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Familiar faces crowd MTB race - Saipan Tribune

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 09:04

Saipan Tribune

Familiar faces crowd MTB race
Saipan Tribune
Familiar faces in the cycling community crowded the podium in the mountain bike division of last Saturday's Pacific Islands Club-Saipan Bike For Life. Mark Isip led the Top 3 men's winners, while Glorybel Tan duplicated the feat in the women's division.

Obituary: Chateau Victoria owner was community benefactor - Times Colonist

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 01:18

Times Colonist

Obituary: Chateau Victoria owner was community benefactor
Times Colonist
Information on Chateau Victoria's website lists causes such as Pacific Opera, Victoria Symphony, cancer research, AIDS assistance, poverty reduction and support for local charities. Piercy, a Victoria business person, avid angler, outdoorsman and ...

Workshops - goskagit.com

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Sun, 10/22/2017 - 01:22

Workshops
goskagit.com
6, in the Island Hospital Merle Cancer Care Center Conference Room, 2511 M Ave. G, Anacortes. ... BUILDING GREEN: Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association (SICBA) is hosting a series of Built Green educational workshops at 6:30 p.m., at 130 East ...

Contestants Given Until Oct 26 To Hand In Research - Fiji Sun Online

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 21:03

Contestants Given Until Oct 26 To Hand In Research
Fiji Sun Online
Most of our Pacific Island children are fat and getting obese, kids are spending more time sitting in front of a TV and computer screen the running around outside. How can we promote healthy life styles when dealing with this growing issue in the pacific?

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Contestants Given Until Oct 26 To Hand In Research - Fiji Sun Online

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 14:07

Fiji Sun Online

Contestants Given Until Oct 26 To Hand In Research
Fiji Sun Online
Most of our Pacific Island children are fat and getting obese, kids are spending more time sitting in front of a TV and computer screen the running around outside. How can we promote healthy life styles when dealing with this growing issue in the pacific?

and more »

Barbara Ann Hutton: Oct. 11, 1925-Sept. 1, 2017 - Whidbey News-Times

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:24

Whidbey News-Times

Barbara Ann Hutton: Oct. 11, 1925-Sept. 1, 2017
Whidbey News-Times
Barbara Ann Hutton, a longtime resident of Whidbey Island, passed away peacefully after a long battle with breast cancer on Sept. 1, 2017. She leaves behind her loving husband Thomas Hutton of 63 years, as well as her son George Hutton, two daughters ...

Experts say Chile poet did not die of cancer, deepen mystery - Island Packet

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 11:28

Island Packet

Experts say Chile poet did not die of cancer, deepen mystery
Island Packet
The Island Packet | IslandPacket.com ... A team of international scientists said Friday that Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda did not die of cancer or malnutrition, rejecting the official cause of death but not laying to rest one of the great ...
Pablo Neruda 'did not die of cancer', say expertsBBC News

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The 30 most idyllic islands on Earth - Telegraph.co.uk

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 23:12

Telegraph.co.uk

The 30 most idyllic islands on Earth
Telegraph.co.uk
It acts as a cummerbund around the planet, its north edge supplied by the Tropic of Cancer, which circumnavigates the globe at 23.4 degrees N; its southern limit by the mirror image of the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.4 degrees S. Together, these lines of ...

She rode away from stage 3 breast cancer - San Diego Reader

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:35

San Diego Reader

She rode away from stage 3 breast cancer
San Diego Reader
Hanshaw's husband Andy, a local cycling advocate, organized the first ride around Shelter Island while she was still receiving her final rounds of cancer treatment. #"He wanted to do something good — you kind of feel ... The Pacific Beach studio ...

Gene circuit switches on inside cancer cells, triggers immune attack

MIT Cancer Research RSS - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 08:30

Researchers at MIT have developed a synthetic gene circuit that triggers the body’s immune system to attack cancers when it detects signs of the disease.

The circuit, which will only activate a therapeutic response when it detects two specific cancer markers, is described in a paper published today in the journal Cell.

