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‘Spectacular’ results seen in prostate cancer immunotherapy trial


In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. It’s also overtaken breast cancer in recent years to become the third most common type of cancer. That’s why any news when it comes to potential prostate cancer breakthroughs is always exciting. Immunotherapy has been revolutionising the treatment of cancer and now a team from the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London have conducted a trial, the results of which they say are "spectacular" and a "big deal". The trial focussed on drugs that boost a patient’s immune system, saving the lives of some men with terminal prostate cancer. Immunotherapy works by helping a person’s immune system recognise and subsequently attack cancer cells. One of the study participants, Michael English, 72, was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone-based therapies did not kill his cancer, however. Then, two years ago, he started taking the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. Today, he is effectively cancer free, with scans no longer showing any signs of the tumour.   However, it’s an approach that will not, unfortunately, help all men. In fact, only between 10% and 15% of patients had any response to the therapy at all. This is not something that’s unusual for immunotherapy. Nell Barrie, from Cancer Research UK, said: "The next step will be to find out how to tell which men will benefit from taking this drug. "This is important as although immunotherapy is exciting, it can have severe side effects".

Breast cancer gene test could mean no chemo for thousands of women


Around 70% of women with the most common type of breast cancer could be spared chemotherapy, a new study has found. Following trials of a genetic test that analyses the danger of a tumour, it was discovered that thousands of women could avoid chemo using under a new “precision medicine” approach. The genetic test, Oncotype Dx, gives women a score between 0 and 100. Currently, women who get a low score are advised they do not need chemo. Those with a high score are told they definitely do. However, most women get a mid-range score and generally have chemotherapy. But the new study has revealed that these women have the same survival rates with or without chemo. This was particularly the case for women aged over 50. The nine-year-survival-rate was 93.9% without chemotherapy and 93.8% with chemotherapy. Cancer doctors said the findings would change practice in UK clinics on Monday, while charities said the news, affecting 3,000 UK women a year, was "wonderful". Speaking about the findings of the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Rachel Rawson, from the charity Breast Cancer Care, said: "Every day, women with certain types of breast cancer face the terrible dilemma of whether or not to have the treatment, without hard facts about the benefit for them. "This life-changing breakthrough is absolutely wonderful news as it could liberate thousands of women from the agony of chemotherapy."

Immunotherapy Cancer Drug a Potential 'Game-Changer'


The European Cancer Congress has heard that an immunotherapy drug is a potential "game-changer" for cancer patients; especially those suffering with head and neck cancer. In one study of head and neck cancer, more patients taking immunotherapy drug nivolumab survived for longer compared with counterparts who were treated with chemotherapy. Another study found that when combined with another drug, nivolumab reduced the size of tumours in advanced kidney cancer patients. The findings of the studies are welcome news in the battle against head and neck cancer, which historically has a very poor survival rate. In a trial of more than 350 patients, the results of which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 36% of patients treated with nivolumab were still alive after one year, compared to 17% of chemotherapy patients. The immunotherapy patients also experienced far fewer side effects. However, the benefits of nivolumab were even more pronounced for patients whose tumours had tested positive for HPV (human papillomavirus). These individuals survived for 9.1 months on average, compared to 4.4 months for patients treated with chemotherapy. Professor Kevin Harrington of the Institute of Cancer Research and consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, who led the head and neck cancer trial, said immunotherapy drug nivolumab could be a real "game changer" for patients with advanced head and neck cancer. "This trial found that it can greatly extend life among a group of patients who have no existing treatment options, without worsening quality of life," he said.

Cancer scans offer safer alternative to surgery


A new study suggests that hundreds of thousands of cancer patients could be spared from risky surgery if scanners rather than scalpels are used to check tumours. At present, head and neck tumours are treated using chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, once treatment has finished, surgery is required to visually check whether the growth has disappeared. This involves an operation that can take up to three hours and sees patients needing at least a week in hospital to recover. Furthermore, the operation can leave patients disfigured and/or risk nerve damage, which can lead to movement problems in the arms. A study of 564 patients, the results of which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that 80% of patients could be spared surgery by undergoing cancer scans instead. Even more intriguing is the fact that survival rates remained the same. Using a radioactive dye, which is picked up by rapidly-dividing cancer cells, Positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) can see if cancer in the head or neck is still active following treatment. Speaking to the BBC, Prof Hisham Mehanna, from the University of Birmingham, said: "We can now use this new technology to save patients having a debilitating operation and identify those that need the operation rather than give it to everybody." The scanning approach is also good news for the NHS as it saves around £1,492 per patient.

Drug Combination Found to Eradicate Breast Cancer Tumours in Just 11 Days


A new breast cancer combination drug treatment, which eradicated tumours in just 11 days, has been hailed as "staggering" by doctors, after it was recently reported at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam. Furthermore, experts say that the new two-pronged technique could mean that thousands of women do not need to undergo gruelling chemotherapy going forward. The drugs were tested on 257 women across 23 hospitals in the UK and target a specific weakness found in one-in-10 breast cancers. And despite the team behind the study not expecting such striking results, many experts are lauding the results as a potential stepping stone towards the development of a tailored cure for cancer. Specifically, the research team wanted to investigate how drugs could affect a tumour from the time it was discovered to the operation to remove it. In some cases (approximately 11%), when they went to operate, there was no sign at all that any tumour had even existed. In others, the tumours were found to have significantly shrunk. The drugs used were Tyverb and Herceptin, which both target a protein - known as HER2 - that fuels breast tumour growth in some women. Baroness Delyth Morgan, the chief executive of Breast Cancer Now, the UK's largest breast cancer charity, said: "We hope this particularly impressive combination trial will serve as a stepping stone to an era of more personalised treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer."

