Sunday, June 30, 2019
Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer that often results in a poor outlook for people who receive a diagnosis for it.
Most forms of breast cancer depend on hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, for growth and spread. Therefore, targeting these hormone receptors offers an often successful avenue for treatment.
However, unlike these more widespread forms of breast cancer, triple-negative cancers lack all three hormone receptors: the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.
As a result, doctors find this form of cancer particularly difficult to target and treat. Triple-negative breast cancers make up approximately 12% of all cancers, and in the United States, this form of cancer is twice as likely to occur in black women than white women.
Recent studies have pointed to cancer stem cells as a potential target in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. Cancer stem cells seem to be key for the formation and advancement of triple-negative tumors.
Now, researchers may have found a way to weaken these cells and make tumors more vulnerable to treatment.
Specifically, a team led by Jeremy Blaydes, a reader in Cancer Cell Biology at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, found that the diabetes drug metformin changes the metabolism of cancer stem cells, making them easier to target by a new form of treatment.
Blaydes and colleagues detail their findings in the journal Carcinogenesis.
Usually, breast cancer stem cells depend on both oxygen and sugar (glucose) to produce the energy they need to survive and thrive.
However, under dire environmental conditions, these cells can adapt their metabolism to rely more on glucose than oxygen.
Cancer stem cells — like all cells — can break down glucose into smaller energy chunks through the process of glycolysis.
In the new study, Blaydes and team treated breast cancer stem cells with a low dose of metformin, a drug that lowers blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
The team applied a low dose of metformin to cultured breast cancer stem cells for an extended period of more than 8 weeks.
Doing so forced the breast cancer cells to develop a glucose "addiction." The cells that became excessively reliant on glucose also displayed higher glycolysis rates, as well as higher activity in a type of protein called "C-terminal binding protein" (CtBP). CtBPs also fuel tumor growth.
Changing the cancer cells' metabolism this way made them more vulnerable to treatment with CtBP-inhibiting drugs.
Overall, applying metformin to the cancer cells, and then "switching off" CtBP genes by using CtBP inhibitors slashed the growth of cancer stem cells by 76%.
"Our work has given us the first glimpse into how changes in metabolism can alter the behavior of breast cancer stem cells and reveal new targets for therapy," comments Blaydes, adding, "We are only beginning to scratch the surface in this area of research."
"[W]e now need to push forward the development of CtBP inhibitors as breast cancer drugs. We hope these could lead to new treatment options for breast cancer patients who most need it."Jeremy Blaydes
Next, the researchers plan to refine CtBP inhibitors further and test various combinations of metformin and CtBP inhibitors to stop the spread of triple negative breast cancers.
Friday, June 28, 2019
Cholera outbreaks occur worldwide
Prevention of cholera using phages
From test tube to product
What causes antimicrobial resistance?
An alternative to antibiotics
The original phage therapy story
Making a comeback?
The case for using phages
Friday, June 21, 2019
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is an American clinical laboratory founded in 1967 as Metropolitan Pathology Laboratory, Inc. It became an independent corporation with the Quest name on December 31, 1996. As a Fortune 500 company, Quest operates in the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, and Brazil Quest also maintains collaborative agreements with various hospitals and clinics across the globe.
|Traded as||NYSE: DGX|
S&P 500 Component
|Founded||New York City, United States(1967)|
(Chairman, President, & CEO)
|Revenue||US$7.709 billion (2017)|
|US$1.165 billion (2017)|
|US$772 million (2017)|
|Total assets||US$10.503 billion (2017)|
|Total equity||US$4.921 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|~45,000 (December 2017)|
Quest Diagnostics set a record in April 2009 when it paid $302 million to the government to settle a Medicare fraud case alleging the company sold faulty medical testing kits. It was the largest qui tam (whistleblower) settlement paid by a medical lab for manufacturing and distributing a faulty product. In May 2011, Quest paid $241 million to the state of California to settle a False Claims Act case that alleged the company had overcharged Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, and provided illegal kickbacks as incentives for healthcare providers to use Quest labs.
In 2018, Quest Diagnostics was among a number of US based labs linked to inaccuracies of over 200 women's cervical smear tests for CervicalCheck, Ireland's national screening programme.
On June 3, 2019 Quest announced that American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), a billing collections service provider, had informed Quest Diagnostics that an unauthorized user had access to AMCA’s system containing personal information AMCA received from various entities, including from Quest. AMCA provides billing collections services to Optum360, which in turn is a Quest contractor.
Watch the video about outstanding science and innovation at Quest Laboratories
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