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March 8, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
Patients are holding out hope that someday - soon, they hope - physicians will be able to personalize medical treatment more precisely than they've been able to in the past.  For people with cancer, this might mean taking a quick biopsy, studying the genetic profile of a tumor and then tailoring interventions  to target the cancer effectively, with as few side effects as possible. But a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday underscores why the vision remains a challenge.  Cancer researchers in England showed that individual kidney tumors and their metastases had different mutations in different locations - and that those mutations, in turn, affect the biology of those tumors in varying ways in different locations.    “A single tumor-biopsy-specimen reveals a minority of genetic aberrations … that are present in an entire tumor,” wrote Dr. Marco Gerlinger of the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute and co-authors.  For example, the scientists found that one region of a renal carcinoma could display gene expression signatures associated with a good prognosis, while signatures in another region of the same tumor could be associated with a poor prognosis.
February 21, 2012 | By Mery Mogollon and Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Tuesday that he will undergo surgery to repair a 1-inch "abscess" in the same abdominal area where Cuban doctors removed a cancerous tumor in June. Chavez's surprise announcement, made during an official trip to Barinas state, came amid swirling rumors published this week in Brazil's O Globo newspaper that his cancer had metastasized to his liver. "It's a small lesion, about 2 centimeters in diameter, very clearly visible, which requires new surgery, which one supposes will be less complicated than the last one," Chavez said as he visited the Santa Ines industrial complex.
February 17, 2012 | By Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
Gary Carter, a Hall of Fame catcher from Fullerton who helped lift the New York Mets to a dramatic victory over the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series, died Thursday in Florida. He was 57 and had brain cancer. Nicknamed "Kid" for his grit and youthful exuberance, Carter was an 11-time All-Star who hit .262 with 324 home runs and 1,225 runs batted in during 19 seasons playing for the Montreal Expos, Mets, San Francisco Giants and Dodgers. His goal to become a major league manager unfulfilled, Carter was coaching at Palm Beach Atlantic University near his Florida home last May when he experienced headaches and forgetfulness and was diagnosed with brain cancer.
January 19, 2012 | Staff and wire reports
The Oklahoma City Thunder signed All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook to a multiyear contract extension on Thursday. Westbrook was set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, meaning the Thunder would have had to match any offer he received from another team if it wanted to keep him. Instead, it locked him up with a new deal 15 games into this season. Terms were not disclosed, but Yahoo Sports reported the deal was worth $80 million over five years. Oklahoma City has the best record in the Western Conference, with Westbrook averaging 20.5 points, 5.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds.
January 17, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
A medication for people with advanced colorectal cancer who have exhausted all other treatment options appears to slow tumor growth and extend life, according to new data. Bayer HealthCare, the makers of regorafenib, said it would seek Food and Drug Administration approval of the medication this year. If approved, regorafenib would be the first new treatment for colorectal cancer in more than five years. Although chemotherapy and other medications can extend life in people with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread throughout the body)
January 7, 2012 | By Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Sacramento -- A California legislator pleaded no contest Friday to charges that she tried to shoplift $2,500 in clothes from Neiman Marcus in San Francisco. As part of a plea deal, a San Francisco County Superior Court judge reduced the charges against Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) from felony grand theft to a misdemeanor. Hayashi was sentenced to three years' probation and $180 in fines and required to stay at least 50 feet from the store on Union Square.
December 28, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Avastin can stabilize tumors in women suffering from advanced-stage ovarian cancer, extending the period before the disease worsens by more than 3.5 months, according to the results of two large, international clinical trials conducted by separate research teams. The findings, published in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, come less than a week after the European Commission approved Avastin for treating women newly diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. The drug, known generically as bevacizumab, has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat ovarian cancer in the U.S. Though Avastin has not been shown to prolong the lives of women with ovarian cancer and does come with significant side effects, it offers some hope for treating what remains the deadliest of gynecologic cancers, researchers said.
December 7, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Treatment for advanced breast cancer could improve significantly if doctors give women combinations of medications that attack tumors in different ways, two large clinical trials suggest. In one study, researchers found patients fared better when a breast cancer drug called an aromatase inhibitor was combined with another medication, Afinitor, which is used to treat kidney cancer but is not yet approved for breast cancer. In the second study, two standard medications for women with a type of breast cancer known as HER2-positive were more effective when the investigational drug pertuzumab was added to the regimen.
October 21, 2011 | Wire reports
Detroit Lions running back Jerome Harrison was scheduled for surgery for a brain tumor Friday, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. Harrison's agent, Mitch Frankel , did not immediately respond to text messages from the Detroit newspaper seeking comment, and Lions Coach Jim Schwartz announced only that Harrison was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list. The tumor was discovered during a physical that nullified Harrison's trade to the Philadelphia Eagles.
October 11, 2011 | By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times
Steve Jobs died of respiratory arrest and a pancreatic tumor, according to his death certificate released Monday. The Apple Inc. co-founder and chairman died around 3 p.m. Wednesday in his Palo Alto home, the certificate noted. Apple and Jobs' family announced his death Wednesday but did not provide details about the time, place or cause. Jobs resigned as Apple chief executive Aug. 24. He had been diagnosed in 2003 with a neuroendocrine tumor on his pancreas, and he underwent a liver transplant in 2009.
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