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Scientists dismantle cancer to reveal its weak spots

11/04/2019

Scientists have dismantled cancer piece-by-piece and revealed its weaknesses in the hope that new treatments can be developed. The team of scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, disabled every genetic instruction, one at a time, inside 30 different types of cancer. Their work revealed 600 new cancer vulnerabilities, each of which could be the target of a drug. The study is being praised in particular not only for its sheer scale, but also because it could open the doors to more personalised medicines being developed. Right now, much cancer treatment involves chemotherapy, which is far from ideal due to the damage it causes throughout a patient’s body. One gene that was identified as being essential for the survival of some of the most genetically unstable cancers is "Werner syndrome RecQ helicase" also known more simply as WRN. It plays a vital role in around 28% of stomach cancers and 15% of colon cancers, yet there are no drugs that currently target it. The ultimate goal is to create a “Cancer Dependency Map”, which could be used to highlight every cancer vulnerability. Medical professionals would then be able to prescribe a cocktail of precision drugs to kill a patient’s cancerous cells. Speaking about the research, prominent UK-based cancer charity, Cancer Research UK, said that what makes the research so powerful is its sheer scale.

Rainforest vine compound starves resilient pancreatic cancer cells

29/11/2018

We recently wrote about how an exotic fish could help heal human hearts. Now, new research suggests that a rainforest vine compound is highly effective at killing treatment-resistant pancreatic cancer cells. Known for their ability to survive even the most inhospitable conditions, pancreatic cancer cells are notoriously difficult to kill. It’s one of the reasons why pancreatic cancer is so hard to treat and why the condition usually has a poor outlook. Indeed, the American Cancer Society (ACS) says the 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is just 12-24 percent. However, researchers from the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg in Germany and the Institute of Natural Medicine at the University of Toyama in Japan have discovered that a compound found in a Congolese rainforest plant can make pancreatic cancer cells susceptible to nutrient starvation. The compound, ancistrolikokine E3, has anti-austerity properties and inhibits the Akt/mTOR pathway of pancreatic cancer cells. It’s this pathway that enables these cancer cells to thrive even under conditions of low nutrients and oxygen – an ability in the cancer field known as ‘austerity.’ While more research is needed, the compound is seen as promising for the development of future anticancer drugs.

New ovarian cancer test is a ‘potential game-changer’

27/11/2018

Ovarian cancer treatment is much more effective if it’s administered during the early stages of the disease. In fact, when ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, approximately 94% of patients have a good prognosis post-treatment. However, the reality is that relatively few cases (about 20%) of ovarian cancer are diagnosed early, which makes treatment less effective. But a newly developed blood test could change this. Beyong a full pelvic exam, medical professionals, at present, have two options when it comes to testing for ovarian cancer: a transvaginal ultrasound and a cancer antigen 125 (CA 125) blood test. Unfortunately, both have significant limitations. For example, while the ultrasound can detect growths, it cannot determine whether they are cancerous. The CA 125 test looks for a specific ovarian cancer marker, but people with unrelated conditions also have high levels of this particular antigen. These limitations of the existing tests are one of the driving forces behind the development of the new blood test. The new test, developed by a team from Griffith University and the University of Adelaide (both in Australia), looks for telltale sugars associated with ovarian cancer cells. According to the findings of the team’s study, the new blood test detected large levels of the sugars in 90% of people with stage 1 ovarian cancer and 100% of people with later stage ovarian cancer. Moreover, the test detected none of the telltale sugars in healthy participants. Prof. James Paton, one of the study authors, said the test is a huge step toward diagnosing ovarian cancer in its early stages. “Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to detect in its early stages, when there are more options for treatment and survival rates are better. Our new test is therefore a potential game-changer,” he said.

