Cancer Types

Learn more about the various types of cancer, including demographic information, possible intervention, and recent breakthroughs. While we attempt to provide you with the most complete and accurate information out there today, always consult your physician on what is the best practice for you or your loved one.

One of NFCR’s most vital goals is to bring you helpful and engaging information on cancer and the latest developments in cancer research. NFCR wants you to familiarize yourself with the effects of many types of cancer and the best methods of prevention and detection.

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact us at info@nfcr.org.

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer is very rare cancer that starts in a gland in your neck.  It is more dangerous because it moves quickly. Most people do not survive longer than 6 months due to the aggressive nature of this disease and lack of effective treatment options. People with anaplastic thyroid cancer might cough up blood; have issues swallowing, hoarseness, loud breathing, or a lump in their neck.  Despite, its high fatality rate, because this disease makes up less than 1% of all thyroid cancers, there is very little research funding for it.

NFCR Research

Right now, NFCR is pooling together donations to fund specific anaplastic thyroid cancer research. By providing scientists with the resources needed we will be able to unlock this rare but quick striking cancer.

ANAPLASTIC THYROID CANCER RESEARCH FUND

In July 2010, the National Foundation for Cancer Research was contacted by Dennis Ferguson. Dennis was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer in January 2010 and has been participating in a clinical trial at the University of Chicago, the only treatment option currently available to him, since February. While researching possible treatment plans, Ferguson learned that there is currently no clinical research being done on anaplastic thyroid cancer, prompting him to contact the National Foundation for Cancer Research and raise the seed money himself.

In just a few short weeks, Dennis raised over $14,000. He has now raised over $40,000! If we can raise $50,000, the National Foundation for Cancer Research will start a research project for anaplastic thyroid cancer. The project will be led by top researchers in the field. Research takes time, and while the money Dennis raises may not necessarily benefit him, it will help those with anaplastic thyroid cancer in the future, and help to accelerate the day when we find a cure.

About Dennis:

Dennis has lived with his wife and family in Barrington for over 40 years. He taught at Hoffman Estates High School, where he was Chairman of the Driver Education Department for 30 years, and also coached football, basketball, cross country and gymnastics. He was also a member of the Illinois State High School Drivers Education Association for 30 years. Dennis was, and is, active in the community, having coached Little League baseball, soccer and football at the Barrington Park District. He is also long-standing member of the Barrington Lyons Club. He received a BS and MS degree in Education at Eastern Illinois University, and earned his administrative certificate at Northern Illinois.

A Message from Dennis:

To my friends,

This January 2010 I was diagnosed with this extremely rare form of cancer. It is fast-growing and aggressive. There is no cure at the moment and NO research being done currently to find a cure.

I am in contact with the National Foundation for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Maryland. With your help, if we can raise $50,000, they will assign a researcher to begin to find a cure for this dreadful cancer. Obviously, for me and others like me, time is of the essence.

Thank you for your pledge!
Dennis

Click here to contribute to the Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Research Fund. You can also call 1-800-321-CURE (2873) or email info@nfcr.org.

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

In 2014, about 56,390 men and 18,300 women will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in the U.S., and most will be over 70 years old. While some bladder tumors are benign, malignant tumors pose a threat due to their ability to spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms include blood in urine, abdominal pain, or difficulty passing urine. While the exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown, smoking greatly increases your risk of contracting the disease.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR is designing a new anti-cancer drug that will target cancer proteins that prevent healthy proteins from stopping cancer growth.  This new technology has major implications for the possibility of stopping the spread of cancer.
  • NFCR is researching metastasis by working on a new treatment that copies the way our body’s special genes and proteins normally slow the spread of cancer and this new approach could prevent it from spreading all together.
  • Another way NFCR is trying to stop the spread of cancer is by identifying the genes that allow cancer cells to first move away from the main tumor and into nearby healthy areas, the initial step of cancer spreading throughout the body.  Once these genes are identified, we can develop drugs to stop them and this approach may prevent the cancer cells from moving to begin with.
Bone Cancer

Primary bone cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the bone, while secondary bone cancer is cancer that spreads to the bone from another part of the body. Primary bone cancer is extremely rare, and benign (noncancerous) bone tumors are more common than malignant (cancerous) ones. Pain and/or unusual join swelling are the most common symptoms of primary bone cancer. Secondary bone cancer is more common than primary, and is names for the organ or tissue in which it began (i.e. breast, lung).

