Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sheba Medical Center Finds Key to Slowing Pancreatic Cancer

It's not a cure . . . yet, but it is a very good start at finding the cure for this horrible illness.

I had a dear friend, Chuck, who found out he had this cancer.  He had only three weeks before he died--but Thank G-d he had those weeks.  He set his affairs in order, said goodbye to his beautiful wife and his amazing son, and passed.

Many who come down with this cancer don't have even that long.  It is a horrible fate for too many people and their families.

These researchers may not have cured this cancer, but they may have bought some very valuable time for those who are diagnosed.

Every second of life counts.


Slowing pancreatic cancer   
By ISRAEL21c Staff
August 09, 2011

Israeli researchers identify a protein that may put the brakes on a particularly aggressive form of cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is a particularly aggressive, rapidly spreading disease for which there is no effective treatment.
Israeli researchers have discovered that a protein known to retard the aging process also seems to prevent the growth of pancreatic cancer.  If it could be produced commercially without significant side effects, this substance could provide a needed weapon against this and other fast-growing cancers.

Researchers from the Cancer Research Center at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer studied the behavior of the protein klotho, a natural hormone emitted by the brain and kidneys. It is named after one of the Three Fates in Greek mythology, who spun thread to keep people alive.

A laboratory study done at Sheba in 2008 found that klotho prevented breast cancer cells from multiplying. Later, researchers discovered that  mutations of this protein, called BRCA1 and BRCA2, greatly increase the  risk of women developing breast cancer:

The Israeli study follows recent findings in other countries indicating that klotho may prevent the spread of liver and cervical cancer.

In the current experiments using mice with pancreatic cancer, scientists wanted to determine how klotho could work against this particularly aggressive, rapidly spreading disease for which there is no  effective treatment.

About 610 Israelis are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year, and it causes eight out of every 100,000 deaths among Israeli men and six out of every 100,000 deaths among Israeli women. In the United States, an estimated 37,660 people will die of pancreatic cancer this year.

Klotho stops the spread
The scientists noticed that healthy pancreatic cells contain klotho, but cancerous cells do not. When they injected the cancerous mice with klotho, they discovered that it not only prevented the cancer from spreading, but actually caused tumors to shrink.

"Within a week or two after the protein was injected, the [cancerous]  growths stopped spreading and began to shrink," said lead researcher Dr. Ido Wolf, who heads Sheba's oncology department and one of the labs at the Cancer Research Center. Dr. Lilach Abramovitz and Dr. Tami Rubinek were also involved in the study, funded by the Israel Cancer Association.

Results are to be published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Before looking for partners to cooperate in advancing the use of klotho on the commercial level, the scientists' next step is to figure out how to reduce an unwanted and potentially dangerous side effect of klotho.

"This protein is vital for controlling the level of calcium and phosphorus in the body, and administering the protein is like administering any other hormone: It has the side effect of increasing hormonal activity," Wolf explained.

"There is a known connection between cancer and diabetes, [a disease]  that involves unusual hormonal activity, and the current research provides an additional source for examining the connection between hormones and cancer," Wolf said.

1 comment:

  1. ב"ה

    My cousin (daughter of two third cousins) got married a few years back. I saw her uncle at the wedding (my third cousin) -- I hadn't seen him since I was in High School (I had a MAJOR crush on him back then). It was so nice to see him and I connected with him via e-mail.

    A few months later, I heard he had pancreatic cancer. He was a doctor, but he was open to all the alternative info I sent him. But, I guess it had progressed too far -- while I was visiting my brother for my nephew's Bar Mitzva a month or two later I was catching up on my e-mail (my brother has no internet, so I check my e-mail at the library) when I found out he had passed.

    Since then, I have heard about a lot more alternative cancer care products. I hope I never need them, but I intend to at least try them if I have to.


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