Is this the key to stopping cancer from spreading?

Cancer cells dividing

Divide and conquer – can metastasis be controlled?
When a tumor migrates to another part of the body, it makes cancer much more difficult to beat. A recently published study, investigating a metabolite called 20-HETE, gives new insight into this process and how it might be stopped.

Cancer’s ability to metastasize – move through the body and take root in a distant location – is a thorn in the side of cancer treatments.

A localized tumor is much easier to treat, and chances of survival are greater. Once the tumor has moved on, it can be harder to control. Around 30 percent of people with breast cancer experience metastasis, commonly affecting the lymph nodes, bones, brain, lungs, and liver.

Understanding how a tumor sets up shop in distant parts of the body is an important area of study. The trouble is, cancer is incredibly adept at finding a new location; in fact, tumors constantly send out cells into the bloodstream to see if they take hold and flourish. They are also experts at recruiting cellular assistance and making their new home perfect for supporting their continued growth.

New research, looking at a metabolite called 20-HETE, hopes to learn how we can disrupt cancer’s ability to succeed in distant tissues.

What is 20-HETE?

20-HETE (20-Hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid) is a breakdown product of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid used widely throughout the body. 20-HETE carries out a number of useful roles, including the regulation of vascular tone, blood flow to organs, and sodium and fluid transport in the kidney. The metabolite also plays a role in inflammation, helping the body fight off infections and other diseases.

Aside from its natural and positive effects, 20-HETE appears to have a darker, more sinister side; these murky depths are currently being plumbed by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Thaiz F. Borin and his team at Augusta University, GA. His latest findings are published this week in PLOS ONE.

Co-author Dr. B.R. Achyut, assistant professor in the MCG Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, explains 20-HETE’s Jekyll and Hyde personality:

“There is normal function, and there is tumor-associated function. Tumors highjack our system and use that molecule against us.”

According to recent studies, 20-HETE provides the cancer with virtually everything that it needs; it forms part of the “seed and soil” hypothesis. For a cancer cell to up sticks and move, it needs all of its ducks in a row. It must detach from its position and become aggressive enough to survive the journey; then, once it has found a new site, it needs to recruit supporting tissue and blood vessels.

According to Dr. Ali S. Arbab, leader of the Tumor Angiogenesis Initiative at the Georgia Cancer Center, recent studies show that 20-HETE prepares the new site in a number of ways. The metabolite activates helpful protein kinases and growth factors that encourage cells to grow in size, proliferate, and differentiate.

To flourish, tumors are also dependent on the creation of new blood vessels, and 20-HETE can help in this regard. Additionally, 20-HETE turns up inflammation, a hallmark of many diseases, including cancer. It manages this

Disrupting the tumor microenvironment

In Dr. Arbab’s studies on metastasis and the processes behind it, he and his team are focused on “going after that tumor microenvironment.” In the most recent study, they used a molecule called HET0016, which inhibits the actions of 20-HETE.

To test HET0016’s ability to scupper 20-HETE’s homemaking powers, they inserted cancer cells in the mammary fat pad of mice. Once the cancer had set down roots and begun to spread, they injected the mice with HET0016. The drug was given for 5 days a week for 3 weeks.

After just 48 hours, cancer cells were less able to move freely around their test tube.

The drugs also reduced levels of metalloproteinases in the lungs; these enzymes destroy protein structures, allowing cancer cells to penetrate and new blood vessels to grow.

Similarly, other molecules useful to cancer cells, such as growth factors and myeloid-derived suppressor cells, were reduced. As Arbab says, “It gets rid of one of the natural protections tumors use, and tumor growth in the lung goes down.”

Although HET0016 is not ready for use in humans, the study demonstrates that 20-HETE could be a useful target for preventing cancer’s spread. Arbab notes that there are already certain drugs on the market – including some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs – that might also inhibit this hijacked molecular pathway.

The team plans to continue looking for ways to prevent cancer from coercing 20-HETE into playing the bad guy. Preventing breast cancer from metastasizing would be a huge step forward because, as the authors write, “Distant metastasis is the primary cause of death in the majority of breast cancer types.”