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • Sometimes during treatment, part of the tumor that is responsible for growth is able to hide, giving the tumor the chance to continue to grow.  NFCR is working to reduce tumors’ ability to survive by blocking the escape path that the growth parts are using to hide from treatment.
  • NFCR is conducting clinical trials of anti-cancer drugs that stop the growth of new cancer cells and force existing cells to self-destruct.
Brain Cancer

Brain cancer can develop in the brain or start somewhere else in the body and move to your brain. Because the Brain is a vital organ, early detection is key to properly treating and preventing fatality. People suffering from brain cancer might experience headaches, changes in ability to see, balance and walking problems, muscle twitches, numbness, memory issues and nausea and vomiting.

Overview

An abnormal growth of cells in the brain is called a brain tumor. Brain tumors may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).

Suspicions of a brain tumor may first arise from abnormal behavior or other symptoms. Symptoms are typically investigated with a series of tests aimed at making a diagnosis. If a brain tumor is the diagnosis, further information about the cancer cells is necessary to determine the best possible approach to treatment. There are many types of brain tumors that differ based on which type of cells make up the tumor. Also, determining the extent of the cancer helps the doctor to understand the likelihood that the tumor will spread into other brain tissues, a characteristic which may also be referred to as the aggressiveness of the cancer.

Symptoms

Symptoms of brain tumors vary widely depending on the type and location of the tumor. However, some of the most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and headaches. These are often caused by increased intracranial pressure, or increased pressure within the skull, which causes compression of the brain tissue.

In addition to increasing pressure, tumors encroach on and/or damage surrounding normal tissue as they grow. In the case of brain tumors, this can result in impaired cognitive functions and associated symptoms. The symptoms associated with brain tumors depend largely on where the tumor is located. The different areas of the brain, called lobes, are responsible for different brain functions. For example, memory is performed primarily in the frontal lobe of the brain (the front part of the brain, located right behind the forehead). A brain tumor in the frontal lobe may be associated with memory loss. However, the areas of the brain perform a variety of functions, therefore, symptoms may be diverse.

Symptoms associated with the main parts of the brain may include one or more of the following:

Frontal lobe (located in the front, behind the forehead)

  • Memory loss
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Vision loss
  • Behavioral, emotional and cognitive changes
  • Impaired judgment

Parietal lobe (near the crown of the head)

  • Impaired speech
  • Inability to write
  • Lack of recognition

Occipital lobe (rear and bottom of the skull)

  • Vision loss in one or both eyes and seizures

Temporal lobe (located at the side of the head, behind the temples)

  • Impaired speech
  • Seizures
  • Some patients may not exhibit any symptoms

Brainstem (located deep in the brain)

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache, especially in the morning
  • Muscle weakness on one side of the face or body
  • Vision loss, drooping eyelid or crossed eyes
  • Vomiting

Diagnostic Tests

Doctors may utilize several tests to diagnose a brain tumor. The purpose for conducting diagnostic tests are to first, determine whether an abnormal growth is malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous), and second, if it is malignant, to determine what type of cancer it is, and how extensively it has spread, which is called the stage of the disease.

