Posts tagged ‘Rahul Jandial’

Women’s cancers: Scientists study both risk and prevention

March 17, 2014 | by
In this series – this part examines how researchers are identifying risks and possible ways to prevent cancer – we explore crucial strides made against women’s cancers by City of Hope researchers during the past year. The projects are many and varied, involving the basics of fighting cancer, analyses of who’s at greatest risk, the search for surprising new therapies, the testing of new treatments and the follow-up with survivors and their partners.
Breast cancer in Latin America

Research into breast cancer risk takes City of Hope researchers far from California. By better understanding the disease, they can better fight it and prevent it.

Each study plays a role. Each adds to what we know about cancer. Each brings us closer to cures.

In Part 1, we explained ways in which researchers are seeking to fight cancer through basic science.

Part 2: Studies of risk and prevention


Addressing risk among Latinas

Jeffrey Weitzel, M.D., director of the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics, has focused much of his research on understanding the role and prevalence of BRCA mutations in the Latin American population. Specific mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. » Continue Reading

Breast cancer spreads to brain by masquerading as neurons, study finds

January 9, 2014 | by

Often, several years can pass between the time a breast cancer patient successfully goes into remission and a related brain tumor develops. During that time, the breast cancer cells somehow hide, escaping detection as they grow and develop. Now City of Hope researchers have found out how.

New City of Hope research uncovers how breast cancer cells evade the immune system and become brain tumors: By masquerading as neurons.

New City of Hope research has uncovered how breast cancer cells evade the immune system and become brain tumors: by masquerading as neurons.

Breast cancer cells disguise themselves as neurons,  becoming “cellular chameleons,” the scientists found. This allows them to slip undetected into the brain and, from there, develop into tumors.

The discovery is being heralded as “a tremendous advance in breast cancer research.”

Although breast cancer is a very curable disease – with more than 95 percent of women with early-stage disease surviving after five years – breast cancer that metastasizes to the brain is difficult to fight. In fact, only about 20 percent of patients survive a year after diagnosis.

“There remains a paucity of public awareness about cancer’s relentless endgame,” said Rahul Jandial, M.D., Ph.D., a City of Hope neurosurgeon who headed the breast-cancer-and-brain-tumor study, published online ahead of print this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Cancer kills by spreading. In fact, 90 percent of all cancer mortality is from metastasis,” Jandial said. “The most dreaded location for cancer to spread is the brain. As we have become better at keeping cancer at bay with drugs such as Herceptin, women are fortunately living longer. In this hard-fought life extension, brain metastases are being unmasked as the next battleground for extending the lives of women with breast cancer.” » Continue Reading

Brain metastases may be final frontier in era of personalized breast cancer treatment

January 31, 2012 | by

“With the introduction of personalized medicines such as Herceptin, and many more on the way, women are living longer with breast cancer.”

Breast cancer is one of several cancers that can spread to the brain

Breast cancer is one of several cancers that can spread to the brain. (Image by Mikael Häggström)

So says Rahul Jandial, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in City of Hope’s Division of Neurosurgery. But the evolution of breast cancer therapy leaves doctors and patients with a troubling question: How to fight increasingly common breast cancer tumors that grow in the brain.

Herceptin battles breast cancers that have a mutated HER2 gene, and it’s improved survival for thousands of women. Many patients, though, develop breast cancer metastases in the brain even though medication is controlling the breast cancer in the rest of their body, he says, “and those patients are dying from their brain tumors.”

In one study, half of the breast cancer patients with a mutation to HER2 still developed brain metastases even though chemotherapy was suppressing cancer in the rest of the body. Of those diagnosed with brain metastases, half died from the brain tumors.

About 200,000 cancer patients in the U.S. each year get metastatic brain tumors. Jandial says that the metastatic brain tumors were not considered as immediate a concern for breast cancer patients in the past because the brain metastases occurred in the late stages of the disease, when breast cancer’s spread to other organs caused most of the complications and deaths.

Jandial recently received a $250,000 gift from an anonymous donor to support his research into breast cancers that metastasize to the brain. He plans to study tissue samples from breast cancer patients with HER2 mutations and brain metastases to better understand what makes these cells tick.