ANZAC Day – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

About the Anzac Day The Catafalque Party made up of members from Australia’s Federation Guard, mount the Catafalque at the beginning of the Lone Pine Service at Gallipoli.When is Anzac Day? Anzac Day falls on the 25th of April each year. The 25th of April was officially named Anzac Day in 1916.What does ‘ANZAC’ stand for? ‘ANZAC’ stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.On the 25th of April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. These became know as Anzacs and the pride they took in that name continues to this day.Why is this day special to Australians? On the morning of 25 April 1915, the Anzacs set out to capture the Gallipoli …

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Cell therapy shows remarkable ability to eradicate cancer in clinical study

Investigators from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have reported more encouraging news about one of the most exciting methods of cancer treatment today. The largest clinical study ever conducted to date of patients with advanced leukemia found that 88 percent achieved complete remissions after being treated with genetically modified versions of their own immune cells. The results were published today in Science Translational Medicine.”These extraordinary results demonstrate that cell therapy is a powerful treatment for patients who have exhausted all conventional therapies,” said Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Cell Engineering at Memorial Sloan Kettering and one of the study’s senior authors. “Our initial findings have held up in a larger cohort of patients, and we are already looking at new clinical studies to advance this novel therapeutic approach in fighting cancer.”Adult B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), a type of blood cancer that develops in B cells, is difficult to treat because the majority of patients relapse. Patients with relapsed B-ALL have few treatment options; only 30 percent respond to salvage chemotherapy. Without a successful bone marrow transplant, few have any hope of long-term survival.In the current study, 16 patients with relapsed B-ALL were given an infusion of their own genetically modified immune cells, called T cells. The cells were “reeducated” to recognize and destroy cancer cells that contain the protein CD19. While the overall complete response rate for all patients was 88 percent, even those with detectable disease prior to treatment had a complete response rate of 78 percent, far exceeding the complete response rate of salvage chemotherapy alone.Dennis J. Billy, C.Ss.R, of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, was one of the first patients to receive this treatment more than two years ago. He was able to successfully undergo a bone marrow transplant and has been cancer-free and back at work teaching theology since 2011. …

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Evolution of hyperswarming bacteria could develop anti-biofilm therapies

Aug. 15, 2013 — The evolution of hyperswarming, pathogenic bacteria might sound like the plot of a horror film, but such bugs really have repeatedly evolved in a lab, and the good news is that they should be less of a problem to us than their less mobile kin. That’s because those hyperswarmers, adorned with multiple whipping flagella, are also much worse at sticking together on surfaces in hard-to-treat biofilms. They might even help us figure out a way to develop anti-biofilm therapies for use in people with cystic fibrosis or other conditions, say researchers who report their findings in Cell Reports, a Cell Press publication, on August 15th.Share This:The findings are also a textbook example of real-time experimental evolution. What’s more, says Joao Xavier of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, they are a “unique example of strikingly parallel molecular evolution.”In other words, the evolution that he and his team witnessed was repeatable, all the way down to the molecular level.The researchers didn’t set out with the goal to evolve hyperswarmers, but they did passage Pseudomonas aeruginosa on special plates over a period of days. On those plates, bacteria that could spread out had an advantage in harvesting nutrients from the surface, and within a matter of days, some of those bacteria started hyperswarming.Investigation of the bacteria showed that P. aeruginosa gained its hyperswarming ability through a single point mutation in a flagellar synthesis regulator (FleN). As a result, the bacteria, which usually have one single flagellum, were locked into a multi-flagellated state. They became better at moving around to cover a surface, but much worse at forming densely packed, surface-attached biofilm communities. All told, the researchers saw this new ability independently arise 20 times.”The fact that the molecular adaptations were the same in independent lineages suggests evolution may be, to some extent, predictable,” says Xavier.The findings may be very important because biofilms are a major problem in clinical settings. …

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Study suggests pattern in lung cancer pathology may predict cancer recurrence after surgery

