Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis (excluding skin cancer) in the U.S. Additional statistics include:
is the recommended age to start colon cancer screening.
is the number of newly diagnosed cases of colon cancer each year.
is the number of newly diagnosed cases of rectal cancer each year.
1 in 21 (4.7%)
is the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer for men.
1 in 23 (4.4%)
is the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer for women.
Colorectal cancer is the 2nd
leading cause of cancer-related deaths in U.S. men.
Colorectal cancer is the 3rd
leading cause of cancer-related deaths in U.S. women.
is the number of colorectal cancer deaths expected in 2017.
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html and https://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/colon-cancer-news-96/colon-cancer-on-the-rise-among-gen-xers-millennials-720149.html
USDA issues update on highly pathogenic avian influenza in Tennessee. As this issue of MLO goes to press, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has confirmed the full subtype for the highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza reported in Lincoln County, TN. The virus has been identified as North American wild bird lineage H7N9 HPAI based upon full genome sequence analysis of the samples at the NVSL. All eight gene segments of the virus are North American wild bird lineage. This is not the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia. While the subtype is the same as the China H7N9 lineage that emerged in 2013, this is a different virus and is genetically distinct from the China H7N9 lineage.
Avian influenza viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: hemagglutinin or “H” proteins, of which there are 16 (H1–H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, of which there are 9 (N1–N9). Many different combinations of “H” and “N” proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype, and subtypes are further broken down into different strains. Genetically related strains within a subtype are referred to as lineage.
The USDA continues to work with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the joint incident response. Birds on the affected premises have been depopulated, and burial is in progress. An epidemiological investigation is underway to determine the source of the infection.
Federal and state partners continue to conduct surveillance and testing of poultry within an expanded 10-mile radius around the affected premises to ensure all commercial operations in the area are disease-free. In addition, strict movement controls are in place within an established control zone to prevent the disease from spreading. As of March 6, all commercial premises within the surveillance area had been tested, and all of the tests from the surrounding facilities were negative for disease. Officials were continuing to observe commercial and backyard poultry for signs of influenza, and all flocks in the surveillance zone will be tested again.
WHO publishes list of bacteria for which new antibiotics are urgently needed. The World Health Organization (WHO) has published its first-ever list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens”—a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health. The list was drawn up in a bid to guide and promote research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics, as part of the WHO’s efforts to address growing global
resistance to antimicrobial medications.
The list highlights in particular the threat of gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. These bacteria have inherent abilities to find new ways to resist treatment and can pass along genetic material that allows other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well. The WHO list is divided into three categories according to the urgency of need for new antibiotics: critical, high, and medium priority.
The most critical group of all includes multidrug resistant bacteria that pose a particular threat in hospitals and nursing homes and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters. They include Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, and various Enterobacteriaceae (including Klebsiella, E. coli, Serratia, and Proteus). They can cause severe and often deadly infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia.
These bacteria have become resistant to a large number of antibiotics, including carbapenems and third-generation cephalosporins—the best available antibiotics for treating multidrug-resistant bacteria.
The second and third tiers in the WHO‘s list—that is, the high and medium priority categories—contain other increasingly drug-resistant bacteria that cause more common diseases such as gonorrhea and food poisoning caused by salmonella.
The list is intended to spur governments to put in place policies that incentivize basic science and advanced R&D by both publicly funded agencies and the private sector investing in new antibiotic discovery. It will provide guidance to new R&D initiatives such as the WHO/Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership, which is engaging in not-for-profit development of new antibiotics.
Gene variant linked to breast cancer risk in premenopausal African American women. Scientists at The Wistar Institute, in collaboration with Roswell Park Cancer Institute, have found a significant association between a rare genetic variant of the p53 gene present in African American women and their risk of developing breast cancer in premenopausal age. The study was published online by the journal NPJ Breast Cancer.
TP53 is the most frequently mutated gene in human cancer. The p53 protein is a critical tumor suppressor in the cell, and genetic mutations that occur in cancer cause a loss of its function in regulating proliferation arrest and cell death. In addition to these changes, there are several minor, naturally occurring genetic variants of the p53 gene, known as polymorphisms, and some are associated with an increased risk of cancer.
The rare p53 polymorphism analyzed in this study is found almost exclusively in populations of African descent. Wistar scientists have previously shown that this polymorphism impairs the ability of p53 to induce cell death in vitro and significantly increases cancer risk when recreated in a mouse model. The new study analyzed the statistical association of this variant with the risk of developing breast cancer in African American women.
Researchers conducted statistical studies on a cohort of more than 14,000 women of African descent and didn’t find any association of the polymorphism with increased breast cancer risk overall. However, as previously observed with other genetic variants of p53, a significant association was present in women in premenopausal age.