NHS England to introduce one-stop cancer shops

05/04/2018

NHS England is in the process of introducing ‘one-stop cancer shops’ across the country, the aim of which is to afford quicker diagnoses for patients. At present, patients often face delays as they are sent for several tests to check for different forms of the illness. Despite cancer survival rates having increased over recent decades, patients who do not display obvious signs of cancer often face treatment delays. For example, individuals who have experienced unexplained weight loss, reduced appetite or abdominal pain can be referred several times for different tests, which delays valuable opportunities to begin treatment. The approach NHS England is now adopting was first introduced in Denmark and allows patients to undergo all the necessary tests under one roof. Cally Palmer, national director for cancer at NHS England, said: "Early diagnosis is crucial to saving lives and providing peace of mind for patients, which is why we are driving forward plans to revolutionise our approach to cancer in this country. "These new one-stop shops represent a real step change in the way people with unclear symptoms are identified, diagnosed and treated." The bottom line is that the rapid diagnosis and subsequent fast treatment of cancer is vital for saving lives. Initially, there will be 10 such centres spread across England at the following locations: Royal Free Hospital, London North Middlesex Hospital, London, University College Hospitals London Southend University Hospital Queens Hospital, Romford St James University Hospital, Leeds Airedale General Hospital, West Yorkshire University Hospital, South Manchester Royal Oldham Hospital, Greater Manchester Churchill Hospital, Oxford More centres will be added if the project is a success.

Prostate cancer deaths outnumber those from breast cancer for first time in UK

06/02/2018

New figures show that for the first time ever the number of men dying from prostate cancer in the UK has overtaken female deaths from breast cancer. While lung and bowel cancer remain the top cancer killers, prostate cancer is now third, according to figures released by Prostate Cancer UK. In 2015, 11,819 men died from prostate cancer, compared to 11,442 women from breast cancer – a reality that Prostate Cancer UK says is due to advances in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The charity says that the UK’s aging population is one of the reasons why more men are developing and dying from prostate cancer. Angela Culhane, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said prostate cancer survival rates could be increased by developing better diagnostic tests and using them to form a nationwide screening programme. At present, there is no single, reliable test for prostate cancer. Also, men with the disease can live for decades without showing any symptoms. Those most at risk are men with male relatives who have had the disease, black men and men aged over 50. Ms Culhane said: “It's incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years. “The good news is that many of these developments could be applied to prostate cancer and we're confident that with the right funding, we can dramatically reduce deaths within the next decade.” You can find out more about prostate cancer treatment with us here at France Surgery by visiting the oncology section of our website and selecting the prostate cancer link.

New drug could help one in five breast cancers

16/03/2017

A new type of breast cancer treatment could help up to 10,000 women in the UK, according to scientists. Historically, biological therapies have been used to help fight rare, inherited genetic errors which can lead to cancer, such as the BRCA one actress Angelina Jolie carries. However, a new study has found that such therapies could also help women diagnosed with breast cancer who do not have these genetic errors. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute study suggests that such therapies could be effective in one in five breast cancers (20%). For comparison, the number of women who develop cancer and have faulty BRCA genes is 1 to 5%. For the study, the researchers analysed the genetic make-up of breast cancer in 560 different patients. They found that a significant proportion had "mutational signatures" that were very similar to faulty BRCA. Therefore, given the close similarities, these cancers could also potentially be treated with biological therapies. Clinical trials are now being called for to confirm the researchers' theory. Baroness Delyth Morgan, from Breast Cancer Now, said the initial results were "a revelation". "We hope it could now lead to a watershed moment for the use of mutational signatures in treating the disease," she said. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, avoiding cigarettes, limiting alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight can all help to reduce a woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.

Laser Prostate Cancer Treatment Hailed as 'Truly Transformative'

30/12/2016

A new treatment for early stage prostate cancer has been described as "truly transformative" by surgeons. The approach, which has been tested across Europe, uses lasers and a drug made from deep sea bacteria to eliminate tumours, without any severe side effects. The results of clinical trials on some 413 men, which were published in The Lancet Oncology, showed nearly half of them had no remaining trace of cancer. One of the biggest issues for men with early stage prostate cancer is that treatment often leads to lifelong impotence and incontinence. That's why many men choose the "wait and see" approach when they are diagnosed in the early stages and only opt for treatment if their cancer starts growing aggressively. These new findings turn that approach on its head and "change everything," according to Prof Mark Emberton, who tested the technique at University College London. The bacteria that the drug is made from live in total darkness and become toxic when exposed to light. This is how the new treatment works. Fibre optic lasers are inserted through the perineum (the gap between the anus and the testes) and into the cancerous prostate gland. When they are activated the drug kills the cancer and leaves the healthy prostate behind. While the fact that 49% of patients went into complete remission is remarkable in itself, the additional finding that impact on sexual activity and urination lasted for no more than three months makes the treatment even more amazing. Even though more research is needed, the findings of the study are being hailed as "truly transformative" for prostate cancer patients.

