Cost Effective Technology used by Researchers to unravel Cancer through Standard Imaging

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Cost Effective Technology used by Researchers to unravel Cancer through Standard Imaging
Published: 30 June 2013

Researchers have developed a new medical imaging analysis method to predict the risk of dying of cancer. It is called radiomics and it makes use of standard imaging technology present in every hospital. With radiomics doctors can select and apply the most effective treatment for each patient.

The researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center+ (Maastricht UMC+) and the MAASTRO used sophisticated and intelligent software that transforms the tumour properties shown in a scan into clinically meaningful numbers. That data allows them to unravel the digital fingerprint of each separate tumour. This valuable information can be used to predict the progress of the cancer. This will help them identify patients who will benefit from stronger medication while keeping the treatment simple, pain-free and cost-effective.

The researchers are currently doing software development that will make radiomics readily available worldwide at a low cost. According to clinical physicist Andre Dekker of MAASTRO Clinic the software doesn’t require any additional knowledge of medical imaging techniques so it’s ideal complement to existing hospital technology. The pharmaceutical industry has already taken a keen interest in radiomics.

The study was a collaboration between Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam and two institutes in the US, Moffit Cancer Center in Florida and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The research was funded by the Netherlands Cancer Institute, the European Union and the National Institutes of Health in the US.

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A Study Find a Reassuring News on Cancer Risk from IVF drugs
Published: 30 June 2014

A long-term study of women who used ovary-stimulating hormones for fertility treatment found no widespread evidence of a higher cancer risk, according to a research presented at European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, or ESHRE. The new study found “little evidence” of a higher risk linked to hormone treatment.

Humberto Scoccia from the University of Illinois in Chicago said the long-term picture was “generally reassuring.” The data comes from a 30-year monitoring of nearly 10,000 women treated for infertility at five US clinics from 1965 to 1988.

Doctors have a choice of several hormone drugs to stimulate ovaries to produce eggs harvested for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). Clomiphene, was gradually supplanted in the 1980s by two other groups—human menopausal gonadotrophins and follicle stimulating hormone. New study found “little evidence” of a higher risk linked to hormone treatment.

The study find an increased risk of breast cancer, but not of other types, among a sub-group of women who had used clomiphene intensively—in 12 or more treatment cycles. Scoccia cautioned, though, that continued monitoring was needed to see whether any of the newer drugs present any danger.

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Gene Behind Aggressive Lymphatic Cancer Identified
Published: 30 June 2014

A single gene decides whether a rare form of cancer will be aggressive or non-aggressive. Thymoma was derived from the epithelial cells of the thymus, an organ critical to the lymphatic system where T-cells, or so-called “killer cells,” mature, according to the findings of Journal Nature Genetics.

Very little is known about the role of the gene mutation GTF2l in human tumours, but the scientists said slow growing and non-aggressive forms of thymoma they tested have the mutation. Senior investigator Giuseppe Giaccone from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre in the US said that indolent thymomas seldom become aggressive, so the discovery that a single gene can identify tumours that do not need aggressive care is an important development for their patients.

Giaconne also explained that “usually a substantial number of genes are involved. In fact, they also found that the more aggressive thymomas express well known cancer genes found in other tumours – which might give them clues about novel treatment of these cancers.

Some patients don’t need aggressive therapy, but until now there’s not been a clear way to know who those patients are, so the use of these treatments in thymomas is controversial.

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