Aug. 7, 2013 — A new study by thoracic surgeons and pathologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center shows that a specific pattern found in the tumor pathology of some lung cancer patients is a strong predictor of recurrence. Knowing that this feature exists in a tumor’s pathology could be an important factor doctors use to guide cancer treatment decisions.According to the study’s authors, the findings offer the first scientific evidence that may not only help surgeons identify which patients are more likely to benefit from less radical lung-sparing surgery, but which patients will benefit from more extensive surgery, potentially reducing the risk of lung cancer recurrence by 75 percent. The study will be published in the August 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.Researchers retrospectively evaluated the clinical characteristics and pathology information of 734 patients who had surgery for early-stage adenocarcinoma — the most common subtype of non-small cell lung cancer — and found that tumors in 40 percent of those patients exhibited an abnormal cell pattern strongly associated with cancer recurrence after surgery. No study to date has investigated the prognostic utility of this classification, called micropapillary (MIP) morphology, for patients with small, early-stage lung adenocarcinomas. Currently there are no evidence-based criteria for choosing the most effective surgical approach for this group.The findings suggest that limited resection may not be appropriate for patients with the MIP pattern, as they were found to have a 34 percent risk of the cancer returning within five years after lung-sparing surgery, or limited resection, in which the tumor is removed by minimally invasive means and lung function is preserved. In contrast, patients with the MIP pattern who underwent lobectomy — the standard approach in which up to a third of the lung is removed along with the tumor — had only a 12 percent incidence of recurrence over a five-year period.The study observations may play a key role in deciding whether to perform lung-sparing surgery or lobectomy for patients with small lung adenocarcinomas. It currently takes an expert lung pathologist to identify the MIP pattern during an operation. If the surgeon performs lung-sparing surgery in the presence of the MIP pattern, the chance of recurrence is high within the spared lobe of the lung. A lobectomy can reduce this chance of recurrence by 75 percent. …

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New therapy shown to improve progression-free survival and shrink tumors in rare cancer for the first time

June 1, 2013 — The experimental drug selumetinib is the first targeted therapy to demonstrate significant clinical benefit for patients with metastatic uveal melanoma, according to new Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center research presented on Saturday, June 1, at the 49th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).The findings are potentially practice-changing for a historically “untreatable disease.” Though uveal melanoma is rare — there are only 2,500 cases diagnosed in the United States each year — about half of patients will develop metastatic disease, and survival for patients with advanced disease has held steady at nine months to a year for decades.Researchers found that progression-free survival (PFS) in patients receiving selumetinib was nearly 16 weeks and 50 percent of these patients experienced tumor shrinkage, with 15 percent achieving major shrinkage. Patients receiving temozolomide, the current standard chemotherapy, had seven weeks of PFS and no tumor shrinkage. Selumetinib also lengthened overall survival to 10.8 months versus 9.4 months with temozolomide, and side effects were manageable.”This is the first study to show that a systemic therapy provides significant clinical benefit in a randomized fashion to advanced uveal melanoma patients, who have very limited treatment options,” said Richard D. Carvajal, MD, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and lead author on the study. “This clinical benefit has never been demonstrated with other conventional or investigational agents, which is all we have been able to offer patients for decades.”Dr. Carvajal and his team decided to test selumetinib because it blocks the MEK protein, a key component of the tumor-driving MAPK pathway. This pathway is activated by mutations in the Gnaq and Gna11 genes, which occur in more than 85 percent of uveal melanoma patients; 84 percent of patients in this trial had one of the mutations.Uveal melanoma does not respond to the drugs given to patients with melanoma on the skin; and, in fact, there is no drug approved specifically for treatment of the disease. Patients with uveal melanoma receive surgery to remove the tumor — and in some advanced cases, the entire eye — as well as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.In the trial, researchers randomized 98 patients with metastatic uveal melanoma and administered selumetinib to 47, of which 81 percent had a Gnaq or Gna11 mutation. Of the 49 patients who received temozolomide, 86 percent had a mutation. Two patients were not treated. …

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