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Open Letter Urges Administration to Provide Guidance to Protect Patient Access to Clinical Trials

Open Letter Urges Administration to Provide Guidance to Protect Patient Access to Clinical Trials | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Over 50 medical and advocacy organizations have jointly authored an open letter to the U.S. Administration calling for clear guidance to regulate the implementation of a statute protecting patient access to clinical trials. At present, only 6% patients with severe chronic illness and fewer than 5% of cancer patients participate in clinical trials. This low participation rate hampers the progress of research necessary to develop much-needed new treatments. To promote and protect patient participation in clinical trials, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) contains a provision that mandates coverage of routine medical costs for people who participate in approved clinical trials. However, the details of implementing this provision are left up to the individual states, which may lead to uneven and unpredictable coverage. The letter points to a 2010 study showing that patients have been denied coverage of their clinical trial costs even in states that already require such coverage. The letter signatories therefore call for federal guidelines for implementation to be issued before the provision goes into effect on January 1, 2014.

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ASCO in Action | June 18, 2013

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New Compound Targets Previously “Undruggable” Cancer-Driving Mutation in KRAS Gene

New Compound Targets Previously “Undruggable” Cancer-Driving Mutation in KRAS Gene | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Mutations in the KRAS gene are the most common cancer-driving mutations in all cancers, and occur in 20% of lung cancers and 40% of colon cancers. KRAS-mutant cancers are aggressive and do not respond well to current treatments. Although the importance of KRAS mutations in cancer has been known for over 30 years, scientists have so far not succeeded in developing a drug targeting them. Now researchers have located a previously undetected “pocket” on a certain mutated form of the KRAS protein. The mutation, called KRAS(G12C), occurs in 7% of lung cancer and 9% of colorectal cancer patients. The researchers then created molecules that bind to the “pocket” and inhibit the mutant KRAS, but not normal KRAS protein. They hope to develop these compounds into drugs against KRAS-mutant cancers.

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Medical Xpress  |  Nov 20, 2013

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GeneDx Introduces Advanced Genetic Test Panels for Inherited Cancer Including Breast and Colon Cancer

GeneDx Introduces Advanced Genetic Test Panels for Inherited Cancer Including Breast and Colon Cancer | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"GeneDx, one of the world's foremost genetic testing laboratories and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: BRLI) has announced the launch of a comprehensive suite of genetic tests for inherited cancer, including a 26-gene panel for breast and ovarian cancer that includes BRCA1 and BRCA2 and next generation sequencing based multi-gene panels for colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer."

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Baltimore Business Journal | Aug 26, 2013

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Researchers Identify Genetic “Signatures” of Cancer Development

All cancers are driven by genetic mutations that develop in people's body cells over their lifetime. However, what causes these mutations is still largely unknown. Now, researchers have released the findings of a large-scale study that sheds light on these processes. Investigators analyzed the genetic makeup of 30 common cancers in thousands of patients and identified 21 patterns of mutation, or “signatures”, underlying cancer development. All cancer types had at least two signatures, and some had up to six, reflecting the multiple influences that contribute to cancer. The researchers also uncovered the biological processes behind many of these signatures, such as aging or enzymes involved in fighting off virus infections.

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Reuters | Aug 14, 2013

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Reuters | Aug 14, 2013

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Reuters | Aug 14, 2013

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Reuters | Aug 14, 2013

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Should Clinical Trial Requirements Be Relaxed for Certain Cancer Drugs?

Should Clinical Trial Requirements Be Relaxed for Certain Cancer Drugs? | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Broadly speaking, clinical trials are designed to demonstrate that a drug is safe (phase I), effective (phase II), and better than existing treatments (phase III). However, some drugs already show strong signs of superior effectiveness in phase I and II. A recent article argues for waiving the phase III trial requirement for such drugs, particularly for targeted cancer treatments directed at specific genetic mutations. This would save the enormous costs of these trials and avoid the possibility of the control groups in such trials possibly receiving less effective treatments. On the other hand, eliminating phase III trials would mean that a drug’s long-term effects would not be systematically investigated.