Elucidating the effects of p53 polymorphisms on cancer risk is a challenging task, especially due to the limited availability of sample cohorts from specific populations. This study provides a strong suggestion that the genetic variant considered might be associated with a significant increase in breast cancer risk, although this association will need to be confirmed in a larger sample set.
New blood test could help detect and locate cancer early on. Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a new blood test that could detect cancer—and locate where in the body the tumor is growing. The study could provide a way to diagnose cancer early on without having to do invasive surgical procedures like biopsies. Researchers published their findings last month in Nature Genetics.
Cancer blood tests work by screening for DNA released by dying tumor cells. These tests are showing promise for detecting traces of tumor DNA in the blood of cancer patients. However, the results don’t indicate where the tumor resides. “Knowing the tumor’s location is critical for effective early detection,” says Kun Zhang, senior author of the study.
In this study, Zhang and his team discovered a new clue in blood that could both detect tumor cells and identify where they are. When a tumor starts to take over a part of the body, it competes with normal cells for nutrients and space, killing them off in the process. As normal cells die, they release their DNA into the bloodstream—and that DNA could
identify the affected tissue.
The method screens for a particular DNA signature called CpG methylation haplotypes, which are the addition of methyl groups to multiple adjacent CG sequences in a DNA molecule. Each tissue in the body can be identified by its unique signature of methylation haplotypes.
To develop their new method, the researchers put together a database of the complete CpG methylation patterns of 10 different normal tissues (liver, intestine, colon, lung, brain, kidney, pancreas, spleen, stomach, and blood). They also analyzed tumor samples and blood samples from cancer patients to compile a database of cancer-specific genetic markers.
The team then screened blood samples from individuals with and without tumors. They looked for signals of the cancer markers and the tissue-specific methylation patterns. The test works like a dual authentication process: the combination of both signals, above a statistical cutoff, is required to assign a positive match.
Study finds biomarker for lung cancer detection in the nasal passages of smokers. A new nasal test may allow patients suspected of having lung cancer to undergo a simple swab of their nose to determine if they have the disease. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine have found that a genomic biomarker in the nasal passage can accurately determine the likelihood of a lung lesion being malignant.
The findings, which appear online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, will allow physicians to identify patients at low probability for having lung cancer, sparing them costly and risky procedures.
The diagnostic evaluation of lung cancer among high-risk current and former smokers with lesions found on chest imaging (computed tomography or CT) represents a growing clinical challenge given the current clinical recommendations for routine CT screening of high-risk smokers. While there are guidelines for the management of pulmonary nodules, unnecessary, invasive follow-up procedures (including surgical lung biopsy) are frequently performed on patients who are ultimately diagnosed with benign disease.
After examining nasal epithelial brushings from current and former smokers undergoing diagnostic evaluation for pulmonary lesions suspicious for lung cancer, the researchers determined that the nasal airway epithelial field of lung cancer-associated injury in smokers extends to the nose and has the potential of being a non-invasive biomarker for lung cancer detection.
Cerebrospinal fluid shows promise as autism biomarker. Researchers from the UC Davis MIND Institute, the University of North Carolina (UNC), and other institutions have found that altered distribution of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in high-risk infants can predict whether they will develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study appears in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
Produced by the brain, CSF was once cast as a neural shock absorber, keeping the brain from bumping up against the skull. More recent findings have shown that CSF can influence neuronal migration and other mechanisms associated with brain development, as well as
removing dangerous molecules.
This study confirms earlier research that showed infants with increased CSF in the subarachnoid space (near the brain’s perimeter) have increased risk of developing autism. The current study sought to validate the previous results in a larger sample of infants in the Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS), a national research network of institutions.
To test whether CSF might indicate increased risk of developing ASD, the researchers examined MRIs from 343 infants at six, 12, and 24 months. In this group, 221 babies had older siblings with ASD and were therefore at higher risk for autism. The other 122 subjects had no family history.
Infants who later developed ASD had significantly more subarachnoid CSF at six months than those who did not develop the condition. Among high-risk infants, those who were ultimately diagnosed with ASD had 18 percent more. These measurements predicted ASD in the high-risk group with roughly 70 percent accuracy.
Finding biomarkers for autism, or any disorder, can be tricky. Quite often, early successes are never replicated. That this larger, more robust, follow-up study confirms the earlier finding is a significant step forward, the researchers say.
Still, this is early work, and there are many unanswered questions. The researchers do not know whether the CSF accumulation contributes to autism or is simply an effect from another, more subtle, cause. In addition, the biomarker is not sensitive enough to say with certainty that a child will develop ASD. However, the apparent link between increased CSF and autism could have significant clinical impact.