Barry Stein

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Homepage: http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca


Posts by Barry Stein

Aider l’ACCCC vous aider et lever des fonds importants. Il ne vous coûtera pas un sou. www.plaisirslaitiers.ca/consommezassez/app

Les Producteurs laitiers du Canada (PLC) ont mis au point une grande campagne de collecte de fonds pour aider l’Association canadienne du cancer colorectal, la Fondation des maladies du cœur et de l’AVC et Ostéoporose Canada. Ils ont développé une application pour promouvoir des modes de vie sains et des portions alimentaires recommandées par le Guide alimentaire canadien, tout en ayant une façon amusante de suivre ses propres habitudes alimentaires.Chaque jour que vous rentrez et sauvegardez vos portions alimentaires quotidiennes des quatre groupes alimentaires, les PLC feront un don de 1$ à l’organisme de choix. Alors s’il vous plaît, choisissez l’ACCC! Votre participation se fait en sélectionnant l’ACCC en tant que partenaire, ce qui pourrait nous permettre de gagner jusqu’à 50 000$ pour nous aider à la sensibilisation du cancer du côlon, l’éducation de la maladie et des programmes de soutien. Cette initiative est un excellent moyen de non seulement veiller à une alimentation équilibrée et saine, mais aussi pour nous aider à soutenir les milliers de Canadiens touchés par la deuxième cause de mortalité parmi les cancers dans le pays.

Alors s’il vous plaît, téléchargez l’application Consommez Assez pour les appareils Apple et Android dans la boutique d’applications et choisissez l’ACCC pour votre organisme de charité. Aidez-nous à vous aider, et ensemble, nous pouvons sauver des vies!

http://www.plaisirslaitiers.ca/consommezassez/app

HELP THE CCAC HELP YOU AND IT WONT COST YOU A PENNY! www.dairygoodness.ca/getenough/app

The Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) have come up with a great fundraising campaign to help the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, Heart & Stroke and Osteoporosis. They have developed an App to promote healthy lifestyles and healthy food portions in accordance with the Canada Food Guide, with a fun way to track your own eating habits. elEach day you input and save your daily food servings from the 4 food groups the DFC will donate $1 to the charity of choice. So please choose the CCAC! With your participation by selecting the CCAC as a partner we can earn up to $50,000 to assist us in Colon Cancer Awareness, Education and Support programs. It’s a great way not only to ensure you are eating healthy, but to help us help the thousands of Canadians touched by the second biggest cancer killer in the country.

 

So please down load the Get Enough Helper for Apple and Android apps in the App Store and choose the CCAC as your charity. Help us help you and together we can save lives!

 

http://www.dairygoodness.ca/getenough/app

Consuming Resistant Starch Reduces Risk of Colorectal Cancer From Red-Meat Consumption

Consuming Resistant Starch Reduces Risk of Colorectal Cancer From Red-Meat Consumption

Aug 04, 2014 04:23 AM EDT

Consuming Resistant Starch Reduces Risk of Colorectal Cancer From Red-Meat Consumption

Consuming Resistant Starch Reduces Risk of Colorectal Cancer From Red-Meat Consumption (Photo : Flickr)

 

A new study found that eating a type of resistant starch can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer associated with red meat consumption.

 

Studies from around the world have suggested that high consumption of meat is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. In all cases the worry is confined to red meat. A new study by researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide found that eating a type of resistant starch can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer associated with red meat consumption.”Red meat and resistant starch have opposite effects on the colorectal cancer-promoting miRNAs, the miR-17-92 cluster,” said Karen J. Humphreys, a research associate at the Flinders Center for Innovation in Cancer at Flinders University, in a press release. “This finding supports consumption of resistant starch as a means of reducing the risk associated with a high red meat diet. Total meat consumption in the USA, European Union, and the developed world has continued to increase from the 1960s, and in some cases has nearly doubled.”

The study was conducted on 17 healthy males and six healthy females. All participants were aged between 50 and 75 years. They were put on a red meat or a red meat plus butyrate resistant starch diet for four weeks. After a four-week interval, the participants were made to switch diets. Researchers found that the participants that ate 300 g of lean meat daily for four weeks had a 30 percent increase in the levels of certain genetic molecules called miR-17-92 in their rectal tissue, and an associated increase in cell proliferation. However, those that ate 40 g of butyrate resistant starch per day along with red meat saw their miR-17-92 levels go down to baseline levels.