The newest weapon against cancer: Immunotherapy

16/06/2016

Our immune systems are able to fight bacteria, viruses and microbes. Therefore, you'd like to think that they could play a vital role in the fight against cancer too. Over the past 30 years, immunotherapy has emerged and grown as a therapeutic strategy in the field of oncology. This new class of cancer treatment harnesses the power of the immune system and its unique properties to fight cancer in a way that is more powerful than many that have come before it. Immunotherapy is also an exciting weapon for fighting cancer because of the potential long-term protection it gives against the disease; the fact that it causes fewer side effects than other traditional therapies; and can benefit more patients with different types of cancer. With this in mind, a team in Toulouse is looking to build upon the already fantastic base that immunotherapy has to make it an even more potent cancer therapy. They are looking to discover which patients respond to the treatment best, and Dr. Michel Attal, managing director of the Cancer Research Centre of Toulouse, said: "This is just the beginning. In the coming years, all cancer patients will, at one time or another, be treated with immunotherapy."

How Cancer Drugs are Being Used to Flush Out HIV

25/08/2015

Scientists have developed a way of flushing HIV out of its hiding places in the body using a cancer drug, combating its survival mechanism and killing it in the bloodstream. Dormant HIV reservoirs are targeted by the “highly potent” cancer drug and while more testing is needed, experts have described the treatment as “interesting”. Researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine in California believe that a skin cancer drug known as PEP005 may be able to “kick and kill” these hidden HIV reservoirs. At present, anti-retroviral therapy – the “cornerstone” of cancer treatment – kills HIV in the bloodstream, but leaves its reservoirs untouched. According to their report, "PEP005 is highly potent in reactivating latent HIV". It’s one of a number of "lead compounds for combating HIV". It’s the “kick and kill” strategy that interests scientists the most. The kick effectively wakes up the dormant virus allowing the drugs to kill it. Dr Satya Dandekar, who led the research study, said: "We are excited to have identified an outstanding candidate for HIV reactivation and eradication that is already approved and is being used in patients. "This molecule has great potential to advance into translational and clinical studies." The down side is that the drug has still not yet been tested in people who are HIV-positive. So while the research carries immense amounts of potential, a significant amount of testing and further investigation is needed.

Aspirin Found to Halt Breast Cancer Growth & Prevent Relapses

18/06/2015

A low dose of aspirin on a daily basis can halt the growth of breast cancer tumours and even prevent deadly relapses, according to a new study. Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid as it’s otherwise known, produces conditions in the human body which inhibit the reproduction of cancer stem cells. In the past, research has shown that aspirin can be used to effectively stop the spread of prostate, gastrointestinal and colon cancer, as well as other types. Dr Sushanta Banerjee, research director of the Cancer Research Unit at Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Centre, said: "In cancer, when you treat the patient, initially the tumour will hopefully shrink. The problem comes five to 10 years down the road when the disease relapses." He added: “These cells have already survived chemotherapy or other cancer treatment and they go dormant until conditions in the body are more favourable for them to again reproduce. “When they reappear they can be very aggressive, nasty tumours.” The research team exposed incubated breast cancer cells to differing levels of acetylsalicylic acid and recorded the results. They found that exposure to aspirin dramatically increased the rate of cell death. Furthermore, the cells that didn’t die were left in a state which meant they were unable to grow. The full findings of the research will be published in next month’s issue of Laboratory Investigation.     Photo credit: Irish Examiner

