Increased Coffee Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Liver Cancer

Here’s another reason to enjoy your coffee. A recent study in the July edition of the Journal Hepatology found a significant inverse association (meaning opposingly related; an increase in one variable results in a decrease in another) between coffee drinking and the risk of primary liver cancer [1]. The study also found that serum levels of an antioxidant enzyme, elevated in people with low coffee consumption, were associated with an increased risk of developing the disease.

Neurofibromatosis: From Genes to Complications to Treatments

The 2008 NF Conference was held last weekend (June 6 — 10) in Bonita Springs, Florida. The preeminent annual meeting provides a forum for basic and clinical neurofibromatosis (NF) investigators to present their research (pronounced noor-oh-fahy-broh-muh-toh-sis). The conference was attended by over 200 researchers from around the world

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This year’s theme — Genes to Complications to Treatments — highlighted the progress being made in NF research and clinical care, as well as the research programs of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Last year’s NF Conference focused on models, mechanisms and therapeutic targets.

Detection of Colorectal Cancer Using a Blood-based, Six-Gene Biomarker Set

At the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) last month, researchers from GeneNews Corp. reported that the probability of colorectal cancer (CRC) in asymptomatic patients can be accurately stratified by RNA expression profiling of six genes in whole blood [1]. The company focuses on developing blood-based biomarker tests for the early detection of diseases and personalized health management.

The Kanzius Machine: A Future Alternative to Chemotherapy?

Last Sunday, 60 Minutes profiled John Kanzius, an inventor who may have come up with one of the most promising breakthroughs in cancer research in years. It’s still in the experimental stage and much research needs to be done, but if future clinical trials are successful, the Kanzius Machine will destroy cancer cells throughout the body without need for drugs or surgery.

Funding of Childhood Cancer, NF Research in Jeopardy

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a set of genetic disorders that can cause tumors to develop and grow along various types of nerves. The tumors may also affect the development of non-nervous system tissues such as skin and bone.

There are three types of NF tumors that result from mutation or loss of different tumor suppressor genes:

  • Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is the most frequent inherited cause of brain and nerve tumors. One in every 3,000 children is born with NF1, making it also one of the most common inherited human diseases worldwide. Enlargement and deformation of bones may also occur. Approximately 50% of people with NF1 also have learning disabilities. NF1 is caused by a mutation or loss of the tumor suppressor gene NF1.
  • Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) is much rarer, occurring in one in 25,000 births. NF2 is characterized by the development of multiple tumors on the cranial and spinal nerves. The hallmark of NF2 is the formation of tumors that affect auditory nerves. Hearing loss beginning in the teens or early twenties is typically the first symptom of NF2. NF2 is caused by a mutation or loss of the tumor suppressor gene NF2.
  • Schwannomatosis is even rarer than NF2, affecting one in 40,000 individuals. SImilar to NF1 and NF2, Schwannomatosis tumors can develop on cranial, spinal and/or peripheral nerves. Although patients with Schwannomatosis do not have learning disabilities, they experience chronic pain and occasionally numbness, tingling and weakness. The candidate Schwannomatosis tumor suppressor gene is named INI1.