Resistant starch, unlike other starches, goes all the way through the small intestine without being digested at all. In this way, it is more like fiber, and in some cases is classified and labeled as fiber. Also, it is readily fermented by gut microbes to produce beneficial molecules called short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate.

“Good examples of natural sources of resistant starch include bananas that are still slightly green, cooked and cooled potatoes [such as potato salad], whole grains, beans, chickpeas, and lentils. Scientists have also been working to modify grains such as maize so they contain higher levels of resistant starch,” said Humphreys.

Scientists have offered a number of explanations for the link between red meat and colon cancer. One theory blames heterocyclic amines (HCAs), chemicals produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures. HCAs may play a role, but since high levels can also be present in cooked chicken, this is unlikely to be the whole explanation. Preservatives have also been implicated in the case of processed meats; nitrates are a particular worry, since the body converts them to nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic.

Scientists from England have offered another explanation. Their investigation recruited healthy volunteers. The volunteers ate one of three test diets for a period of 15 to 21 days. The first diet contained about 14 ounces of red meat a day, always prepared to minimize HCA formation. The second diet was strictly vegetarian, and the third contained large amounts of both red meat and dietary fiber. Stool specimens from the 21 volunteers who consumed the high-meat diet contained high levels of N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), which are potentially cancer-causing chemicals. The 12 volunteers who ate vegetarian food excreted low levels of NOCs, and the 13 who ate meat and high-fiber diets produced intermediate amounts.

recent study also highlighted that consuming chilli peppers can reduce the risk of tumors associated with colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine. It is the third leading cause of cancer in males and fourth in females in the U.S. Risk factors for this disease include heredity, colon polyps, and long-standing ulcerative colitis. Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps.  Colon polyps and early cancer can have no symptoms. Therefore, regular screening is important.

The current study was published online in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. The project was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (Preventative Health Flagship), and the Flinders Medical Center Foundation.

 

Gut Bacteria May Reveal Colon Cancer, Study Finds

Gut Bacteria May Reveal Colon Cancer, Study Finds

Test could be used in addition to current methods to better improve detection

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Analyzing the composition of people’s collection of gut bacteria — also called the gut microbiome — can help improve identification of those who are at risk for, or already have, colon cancer, according to a new study.

Researchers collected stool samples from 30 healthy people, 30 people with precancerous intestinal polyps and 30 people with advanced colon or rectal cancerin order to assess the composition of their gut microbiomes.

 Each group had a different gut microbiome composition, according to the study published Aug. 7 in Cancer Prevention Research.

“If our results are confirmed in larger groups of people, adding gut microbiome analysis to other fecal tests may provide an improved, noninvasive way to screen for colorectal cancer,” study author Patrick Schloss, associate professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan, said in a journal news release.

Adding analysis of gut microbiomes to assessment of age and race — known risk factors for precancerous polyps — led to a 4.5-fold improved prediction of precancerous polyps, the investigators found. Adding analysis of gut microbiomes to assessment of age, race and body mass index — known risk factors for invasive colorectal cancer — led to more than a fivefold improved prediction of the disease.

The researchers also found that analysis of gut microbiomes was better than fecal occult blood testing (a type of stool sample test) at distinguishing people with precancerous polyps from those with invasive cancer.

Assessing body mass index (a measurement based on height and weight), fecal occult blood test results and gut microbiomes together was even more effective at distinguishing patients with precancerous polyps from those with invasive colon and rectal cancer, the study revealed.

“Our data show that gut microbiome analysis has the potential to be a new tool to noninvasively screen for colorectal cancer,” Schloss said. “We don’t think that this would ever replace other colorectal cancer screening approaches, rather we see it as complementary.”

The Future of cancer treatment will be by genetic and molecular type. Are we ready?

Cancer should be classified by genetic and molecular type, say scientists

Friday 8 August 2014 – 3am PST
A research network in the US proposes that cancer should be classified according to genetic and molecular features rather than by the type of tissue in which the tumor arises. While more work is needed to confirm and build on findings that look set to rewrite oncology textbooks, the scientists say such a system would be better for patients because it would help tailor treatment to their individual needs.
Cancer cells
Researchers found that different types of cancerous tumors were molecularly and genetically similar, prompting them to challenge the existing system of classifying cancers.

