Vegetable oil ingredient key to destroying gastric disease bacteria

The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is strongly associated with gastric ulcers and cancer. To combat the infection, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Jacobs School of Engineering developed LipoLLA, a therapeutic nanoparticle that contains linolenic acid, a component in vegetable oils. In mice, LipoLLA was safe and more effective against H. pylori infection than standard antibiotic treatments.

Read the whole article.

Source: Medical Press

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Four Nuts Once a Month

Doctor’s Note
I’d be curious to hear if anyone experiences similar results. Even if the study was just a fluke, Nuts May Help Prevent Death by improving the function of our arteries (Walnuts and Artery Function) and fighting cancer (Which Nut Fights Cancer?) and inflammation (Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell).

Even eating nuts every day does not appear to result in expected weight gain (Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence), so enjoy!

Source: Dr. Greger –

New hand-held device uses lasers, sound waves for deeper melanoma imaging

Handheld probe
A photograph of the handheld probe. The motor, translation stage, ultrasonic transducer, and optical fibers are all incorporated in this handheld probe for easy operation.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, causing more than 75 percent of skin-cancer deaths. The thicker the melanoma tumor, the more likely it will spread and the deadlier it becomes. Now, a team of researchers has developed a new hand-held device that uses lasers and sound waves that may change the way doctors treat and diagnose melanoma. The tool is ready for commercialization and clinical trials.

A new hand-held device that uses lasers and sound waves may change the way doctors treat and diagnose melanoma, according to a team of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis. The instrument, described in a paper published today in The Optical Society’s (OSA) journal Optics Letters, is the first that can be used directly on a patient and accurately measure how deep a melanoma tumor extends into the skin, providing valuable information for treatment, diagnosis or prognosis.

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer type in the United States, and incidence rates are rising faster than those of any other cancer. It’s also the deadliest form of skin cancer, causing more than 75 percent of skin-cancer deaths.

The thicker the melanoma tumor, the more likely it will spread and the deadlier it becomes, says dermatologist Lynn Cornelius, one of the study’s coauthors. Being able to measure the depth of the tumor in vivo enables doctors to determine prognoses more accurately — potentially at the time of initial evaluation — and plan treatments and surgeries accordingly.

The problem is that current methods can’t directly measure a patient’s tumor very well. Because skin scatters light, high-resolution optical techniques don’t reach deep enough. “None are really sufficient to provide the two to four millimeter penetration that’s at least required for melanoma diagnosis, prognosis or surgical planning,” says engineer Lihong Wang, another coauthor on the Optics Letters paper. Continue reading

Meat and cheese may be as bad for you as smoking

meat cheese

That chicken wing you’re eating could be as deadly as a cigarette. In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet—a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.

“There’s a misconception that because we all eat, understanding nutrition is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?” said corresponding author Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.

Not only is excessive  consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources—including meat, milk and cheese—are also more susceptible to early death in general, reveals the study to be published March 4 in Cell Metabolism. Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes. But how much protein we should eat has long been a controversial topic – muddled by the popularity of protein-heavy diets such as Paleo and Atkins. Before this study, researchers had never shown a definitive correlation between high  and . Continue reading

Antioxidants Can Make Cancers Worse

Photo credit: Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic, via Wikimedia Commons

While many proponents of dietary antioxidants or supplements will claim they have incredible anticancer properties, amongst other things, the literature on these molecules is conflicting and animal and human studies of antioxidants as a potential cancer therapy have been largely disappointing. In fact, some trials have even found that antioxidant supplements can worsen some cancers. For example, vitamin E increases cancer burden and mortality in mouse models of lung cancer. This was particularly surprising since certain properties of cancer cells seemed to suggest that, in theory, they should be beneficial. The subject is therefore confusing and calls for much needed clarification.

In an attempt to address this issue, two researchers scoured the literature and came up with a hypothesis that may explain why these supplements are ineffective as a cancer therapy. The study has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Continue reading

Can we eat to starve cancer?

Impressive 15min TED Talk given by William Li who presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.

Boosting the immune system to treat brain cancer

A-New-Approach-for-Treating-Brain-CancerResearchers identify mechanism implicated in brain cancer and a drug that decreases brain tumor growth.

Researchers at the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) have made a discovery that could lead to better treatment for patients suffering from brain cancer. Despite current treatment strategies, the median survival for patients with the most aggressive brain cancer – called glioblastoma, is 15 months. Less than five per cent of patients survive beyond five years.

HBI member V. Wee Yong, PhD and research associate Susobhan Sarkar, PhD, and their team including researchers from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the university’s Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute, looked at human brain tumour samples and discovered that specialized immune cells in brain tumour patients are compromised. The researchers took this discovery and, in an animal model, identified a drug that is able to re-activate those immune cells and reduce brain tumour growth, thereby increasing the lifespan of mice two to three times. Their discovery will be published December 8th in the prestigious journal Nature Neuroscience.