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Medical News Today | Aug 12, 2013

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Medical News Today | Aug 12, 2013

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Medical News Today | Aug 12, 2013

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Noninvasive Test Optimizes Colon Cancer Screening Rates

"Organized mailing campaigns could substantially increase colorectal cancer screening among uninsured patients, according to a study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine. The research also suggested that a noninvasive colorectal screening approach, such as a fecal immunochemical test, might be more effective in promoting participation in potentially lifesaving colon cancer screening among underserved populations than a colonoscopy, a more expensive and invasive procedure."

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The ASCO Post | Aug 6, 2013

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Advances in Immunotherapy Brighten Prospects for People with Cancer

Advances in Immunotherapy Brighten Prospects for People with Cancer | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The enthusiasm for anti-cancer immunotherapies continues to build, with two treatments already approved by the FDA and clinical trials underway for a variety of promising new candidates. The latest approaches include targeting a protein called PD-L1, which shields tumor cells from immune system attacks. In a phase I clinical trial of a PD-L1 blocker made by MedImmune, early results suggest that this treatment shrinks melanomas as well as kidney, lung and colon tumors. Next, the researchers hope to open this trial to people with head and neck cancers as well. Another approach entails adding the gene for an immune system booster (interferon beta) to a therapeutic virus (vesicular stomatitis virus) that kills cancer cells but not normal ones. This treatment is being tested on liver cancer in a phase I trial, and early results are encouraging.

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The Miami Herald│Jul 26, 2013

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MET Protein May Serve as a Biomarker for a Treatment-Resistant Colorectal Cancer Subtype

"The MET protein may be a surrogate indicator of the presence of the chemotherapy-resistant epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) subtype of colorectal cancer, a recent study showed. EMT occurs when epithelial cells change shape and lose cell-to-cell adhesion molecules, thereby allowing the cells to adopt certain characteristics of mesenchymal cells, such as invasiveness and resistance to cell death."

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OncoLog | Jul 2013

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New Molecular Target May Lead to Cancer Drugs that Suffocate Tumors

New Molecular Target May Lead to Cancer Drugs that Suffocate Tumors | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Researchers have identified a compound that may cut off tumors’ oxygen supply. Because they grow so rapidly, tumors eventually outgrow the ability of the surrounding blood vessels to transport enough oxygen and nutrients to them. In response to low oxygen levels, tumors trigger the formation of new blood vessels to keep them supplied. Now, scientists have discovered a protein, HIF-1, that acts as a “master switch” that turns on hundreds of other genes involved in forming these new blood vessels. They then identified a new compound called cyclo-CLLFVY that blocked HIF-1 in cultured cancer cells. Researchers now hope to develop cyclo-CLLFVY into a drug that can prevent tumors from getting the oxygen they need to survive.

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Cancer Research UK | Jul 26, 2013

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Cancer Research UK | Jul 26, 2013

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Cancer Research UK | Jul 26, 2013

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New Biomarker Associated with Spread of Colorectal Cancer

New Biomarker Associated with Spread of Colorectal Cancer | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Scientists have discovered a biomarker whose under-expression is correlated with an increased risk of the spread of colorectal cancer in patients. Patients with lower levels of the protein FOXO3 were more likely to have aggressive tumors, and more likely to see their cancer spread to other parts of the body. The researchers believe that testing for FOXO3 levels could be a good predictor of which patients would benefit from additional chemotherapy sessions. Patients with the low FOXO3 levels could be at a greater risk of cancer recurrence, so treating them with extra chemotherapy sessions after tumor resection could be helpful in making sure the cancer doesn’t return. Scientists also believe that FOXO3 could be a potentially successful drug target.

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Cancer Research UK | Jul 24, 2013

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Pump Provides New Opportunities for Colorectal Cancer Chemotherapy

Pump Provides New Opportunities for Colorectal Cancer Chemotherapy | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

For patients with advanced colorectal cancer, surgery is rarely an option because the tumor has metastasized to other parts of the body, most commonly the liver and the lungs. Only about 25 percent of patients with advanced colorectal cancer benefit from standard chemotherapy treatment. To increase the odds of successful treatment, researchers have created a pump that can be surgically implanted and distribute chemotherapy from inside the body. Known as a hepatic artery infusion pump (HAIP), the device is implanted just below the skin and connected to the main artery of the liver, where liver tumors access the majority of the blood that keeps them alive. Patients who use the pump get anti-cancer drugs delivered directly to the liver at nearly 400 percent of the dosage normally delivered to the whole body, which is spared the adverse side effects of normal chemotherapy. Currently in use in the U.S. and being studied in Canada, HAIP pumps have decreased tumor size by 75 percent (in some cases to a size that can be successfully removed via surgery) and improved patient survival time and quality of life.