‘Milestone’ Lung Cancer Therapy Hailed

04/06/2015

A study of 582 people, conducted in Europe and the US, has found that Nivolumab leaves cancer cells open to attack from the body’s immune system by preventing them from being able to hide. Lung cancer kills almost 1.6 million people worldwide every year and is particularly difficult to treat as it is usually diagnosed late and sufferers often have other smoking-related diseases which make them unsuitable for surgery. The trial involved patients who had advanced lung cancer and had already tried other treatments. Individuals who were on standard therapy at this stage lived for another 9.4 months, but those being treated with Nivolumab lived for an average of 12.2 months. However, patients whose tumours were producing high levels of PD-L1 – a protein that inhibits the body’s natural defences – lived for another 19.4 months after taking Nivolumab. The study’s lead researcher, Dr Luis Paz-Ares from the Hospital Universitario Doce de Octubre in Madrid, Spain, said: "[The results] mark a milestone in the development of new treatment options for lung cancer." The data was presented by pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb to the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the findings were described as "giving real hope to patients". Cancer Research UK welcomed the results of the study and said that harnessing the power of the body’s immune system would be an "essential part" of cancer treatment. Photo credit: Phys.org  

Important Health Tests for Men over 40

23/09/2014

Even if you feel absolutely fine and a picture of health, there are a number of routine medical tests that you should have later in life. In one of our previous posts we focussed on important medical tests for men and women over 40. Today’s post will look at specific guidelines for men aged over 40-years-old and should be considered in addition to the tests outlined in our aforementioned post above. Colon Cancer Screening Men aged under 50 do not necessarily need to undergo colon cancer screening unless there is a strong family history of the disease or if you have had inflammatory bowel disease in the past. If you are between 50 and 75, however, you should get routinely checked for colon cancer, which could involve a stool test every year or a colonoscopy every 10 years. Prostate Cancer Screening Most men should undergo prostate cancer screening when they reach the age of 50. However, men with a family history of the disease should consider prostate cancer checks earlier in life as a precaution. European-wide trials have shown that prostate cancer screening can reduce deaths from the disease by as much as 20%. Testicular Examination Examining your own testicles can identify abnormalities but the fact remains that most testicular lumps are not cancerous. However, if you do find any testicular lumps it is important to get them examined by a medical professional. Testicular cancer treatment is much more effective when started earlier, so consult medical advice if you find anything untoward.

Clinique des Cèdres

04/09/2014

Clinique des Cèdres, Toulouse Clinique des Cèdres was created in 1966 thanks to Dr Anduze-Acher. Since then it became the biggest private hospital in France with 603 beds and places. In 2003, its acquisition by Capio group – already settled in Toulouse with Polyclinique du Parc, Clinique St Jean du Languedoc, Clinique de Beaupuy – helped its development. Clinique des Cèdres provides state-of-the Art equipment to its medical teams.   Amongst the mini invasive surgical techniques: Robotic: In urology for the prostate cancer treatment, the kidney and bladder surgery In gynaecology for the uterus cancer surgery and the pelvic node dissection In ENT for the oral cavity, pharynx surgery, for the cellulo-node, nasopharyngeal surgery (cavum) Coelio-surgery for bariatric surgery Computer-aided surgery and strereotactic for the treatment of brain tumors Mini-invasive surgery for spine surgery (disc prothesis), orthopaedic surgery (perecutaneous foot surgery & trauma surgery) and rectal surgery (haemorrhoidal Doppler-assisted dearterization) 2. Advanced diagnosis techniques: Fluorescence technique in endoscopy for the early detection of lung cancers and bladder tumors 3D plan sensor in cardiology for the diagnosis and treatment of heart attacks and thoracic pains and in neuro radiology for the brain exploration and the therapeutic treatment of some brain vascular anomalies Non invasive Diagnosis-Imaging system: 64 strips scan Computerised diagnosis, evaluation, and follow-up care for knee cruciate ligament UNITS: 1. SURGICAL UNITS: more than 20 theatres covering a extremely wide variety of surgeries: Digestive surgery: ceolioscopy - endoscopy Orthopaedic surgery: arthroscopy Neurosurgery: neuronavigation device (O-arm concept) Ophthalmology ENT Outstanding surgical equipments include a stereotactic frame, a laminar flow, a laser, electronic microscopes and a DaVinci robot. 2. RECOVERY UNITS: the rooms are equipped with modern monitoring equipments and are under permanent anaesthetis supervision. Specialized nurses have the responsability of the post-operation personal follow-up care of the patient. 3. DIAGNOSIS AND MEDICAL IMAGING DEPARTMENT Angiography - Coronarography - Echigraphy - MRI - Mammography - Conventional and interventional radiology - Scan 4. NUCLEAR MEDICINE Functional and metabolic medical imagining, not accessible with conventional imaging equipment is performed in this department. 5. MEDICINE 6. INTENSIVE-CARE AND CONTINUOUS MONITORING UNIT 7. EMERGENCIES 8. HELIPAD 9. FUNCTIONAL PHYSIOTHERAPY 10. PSYCHIATRY 11. ONE-DAY HOSPITALISATION

