Surprising culprit behind chemo resistance in rare cancer

Researchers led by Michael H. Tomasson, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown how an aggressive form of multiple myeloma resists chemotherapy. Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow. Though the finding has no immediate benefit for patients, the scientists say it could help guide research into better treatments.

Drug makes leukemia more vulnerable to chemo

A new drug makes chemotherapy more effective in treating acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, according to John F. DiPersio, MD, PhD, and his colleagues at Washington University. Instead of attacking these cells directly, the drug helps drive them out of the bone marrow and into the bloodstream, where they are more vulnerable to chemotherapy.

Bone drug suppresses wandering tumor cells in breast cancer patients

The bone-strengthening drug zoledronic acid (Zometa) can help fight metastatic breast cancer when given before surgery, suggests research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. When the drug was given along with chemotherapy for three months before breast cancer surgery, it reduced the number of women who had tumor cells in their bone marrow at the time of surgery.

Researchers hone technique to KO pediatric brain tumors

WooleyAn interdisciplinary team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Karen L. Wooley, Ph.D., James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, is a step closer to delivering cancer-killing drugs to pediatric brain tumors, similar to the tumor that Senator Ted Kennedy is suffering from. Such tumors are often difficult to completely remove surgically; frequently, cancerous cells remain following surgery and the tumor returns. Chemotherapy, while effective at treating tumors, often harms healthy cells as well, leading to severe side effects especially in young children that are still developing their brain functions. In an effort to solve this problem, the Wooley lab has developed polymeric nanoparticles that can entrap doxorubicin, a drug commonly used in chemotherapy, and slowly release the drug over an extended time period.

HIV protein enlisted to help kill cancer cells

This PET scan shows high levels of an anticancer agent in the tumor.Cancer cells keep growing because they don’t react to internal signals urging them to die. Now researchers at the School of Medicine have found an efficient way to get a messenger into cancer cells that forces them to respond to death signals. And they did it using one of the most sinister pathogens around — HIV.

HIV protein enlisted to help kill cancer cells

Researchers linked anticancer agents to a PET tracer to deliver treatment directly to tumors in mice (red and yellow shows highest amounts of tracer).Cancer cells keep growing because they don’t react to internal signals urging them to die. Now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found an efficient way to get a messenger into cancer cells that forces them to respond to death signals. And they did it using one of the most sinister pathogens around — HIV.

Wall of tiles designed to help cancer patients heal

Tiles painted by cancer patients and their familiesPatients undergoing treatment at the Siteman Cancer Center have a new option to pass the time. They can get creative and paint ceramic tiles for a display in the treatment area. Arts as Healing, a program facilitated by the School of Medicine’s Medical Photography, Illustration and Computer Graphics (MedPIC) department, is currently working on “Your Square Matters,” which allows patients and their families to paint a 4-inch square ceramic tile.

Wall of tiles designed to help cancer patients heal

Tiles painted by cancer patients and their familiesPatients undergoing treatment at the Siteman Cancer Center have a new option to pass the time. They can get creative and paint ceramic tiles for a display in the treatment area. Arts as Healing, a program facilitated by the School of Medicine’s Medical Photography, Illustration and Computer Graphics (MedPIC) department, is currently working on “Your Square Matters,” which allows patients and their families to paint a 4-inch square ceramic tile. Already, more than 400 tiles have been completed and are on display in Siteman’s infusion center.

Role of DNA-repair protein suggests strategy to knock out cancer

Repair proteins (bright green areas) are inhibited from gathering at sites of DNA damage.To remain healthy, all cells must quickly mend any breaks that arise in their DNA strands. But cancer cells are particularly dependent on a process called homologous recombination to repair DNA and stay alive. Now researchers at the School of Medicine have identified a protein with a role in homologous recombination, and the discovery could be exploited as part of a two-pronged treatment strategy to kill cancer cells by eliminating their ability to repair DNA.
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