Writing about their findings in the journal Cell, researchers from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) describe how they analyzed more than 3,500 tumors on multiple genomic technology platforms.

There have already been studies that suggestcancer should be defined by features at the genetic and molecular level. For example, Medical News Today recently reported another TCGA study that found four distinct molecular subtypes of stomach cancer.

But in this latest study – the largest genomic study of cancer – the researchers found even across tissue types (for instance, breast, bladder and kidney), what we currently regard as different cancers have tumors that are more similar at the molecular and genetic level than at the tissue level.

‘Disruptive’ study challenges existing system of classifying cancers

In explaining the impact of the findings, co-corresponding author Chris Benz, a professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, CA, points out most of our tissues comprise many different types of epithelial and non-epithelial cells (epithelial cells being those that line cavities in the body and cover flat surfaces, while non-epithelial cells form other tissue types such as connective, muscle and nervous tissue), and:

“This disruptive genomic study not only challenges our existing system of classifying cancers based on tissue type, but also provides a massive new data resource for further exploration as well as a comprehensive list of the molecular features distinguishing each of the newly described cancer classes.”

He cites the example of bladder cancer, which they propose should be reclassified into several different types, each with distinct and different outcomes, to explain why patients can expect quite different results when treated with the same systemic therapy.

For the study, the scientists compared the DNA, RNA and proteins of 3,527 specimens of 12 different tumortypes by analyzing them with six different “platform technologies.” The results showed tumors were more likely to be molecularly and genetically similar based on their cell type of origin as opposed to their tissue type of origin.

One subtype of bladder cancer virtually identical to lung adenocarcinoma

For example, the study suggests there are at least three different subtypes of bladder cancer, one of which is almost identical to lung adenocarcinoma, and another that is similar to squamous cell cancers found in the head-and-neck and lungs.

The study also confirms known differences in subtypes of breast cancer but reveals a surprising finding in that basal-like breast cancers – also known as triple-negative breast cancer – are actually a class of their own. These cancers are very aggressive and more common in African-American and younger women.

Even though these basal-like cancers may arise in the breast, the study shows that at the molecular level they are more like ovarian cancers and cancers of squamous cell origin than other breast cancer subtypes.

The team says the findings suggest at least 1 in 10 cancer patients would receive a different classification of their cancer type under the new system. However, Prof. Benz believes this proportion will grow after the next round of analysis, which will look at more samples and tumor types.

He anticipates this will show over 20 types of tumor, based on classification by molecular and genetic features at the cell level:

“We’re just appreciating the tip of the iceberg when considering the potential of this multi-platform type of genomic analysis. It could be that as many as 30 or 50% of cancers need to be reclassified.”

He believes this study and future repeats will improve design of clinical trials by helping to identify patients more likely to respond to new treatments based on the genomic reclassification of their tumors. He notes:

“Although follow-up studies are needed to validate and refine this newly proposed cancer classification system, it will ultimately provide the biologic foundation for that era of personalized cancer treatment that patients and clinicians eagerly await.”

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African-Americans get their first colonoscopy at age 45, while the rest of the population remains with the 50-year benchmark

New age limit set for first colonscopy for African-Americans: Linda Rhodes

Dr. Linda Rhodes | Special to PennLiveBy Dr. Linda Rhodes | Special to PennLive 
on July 30, 2014 at 11:15 AM, updated July 30, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Q: I heard on the radio something about men and women needing to get their first colonoscopy when they turn 45 years of age rather than fifty. What’s that all about?

A: You likely didn’t catch the whole story. It’s now recommended that African-Americans get their first colonoscopy at age 45, while the rest of the population remains with the 50-year benchmark. Once both groups have graduated from their first screening, they’re to come back every ten years.

It turns out that African-Americans are being hit with colorectal cancer at a higher rate than all other races. Worse yet, they survive it less than their counterparts. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 50,000 people are expected to die this year from colorectal cancer and they are twice as likely to be African-American. Screenings could save more than half of those lives. Researchers believe that lack of access to care and preventive screenings with a subsequent delay in seeking care are partially to blame for the disparity.

Colorectal cancer is the second-ranked killer cancer in the United States among men and women (first is lung cancer). The number of new cases this past year was 136,830. It is the one cancer that can be prevented by screening, in fact, according to the American College of Gastroenterology, you can expect a 90 percent reduction in cancer risk following a colonoscopy and removal of polyps in the colon discovered during the procedure. Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps that are abnormal growths in the colon that make for a cancer-friendly environment for cancer cells to grow. If left undetected, that’s exactly what can happen.

