Squamous cell carcinoma: Research
1. HPV vaccines may work for SCC as well
In the last few years, human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines have been developed to protect women against infections from some types of HPV. Its original purpose was to reduce the chances of cervical cancer. However, the HPV may provide protection against other kinds of cancers as well, such as squamous cell.
Squamous cell carcinomas that start in the genital region account for almost 50 percent of deaths from non-melanoma skin cancers. Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, N.H. carried out a study in which they found that those with SCC were more likely to test positive for a particular strain of HPV. This suggests that the two are linked. No association with basal cell carcinoma was found.
There is more research needed in this direction, and in ethnic groups other than white Americans, who participated in the study. However, the findings make scientists hopeful that the HPV vaccines already in use worldwide may work to treat squamous cell cancers as well.
Via: Dartmouth Medical School
2. Rogue gene causing squamous lung cancer identified
In an exciting breakthrough scientists believe they have found a link between squamous cell cancers of the lung and a genetic mutation for which a drug already exists. Researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Orlando, in collaboration with Australian researchers at a Melbourne university and other international research groups have found a mutation in the DDR2 gene that may respond to FDA approved drug dasatinib.
Dasitinib has already been in use to treat cases of leukemia for some time. The new study has found that tumor cells with the DDR2 mutations respond to dasatinib. There had been no treatments that directly targeted squamous cell lung cancers, which affects about 50000 people annually in the USA alone. The results of the study means that dasatinib can now be studied further with clinical trials to test it in environments of SCCs. This can provide new hope to patients that are suffering from advanced SCC of the lung.
Via: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
3. Protective gene may control SCC
Scientists at Australia’s Monash University have made an exciting new discovery that could make new treatments and preventive measures for cancer available to the general public around the world in five years. In November of 2011, they published a report in their journal in which they revealed that they may have found a gene that can protect the body against SCC of the skin.
The gene in question is important in the development of skin in the body’s fetal stage. However, the researchers found that the gene is missing in SCC tumors. This suggests that the gene may be able to control SCC and stop the cancer cells from growing. Without the gene, this control is lost and the cancer cells proliferate.
The research indicates that not only skin cancers, but even cancers of the neck and head may be caused by the lack of the gene. There are drugs already in clinical trials for other cancers that may be effective in treating this condition as well. This means that the initial hurdles are past, and the treatments can be made available to the public in less than 5 years, including in the USA.
Via: Monash University
4. New light on genetic profile of head and neck SCC
Head and neck cancers are the sixth most common non-skin cancers in the world, and also the most understudied. A new collaborative study by researchers from institutes such as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and John Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center has made a surprising discovery that may provide new insights into head and neck cancers.
The study, published in the July 28 issue of Science journal, revealed that researchers have discovered new mutations that are associated with these cancers. The study confirmed what they had previously suspected, that the tumor suppressor gene p53 was defective in cells with head and neck SCCs. But they also found mutations in a family of genes known as the NOTCH, which suggests these genes are important in cell development.
Neck and head cancer tumors are complex and there are many mutations responsible for them. But the results of the study suggest that there may be a confluence on a process at a cellular level for which there was no genetic evidence before. Further study in this area is required to enable scientists to find new treatments and prevention methods for head and neck SCCs, but they are hopeful.
Via: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
5. Animal cancer-drug may work for humans as well
Scientists at Australian life science company QBiotics Limited have made an exciting revelation that an anti-tumor drug found to be very effective in treating inoperable cancers in animals is being introduced into human trials as well. Vets had already been using EBC-46 to treat dogs, cats and horses with many kinds of inoperable cancers including SCC.
The drug had been developed after 6 years of research, after its core molecule had been discovered in a Queensland rain-forest plant. $10 are now being raised by the company to carry out clinical trials and the results of the trials will be of interest to scientists all over the world. If successful, the drug will be able to reach SCCs and other cancers that are difficult to operate upon. It will be able to potentially treat skin, breast, head, neck and prostrate cancers.
Via: QBiotics Limited