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CTV News | Jul 20, 2013

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“Cold Caps” May Save Cancer Patients’ Hair During Chemotherapy

“Cold Caps” May Save Cancer Patients’ Hair During Chemotherapy | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

To minimize hair loss during chemotherapy, some patients chill their scalps using specialized caps. The low temperatures are supposed to decrease blood flow in the scalp, preventing chemotherapy drugs from reaching the hair roots and damaging them. However, it is still unclear how well these “cold caps” work and whether they are safe, and so far they have not been approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. Theoretically, shielding some areas of the body from chemotherapy might allow some cancer cells to survive the treatment, although the scalp is an uncommon site for cancer recurrence. An upcoming study at several U.S. hospitals will investigate the effectiveness and safety of cold caps to prevent chemotherapy hair loss.

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Associated Press | Jul 22, 2013

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Associated Press | Jul 22, 2013

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Myc-Driven Tumors Could be Next for Targeted Therapies

Myc-Driven Tumors Could be Next for Targeted Therapies | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Scientists have made a breakthrough in inhibiting the tumor-driving protein myc, which previously had been impossible to target with drugs. Myc drives cells toward uncontrolled growth in tumors, and is involved in many of the most serious forms of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, brain cancer, prostate cancer, and blood cancer. Scientists have found that one drug that indirectly targets myc slows tumor growth in a mouse model of myc-driven cancer. The key to the breakthrough was recognizing that myc relies partially on MTOR, another protein, for its protein supply. By targeting MTOR, the drug keeps myc from promoting tumor growth. The drug, called MLN0128, is already in clinical trials for a variety of cancers, but this is the first time it has been viewed as a tool to treat myc-driven cancer. The researchers said that other indirect targeted therapy drugs are already being tested in human studies to treat myc-driven tumors.

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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“iKnife” Could Revolutionize Cancer Surgery

“iKnife” Could Revolutionize Cancer Surgery | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new surgical tool – dubbed the “iKnife” – has the potential to change the way surgeons operate on cancer patients. Typically, surgeons use knives that vaporize tumors during procedures, which produces a strong-smelling smoke. Under standard protocol the surgeon must send tissue to the lab to be analyzed to determine whether or not it is cancerous, waiting on the results while the patient lies on the operating table for close to 30 minutes. The “iKnife” eliminates the lab work, analyzing the smoke on its own to distinguish cancerous tissue from healthy tissue; it can tell doctors if the tissue is cancerous almost instantaneously. In a recent study, the knife correctly detected cancer in all 91 patients. Researchers believe the knife will lower tumor recurrence rates and enable more accurate procedures.

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CBS News | Jul 17, 2013

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CBS News | Jul 17, 2013

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CBS News | Jul 17, 2013

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CBS News | Jul 17, 2013

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New Imaging Technology Promising for Several Types of Cancer

New Imaging Technology Promising for Several Types of Cancer | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Researchers from University Hospitals Case Medical Center have published findings that a new form of imaging—PET/MRI—is promising for several types of cancer. In an article titled "PET/MRI: Applications in Clinical Imaging," published in the September issue of Current Radiology Reports, the authors outline their initial clinical experience in diagnosing and staging cancer patients with this novel technology."

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Medical Xpress | Aug 29, 2013

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Daily Aspirin Linked to Smaller Tumors in Lung and Colon Cancer

A retrospective analysis of data from thousands of cancer patients showed that lung and colon cancer patients who had been taking daily low-dose aspirin before diagnosis had smaller tumors. Their cancer was also 20-40% less likely to have spread to other parts of the body. It is still unclear whether aspirin indeed caused the less severe diagnoses, or whether separate, independent factors make people both more likely to take daily aspirin and to have less advanced lung or colon cancers. Future studies may address this question. No association between daily aspirin and cancer severity was found in prostate or breast cancer.

