Growing Human Skin in Laboratory Can Prematurely Age Cells

Children who receive laboratory-expanded sheets of their own skin to cover severe burns are saved from certain death, but their new skin can have the cellular age of an 80 year old, according to a study at Duke University Medical Center. The process of growing small patches of human skin into larger sheets, called tissue engineering, makes cells divide so many times that the skin becomes prematurely aged at a cellular level.

Scientists find stem cells in human breast cancer

Of all the neoplastic cells in human breast cancers, only a small minority – perhaps as few as one in 100 – appear to be capable of forming new malignant tumors, according to just-published research by scientists in the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The discovery could help researchers zero in on the most dangerous cancer cells to develop new, more effective treatments.

Study may help explain sunlight's role in melanoma development

A strong link exists between lifetime exposure to ultraviolet light, particularly lifetime sunburns, and the development of melanoma ? the most lethal form of skin cancer. Now, for the first time, scientists have identified a specific molecular pathway within cells that becomes mutated by ultraviolet light exposure, thereby speeding up melanoma development.

Technique preserves sexual function for men with prostate cancer

Men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer have typically been faced with “good” news and “bad” news. The “good” news – if there is such a thing when cancer is involved – is that most men are effectively cured of their cancer once the prostate is surgically removed. The “bad” news is that the two most notable side effects of prostate surgery – impotence and incontinence – can be very devastating. Fortunately, significant advances have been made on both fronts, and a Wisconsin urologist has helped develop new techniques to minimize both incontinence and impotence.

Detection procedure can help more melanoma patients than thought

Patients who develop melanoma on their face, head or neck can have the same early-diagnosis surgical procedure to see if their cancer might spread as patients whose cancer is on less delicate areas of the body, a new study finds. The report, from a team at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, opens the door for many more melanoma patients to benefit from a potentially life-saving technique called sentinel lymph node mapping. The results will be published in the Archives of Otolaryngology, a journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers turn rat stem cells into mouse marrow cells

Researchers in North Carolina have successfully demonstrated that genetically altered stem cells from one species can be turned into a different sort of cell in another. Specifically, the researchers converted adult liver stem cells cloned from a male rat into functional adult bone marrow cells in female mice. The accomplishment, known as hematopoietic transdifferentiation, may prove useful for tapping the potential for tissue repair using human adult stem cells.

Tamoxifen-Resistant Breast Cancers Become Receptive to New Therapies

Breast cancer tumors that stop responding to the drug tamoxifen actually change their cellular characteristics and become responsive to other types of drugs, including Herceptin, according to oncologists at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. “In the process of becoming resistant to tamoxifen, the tumors alter their qualities and become receptive to Herceptin and other drugs that target the HER-2 receptor,” said Kimberly Blackwell, M.D., assistant professor of oncology at Duke.