Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Progesterone could fight against neuroblastoma

High doses of the hormone progesterone can kill neuroblastoma cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have found in laboratory research.

The results, published in the journal Molecular Medicine, suggest that progesterone could be used to fight neuroblastoma, the most common form of cancer affecting small children.

More research is necessary to determine the optimal dose, how long progesterone treatment should last and if it should be used alone or in combination with radiation or chemotherapy. Emory scientists are also exploring whether it can stop the growth of other brain cancer types such as glioblastoma and astrocytoma. Progesterone has also been reported to slow growth of several other types of cancers in the laboratory, but has not been used clinically against neuroblastoma.

The first author in the team of researchers is Fahim Atif, PhD, instructor in emergency medicine, with senior author Donald G. Stein, PhD, Asa G. Candler professor of emergency medicine and director of Emory's Department of Emergency Medicine Brain Research Laboratory. Daniel Brat, MD, PhD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in Emory School of Medicine was a collaborator on the research team.

The discovery grew out of studies of progesterone's protective effects in brain injury. Based on Stein's pioneering work, medical centers across the country are now testing progesterone in the setting of acute traumatic brain injury in a phase III clinical trial. While investigating how to enhance progesterone's effectiveness, Atif and his colleagues observed that it could protect healthy neurons from stress but caused cells from a tumor cell line to die.

In a mouse model, progesterone treatment cut tumor growth in half over eight days, while no drug toxicity was seen with healthy neurons or in live animals. The researchers showed that progesterone can decrease the levels of proteins produced by tumor cells that attract new blood vessel growth and help tumor cells invade other tissues.

"This fits with what we know about one of progesterone's roles during pregnancy, which is to regulate the growth of placenta," Atif says. "Placental cells behave in a way that resembles tumor cells, invading the uterine wall and tapping into the mother's blood vessels."

In studies performed elsewhere, doses of progesterone that were lower than the most effective dose in the Emory study actually accelerated cancer growth. Based on their results, the Emory researchers propose that for fighting certain types of cancer, high doses of progesterone may be better than low doses.

Progesterone's effects on cancer are known to be complex. There may be differences between progesterone, the natural hormone, and synthetic progestins. The National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative study showed that women who received hormone replacement therapy with combined estrogen and progestins had an increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer, although some studies have identified a potential "safe period" if hormone replacement therapy lasts less than two years.

Progesterone has a long history as a treatment designed to prevent preterm birth. If progesterone is to be used with small children, any potential effects on development must be weighed against the risks of standard treatments.

Source: Emory University


News:MYCN amplification can serve as a favorable prognostic indicator for neuroblastoma

source:, a malignant tumor that primarily affects infants and young children, is a leading cause of death for children with cancer. When amplification of the MYCN oncogene is found in the tumor, it usually indicates an aggressive tumor with rapid progression of the disease and a poor outcome. Thus MYCN amplification has come to be used as a prognostic indicator.

However, sometimes a favorable outcome can be achieved even if MYCN amplification is present. A study reported in the current issue of the journal Pediatric and Developmental Pathology focuses on four such cases.

Four patients were diagnosed with neuroblastoma between the ages of 6 and 13 months and were treated with high-dose therapy and autologous stem cell rescue. Three of the patients are alive and well, having survived from 19 months to 7 years following treatment. One patient, with stage 4 disease, died eight months after being diagnosed.

Although MYCN amplification was confirmed in all four patients, it was not expressed in some of the common ways. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was used to identify the gene amplification in these cases. MYCN protein expression was not detected through immunohistochemistry.

Tumors with MYCN amplification typically have an undifferentiated or poorly differentiated subtype with a high mitosis-karyorrhexis index. Large cell type and presence of prominent nucleoli also characterize MYCN amplification and indicate aggressive behavior of the tumor. In the four cases examined in this study, the tumors all showed a poorly differentiated subtype and a low mitosis-karyorrhexis index. They also did not qualify as a large cell type and lacked prominent nucleoli.

These cases display a unique combination of unfavorable and favorable prognostic indicators for neuroblastoma. The authors speculate that a lack of excess MYCN protein expression despite gene amplification could cause this rare genotype-phenotype discordance. The findings could indicate that MYCN amplification does not automatically mean a poor prognosis.ator-for-neuroblastoma.aspx

Hero:Linas Modestas Zibas

our 4 years son Linas Modestas Zibas still fighting with high risk Neuroblastoma stage 4

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Angel: Sierra Rayn Chamblee

Sierra Rayn Chamblee. Diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma at 21 months old, battled for 11 months, lost the fight at 2 1/2 years old.

May God bless this family in this time of sorrow.

Hero: Noahs Story

Our world turned upside down on December 18, 2007. Noah was having spuratic side pain so we took him to the pediatrician and they said he had intestinal flu and if the pain continues bring him back, well the pain continued and he was then diagnosed with intussusception. He underwent a barium enama only to find a 4" tumor sitting above his right kidney. This tumor turned out to be Neuroblastoma cancer, which sprouted out of the right adrenal gland. His was diagnosed at stage 2b.
He underwent four rounds of low-dose chemo and had the tumor removed on April 7, 2008. It wasn't 100% removed and our home Oncologist reassured us that with Noah's histology and biology it wouldn't come back.
Noah had reoccurance on October 5, 2008. We are now in treatment with Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. He had 3 high-dose rounds of chemo, radiation & surgery. Noah was NED (no evidence of disease) for 15 months and then relapsed in April of 2010. He endured 3 rounds of chemo and after scans in June 2010 he is again NED and is now getting 3f8 Monoclonal Antibodies every 8 weeks. Please continue to pray for our little boy. Read the updates for the current information on Noahs journey. Our greatest praise goes to God our Father who gives us the comfort, peace and strength through Noah's healing. We also have such a tremedous support group and wonderful prayer warriors who have gotten us through these tough times.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Heroes and Angels

If there are any parents of children out there who are still battling this disease or have beat it, that would like to be featured as a hero on the site. Also any parents of children who have lost the battle to this horrid disease, who would like their child to be featured as a angel on the site.

Caitlyn- Still Fighting

Caitlyn. Diagnosed at age 5 months, stage IV, high risk. Current age - 19 months. AND STILL FIGHTING.

Hereo- Still Fighting Wes

Wes is a 5 year old little boy who was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma on June 24, 2011. As of 8/19/11 he had just completed his third cycle of chemotherapy. He still will have to undergo a total of 4 more rounds of chemotherapy, surgery if possible, stem cell re-infusion, 20 rounds of radiation and anti-body treatment.