The likelihood of developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 20 and the lifetime risk is roughly equal in men and women. Those are odds most of us can avoid by screening; yet, one in three of us (23 million) turn down the opportunity to dodge the colorectal cancer bullet.

Ever since “Today Show” newscaster Katie Couric underwent a colonoscopy on national television in March 2000, the aversion to getting the procedure has been chipped away. Most will tell you (me included) that the procedure, itself, isn’t all that bad. It’s the stuff you drink the day before to cleanse your colon – so the tiny camera can scope out polyps with a clear view – that’s the hard part. But given what’s at stake, my best advice is what my mom told me: “Quit your whining.”

For an excellent video on colonoscopy as to what to expect be sure to click here.

Most insurance plans cover preventive colonoscopies at the recommended ages and every ten years following. One other screening test that the American College of Gastroenterologist recommends to detect blood in the stool is a Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) that can be prescribed by a physician (there are also at-home tests you can purchase). An annual exam using FIT between colonoscopies can uncover hidden blood in the stool warranting further testing.

Early stages of colon cancer rarely produce symptoms. A dear friend of mine found this out by dutifully getting her first colonoscopy at age fifty feeling just fine. She was shocked when she was told that, indeed, she had colorectal cancer at Stage 2. Five years out, she’s doing just fine and that screening saved her life.

If you have symptoms of abdominal pain, blood in or on the stool, a change in the texture, color or shape of your stool (e.g diarrhea or black tarry stool) or a change in your typical bowel movements (e.g. constipation) be sure to see your primary care physician. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s colorectal cancer but it does deserve a doctor’s attention.

A family history of colon cancer, inherited forms of colorectal polyps and predisposing chronic digestive diseases like Crohns or ulcerative colitis place you at higher risk for this stealthy cancer.

Since your colon does the heavy lifting digesting your food, be kind to it by eating vegetables, fruits and grains. Reduce a cancer-friendly environment in your colon by cutting down your consumption of red and processed meats. Belly fat and being over weight has been linked to a higher incidence of colorectal cancer – so exercise is definitely part of any cancer prevention plan.

Dr. Linda Rhodes is a former Secretary of Aging and author of “The Essential Guide to Caring for Aging Parents,” and can be reached at rhodescaregiving@gmail.com.

Decoding Noncoding DNA’s Role in Colorectal Cancer

GEN News Highlights

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Jul 24, 2014

Decoding Noncoding DNA’s Role in Colorectal Cancer

  • Scientists have been alert to genetic drivers of cancer that are embedded in the transcriptome, which consists of DNA’s coding regions. Beyond the transcriptome, in the wider genome, lurk additional drivers. They are, most likely, elements that regulate gene expression—or rather, being faulty, dysregulate gene expression.

    Expanding the search for cancer drivers into the wider genome, effectively sifting through noncoding stretches of DNA, a team of scientists centered at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) performed an RNA sequencing analysis of 103 matched tumor and normal colon mucosa colorectal cancer (CRC) samples. According to the scientists, theirs was the first study of this scale to examine the noncoding genome of cancer patients.

    The UNIGE team and its collaborators described the study July 23 in Nature, in an article entitled, “Putative cis-regulatory drivers in colorectal cancer.” The scientists reported that they were able to identify two kinds of noncoding mutations that have an impact on the development of colorectal cancer.

    They found hereditary regulatory variants that are not active in healthy tissue, but are activated in tumors and seem to contribute to cancer progression. In addition, they identified effects of acquired mutations on the regulation of gene expression that affect the genesis and progression of colorectal tumors.

    In particular, the researchers detected 71 genes with significantly higher allele-specific expression (ASE) somatic event rates, which they defined as genes with allelic dysregulation (GADs), as well as 376 genes with tumor-specific germline cis-regulatory variants.

    “Both categories demonstrate characteristics that support their role as putative cancer drivers,” wrote the study’s authors. “This gives us access to putative noncoding somatic and germline CRC drivers on an unprecedented scale.”

    “In addition, tumor-specific cis-eQTLs [expression quantitative trait loci] reveal a new category of variants that are likely to contribute to cancer besides predisposing alleles and somatic mutations,” the authors continued. “It is likely that some of the predisposing variants discovered via GWAS are in fact germline drivers.”

