New prostate cancer study paves way for potential treatment changes

minority menResults of a phase 3 clinical trial will change the way oncologists treat advanced prostate cancer. The findings were announced this weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, where oncologists throughout the country present information on new cancer research.

Maha Hussain, M.D., a medical oncologist who treats prostate cancer patients at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, is one of the co-authors on the study.

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TOP Program opens doors for young researchers-to-be

laboratory research

Jake Leflein

“I’ve never doubted for a minute that I want to go into medicine,” says Jake Leflein, who is finishing up his freshman year in the U-M pre-med program. Jake’s main goal is a clinical career as a practicing physician, but three years of laboratory internship experience at the U-M Medical School have opened the door to possibly combining his clinical care career with laboratory research.

Jake has enjoyed his hands-on experience in the laboratory of Diane Simeone, M.D., so much that he chose U-M to attend in order to continue working in Dr. Simeone’s lab. She directs the U-M Translational Oncology Program, or TOP, which seeks to take laboratory discoveries and translate them into practical cancer treatments – which has placed Jake in the thick of cutting-edge research.

Jake’s advice to anyone interested in research:

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Advancing research for brain cancer treatment

brain cancer

Malignant brain tumor

In recognition of brain cancer awareness month, the focus of my blog is on the latest developments in treating this particular cancer. Glioblastoma or glioblastoma multiforme is the most common brain cancer in adults. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, glioblastomas represents about 17% of all primary brain tumors. They can be difficult to treat because the tumors contain so many different types of cells. They tend to be both aggressive and fast growing. The National Cancer Institute says the mortality rate for brain cancer has remained largely unchanged over the past 30 to 40 years. Therefore looking at new ways to treat brain cancer is desperately needed.

One of the hottest areas of clinical research into brain cancer involves the use of immunotherapy, or stimulating the immune system to attack cancer. The National Cancer Institute defines Continue reading

Progress in cancer research and treatment

May is National Cancer Research Month

progress in cancer researchI often hear from callers “Why hasn’t cancer been cured?” It is true that a cure for cancer has not been achieved, but it is important to remember there have been major advances and discoveries in the treatment of cancer. Progress in cancer research and scientific discoveries have led to:

  • Decreases in the incidence of many of the more than 200 types of cancer
  • Cures for a number of these diseases
  • Higher quality and longer lives for many individuals who cancers cannot yet be prevented or cured

Unfortunately, research has taught us that cancer is anything but simple.

In 1971:

  • there were 3 million cancer survivors
  • 1 in 69 people was a cancer survivor

In 2012: Continue reading

Saturday event gives the public a close up look at cancer research

Cancer researchers host talks, tours and interactive learning at Ann Arbor’s North Campus Research Complex

cancer researchHave you ever wondered what cancer researchers do all day (and sometimes all night) in their laboratories? Activities can be as complex as designing new experiments and carrying out existing ones, or as simple as feeding breakfast to a dish full of cells. Cancer research can aim to learn more about treating adults, or treating children. And sometimes researchers use a lot of jargon that actually makes sense, once you’re in the know, like ‘Hedgehog signaling pathway.’

Scientists and other researchers at the University of Michigan’s Translational Continue reading

Improving care through clinical trials

Where would we be without medical advances? Think about medical care 100 years ago. Since then, there’s been an explosion in vaccine development, antibiotics, surgical techniques, medical devices and discovery of medications to treat and control disease. You can look at any medical specialty and ClinicalTrial.fwsee the advances that have been made. Clinical trials represent our era’s research frontier for medical advances.

Why are clinical trials so important?  It’s how we move forward in health care. We can discover what works and what doesn’t. Clinical trials save and improve lives.

April is Cancer Control month and one of the goals of cancer control is improving the care for cancer patients. How is this accomplished?  Advancements in cancer treatment happen through clinical research. The milestones that have been made over the last 40 years in cancer care are due to research and a patient’s willingness to participate.

These are just a few of the advancements that have been made over the last four decades:

  • The 5-year survival rate for all childhood cancer combined is now approximately 81%, compared to 62% in 1975
  • 5-year survival for adults is now 68% compared to 50% in 1975
  • Approval of cancer vaccines: The FDA Continue reading