Cancer Stem Cell Treatment Gives Renewed Hope to MS Patients


Doctors in the UK say that multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who have received a treatment that is usually used for treating cancer are showing “remarkable” improvements. Some 20 MS patients have now received bone marrow transplants using their own stem cells and in some cases the treatment has enabled people who were paralysed to walk once more. Prof Basil Sharrack, of Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital, said: "To have a treatment which can potentially reverse disability is really a major achievement." MS is a neurological condition for which there is no known cure and affects around 100,000 people in the UK alone. It causes the body’s immune system to attack the lining of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The treatment, which is known as autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), attempts to destroy the faulty immune system with chemotherapy before a new immune system is built using the patient’s own stem cells. The cells are so young that they haven’t yet developed the flaws which cause MS. Prof John Snowden, consultant haematologist at Royal Hallamshire Hospital, said: "The immune system is being reset or rebooted back to a time point before it caused MS." One patient who received the treatment said that MS had completely changed his entire life. He went from running marathons one day to losing the sensation in his entire body the next. The new treatment, however, has allowed him to stand unaided once more. "It's been incredible. I was in a dire place, but now I can swim and cycle and I am determined to walk,” Steven Storey said.

Clinique Saint Jean Languedoc, Toulouse


Clinique Saint Jean Languedoc, Toulouse The Hospital is located in Toulouse 25mns away from the airport. Created in 1950, Clinique Saint Jean Languedoc is a private hospital certified by the highest independent French Health authorities HAS. It is conveniently located close to a city park and 20mn away from downtown by public transportation. Total hospital capacity is over 300 beds and many medical and surgical specialities are available on the premises. Activity is organized around specialised excellence medical units among which: Gynaecology Ophthalmology Orthopaedics ORL Urology. The hospital also operates a maternity and has the authorization to perform common surgeries on children under 1 year-old. The anaesthetists’ team is trained to all emergency situations and has developed an expertise in intensive and continuous care, with dedicated wards on the premises. The on-site Consultation Centre houses more than 100 specialist doctors. The clinic offers complete and varied care in medicine and surgery to over 30,000 patients a year.  It is mostly specialized in surgery performed in its 24 operating rooms. Its emergency service is open 24/7 and treats over 10 000 patients a year. To be able to provide the best available care to One’s specific needs the hospital offers, on the same premises: Up-to-date exploration techniques (MRI, scanner, coronarography), and low invasive surgical treatment equipment. Complementary medical treatments such as the chemotherapy or lithotripsy. State-of-the art surgical equipment (video surgery, blood recuperation, ultrasound or thermofusion blades, Doppler-assisted surgery, Da Vinci robot…) allowing surgeons to extensively use low invasive techniques.  The goal is to help the Patient feel less pain and recover faster. The clinic was rated “A” (best grade) for: Infection prevention and hygiene Pain monitoring by the French Health Ministry in 2010.

Aspirin Found to Halt Breast Cancer Growth & Prevent Relapses


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

Clinique Saint-Jean de Dieu


Clinique Saint-Jean de Dieu, Paris It is animated by the same spirit of innovation and humanity as St. Jean de Dieu, creator of the modern hospital, recognized precursor for hygiene and modern care. Magallon brother Paul founded the clinic in 1843. Today the clinic is a category A listed clinic, with: - 83 hospital beds across four medical ward - 7 posts outpatient chemotherapy, and medical oncology consultation - 7 operating rooms - 12 posts post-interventional monitoring - 1 central sterilization unit - consultation services - 1 Department of Radiology - mammography referenced for breast cancer' screening in Île-de-France And medical professionals committed to the daily well-being of patients.

Clinique de la Sauvegarde


Clinique de la Sauvegarde, Lyon, France Created in 1970, Clinique de la Sauvegarde is a private hospital certified by the highest independent French Health authorities HAS. It was ranked 15th best clinic out of 1 600 French establishments in December 2010 national study performed by Nouvel Observateur magazine (600 000 weekly runs).  We are proud to say that Clinique de la Sauvegarde is the place where the first coeliosurgery worldwide was performed in 1987, with Dr. Mouret and his team taking the opportunity to remove a patient's gall bladder with this low invasive technique. This worldwide breakthrough significantly changed the face of surgery since then. The on-site Consultation Centre houses more than 100 specialist doctors. The clinic offers complete and varied care in medicine and surgery to over 21,000 patients a year.  It is mostly specialised in heavy surgery with expert teams in cardiac, vascular, digestive, orthopaedic, urology specialties. It also has a large chemotherapy service and provides an emergency service 24/7 all year round. The Hospital is located in Lyon, 30mns away from the airport, on a site which associates up-to-date exploration techniques and medical treatment equipment such as state-of-the-art imaging (2 scanners, 2 MRI), and the only private regional PET scan in a nuclear medicine unit. The operating rooms in the theatre are equipped with state-of-the art equipment (video surgery, blood recuperation, ultrasound or thermofusion blades, Doppler-assisted surgery…) allowing surgeons to extensively use low invasive techniques. The goal is to help the Patient feel less pain and recover faster. An extra dedicated orthopaedic operating room was opened in 2010 to face the activity increase. The clinic is rated “A” for infection prevention and hygiene by the French Health Ministry. The Capio Group has launched a significant expansion and restructuring program in order to develop new activities necessary to meet the demands of Patients in the 21st Century. It will allow the clinic to consolidate its leading medical position and to innovate in terms of how it accommodates for and manages patients. Expansion and modernisation started in January 2011 and will last for approximately 18 months.