Our brains normally contain specialized cells, called microglia, that defend against injury or infection. “Microglia are the brain’s own dedicated immune system,” explains Yong. “And in this study, we have formally demonstrated for the first time that these cells are compromised in living brain tumour patients.” As with other forms of cancer, brain tumours start as individual stem-like cells – called brain tumour initiating cells (BTICs). These cells quickly divide and grow, eventually forming a mass, or tumour. Yong and his team have discovered that the tumour disables microglia, permitting the rapid proliferation of BTICs, which ultimately leads to brain tumour growth.

“We refer to this as the battle for the brain, in which early on in the disease, the microglia are trying to destroy the brain tumour initiating cells,” says Yong. “But over the course of time, the tumour disables the microglia and we start to see more initiating cells and more rapid tumour growth. We have sought to tip the battle in favour of the brain to suppress the tumour.”

In addition to discovering this mechanism, Yong and Sarkar also identified a drug – amphotericin B (AmpB) – to reactivate microglia that in an animal model, showed a significant reduction in brain tumour growth. “This drug was able to re-activate the disabled microglia,” says Sarkar, “thus restoring the body’s natural defense mechanisms and restricting the growth of brain tumour initiating cells.”

The drug they identified is a powerful agent that is already used clinically to treat severe fungal infections of the brain and spinal cord. “It’s a rather harsh medication,” says Yong. “But we have demonstrated that this drug can be used in very small doses where it is not only well tolerated, but it is also effective in re-programming microglia.” Yong and Sarkar hope this discovery will lead to clinical trials and ultimately to a new standard of care for brain tumour patients.

The finding has already garnered attention from researchers across Canada, including internationally recognized brain tumour scientist and neurosurgeon Dr. James Rutka. “This research is highly significant as it implies that a commercially available drug, amphotericin B, which has never been used before for patients with gliomas, may be a novel treatment to consider in future trials of patients with this frequently lethal cancer,” says Dr. Rutka, Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto.

The funding was provided by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions/Alberta Cancer Foundation. V. Wee Yong is a Canada Research Chair in Neuroimmunology.

Source: Innovations Report

Working outdoors reduces male kidney cancer risk, study says.


Research shows vitamin D, produced by skin when exposed to ultraviolet light, associated with reduced rate of renal cancer. Men who work outdoors, enabling their bodies to create vitamins through exposure to sunlight, have a reduced risk of kidney cancer, researchers said today. In the largest study of its kind, scientists found that vitamin D – produced by the skin when exposed to ultraviolet light – was associated with a reduced rate of renal cancer of up to 73% among men.

However, the study, published by the American Cancer Society, found that the reduced risk only applied to men – there was no drop in renal cancer among the women studied who worked outdoors. The researchers, from the National Cancer Institute in the US, said the study of 2,500 workers in central Europe supported emerging evidence that the prevalence of a number of cancers, including breast, ovarian and colorectal cancer, was lower when people were exposed to ultraviolet light.

They said vitamin D, a known anti-carcinogenic, was carried by the body to the liver and on to the kidneys, and recommended further research. “Scientific evidence suggests that vitamin D, which is generally made in the body after exposure to the sunlight, may help prevent a number of diseases, including cancer,” the research author, Sara Karami, said. “In our study, we used job titles to estimate sunlight exposure at work. We observed that men with high estimated levels of sunlight exposure had a lower risk of kidney cancer than men who had lower estimated sunlight exposure at work.” Scientists have monitored an increase in renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the main form of kidney cancer, in the US and globally over the past 20 years.

A reduction in vitamin D – probably caused by many more people having sedentary lifestyles and indoor jobs – is believed to be a likely contributory factor. The researchers studied more than 2,500 workers of Caucasian descent in RussiaRomaniaPoland and the Czech Republic, splitting them into three groups according to exposure to daylight in their jobs. A significant fall of up to 38% in the risk of RCC was found with increasing occupational UV exposure among men.

In northern-most regions, that increased to a 73% drop. But after finding no similar decrease in the risk for women, Karami said: “We do not have an explanation for the apparent differences in risk between men and women”. “Biological or behavioural differences between men and women may play a role. For example, hormonal differences may influence the body’s response to sunlight exposure, and men may be prone to working outdoors while shirtless.” Although some foods contain vitamin D, the majority of people receive up to 90% of the chemical through exposure to ultraviolet light. Farm workers and those who receive strong UV light reflected from the sea were in the highest category. Those in high-sunlight jobs were assumed to receive double the intensity of sunlight to those in low-exposure jobs.

Despite the findings, the researchers warned against ignoring the “well-documented risks” of skin cancer resulting from excess exposure to the sun. “There are no public health recommendations from this study. Men and women should continue to consult their healthcare providers regarding the appropriate amount of sun exposure, weighing the well-documented risks between sun exposure and skin cancer risk,” Karami said. Healthy Caucasians can generate a full dose of vitamin D with 10-20 minutes’ exposure to strong sunlight on unprotected skin. After that, photo-degradation ensures no higher levels are created. The anti-carcinogenic properties of vitamin D include the prevention of tumour cell replication.

Source: The Guardian