staff, staff, February 9, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, basketball coaches across the Big Ten Conference made a fashion statement of sorts. They donned snazzy sneakers on the hardwood, even though many of them were wearing suits and ties, to take part in Coaches vs. Cancer, a nationwide campaign that annually draws public attention to advocacy and fundraising efforts around this severe disease.

The conference comes together to fight cancer in other ways as well. One of the most notable is the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (BTCRC), an initiative that enables the sharing of research and resources among the cancer centers and medical schools of all the universities in the conference.

Here are some recent developments in cancer research and treatment from the BTCRC:

  • Using studies with animal models, researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found they can block the growth of two proteins that seem to cause acute myeloid leukemia. Their research could eventually bring about new ways to attack chemotherapy-resistant leukemias, said Reuben Kapur, Ph.D., Freida and Albrecht Kipp Professor of Pediatrics at IU.
  • A study from the University of Iowa that was published in the academic journal Cell Reports in November 2014 identified an enzyme that has potential importance for cancer diagnostics and treatment. The enzyme, called TET1, suppresses tumor growth, but is usually ?silenced? by cancer-causing mutations in the KRAS gene, according to Charles Brenner, the Roy J. Carver Chair of Biochemistry at Iowa?s Carver College of Medicine and senior study author. If there are ways to express TET1 in those circumstances, it could lead to breakthroughs in cancer remedies, he added.
  • While it?s commonly viewed as a lethal substance employed by antagonists in Agatha Christie mysteries, arsenic can be used in small doses to treat patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia. And a new study from Northwestern medical students and staff at NU?s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center provides a better understanding of arsenic?s cancer-fighting mechanisms, and how it could be applied to combatting other kinds of leukemia.
  • [btn-post-package]Surgery can be an effective means for treating cancer, but sometimes doctors can?t find all of the cancerous tissue in a patient during an operation. That could change thanks to Philip Low, Ph.D., the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University, director of the Purdue University Center for Drug Discovery and co-founder of On Target Laboratories. He?s currently running clinical investigations of optical-imaging technology that could ?light up? cancer cells, thereby making it easier for surgeons to locate and remove that tissue. ?The optical imaging technology is another important milestone in cancer treatment advancements being piloted by Phil Low and other promising researchers at Purdue,? said Mitch Daniels, the university?s president.