[“Source-medicalnewstoday”]

Spreading cancer caught on film

Image result for Spreading cancer caught on film

The way in which every single cancer cell spreads around the body has been captured in videos by a team in Japan.

The normal body tissues show up as green, while the cancer comes out as intense red spots.

The team, at the University of Tokyo and the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center, says the technology will help explain the deadly process.

The research is on mice so far, but it is hoped the method could one day help with treatment too.

The spread of cancer around the body is a crucial moment called metastasis.

Before a cancer spreads it is easier to contain and cure, afterwards it is incredibly difficult.

The tumour itself has to evolve so bits of it are able to break free, survive travelling in the blood stream and invade new tissues.

A deeper understanding of how this happens could lead to new ideas for treatment.

See-through animals

The mice were injected with cancerous tissue engineered to fluoresce.

The researchers then let the disease progress before using chemicals that made the mouse’s body and internal organs highly transparent.

It meant the body could be rapidly imaged and the location of any cancerous tissue detected.

The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, details cancers growing in the lungs, intestines, and liver before spreading around the body.

Dr Hiroki Ueda, one of the researchers, said: “The images reveal cancerous colonies in enough detail to calculate their shapes, volumes, and distributions – characteristics critical to distinguishing between patterns of metastasis.

He told the BBC News website: “We are now applying this technology to the human clinical samples.

“I hope this tissue-clearing and 3D imaging of human samples will make diagnosis easier, more objective and accurate in near future.”

Watch an infection take hold in 3D and in real time

Further experiments showed how cancer can get better at spreading.

Dr Kohei Miyazono said: “Most of the cancer cells appear to die during circulation in the bloodstream and fail to metastasise.”

But cancers then start producing chemical signals to help them grow.

The researchers tested the effect of one of them, called TGF-beta, and showed it dramatically improved the chances of cancers colonising the lung tissue.

“[They] are far more likely to survive the journey and form malignant outposts,” Dr Miyazono added.

It is thought the technology could be adapted to other disciplines, including how the body’s cells behave in people with autoimmune diseases.

[“Source-bbc”]

Scientists discover role of skin in spreading leishmaniasis

Image result for Scientists discover role of skin in spreading leishmaniasisScientists at the University of York have discovered that parasites responsible for leishmaniasis – a globally occurring neglected tropical disease spread by sand flies – are mainly acquired from the skin rather than a person’s blood.

Visceral leishmaniasis is a parasitic infection that kills 20-40 thousand people each year across 56 countries, mainly in the developing world. There is no vaccine and drugs are prohibitively expensive or toxic.

Previously it was assumed that sand flies acquired the disease parasite directly from a host’s blood, through biting an infected person before spreading the disease to uninfected people in subsequent bites.

However, the number of parasites found in blood has often been puzzlingly low, leading some to question whether there is another source of parasites for transmission.

Now, mathematicians, experimental biologists, and immunologists have revealed a ‘patchy landscape of parasites’ found on carriers’ skin that determines how many parasites are picked up by sand flies.

Using mathematical modeling, they showed that some areas of skin can contain particularly high numbers of the parasite, while other areas may not.

This means that whether a sand fly becomes infected or not depends on where they bite a person.

This breakthrough is significant as it suggests current methods of treating leishmaniasis are too simple, as disease detection and treatment often focuses on levels of the parasite in blood samples.

The research also stresses that more attention should be focused on developing treatments that affect parasites in the skin, if the cycle of transmission is to be interrupted.

Johannes Doehl, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in York’s Centre for Immunology and Infection and lead author of the study, said: “Currently, to assess treatment success in visceral leishmaniasis, clinicians focus on monitoring parasite levels in a host’s blood.

“However, we now have conclusive proof that measuring parasites in the skin, not just the blood, is critical when assessing possible treatments. Clinical studies and elimination campaigns need to take this into account, and in particular measure how treatments affect the patchy landscape of parasites in the skin.”