    The head of the research team, Emmanouil Dermitzakis, Ph.D., Louis-Jeantet Professor of Genetics in UNIGE’s faculty of medicine, noted that the methodology used here to evaluate colorectal cancer could also be applied “to understand the genetic basis of all sorts of cancers.”

    “The elements responsible for the development and progression of cancers located in the noncoding genome are as important as those found in the coding regions of the genome,” added Halit Ongen, D.Phil., a postdoctoral researcher at UNIGE and the lead author of the study. “Therefore, analyzing genetic factors in our whole genome, and not only in the coding regions as it was done before, gives us a much more comprehensive knowledge of the genetics behind colorectal cancer.”

 

 

New molecular features of colorectal cancer and five colon cancer subtypes are identified with proteomics

Researchers report first large-scale integrated proteomic and genomic analysis of a human cancer: Identification of new molecular features of colorectal cancer

Investigators who analyzed 95 human colorectal tumor samples have determined how gene alterations identified in previous analyses of the same samples are expressed at the protein level. The integration of proteomic and genomic data, or proteogenomics, provides a more comprehensive view of the biological features that drive cancer than genomic analysis alone and may help identify the most important targets for cancer detection and intervention. The results of this study appeared online July 20, 2014, in Nature.

The colorectal study produced several key findings:

  • Measurements of messenger RNA abundance did not reliably predict protein abundance. The investigators were not surprised by this discordance, because many regulatory controls lie between RNA and protein expression. However, it did demonstrate that RNA analyses do not necessarily give a correct indication of protein levels.
  • Most of the focal amplifications (increased amounts of certain chromosome segments) observed in the earlier genomic analyses of the same tumors did not result in corresponding elevations in protein level. Proteomic analyses identified a few amplifications that had dramatic effects on protein levels and may represent potentially important targets for diagnosis or therapeutic intervention.
  • Proteomics identified five colon cancer subtypes, including classifications that could not be derived from genomic data. Protein expression signatures for one of the subtypes indicated molecular characteristics associated with highly aggressive tumors with poor clinical outcome.

These findings, by Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC) investigators, including Henry Rodriguez, Ph.D., director of the Office of Cancer Clinical Proteomics Research, NCI, and Daniel C. Liebler, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, were made possible because of genomic analyses that were done on the same tumors in 2012 by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network. The CPTAC study provided a clear demonstration of how proteomics can be used to help understand how genomic abnormalities drive cancer.

Interesting new Trial for Stage lll resected CRC FOLFOX and CELEBREX®

Redefining Adjuvant Therapy for Stage III Resected Colon Cancer

Name of the Trial

Oxaliplatin, Leucovorin Calcium, and Fluorouracil with or without Celecoxib in Treating Patients with Stage III Colon Cancer Previously Treated with Surgery (CALGB-80702). See the protocol summary.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology

Dr. Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt

Dr. Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt

Why This Trial Is Important

Despite improvements in treatment, approximately 30 percent of patients with resected (surgically removed) stage III colon cancer still experience arecurrence. Accordingly, clinical trials of new interventions are needed to find better ways of preventing the cancer from returning. In this trial, patients with resected stage III colon cancer are being randomly assigned to receive a type of chemotherapy called FOLFOX for either 3 months or 6 months and to take either an aspirin-like pill called celecoxib (Celebrex®) or a matching placebo pill for 3 years.

“We’re really trying to answer two questions with this study: first, does adding celecoxib to chemotherapy following surgery provide any benefit over the chemotherapy alone, and second, does a shorter course of FOLFOX work as well as the standard 6-month course?” said Dr. Meyerhardt, the study’s lead investigator.

Resection of the tumor is the cornerstone of treatment for colon cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body. For early-stage disease, surgery alone may be sufficient to eradicate the cancer, but for more advanced stage III colon cancer, the use of chemotherapy after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) may help prevent or delay the return of cancer and prolong the lives of patients.

Currently, a 6-month course of adjuvant FOLFOX is considered standard treatment for resected stage III colon cancer. FOLFOX combines fluorouracil and leucovorin, drugs first approved decades ago, withoxaliplatin, a relatively newer platinum-based drug. Clinical trials have demonstrated that this combination extends disease-free survival and overall survival better than adjuvant fluorouracil and leucovorin alone.

