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EU Initiative In Research Into Living Cancer Cells In Time And Space


Main Category: Colorectal Cancer
Also Included In: Cancer / Oncology
Article Date: 11 Feb 2011 - 0:00 PST

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New technology has made it possible to examine living cells in a microscope while at the same time collecting information that can be used to create mathematical models of the cells' behaviour - a new field of research known as 'systems microscopy'. Scientists at the Center for Biosciences, Karolinska Institutet, are now to coordinate a multidisciplinary initiative to develop this field further, which is hoped to revolutionise biomedical research. The project is one of two international research networks financed by the EU that will be based at the Swedish centre.

The two projects - Systems Microscopy Network of Excellence (NoE) and Systems Biology of Colorectal Cancer (SYSCOL) - are being financed through the EU's Seventh Framework Programme, and will each receive EUR 12 million for five years. Both projects focus on cancer research and will take advantage of research facilities containing state of the art technology that are currently being established at the Center for Biosciences.

Systems Microscopy NoE will involve around 60 scientists from seven European universities and one company. The aim of the project is to create mathematical models of biological processes in time and space, in a close collaboration between scientists in biomedicine and mathematicians. The models can then be tested experimentally. The research methods that currently dominate the life sciences, such as genomics and proteomics, provide snapshots of the biological conditions prevalent at the precise moment of sampling. Biological processes are, however, the result of more than one such moment, and that is what the scientists will now be able to examine.

"The technology required is available, but it must be developed and, in particular, used. When we are trying to understand, for example, the process of metastasis, in which a cell must detach from the parent tumour and migrate away from it to establish new tumours, we need to visualize these events as a complete process", says Staffan Strömblad, Professor of Clinical Molecular Biology at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet, and coordinator of Systems Microscopy.

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SYSCOL will focus on colorectal cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer in both men and women, which is now increasing dramatically in many parts of the world. The challenge faced by the scientists is to identify genes that cause the formation of tumours and the regulatory elements that control the expression of these genes. This information will hopefully enable identification of those at particularly high risk of developing colorectal cancer. Scientists from nine European universities participate in the SYSCOL project, together with one American university, and a biotech company.

The project is coordinated by Professor Jussi Taipale, an expert in the molecular mechanisms that regulate the development of cancer. The scientists will use the latest technology for large-scale, genome-wide biological analyses and DNA sequencing. A high-technology unit for this type of analysis has recently opened at the Center for Biosciences. A central part of the project is based on collaboration with research groups in information technology, in order to make it possible to analyse the large quantities of data generated in new and advanced ways, based on systems biology.

Funding for the Center for Biosciences is provided by Stockholm County Council, even though the centre is placed within the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition at Karolinska Institutet. Research projects are carried out using research grants awarded from the EU, the Swedish Cancer Society, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research.

"We have collected a critical mass of scientists working on biological processes and the origin of cancer. Being awarded the responsibility for these two EU projects I regard as an acknowledgement of our quality. It also provides a unique opportunity for Karolinska Institutet to participate in forming new fields of research that will have major significance for cancer treatment in the future", says Rune Toftgård, Director of the Center for Biosciences.

Research meetings scheduled:

- Systems Microscopy will hold its first research meeting on 21-23 February 2011 in Malaga, Spain. Meeting programme
- Researchers from SYSCOL will hold their first meeting in Huddinge, Sweden, on 7-8 March 2011. More information about the programme will be available shortly.

Source:
Karolinska Institutet

Diamyd Medical: Diamyd Phase II Study In Cancer Pain Posted On ClinicalTrials.gov


Main Category: Cancer / Oncology
Also Included In: Pain / Anesthetics;  Clinical Trials / Drug Trials
Article Date: 11 Feb 2011 - 0:00 PST

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Diamyd Medical´s (STO:DIAMB)(Pink Sheets:DMYDY) US Phase II clinical trial, evaluating the ability of the candidate drug NP2 Enkephalin to reduce cancer pain, is posted on the clinicaltrials.gov website.

Diamyd's Phase II multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial with the candidate drug NP2 Enkephalin is recruiting approximately 32 subjects with severe cancer pain. The study is designed to provide an evaluation of the safety and effect of NP2 Enkephalin with regards to pain relief, other pain medication usage and quality of life. The trial has a four week double-blind main study period and an open label study extension wherein all patients will be offered up to two additional doses of active NP2 Enkephalin.

The trial finalization date has preliminary been set to one year from start date on ClinicalTrials.gov. Diamyd will give a more detailed prognosis for finalization as soon as this can be better estimated from the ongoing recruitment.

NTDDS (Nerve Targeting Drug Delivery System) represents a new class of pharmaceutical products that delivers gene-based drugs directly to nerve cells, providing a direct effect in the cells targeted by the treatment. The drug candidate NP2 Enkephalin has been engineered to deliver the human Enkephalin gene, which naturally produces opioid peptides involved in pain control, directly to the site of pain in the nervous system.

The ClinicalTrials.gov website is a registry of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. The site is developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), through its National Library of Medicine (NLM), in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Source:
Diamyd Medical

Purdue University Researcher's Technology Listens To Cancer Cells, Shows Effects Of Drug Therapies

A Purdue physicist has created technology to detect motion inside three-dimensional tumor spheroids, which may enhance the pharmaceutical industry's early drug discovery capabilities.

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Studies Show New Bone Marrow Biopsy Technology Delivers Superior Samples, Less Pain When Compared To Manual Devices

For many cancer patients, a bone marrow biopsy and/or aspiration is one of the most dreaded aspects of their diagnosis and treatment plan. The traditional method for gaining bone marrow involves grinding a needle by hand through a patient's skin and bone, and the procedure is often described as extremely painful.

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Dual Vaccine Strategy Protects Against Avian Flu (CME/CE)

Infectious-Diseases

Outdated avian flu vaccine, stockpiled since 2004, can be used to prime the body for a vaccine that more closely matches the current H5N1 strain, researchers reported.

The finding, from a randomized trial of different immunization strategies and dosing schedules, suggests it may be possible to use so-called heterologous vaccination to get a jump on an avian flu pandemic, Robert Belshe, MD, of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo., and colleagues reported in the March issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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