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Reuters | Aug 16, 2013

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Reuters | Aug 16, 2013

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Colon cancer and oral bacteria linked in Case Western Reserve University Research: Discoveries

Colon cancer and oral bacteria linked in Case Western Reserve University Research: Discoveries | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A research group at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine has found a link between colon cancer and gingivitis-causing bacteria that, until recently, were thought to only be found in the mouth. Yiping Han, a professor of periodontics, and her lab have been studying the health effects of the bacterium, called Fusobacterium nucleatum, for about a decade, and have already connected it to preterm birth, stillbirth, and post-birth sepsis. Their newest research, published online today in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, explains how the bacterium may turn on tumor growth in the colon, and also identifies a way to prevent its action. The researchers also hope their work will lead to a diagnostic tool that will help identify those at risk of colon cancer earlier in the disease’s progression."

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Cleveland.com | Aug 14, 2013

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Cancer Patients Want to Be More Involved in Treatment Decisions

Cancer Patients Want to Be More Involved in Treatment Decisions | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Some cancer patients feel that they do not have enough say in their treatment decisions, a recent survey in the UK reveals. While 70% of respondents felt satisfied with their level of involvement, patients with certain rarer cancer types expressed a wish for more participation in treatment decisions, including those with rectal, ovarian, multiple myeloma and bladder cancers. The desire for greater involvement was also more common in younger patients and ethnic minorities. While the survey was performed in the UK, similar issues are likely to affect patients in other countries, including the US. Several US states have recently introduced legislation to support shared medical decision-making.

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Medical Xpress | Aug 6, 2013

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Medical Xpress | Aug 6, 2013

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Steroid Treatment May Improve Cancer-Related Fatigue

Fatigue is a common and often debilitating symptom for people with advanced cancer. A recent clinical trial found that the steroid dexamethasone reduced fatigue in cancer patients who took it for 14 days. Other related symptoms, such as pain and loss of appetite, also improved, as did overall quality of life. However, in a recent survey, only one quarter to one third of cancer physicians said that they regularly use steroids to manage cancer-related fatigue. Because steroids can have serious side effects with long-term use, they may be most useful for patients with limited life expectancies, or whose fatigue can be expected to resolve after short-term treatment.

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Medscape | Aug 2, 2013

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Medscape | Aug 2, 2013

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Medscape | Aug 2, 2013

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Medscape | Aug 2, 2013

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Research Points Toward Better Colonoscopy

Research Points Toward Better Colonoscopy | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"MIT researchers have developed a new endoscopy technology that could make it easier for doctors to detect precancerous lesions in the colon. Early detection of such lesions has been shown to reduce death rates from colorectal cancer, which kills about 50,000 people per year in the United States. The new technique, known as photometric stereo endoscopy, can capture topographical images of the colon surface along with traditional two-dimensional images. Such images make it easier to see precancerous growths, including flatter lesions that traditional endoscopy usually misses, says Nicholas Durr, a research fellow in the Madrid-MIT M+Vision Consortium, a recently formed community of medical researchers in Boston and Madrid."

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MIT News | Jul 31, 2013

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New Trial Launches to Identify Ways to Prevent Recurrence of Colorectal Cancer

New Trial Launches to Identify Ways to Prevent Recurrence of Colorectal Cancer | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Being the third most common non-skin cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related mortality in men and women in the United States, colorectal cancer can be a devastating disease. Nonetheless, according to the latest statistics from NCI covering the period 2006 to 2010, death rates continue to decline, due in part to improved treatments, and in part to colorectal cancer screening options that are proven to reduce mortality and that have gained acceptance by the public."

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NCI Backgrounder | Jul 25, 2013

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Safer, Peptide-Based Therapies Studied as Alternative to Monoclonal Antibodies

Safer, Peptide-Based Therapies Studied as Alternative to Monoclonal Antibodies | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Monoclonal antibodies and small-molecule inhibitors have been the primary treatment methods for many types of cancer for many years, but new studies may begin to change that. Peptides, proteins made of small chains of 10-50 amino acids, are being examined as possible cost-effective, more successful, safer anti-cancer vaccines. Researchers have identified two regions on the HER1 (also known as the EGFR) protein as possible targets for these peptide-based drugs. These agents could be used in the treatment of lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and head and neck cancers. If successful, the EGFR-targeting peptide vaccines could be combined with immunotherapies for the HER2 and VEGF proteins, possibly reducing the likelihood that the cancer will develop resistance to the treatment, a common pitfall of monoclonal antibody drugs such as cetuximab (Erbitux).