Unfortunately, many drugs, including the ones used in this trial, cause side effects. In some cases, these side effects can be severe. One of the most common and serious side effects associated with oxaliplatin is peripheral neuropathy, an often painful “tingling” or numbing sensation in the feet or hands. The likelihood of developing peripheral neuropathy increases with each dose of FOLFOX. This and other side effects can be so severe that patients stop treatment before completing the full 6 months of chemotherapy.

In an effort to limit the toxicity associated with adjuvant FOLFOX, this trial will determine whether a 3-month course of treatment is as good as a 6-month course in delaying or preventing a recurrence of colon cancer. In addition, patients will be monitored to determine whether the shorter course of treatment reduces side effects such as peripheral neuropathy.

EnlargeThe random assignment schema for this trial

Graphic showing the random assignment schema for this trial.

This trial also tests celecoxib’s ability to help prevent or delay cancer recurrence. Celecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that blocks the activity of a protein thought to play a role in cancer growth. A number of large observational studies have shown that people who regularly take aspirin or other NSAIDs may be at reduced risk of developing colon cancer. These findings have led to studies of aspirin and NSAIDs as prevention agents for colon cancer.

The NCI-sponsored Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib (APC) trial, in particular, tested celecoxib’s ability to prevent colon polyps in people who had them removed during a previous colonoscopy and found that the drug did reduce the recurrence of polyps. Most, if not all, cases of colorectal cancer begin as polyps in the colon or rectum. These findings encouraged researchers to test celecoxib as an adjuvant therapy for resected colon cancer.

However, cardiac toxicity is a concern with all NSAIDS, including celecoxib. Previous studies have identified a daily dose of 400 milligrams as the safest dose for celecoxib, and doctors have learned a great deal about which patients are at greater risk of heart complications. This trial is recruiting patients who will be at the least risk for cardiac problems and is using the safest dosage of celecoxib.

“For celecoxib to be incorporated into clinical practice for colon cancer, we need to have a randomized controlled trial to make sure there aren’t other factors leading to the associations we’ve observed,” said Dr. Meyerhardt.

“We’ve enrolled 1,700 patients since 2010 and we haven’t seen any disturbing trends with either cardiac toxicity or with the shorter course of chemotherapy,” he explained. “So we’re hopeful that we can reach our goal of 2,500 patients in order to definitively settle these questions.”

For More Information

See the lists of eligibility criteria and trial contact information or call the NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). The toll-free call is confidential.

Ottawa Hospital hopes diagnosis lab will aid cancer treatment: This is the future for target therapy

The Ottawa Hospital is hoping a new diagnostic centre for identifying cancers that could be treated through less invasive means will be open by the fall.

 

The hospital says it has raised half the $3 million it needs to open its own Molecular Oncology Diagnostics Laboratory.

 

Currently cancer patients in Ottawa who want to know if their particular disease could be treated with a targeted therapy instead of a one-size-fits all treatment like chemotherapy have to wait months before their samples can be assessed at labs in Toronto.

 

The Ottawa Hospital, which treated 24,000 cancer patients last year, said having a lab here in the city could cut the wait time for results to days instead of months.

 

The head of the new lab, Dr. Bryan Lo, said targeted treatments, if available, are far preferable to other options.

 

“When a cancer is discovered we’ll really be characterizing genetically this cancer to try to determine if we can apply some of these newer targeted therapies. Therapies that are much less toxic and with fewer side effects,” said Lo.

 

Jenn Miriguay, 37, has been living with cancer for five years and has gone through an arsenal of treatments, including chemotherapy, and lived through the side effects.

 

“It’s an all-hazards approach, you throw everything at it that you can and hope and pray that it works,” she said.

 

Dr. Brian Lo, Ottawa HospitalDr. Brian Lo said targeted treatments can be less toxic than broad-spectrum treatments such as chemotherapy. (CBC)

She said the new diagnosis centre has raised her hopes there will be an alternative way to treat her disease.

 

“The kids aren’t going to have a grumpy mommy all the time, my husband’s going to have a wife who wants to actively participate in life,” she said.

 

The clinic, when it opens, will focus on analyzing samples from patients with breast, lung, melanoma and colorectal cancers, the four most common types of cancers for which targeted therapies are available.

The hospital hopes within a year of opening it will then be able to accept samples from all cancer patients.