The tests that are commonly conducted to diagnose brain tumors include:

  • Neurological examination
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Biopsy

Neurological examination: The goal of neurological examination is to evaluate the nervous system to determine whether any abnormalities exist. A typical exam involves testing of reflexes, sensation, muscle strength, eye and mouth movement, coordination, and alertness.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI is perhaps the most valuable test that doctors use to diagnose brain tumors. MRI uses a strong magnet and radiofrequency waves to produce an image of internal organs and structures. Under the influence of the strong magnet, the hydrogen atoms in the body line up like compass needles. Next, the patient is exposed to radio waves that cause the hydrogen atoms to momentarily change positions. In the process of returning to their orientation under the influence of the magnet, they emit a brief radio signal. The intensity of these radio waves reflects what type of tissue exists in that area of the body. The MRI system goes through the area of the body being imaged, point by point, collecting information from how the radio waves emit. A computer generates an image of organs and structures based on these radio wave recordings.

MRI is useful for diagnosing brain tumors because it provides accurate:

  • Description of anatomy of the brain and shape of possible tumor tissue and
  • Definition of the extent of surrounding edema (swelling).

The brain stem is a part of the brain located near the base of the skull. MRI is the best test for identifying brain stem structures and tumors.

Computed tomography (CT): A CT scan is a detailed X-ray. The CT imaging system is comprised of a motorized table that moves the patient through a circular opening and an X-ray machine that rotates around the patient as they move through. Detectors on the opposite side of the patient from where the X-ray entered record the radiation exiting that section of the patient’s body, creating an X-ray “snapshot” at one position (angle). Many different “snapshots” are collected during one complete rotation of the X-ray machine. A computer then assembles the series of X-ray images into a cross-section, or a picture of one small slice of the body. A CT scan is a series of these cross-sectional images.

CT scan is a less expensive test than MRI and provides good definition of extra-axial brain tumors, or brain tumors that are not located deep in the skull. However, this type of scan does not provide effective definition of the extent of swelling and only provides a single plane image, rather than a three-dimensional image. CT scans are useful for identifying acoustical neurinomas or meningiomas.

Positron emission tomography (PET): Unlike techniques that provide anatomical images, such as X-ray, CT, and MRI, PET scans show chemical and physiological changes related to metabolism. This is important because these functional changes often occur before structural changes in tissues. PET images may therefore show abnormalities long before they would be revealed by X-ray, CT, or MRI.

Before a PET scan, a patient will receive an injection of a radiopharmaceutical, which is a drug labeled with a basic element of biological substances, called an isotope. These isotopes distribute in the organs and tissues of the body and mimic natural substances such as sugars, water, proteins, and oxygen. This radioactive substance is then taken up by the cancer cells, thereby allowing the radiologist to visualize areas of increased activity.

After the patient has received the injection, a small amount of radiation is passed through the body, which detects the isotopes and reveals details of cellular-level metabolism. Although the radiation is different from that used in radiography, it’s roughly equivalent to what is administered in two chest X-rays. After the scan is complete, the radiation does not stay in the body for very long.

PET scans are often used after an anatomical scan, such as MRI or CT, has shown that an abnormal mass does exist. With a PET image that reflects the metabolic activity of the tumor, doctors are able to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant. PET is also used to accurately determine the stage of the brain tumor.

Biopsy: When CT, MRI, or PET scans show evidence of abnormal brain tissue, a biopsy is often necessary to confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy involves removing a sample of the abnormal tissue for examination under a microscope. There are a variety of different types of biopsies and the method used to gain a tissue sample depends on the size and location of the suspected tumor.

  • A typical biopsy is the surgical removal of a mass of abnormal cells.
  • Fine needle aspiration involves guiding a thin needle into the tumor and gently sucking out cells for microscopic evaluation.
  • A stereotactic biopsy utilizes a computer and a three-dimensional scan to direct the placement of the aspiration needle

Diagnosis

The results from diagnostic tests provide detailed information from which a team of healthcare providers can make an accurate diagnosis. The diagnosis includes identifying whether the tumor is benign or malignant , the type of brain tumor , and the tumor grade , or the extent to which the cells have mutated and invaded nearby brain tissue. An accurate diagnosis is critical for determining optimal treatment.

BENIGN OR MALIGNANT?

Brain tumors are designated as benign or malignant based on how cells from the biopsy sample appear under a microscope. Typically, benign tumors are less aggressive and more treatable than malignant tumors.

