Future Treatment? Researchers Target Gene That Controls Colon Cancer Stem Cells

Researchers target gene that controls colon cancer stem cells A By Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press December 2, resource 2013 A Colonoscopy has been credited with improving survival rates from colon cancer via early detection. Photograph by: Chrispo , Fotolia.com TORONTO - Canadian scientists believe they have found the "Achilles heel" of colon cancer stem cells, which appear to be responsible for the recurrence of the disease in many patients who have gone into remission after treatment. Researchers at Toronto's University Health Network have used an experimental drug to disable a gene that regulates these stem cells, which are thought to initiate the development of colon cancer, one of the top-three cancer killers of Canadians. That gene a known as BMI-1 a has been implicated in maintaining stem cells in other cancers, and is the key regulator of colon cancer stem cells that propels their self-renewal and proliferation. Stem cells are the blueprints of the body, which give rise to different types of cells that make up tissues, from red and while blood cells to neurons in the brain and insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Cancer stem cells, including those identified in the brain, breast and colon, give rise to tissue-specific cancer cells that grow out of control and form tumours. In Sunday's issue of Nature Medicine, the Toronto researchers describe experiments in which they disarmed the BMI-1 gene, thereby stopping colon cancer stem cells from generating malignant cells. The team first used a variety of genetic methods to silence the gene in colon cancer cells taken from patients, which were then transplanted into laboratory mice specially bred not to reject human tissue. "And it just wiped out the ability of these cells to make new tumours," said principal researcher John Dick, a senior scientist at Princess web site Margaret Cancer Centre and director of the cancer stem cell program at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. "We showed that if you turn this thing down, the colon cancer stem cells, they're not stem cells anymore. Visit http://www.canada.com/health/Researchers+target+gene+that+controls+colon+cancer+stem+cells/9233702/story.html for the full article.

What Are the Treatments for Bowel Obstruction With Colon Cancer?

Nasogastric Tube One method for treating a bowel obstruction associated with colon cancer is the placement of a nasogastric tube, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. A nasogastric tube is placed through the nose into the stomach and a suction device is attached; this removes the contents from the stomach and relieves some of the pain and discomfort. Using a nasogastric tube does not cure the problem but is a temporary or supportive measure. Octreotide The medication octreotide can also be used to treat a bowel obstruction caused by cancer. According to Drs. Carla Ripamonti and Sebastiano Mercadante in a 2004 article in the "Journal of Supportive Oncology," this medication can decrease the secretion of substances into the gastrointestinal tract, which decreases the amount of abdominal bloating and distention. Octreotide also stops the contractions, which relieves the pain. Visit http://www.livestrong.com/article/252375-what-are-the-treatments-for-bowel-obstruction-with-colon-cancer/ for the full article.