Highest Quality Standard

25/06/2014

And what about French quality standards : The entire healthcare system is regulated by government The majority of specialty activities are submitted to government authorisation, regarding equipment and qualification of medical teams such as for surgery, cancer treatment, interventional cardiology and many others. Regular assessment is operated by French Ministry of Health. The results of physicians practice, procedure numbers, morbidity ,complications are monitored and assessed. All facilities are certified every 3 years by the High Authority of Health – HAS with public access to findings and conclusions. Risk management and quality are a main preoccupation and the proof of this policy is mandatory in the certification process. One of the main concerns about Medical Travel is the control of Health Care associated infection. The French HAS publish annual results and statistics for every hospital in France, data is made public and may be viewed on the French HAS Web Site. All data is validated by European centre for disease prevention and control. Public and private hospitals are of course liability insured for International patients. All physicians need to register with the French Medical Council. Depending on their diplomas and degree course, the French Medical Council authorises the practice of a speciality within strict guidelines. The particular aspect of liability in private practice imply that French doctors have to be a graduate in France, otherwise they cannot obtain insurance against Malpractice. French medical graduation is one of the most famous and is very demanding. The level of training is very high, with at least six years for general medicine, five more years of residency to qualify as a medical specialist and at least 3 more years for a Surgeon. All professionals have a personal professional liability insurance with very high coverage standards. Subscription to this insurance is mandatory to join any hospital or medical team. An essential requirement is made to continuous medical education. France has a very ancient culture of CME to adapt practices to progress and to advance new technologies. So all physicians are really up to date in their technique and practice. State regulation and regional competition have led to very homogeneous standards all over the territory. The same quality of care may be found from Britain to Italian borders. Pluridisciplinary facilities are mainly very modern and fully equipped responding to the highest standards of certification.

Cancer

03/06/2014

ONCOLOGY AND HAEMATOLOGY PERSONALISED CARE ADHERING TO THE LATEST CANCER TREATMENTS PROTOCOLS The medical team that supports you is made up of internationally renowned healthcare professionals from different areas of specialty. They work within the health care facility where you receive your treatment and in connection with your doctors. Your support is comprehensive and includes care and additional support you may need during and after your treatment (psychological, fatigue management, advice on your diet ...). Cancer Screening and Early Detection Screening is a process that aims to identify, at the earliest and in the absence of symptoms, lesions that may be cancerous or develop into cancer. The value of screening is that cancer can be detected earlier, patients can be provided with better care and the impact of treatment is reduced. For all requests, you must first send us a completed medical record via our secure platform as well as your medical history. This will allow us to put you in touch with the best French specialists who can discuss the treatments options suitable for you. Incomplete or unreadable medical documents will not be accepted. Choose an institution To be allowed to treat cancer, French healthcare institutions have to meet a number of conditions that are a guarantee that you to be well supported. You are free to choose the institution where you want to be treated.

Did you know you could travel abroad for cancer screening and treatment?

15/01/2014

Everybody dreads being told that they, or someone close to them, has cancer. Even with fantastic developments in detection and treatment it is still a very scary prospect and having the best medical care available can make people more at ease and able to fight the illness as best they can. In France healthcare institutions have to meet certain conditions that ensure any patient with cancer has the guarantee that they will be very well supported. If the institutions do not meet these conditions then they cannot provide cancer treatment. You can therefore be certain that is you have been given the diagnosis that no-one wants to hear that you have options to be able to access the healthcare system that has been ranked number one by the World Health Organisation. Travelling to France to receive treatment may seem like a unnecessary journey, however, the treatment you receive will be first rate and comprehensive. France Surgery offers a medical team to support you that is made up of internationally renowned healthcare professionals that will provide comprehensive care both during and after your treatment, which includes psychological support, fatigue management, dietary advice.

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