Benign brain tumors: A benign brain tumor consists of cells that have a normal or almost normal appearance when viewed under a microscope. The tumor is very slow-growing, has distinct borders that form a capsule, and does not spread into adjacent brain tissue. Benign brain tumors grow like a balloon being blown up, with an intact capsule and no direct invasion of brain tissue. However, benign brain tumors can cause brain damage or be considered life-threatening due to their ability to encroach into areas of the brain occupied by normal cells, causing increased pressure on and dysfunction in these cells.

Surgery alone is often curative for benign tumors that are located where complete removal is possible. The most common benign brain tumors are meningiomas and neural sheath tumors (neurilemmoma).

Malignant brain tumors: A malignant, or cancerous, brain tumor grows into and invades adjacent normal brain tissue but rarely spreads outside the brain. Malignant brain tumors can be slow- or fast-growing and are usually life threatening due to their ability to invade and destroy normal brain tissue. Malignant brain tumors can spread to other locations in the brain and spine because they lack distinct borders and are difficult to remove without prohibitive damage to normal brain tissue. Cells from malignant brain tumors can also break away from the initial site and travel to distant parts of the brain and spine by way of the cerebrospinal fluid. However, most malignant brain tumors remain localized, in the area where they began.

There are two types of malignant brain tumors, primary and metastatic. Primary brain tumors originate from cells in the brain and there are many types of these. The most common type of malignant primary brain tumor is glioblastoma multiforme (grade IV astrocytoma ), which make up approximately 20% of all primary brain tumors.

Metastatic brain tumors are any cancers that have spread from another area of the body to the brain. Cancers that commonly spread to the brain include breast and lung cancers.

TUMOR GRADE

The grade of a tumor is determined by the degree to which the tumor cells appear different from normal cells when viewed under the microscope. Grade is an important factor because the extent to which the cancer has differentiated, or mutated compared to normal cells, may help determine the best possible treatment option.

Grade I tumors: Grade I tumors are the least malignant, meaning they appear almost normal when viewed under a microscope. These tumors grow slowly and are usually associated with good long-term survival. Surgery alone can be an effective treatment for this grade of tumor. Pilocytic astrocytoma, craniopharyngioma, and many tumors of neurons, such as gangliocytoma and ganglioglioma, are examples of grade I tumors.

Grade II tumors (well-differentiated): Grade II tumors have a slightly abnormal appearance when viewed under a microscope and are relatively slow growing. While the cells in grade II tumors are not normal, they are still well-differentiated, which means they have distinct boundaries, and thus are not as aggressive as high-grade tumors. However, they can invade adjacent normal tissue, and sometimes these tumors recur as a higher grade.

Grade III tumors (anaplastic): Grade III tumors are, by definition, malignant, although there isn’t always a sharp distinction between a grade II and a grade III tumor. The cells of a grade III tumor are actively reproducing abnormal cells and spreading into adjacent normal brain tissue. These tumors tend to recur, often as a higher grade.

Grade IV tumors (blastomas): The most malignant tumors are designated as grade IV. They have a bizarre appearance when viewed under the microscope, reproduce rapidly, and permeate adjacent normal brain tissues. These tumors induce the formation of new blood vessels so that they can maintain their rapid growth. They also have areas of dead cells in their center. The World Health Organization (WHO) designates grade IV tumors as ‘blastomas’. Glioblastoma multiforme is a grade IV glioma, and the most common example of a grade IV tumor.

TYPES OF BRAIN TUMORS

The main distinction for brain tumors is whether they originated in the brain or spread from another location to the brain such as the breast or lung. The latter are called secondary or metastatic brain tumors and the cells are identical to the cancer cells from the original location.

