentified on this look at).

a variety of work has targeted on seeking to develop capsules that concentrate on the oncogene,” says Jae Hyuk Yoo, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in inner medicine. Yoo co-led the examine with colleagues Dallas Shi, Ph.D., and Allie Grossman M.D, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology. “by changing our thinking a little bit, we found out that we is probably able to perform the equal goal through concentrated onARF6 alternatively.”

even though the concept gave the impression of a terrific one, the scientists did not know whether or not ARF6 would be as hard to “drug” because the mutated protein. In collaboration with Navigen, Inc., theyadvanced a compound that now not handiest inhibited ARF6 pastime in cells, but also blocked eye tumors in mice. Mouse fashions for eye most cancers often increase huge tumors in the eye. The drugprevented tumors from forming in six of the 11 animals that have been handled. Tumors that did stand uphave been on common appreciably smaller than those in untreated mice.

“This have a look at is a milestone in uncovering the fundamental roles of ARF6 GTPase in oncogenesis, and organising a new drug discovery road within the most cancers subject,” says Ostanin.

As Ostanin’s and LI’s groups had been gathering their final outcomes, Sacks passed away. only somemonths earlier, he wrote in the the big apple instances that he became handing life‘s baton, with all of itsissues and tribulations, to the following technology. “I sense the future is in right hands,” he said.

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What are the long-term implications for children with cancers affecting vision?

reat deal of emphasis is put on managing and removing childhood diseases as quickly and effectively as possible, and rightly so. Less attention is paid to the long-term health of a child who has been through substantial physical and mental trauma.
[Close up of a blue eye]
Retinoblastoma accounts for 2-3% of all childhood cancers.

A recent study, published in the journal Cancer, followed up patients who had, in their youth, survived retinoblastoma – a tumor of the eye.

Survival rates for retinoblastoma in America are excellent; the 5-year survival rate is around 97%. However, little information is available regarding the survivor’s future illness and well-being.

Previous studies into the health in later life of retinoblastoma survivors have been limited in sample size and scope.

Researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, NY, decided to cast their net a little wider. What did the future hold for these children?

What is retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is an eye cancer that begins in the retina and can spread to the brain or spinal cord. It most commonly affects children under the age of 4 and rarely occurs in adulthood. The cancer can occur in one or both eyes.

Retinoblastoma is the most common cancer of the eye in children and accounts for around 3% of all childhood cancers.

Although many of the precise causes of retinoblastoma have not been described in detail, it is known to involve certain genetic mutations that cause nerve cells in the retina to grow out of control. There is also a proven familial component to the disease.

The long-term impact of surviving retinoblastoma

The research team delved into data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. They compared 470 retinoblastoma survivors, diagnosed between 1932-1994, with 2,377 control individuals of comparative age, sex and race, who had not had retinoblastoma.

The cancer survivors used in the trial were followed up for an average of 42 years, giving a solid picture of their health throughout the years.

The team found that retinoblastoma survivors were indeed at risk of health issues further down the line when compared with controls. Secondary cancers were prominent, particularly in the group of cancer survivors who had experienced retinoblastoma in both eyes. These individuals are known to have a genetic predisposition to developing new cancers.

On a more positive note, when the researchers removed new cancers and vision problems from the data, they found that individuals who had retinoblastoma in just one eye had no significant decrease in health compared with people of a similar age, sex and race.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of retinoblastoma survivors rated their health as “excellent to good.”

Dr. Novetsky Friedman, study lead, says:

“Novel data presented in this report will guide practice for oncologists, ophthalmologists, survivorship practitioners, and primary care providers involved in the long-term care of survivors of retinoblastoma by helping them identify those at highest risk for medical problems.

Appropriate lifelong risk-based screening of this population will allow for timely treatment of any medical problems that may arise.”

The long-term psychological impacts of vision impairment

Alongside this new research, an accompanying article was included, written by Dr. Peter de Blank, of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH.

Dr. de Blank also used data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. He looked at the health and psychological impacts of blindness and visual impairment in children who survived astroglial tumors.

Of the 1,223 survivors of brain tumors, 22.5% had visual impairments. He found that vision loss in childhood did not affect psychological well-being in adulthood. But, for individuals who were blind in both eyes, there were some negative impacts on their lives.

Those who had blindness in both eyes were more likely to be unmarried, unemployed and living with a carer than survivors with impairments in only one eye. The team also noted that the chemotherapy treatment for cancers impacting the visual system fell into three evenly distributed categories:

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