Immunotherapy is widely seen as having considerable potential in the fight against a range of cancers. The approach has been demonstrated successfully in several recent clinical trials, according to Timothy Lu, associate professor of biological engineering and of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and a member of MIT's Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

“There has been a lot of clinical data recently suggesting that if you can stimulate the immune system in the right way you can get it to recognize cancer,” says Lu, who is head of the Synthetic Biology Group in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics. “Some of the best examples of this are what are called checkpoint inhibitors, where essentially cancers put up stop signs [that prevent] T-cells from killing them. There are antibodies that have been developed now that basically block those inhibitory signals and allow the immune system to act against the cancers.”

However, despite this success, the use of immunotherapy remains limited by the scarcity of tumor-specific antigens — substances that can trigger an immune system response to a particular type of cancer. The toxicity of some therapies, when delivered as a systemic treatment to the whole body, for example, is another obstacle.

What’s more, the treatments are not successful in all cases. Indeed, even in some of the most successful tests, only 30-40 percent of patients will respond to a given therapy, Lu says.

As a result, there is now a push to develop combination therapies, in which different but complementary treatments are used to boost the immune response. So, for example, if one type of immunotherapy is used to knock out an inhibitory signal produced by a cancer, and the tumor responds by upregulating a second signal, an additional therapy could then be used to target this one as well, Lu says.

“Our belief is that there is a need to develop much more specific, targeted immunotherapies that work locally at the tumor site, rather than trying to treat the entire body systemically,” he says. “Secondly, we want to produce multiple immunotherapies from a single package, and therefore be able to stimulate the immune system in multiple different ways.”

To do this, Lu and a team including MIT postdocs Lior Nissim and Ming-Ru Wu, have built a gene circuit encoded in DNA designed to distinguish cancer cells from noncancer cells.

The circuit, which can be customized to respond to different types of tumor, is based on the simple AND gates used in electronics. Such AND gates will only switch on a circuit when two inputs are present.

Cancer cells differ from normal cells in the profile of their gene expression. So the researchers developed synthetic promoters — DNA sequences designed to initiate gene expression but only in cancer cells.

The circuit is delivered to cells in the affected area of the body using a virus. The synthetic promotors are then designed to bind to certain proteins that are active in tumor cells, causing the promoters to turn on.

“Only when two of these cancer promoters are activated, does the circuit itself switch on,” Lu says.

This allows the circuit to target tumors more accurately than existing therapies, as it requires two cancer-specific signals to be present before it will respond.

Once activated, the circuit expresses proteins designed to direct the immune system to target the tumor cells, including surface T cell engagers, which direct T cells to kill the cells. The circuit also expresses a checkpoint inhibitor designed to lift the brakes on T cell activity.

When the researchers tested the circuit in vitro, they found that it was able to detect ovarian cancer cells from amongst other noncancerous ovarian cells and other cell types.

They then tested the circuit in mice implanted with ovarian cancer cells, and demonstrated that it could trigger T cells to seek out and kill the cancer cells without harming other cells around them.

Finally, the researchers showed that the circuit could be readily converted to target other cancer cells.

“We identified other promoters that were selective for breast cancer, and when these were encoded into the circuit, it would target breast cancer cells over other types of cell,” Lu says.

Ultimately, they hope they will also be able to use the system to target other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases.

This advance will open up a new front against cancer, says Martin Fussenegger, a professor of biotechnology and bioengineering at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, who was not involved in the research.

“First author Lior Nissim, who pioneered the very first genetic circuit targeting tumor cells, has now teamed up with Timothy Lu to design RNA-based immunomodulatory gene circuits that take cancer immunotherapy to a new level,” Fussenegger says. “The design of this highly complex tumor-killing gene circuit was made possible by meticulous optimization and integration of several components that target and program tumor cells to become a specific prey for the immune system — this is very smart technology.”