Cancers that originate in the brain are called primary brain tumors. There are many different kinds of primary brain tumors and they are classified by the type of tissue in which they begin. The most common brain tumors are gliomas, which begin in the glial cells located in the brain that perform supportive functions for the cells that conduct neural impulses. There are also many types of non-glial brain tumors that arise from other types of cells in the brain; however, most of these tumors are rare. The main types of primary brain tumors include the following:

Metastatic Brain Tumors

Gliomas

  • Astrocytomas
  • Ependymomas
  • Oligodendroglioma
  • Mixed gliomas

Non-glial Brain Tumors

  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Meningiomas
  • Pineal tumors
  • Pituitary adenomas
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET)
  • Schwannomas
METASTATIC BRAIN TUMORS 

Metastatic brain tumors are cancers that have spread from their site of origin to the brain. CNS metastases usually occur by way of the bloodstream. A cancer cell may break away from the original location in the body and travel in the circulatory system until it gets lodged in a small capillary network in brain tissue. Metastatic brain tumors are the most common brain tumor, occurring as much as four times more frequently than primary brain tumors. The cancers that most commonly metastasize to the brain are breast and lung cancer.
For more information, go to the information center for the primary cancer that has spread, such as Breast Cancer or Lung Cancer.

GLIOMAS

About half of all primary brain tumors and about one-fifth of all primary spinal cord tumors are gliomas, meaning that they grow from glial cells. Glial cells provide supportive functions for the neurons, the brain cells that conduct nerve impulses.

Astrocytomas: Astrocytomas are the most common form of glioma and the most common type of primary brain tumor. These tumors can develop in any part of the central nervous system: the brain, brain stem, or spinal cord. Astrocytomas are further classified based on how the cells look under a microscope. Cells that are well differentiated mean that they have clear boundaries and structure. They are the least malignant form of brain tumor.

  • Non-invasive astrocytoma: Non-invasive astrocytomas are tumors that grow slowly and usually do not grow into the tissues around them. There are two types of non-invasive astrocytomas called juvenile pilocytic and subependymal.
  • Diffuse astrocytoma (stage I-II astrocytoma): Diffuse astrocytomas contain cells that are relatively normal and are considered to be low-grade tumors. They grow relatively slowly and may sometimes be completely removed through surgery. However, even well-differentiated astrocytomas can be life-threatening if they are inaccessible. In some cases, these tumors can also progress or recur as higher grade tumors.
  • Anaplastic astrocytoma (stage III astrocytoma): Anaplastic astrocytomas grow more rapidly than low-grade tumors and contain cells with malignant traits, meaning they appear very different from normal cells when viewed under a microscope.
  • Glioblastoma multiforme (stage IV astrocytoma, GBM): The most advanced stage of astrocytoma is called glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM. These tumors grow rapidly, invade nearby tissue and contain cells that are very malignant. GBM is among the most common and devastating primary brain tumors that affect adults.
  • Recurrent glioblastoma multiforme: GBM that has returned or advanced after initial treatment is considered to be recurrent disease. Recurrent GBM may occur after initial treatment of a lower grade astrocytoma, such as diffuse or anaplastic.

Ependymomas: Brain tumors that develop from cells that line the hollow cavities of the brain and the canal containing the spinal cord are called ependymomas. Most of these tumors are usually benign (non-cancerous) and slow growing.

  • Well-differentiated ependymoma (stage II): Well-differentiated ependymomas have cells that look very much like normal cells and grow quite slowly.
  • Anaplastic ependymoma (stage III): Anaplastic ependymomas are ependymal tumors that do not look like normal cells and grow more quickly than well-differentiated ependymal tumors.
  • Ependymoblastoma (stage IV): Ependymoblastomas are rare cancers that usually occur in children. They may grow very quickly.

Mixed gliomas: Gliomas that occur in more than one type of brain cell are called mixed and may involve astrocytes, ependymal cells, and/or oligodendrocytes. Mixed gliomas include three separate types of tumors: mixed astrocytoma-ependymoma, mixed astrocytoma-oligodendroglioma and mixed astrocytoma-ependymoma-oligodendroglioma.

NON-GLIAL BRAIN TUMORS

Craniopharyngiomas: Another tumor that develops in the region of the pituitary gland near the hypothalamus is called a craniopharyngioma. These tumors are usually benign; however, they are sometimes considered malignant because they can press on or damage the hypothalamus and affect vital functions. These tumors occur most often in children and adolescents.