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Medical News Today | Jul 26, 2013

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Medical News Today | Jul 26, 2013

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Despite FDA Act, Cancer Drug Trial Results Often Not Published

Despite FDA Act, Cancer Drug Trial Results Often Not Published | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Passed in 2007, the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act included a provision requiring the publishing of all clinical trials for cancer drugs performed in the United States. However, an examination of online public records and journals revealed that nearly half of phase II, phase III and phase IV clinical trial data have not been made available to the public. The researchers found 646 clinical trials in an online registry with completion dates between December 26, 2007, and May 31, 2010. But one year after completion, just 9 percent of clinical trial results had been posted at ClinicalTrials.gov, and only 12 percent had been posted in online journals (20 percent total availability). Three years after completion, 31 percent of clinical trial data had been posted on ClinicalTrials.gov and 35 percent had been posted in journals, with 55 percent available via both sources. The researchers called for better reporting of clinical trial data, as it could have an impact on patient treatment and safety.

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Medical Xpress | Jul 23, 2013

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Medical Xpress | Jul 23, 2013

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Pretreatment Interventions May Optimize Outcomes for Cancer Patients

Pretreatment Interventions May Optimize Outcomes for Cancer Patients | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Interventions given between the time of initial cancer diagnosis and the start of acute cancer treatment – so-called “prehabilitation” – may improve health outcomes for cancer patients, a review of related studies argues. These interventions can include general physical conditioning, such as aerobic exercise to build strength; specific physical interventions, such as pelvic strengthening exercises before prostate cancer surgery or help quitting smoking before lung cancer treatment; and psychological support. In a number of studies, prehabilitation was shown to reduce treatment complication rates, lead to shorter hospital stays and/or fewer readmissions, improve mental health outcomes, lower health care costs, and make some patients eligible for additional treatment options.

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Medical News Today | Jul 23, 2013

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Medical News Today | Jul 23, 2013

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Double Targeted Therapy Approach Could be Key to Curing Nearly All Cancers

Double Targeted Therapy Approach Could be Key to Curing Nearly All Cancers | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Scientists have made a breakthrough in inhibiting the tumor-driving protein myc, which previously had been impossible to target with drugs. Myc drives cells toward uncontrolled growth in tumors, and is involved in many of the most serious forms of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, brain cancer, prostate cancer, and blood cancer. Scientists have found that one drug that indirectly targets myc slows tumor growth in a mouse model of myc-driven cancer. The key to the breakthrough was recognizing that myc relies partially on MTOR, another protein, for its protein supply. By targeting MTOR, the drug keeps myc from promoting tumor growth. The drug, called MLN0128, is already in clinical trials for a variety of cancers, but this is the first time it has been viewed as a tool to treat myc-driven cancer. The researchers said that other indirect targeted therapy drugs are already being tested in human studies to treat myc-driven tumors.

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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GeneGame: An App That Lets You Be the Scientist

GeneGame: An App That Lets You Be the Scientist | Colorectal Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Researchers all over the world have collected vast amounts of data on cancer patients, from genetic information to drug treatment records to cell biopsies, and this information can be very valuable when working to develop new treatments. But the data pool is so vast that finding useful information can take an incredibly long time. Cancer Research UK has now developed a website, called CellSlider, to let the public click through actual microscope slides to identify cancerous cells; it took the public three months to analyze as much material as the organization’s scientists can cover in 18 months. Building on that success, Cancer Research UK is preparing to launch an app, GeneGame, which will enable patients to analyze data on their smartphones in a fun, interactive setting. The data will then be sent back to scientists to use in their research at a much faster rate, perhaps hastening the development of a cure.

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BBC | Jul 18, 2013

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BBC | Jul 18, 2013

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BBC | Jul 18, 2013

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BBC | Jul 18, 2013