The researchers now plan to test the circuit more fully in a range of cancer models. They are also aiming to develop a delivery system for the circuit, which would be both flexible and simple to manufacture and use.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program, and in part by the Koch Institute Support (core) Grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Categories: Cancer Research

'Prosperity diseases' the next health challenge for Papua New Guinea - EMTV Online

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 16:48

EMTV Online

'Prosperity diseases' the next health challenge for Papua New Guinea
EMTV Online
'These are the diseases of prosperity: heart disease, strokes, cancer, respiratory problems, diabetes and mental health diseases. They are the ... Dr. Oriol Mitjà with schoolchildren from The Kul Destiny School in Londolovit, Lihir Island. Credit ...

Cuba plants its medical diplomacy flag in Thailand- Nikkei Asian ... - Nikkei Asian Review

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 14:18

Nikkei Asian Review

Cuba plants its medical diplomacy flag in Thailand- Nikkei Asian ...
Nikkei Asian Review
NONTHABURI, Thailand Working in state-of-the-art laboratories set in a lush, green landscape -- and helped by communist-ruled Cuba -- nearly 200 ...

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Forum focuses on firefighters' health - The Guam Daily Post

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:36

The Guam Daily Post

Forum focuses on firefighters' health
The Guam Daily Post
TRAINING: Tom Jenkins, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, speaks at the sixth annual Western Pacific Islands Association of Fire Chiefs Training Forum Oct. 18. Louella Losinio/The Guam Daily Post. Forum focuses on ... According ...

50km Bike for Life to benefit CCA - Marianas Variety

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 05:34

50km Bike for Life to benefit CCA
Marianas Variety
(Press Release) — The annual 50Km “Bike for Life” is set for Saturday, October 21st, at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan. The Road and Mountain Bike race around the beautiful island of Saipan was started in 2011, as a practice run for the Hell of the ...

Tragedy of the Common - Pacific Standard

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 02:03

Pacific Standard

Tragedy of the Common
Pacific Standard
Local villagers, who relied on vultures to keep rotting livestock carcasses from spreading disease and sold the cleaned bones to be ground into fertilizer, confirmed that there were far fewer of the birds around. Prakash began to investigate further ...

Using artificial intelligence to improve early breast cancer detection

MIT Cancer Research RSS - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 16:59

Every year 40,000 women die from breast cancer in the U.S. alone. When cancers are found early, they can often be cured. Mammograms are the best test available, but they’re still imperfect and often result in false positive results that can lead to unnecessary biopsies and surgeries.

One common cause of false positives are so-called “high-risk” lesions that appear suspicious on mammograms and have abnormal cells when tested by needle biopsy. In this case, the patient typically undergoes surgery to have the lesion removed; however, the lesions turn out to be benign at surgery 90 percent of the time. This means that every year thousands of women go through painful, expensive, scar-inducing surgeries that weren’t even necessary.

How, then, can unnecessary surgeries be eliminated while still maintaining the important role of mammography in cancer detection? Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School believe that the answer is to turn to artificial intelligence (AI).

As a first project to apply AI to improving detection and diagnosis, the teams collaborated to develop an AI system that uses machine learning to predict if a high-risk lesion identified on needle biopsy after a mammogram will upgrade to cancer at surgery.

When tested on 335 high-risk lesions, the model correctly diagnosed 97 percent of the breast cancers as malignant and reduced the number of benign surgeries by more than 30 percent compared to existing approaches.

“Because diagnostic tools are so inexact, there is an understandable tendency for doctors to over-screen for breast cancer,” says Regina Barzilay, MIT’s Delta Electronics Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a breast cancer survivor herself. “When there’s this much uncertainty in data, machine learning is exactly the tool that we need to improve detection and prevent over-treatment.”

Trained on information about more than 600 existing high-risk lesions, the model looks for patterns among many different data elements that include demographics, family history, past biopsies, and pathology reports.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to apply machine learning to the task of distinguishing high-risk lesions that need surgery from those that don’t,” says collaborator Constance Lehman, professor at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Breast Imaging Division at MGH’s Department of Radiology. “We believe this could support women to make more informed decisions about their treatment, and that we could provide more targeted approaches to health care in general.”

