ASCLS eNewsBytes
Apr. 2, 2013

Study: Hormone therapy increases breast cancer risk, mortality
Los Angeles Times
In the nearly 11 years since researchers first rang alarm bells that women on hormone replacement therapy faced an increased risk of breast cancer, some have suggested that taking estrogen and progestin to treat symptoms of menopause might not be so dangerous after all. A new analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative, published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, concludes that the prognosis for cancers related to hormone replacement therapy is just as dire as for other breast cancers. More

Gene therapy cures extreme leukemia in 8 days
Medical Daily
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering found a gene therapy method that could make an incurable form of leukemia disappear in eight days. Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers genetically altered the antigen receptor of a patient's T cells so it can attach to certain proteins of cancerous B cells. Their findings appear in Science Translational Medicine.More

Health official: Dentist's office a 'perfect storm' for HIV, hepatitis exposure
VideoBrief About 7,000 patients who visited a suburban Tulsa, Okla., dentist in the past six years may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis, health investigators say. Investigators were left grasping for words to describe what they found inside W. Scott Harrington's dental practice: Assistants did techniques that only a dentist should and sterilization procedures and needles were handled improperly.More

Is dementia an infectious disease?
Medscape Medical News
New data from the Northern Manhattan Study has linked exposure to viral or bacterial infections to cognitive decline. The study used an infectious burden index that has been associated with vascular risk, suggesting that there might be some "common ground" between vascular disease and dementia, said lead author Mira Katan, M.D., a research fellow at Columbia University in New York City.More

Cutting copays may increase women's cancer screening
More women may get screened for breast and cervical cancers if they don't have to pay for the tests, according to a new study from Japan. A year after the Japanese government started picking up the tab for Pap smears and mammograms for certain groups of women, the percentage of eligible women who got screened nearly doubled compared to a few years earlier when most women had to pay for screenings. More

Scientists discover new DNA regions associated with 3 cancers
Los Angeles Times
A massive gene-hunting effort involving hundreds of scientists has identified 74 newly discovered regions of DNA that are associated with breast, ovarian and prostate cancers — diseases that strike about half a million Americans every year. The international project, known as the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study, or COGS, nearly doubled the number of genetic markers known to be linked with the three cancers, scientists reported.More

Record gene haul points to better cancer screening
New research has nearly doubled the number of genetic variations implicated in breast, prostate and ovarian cancer, offering fresh avenues for screening at-risk patients and, potentially, developing better drugs. The bumper haul of 74 gene changes that can increase risks for the three hormone-related cancers is the result of the largest ever study of its kind.More

New metabolite-based diagnostic test could help detect pancreatic cancer early
Science Codex
A new diagnostic test that uses a scientific technique known as metabolomic analysis may be a safe and easy screening method that could improve the prognosis of patients with pancreatic cancer through earlier detection. Using gas chromatography mass spectrometry, the researchers measured the levels of metabolites in the blood of patients with pancreatic cancer, patients with chronic pancreatitis and healthy volunteers. More

18 million cancer survivors expected by 2022
An aging population coupled with improved treatment methods mean more people will survive cancer. But at what cost? The American Association for Cancer Research released its second Annual Report on Cancer Survivorship, which shows that the current 13.7 million cancer survivors in the U.S. will likely swell by 31 percent to 18 million by the year 2022.More

Gene therapy cures extreme leukemia in 8 days
Medical Daily
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering found a gene therapy method that could make an incurable form of leukemia disappear in eight days. Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers genetically altered the antigen receptor of a patient's T cells so it can attach to certain proteins of cancerous B cells. More

Meningitis spreading via anonymous sex in New York City
ABC News
New York City health officials are urging some men to get vaccinated against meningitis amid an outbreak that has sickened 22 New Yorkers and killed seven. The dangerous strain of bacterial meningitis appears to be spreading through sexual encounters between men.More

Cervical screening guidelines updated
Medscape Medical News
New cervical screening guidelines posted online recently by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology now address management of discordant co-tests, in which results of either Papanicolaou smear or human papillomavirus testing are positive, but not both. More

Coccidioidomycosis cases on rise in parts of US
Medscape Medical News
Reported coccidioidomycosis cases in the United States have risen considerably since 1998, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also known as "Valley Fever," the disease usually causes flulike symptoms that are self-limited, but some patients experience severe or chronic pulmonary disease.More

Researchers build functional ovarian tissue in lab
A proof-of-concept study suggests the possibility of engineering artificial ovaries in the lab to provide a more natural option for hormone replacement therapy for women. In Biomaterials, a team from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine report that in the laboratory setting, engineered ovaries showed sustained release of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
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New prostate cancer tests could reduce false alarms
The New York Times
Sophisticated new prostate cancer tests are coming to market that might supplement the unreliable P.S.A. test, potentially saving tens of thousands of men each year from unnecessary biopsies, operations and radiation treatments. Some of the tests, intended for use after a definitive diagnosis, examine the genetic workings of the cancer to distinguish dangerous tumors that need treatment from slow-growing ones that might be left alone. More

Study: Drug-resistant 'superbug' may spread among patients
HealthDay News
Drug-resistant bacteria that cause lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis can be passed indirectly from person to person, a new study finds. In this study, researchers conducted DNA tracking of a multidrug resistant Mycobacterium abscessus outbreak that occurred among 31 cystic fibrosis patients at a British treatment center between 2007 and 2011. Despite tight infection-control measures, patient-to-patient transmission was common, according to the study. More