Dr. Jon Pitchford, Reader in York’s Departments of Biology and Mathematics, said: “To effectively control leishmaniasis, we don’t just need to cure the disease in patients, we must also understand and try and break the transmission cycle. This research is the first step towards improving the treatment process and demonstrates how the application of mathematics can help solve important problems in medicine.”

[“Source-news-medical”]

Malaria,superbugs,spreading,fast,in,Asia

e taken hold in parts of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, threatening to undermine progress against the disease, scientists said. They also warned of further spread of these parasites through India to Africa.

The superbugs can beat off the best current treatments, artemisinin and piperaquine. “The emergence and spread of artemisin in drug resistant P falciparum lineage represents a serious threat to global malaria control. We are losing a dangerous race,” said Nicholas White, a professor at Ox ford University and Mahidol University in Thailand, who co-led the research. Malaria kills more than 420,000 people each year. Most victims are children under five living in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria specialists said emerging drug resistance in Asia was now one of the most serious threats to that progress. From the late 1950s to the 1970s, chloroquine-resistant malaria parasites spread across Asia and then into Africa, leading to millions of deaths. Chloroquine was replaced by sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), but resistance to SP subsequently emerged in western Cambodia and again spread to Africa. In their study in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, the scientists said that after examining blood samples from malaria patients in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, they found that a single mutant parasite lineage, known as PfKelch13 C580Y, has spread across three countries.

They explained that while the C580Y mutation does not necessarily make the parasite more drug resistant, it does have other qualities that make it more risky -notably it appears to be fitter, more transmissible and able to spreading more widely

source”cnbc”

First Case Of Zika Spreading Via Physical Contact Reported

First Case Of Zika Spreading Via Physical Contact Reported
First Case Of Zika Spreading Via Physical Contact Reported
Health | Press Trust of India | Updated: October 03, 2016 17:56 IST
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First Case Of Zika Spreading Via Physical Contact Reported
The first Zika virus-related death in the US occurred in June this year. (Representational)
Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have for the first time reported a case of a person in the US who may have contracted Zika by coming in contact with tears or sweat from a 73-year-old patient with unusually high concentration of virus in the blood.

The first Zika virus-related death in the US occurred in June this year. It is quite rare for a Zika infection to cause severe illness in adults, much less death, researchers said.

Another individual, who visited the first while in the hospital, became ill from Zika. However, the patients had done nothing that was known at the time to put people at risk for contracting the virus.

Researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine and ARUP Laboratories in the US found an unusually high concentration of virus in the first patient’s blood as being responsible for his death.

The phenomenon may also explain how the second patient may have contracted the virus by touching the tears or sweat from the primary patient, the first such documented case.

“This rare case is helping us to understand the full spectrum of the disease, and the precautions we may need to take to avoid passing the virus from one person to another in specific situations,” said Dr Sankar Swaminathan, from the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Last May, Patient 1, a 73-year-old man, travelled to southwest Mexico, a Zika-infected area, researchers said.

Eight days after returning, he started having abdominal pain and fever. By the time he was hospitalised he had low blood pressure, inflamed, watery eyes and rapid heart rate.

Patient 2 came to visit and reported wiping away Patient 1’s tears and helping to reposition him in the hospital bed.
It was not long before Patient 1 slipped into septic shock, and his kidneys, lungs and other organs started to shut down. He died shortly thereafter.

Only nine other Zika-related deaths have been reported worldwide, said Dr Swaminathan.

Seven days after Patient 1’s death, Patient 2 tested positive for Zika. However, this patient only had mild symptoms that resolved within the following week.

Patient 2 had not travelled to a Zika-infected area, and reconstruction of events ruled out other known means of catching the virus.

“This case expands our appreciation for how Zika virus can potentially spread from an infected patient to a non-infected patient without sexual contact or a mosquito vector,” said Marc Couturier, from ARUP Laboratories.

Researchers found that Patient 1’s blood had a very high concentration of virus – 200 million particles per millilitre. “The viral load was 100,000 times higher than what had been reported in other Zika cases, and was an unusually high amount for any infection,” said Dr Swaminathan.

This opens up the possibility that the extraordinary amount of virus overwhelmed the patient’s system, and made him extremely infectious.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

source”gsmarena”