Germ cell tumors: Germ cell tumors arise from developing sex cells, called germ cells. There are different kinds of germ cells, including germinomas, embryonal carcinomas, choriocarcinomas, and teratomas.

Meningiomas: Meningiomas are very common brain tumors that occur in the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord (the meninges). Meningiomas usually grow slowly and tend to affect more women than men. Most meningiomas are considered to be benign tumors; however, even benign brain tumors can cause disability and may sometimes be life-threatening. Malignant meningioma is a rare tumor that grows more quickly than benign meningiomas. Types of malignant meningioma include anaplastic meningioma, hemangiopericytoma and papillary meningioma.

Pineal tumors: Pineal region tumors are tumors found in or around the pineal, gland, a tiny organ located near the center of the brain that mediates changes in energy with light and darkness, causing sleepiness with darkness and alertness with increasing light. The tumors can be slow-growing ( pineocytomas ) or fast-growing ( pineoblastomas ). The pineal region is very difficult to reach, and these tumors often cannot be removed.

Pituitary adenomas: The pituitary gland is a small, pea-sized structure located at the base of the brain in the center of the head, behind the eyes. It is very important because it secretes several chemical messengers known as hormones, which help control the body’s other glands and regulate growth, metabolism, maturation, and other essential body processes. Cancers of the pituitary gland are called pituitary adenomas. Almost all adenomas are benign, but their slow expansion compresses normal structures that surround it, suppressing normal pituitary function and sometimes causing headaches or problems with vision. Pituitary adenomas rarely metastasize or spread to other areas of the body. Doctors classify pituitary tumors into two groups—secreting and nonsecreting. Secreting tumors release unusually high levels of pituitary hormones, triggering a variety of symptoms.

Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET): PNETs are rare tumors that occur in children and young adults. The most common type of PNET is medulloblastoma, which arises from developing nerve cells that normally do not remain in the body after birth. These brain tumors begin in the lower part of the brain and may spread from the brain to the spine.

Schwannomas: Tumors that begin in Schwann cells, which produce the myelin that protects the acoustic nerve (nerve of hearing), are called schwannomas and are typically benign. Acoustic neuromas are a type of schwannoma. They occur mainly in adults and affect women twice as often as men.

Treatments

Brain tumors are typically treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or some combination of these three modalities.

Surgery: Surgery is the primary treatment for brain tumors that can be removed without causing severe damage. Many benign (non-cancerous) tumors are treated only by surgery but most malignant (cancerous) tumors require treatment in addition to the surgery, such as radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.

The goals of surgical treatment for brain tumors are multiple and may include one or more of the following:

  • Confirm diagnosis by obtaining tissue that is examined under a microscope
  • Remove all or as much of the tumor as possible
  • Reduce symptoms and improve quality of life by relieving intracranial pressure caused by the cancer
  • Provide access for implantation of internal chemotherapy or radiation
  • Provide access for delivering intra-surgical treatments, including hypertherapy or laser surgery

Radiation: Radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy in the treatment of primary or metastatic brain tumors. The three primary ways that radiation therapy is administered in the treatment of brain tumors are with:

  • A machine that directs radioactive beams from outside the body, called external beam radiation (EBRT),
  • A computer and image guided technique that directs radiation only at the tumor, called stereotactic radiosurgery, or
  • A radioactive implant that is placed in or near the tumor, called brachytherapy.

EBRT is the conventional technique for administering radiation therapy for brain tumors, but stereotactic radiosurgery has also become a standard treatment. The most recent advance in the radiation treatment of brain tumors is the brachytherapy technique called GliaSite radiotherapy system, which involves placing a balloon in or near the tumor during surgery and then passing a radioactive material into the balloon for treatment.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is any treatment involving the use of toxic drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is different from surgery or radiation therapy in that the cancer-fighting drugs circulate in the blood to parts of the body where the cancer may have spread and can kill or eliminate cancers cells at sites great distances from the original cancer. As a result, chemotherapy is considered a systemic treatment.

