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Latest cancer cure headlines - the truth (Video)

  • STI571 promises dramatic remissions in people with chronic myeloid leukemia - see feature.  July 2000
  • 22 cancer proteins identified. Queensland Institute of Medical Research's  leukemia laboratory head Professor Andrew Boyd has discovered 22 proteins which are hijacked by cancers. Normally the proteins are only seen in the human fetus during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, before they are "switched off". Courier Tasmania 12 July 2000 
  • UK lung cancer cure rates only 50% of those in France.  Daily Telegraph 1 July 2000
  • Lw fat diet "cure" for breast cancer (excluding all dairy products) condemned by experts.  Independent 28 June 2000 
  • Suppressor gene identified which could stop breast cancer spreading. A team from Penn State University have called the gene BRMS1, which could lead to tests to detect risk of early breast cancer, and eventual stop the disease altogether.   Australian Business Intelligence 2 June 2000  
  • Endostatin frenzy continues from cancer patients wanting the  treatment.  First human studies on safety have shown very few side effects but data on tumour response not released. These are still early days for clinical trials. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 15 May 2000  
  • PI-88 begins early cancer cure trials. PI-88 was produced at the John Curtin School of Medical Research under Professor Chris Parish. It helps block blood supply to the cancerous cells instead of trying to kill them.  Human trials of the drug started in late 1998 on healthy volunteers to test safety and side effects with few negative results. Canberra Times 7 May 2000  
  • Shark cartilege does not cure cancer - No evidence of effect in studies of 60 patients with cancer. Has been promoted as an alternative remedy. Oct 1998 and May 2000  
  • Dr Luigi Di Bella's claims of cancer cure dismissed - scientists say hundreds of patients lured to his clinic in Italy are being deceived.  Cocktails of hormones and vitamins. Nov 1998  
  • Frostbite as treatment for prostate cancer - Australian doctors experimenting with freezing prostate tissue. Bursts of liquid nitrogen delivered through hollow needles. Nov 1998  
  • Endostatin and angiostatin - impressive cure rates in mice with wide variety of cancer growths. Effects in humans unknown but trials to start end 1998 - by Dr Judah Folkman using drugs made at the National Cancer Institute facility. Only for those who are desperately ill. Not enough drug supply to treat more than a handful. It will take till mid 1999 before production is enough for large scale trials. shortly. Lots of hype. - May 1998. 
  • However, results not reproduced in other labs by Nov 1998.  Wait and see...
  • Antisense - DNA fragments designed to wreck the workings of cancer cells - very early stages with cancer patients at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. Paul Zamecnik at Harvard helped pioneer this cancer cure hope. - May 1998  
  • Tamoxifen - well tried treatment for breast cancer in women. What about Tamoxifen use before cancer develops? American scientists believe it does prevent cancer in high risk women (with near relative who has developed breast cancer). Tamoxifen results so good that pre-cancer trial cut short. Unfortunate since longer term toxicity still unknown.    Lancet journal in July 1998 says British study does not confirm Tamoxifen findings.  Jury still out.  Video on why so confusing - 10 July 1998  
  • p53 - gene said to protect against cancer agents in tobacco smoke. Scottish cancer research by Professor Roland Wolf, Ninewell's hospital Dundee. No practical treatment yet using p-53. Cancer genes help target those at risk before cancer but not (yet) in therapy. But what is the point of telling someone he or she has an 80% chance of developing cancer if you can't offer extra help? However, scientists may have found a way to repair damage in p53 genes, with an antibody. - April 1998
  • Interferon - only effective in rare form of leukaemia. - April 1998 
  • TNF - tumour necrosis factor. Naturally occurring, lethal to tumour cells but many side effects in humans. Back in news again 1985 - 1998 
  • Chemotherapy - high success rates in certain rare cancers (e.g. testicular cancer). Back in news again -1982 - 1998 
  • Vaccines - still very experimental. Antibodies formed after vaccination against breast cancer resulted in breast cancer growths shrinking in 27 out of 30 cases. Work by Professor Ian McKenzie, Dr Vassos Apostolopoulos and Dr Geoff Pietersz. - May 1998  
  • Stem cell transplants - treatment for neuroblastoma, a rare cancer which strikes just six out of a million children. stem cells siphoned out of blood before the child has massive radiation to kill all cancerous bone marrow cells. Then healthy stem are returned to regenerate bone marrow. Sometimes works. - April 1998  
  • MDB - multiterapia di Bella - contains somatostatin and retinoid - alternative cancer therapy developed in Italy by 86 year old Dr Luigi di Bella. Being investigated by authorities with some scepticism expressed for spectacular reports of success. - May 1998  
  • NS-398 - "super aspirin" is being tested at Bristol University after discovery that aspirin can help kill cancer cells. NS-398 is 50 times stronger than normal aspirin. - May 1998  
  • Prostate cancer gene - discovered by Professor Norman Maitland at York University. Prostate cancer kills 15,000 men in Britain each year. Could the cancer gene be targeted in some way? - May 1998 

Useful links

-  American Cancer Society 
-  National Cancer Institute 
-  EntreMed, Inc. - company that holds the license for Endostatin. 
-  Endostatin - press release from EntreMed, Inc. 
-  Angiogenesis Research Industries, Inc. - producers of angiostatin. 
-  CNN In-Depth Health: Cancer 
-  Judah Folkman, MD - head researcher behind angiogenesis experiments. 
-  UniSci Archives - Prostate Cancer 
-  OncoLink 
-  Cancer Treatment Studies - Clinical Trials 
-  Cancer Care 
-  Checklist of Cancer Treatments  

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