A recent MacArthur “genius grant” recipient, Barzilay is a co-author of a new journal article describing the results, co-written with Lehman and Manisha Bahl of MGH, as well as CSAIL graduate students Nicholas Locascio, Adam Yedidia, and Lili Yu. The article was published today in the medical journal Radiology.

How it works

When a mammogram detects a suspicious lesion, a needle biopsy is performed to determine if it is cancer. Roughly 70 percent of the lesions are benign, 20 percent are malignant, and 10 percent are high-risk lesions.

Doctors manage high-risk lesions in different ways. Some do surgery in all cases, while others perform surgery only for lesions that have higher cancer rates, such as “atypical ductal hyperplasia” (ADH) or a “lobular carcinoma in situ” (LCIS).

The first approach requires that the patient undergo a painful, time-consuming, and expensive surgery that is usually unnecessary; the second approach is imprecise and could result in missing cancers in high-risk lesions other than ADH and LCIS.

“The vast majority of patients with high-risk lesions do not have cancer, and we’re trying to find the few that do,” says Bahl, a fellow doctor at MGH’s Department of Radiology. “In a scenario like this there’s always a risk that when you try to increase the number of cancers you can identify, you’ll also increase the number of false positives you find.”

Using a method known as a “random-forest classifier,” the team's model resulted in fewer unnecessary surgeries compared to the strategy of always doing surgery, while also being able to diagnose more cancerous lesions than the strategy of only doing surgery on traditional “high-risk lesions.” (Specifically, the new model diagnosed 97 percent of cancers compared to 79 percent.)

“This work highlights an example of using cutting-edge machine learning technology to avoid unnecessary surgery,” says Marc Kohli, director of clinical informatics in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California at San Francisco. “This is the first step toward the medical community embracing machine learning as a way to identify patterns and trends that are otherwise invisible to humans.”

Lehman says that MGH radiologists will begin incorporating the model into their clinical practice over the next year.

“In the past we might have recommended that all high-risk lesions be surgically excised,” Lehman says. “But now, if the model determines that the lesion has a very low chance of being cancerous in a specific patient, we can have a more informed discussion with our patient about her options. It may be reasonable for some patients to have their lesions followed with imaging rather than surgically excised.”

The team says that they are still working to further hone the model.

“In future work we hope to incorporate the actual images from the mammograms and images of the pathology slides, as well as more extensive patient information from medical records,” says Bahl.

Moving forward, the model could also easily be tweaked to be applied to other kinds of cancer and even other diseases entirely.

“A model like this will work anytime you have lots of different factors that correlate with a specific outcome,” says Barzilay. “It hopefully will enable us to start to go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to medical diagnosis.”

Categories: Cancer Research

Auckland beaches, popular public spots and outdoor dining to become smokefree - Auckland stuff.co.nz

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 16:36

Auckland stuff.co.nz

Auckland beaches, popular public spots and outdoor dining to become smokefree
Auckland stuff.co.nz
Smoking at beaches and outdoor dining areas will soon be a thing of the past in Auckland. Auckland Council approved a policy on Tuesday to increase the number of smokefree outdoor spaces. Beaches, al fresco dining areas and urban centres would be ...

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LETTER: Bruce McComas the wrong choice for health care organization - Peninsula Daily News

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 08:33

LETTER: Bruce McComas the wrong choice for health care organization
Peninsula Daily News
Most recently, I focused on brain tumors, in particular glioblastomas, after meeting a family in the Port Angeles area with a family member developing this cancer. ... While Indian Island arsenic contamination may have put Jefferson County over the top ...

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LETTER: Bruce McComas the wrong choice for health care organization - Peninsula Daily News

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 23:29

LETTER: Bruce McComas the wrong choice for health care organization
Peninsula Daily News
Most recently, I focused on brain tumors, in particular glioblastomas, after meeting a family in the Port Angeles area with a family member developing this cancer. ... While Indian Island arsenic contamination may have put Jefferson County over the top ...

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