Treating brain tumors with chemotherapy is more complicated than treating tumors elsewhere in the body because of a natural defense system called the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from foreign substances. The blood-brain barrier prevents foreign substances, such as drugs, from passing from the blood into brain tissues. For a drug to be effective in treating brain tumors, a sufficient quantity must either pass through the blood-brain barrier or be administered in a way that bypasses it altogether. Furthermore, not all brain tumors are sensitive to or respond to chemotherapy, even if the drug does penetrates the blood-brain barrier. Actively dividing cells are the most vulnerable to chemotherapy. Most tumor cells and some normal cells fall into that category.

NFCR Research

Brain cancer is very difficult to treat. At NFCR, we fund research that digs deeper to understand brain cancer so that we can detect it earlier and develop more effective treatments.

Detection

  • We are developing an imaging technique to find brain cancer in its earliest stages, giving us a better chance to fight the cancer. The technique starts by sending a scout in to the body. The scout finds cancer cells and attaches to them.  Once the two are attached, the scout lets us know that cancer is there by sending a signal. Our cameras see the signal and we know where the brain cancer is. This early detection will help us to treat the cancer more effectively and, hopefully, with increased success.

Treatment

  • Sometimes during treatment, part of the tumor that is responsible for growth is able to hide, giving it the chance to come back later and grow. NFCR is working to reduce tumors’ ability to survive by blocking the escape path that the growth parts are using to hide from treatment.
  • NFCR is working on an anti-cancer drug that only works after it enters a cancer cell, leaving healthy cells in tact. Keeping healthy cells alive gives people more strength to fight off the cancer.
  • One therapy for treating brain cancer starves the tumor by blocking the path that brings them nutrients. But, after awhile the cancer comes back.  NFCR has identified two parts of the cancer that might be responsible for the cancer’s return. If we are right, we can start researching ways to stop the process and make therapy more effective.
Breast Cancer

Breast cancer usually affects women, but men can get it too. 90% of those who are diagnosed with breast cancer lose their lives to the cancer spreading to the rest of their bodies. People will often have a lump in the breast, which is why mammography and breast exams can help detect the cancer early.

Click here to learn about the risk factors of breast cancer.

All adult women should discuss with their doctors the benefits and limitations of breast self-exams. Click here to follow the detailed instructions on how to perform breast self-exams if you choose to do so.

NFCR Research

Detection

  • Most breast cancer has a specific marker that could be used to identify the cancer, but our technology can’t see these markers.  NFCR is working to make current imaging technology much more sensitive so that it can find the markers and detect breast cancer in its earliest stage.

Treatment

  • One current therapy to slow cancer growth is used for a third of breast cancer patients, but was thought to be ineffective for the others.  NFCR is conducting clinical trials of a new treatment that combines the existing therapy with a new technique and chemotherapy and could be used for all patients.  Initial results have shown reduced tumor size and could lead to a new treatment that will reach more people.
  • NFCR is designing a new anti-cancer drug that will target cancer proteins that prevent healthy proteins from stopping cancer growth.  This new technology has major implications for the possibility of stopping the spread of cancer.
  • A common chemotherapy drug (Taxol) does not work on everyone. NFCR is developing a test that will show if the drug will work or not, before treatment is started.  This will avoid wasting time on a treatment that won’t work.
  • NFCR is developing a way to kill certain breast cancer cells that are resistant to treatment. Instead of dying, these cells seem to disappear, but bring the cancer back years later.
  • NFCR is researching the spread of cancer, which is what makes cancers even more dangerous. We are working on a new treatment that copies the interaction between genes and proteins that slow the spread of cancer and could prevent it from spreading all together.
  • Another way NFCR is trying to stop the spread of cancer is by identifying the genes that allow cancer cells to move throughout the body. Once these genes are identified, we will create a technique to stop the growth of cancer in healthy areas and to prevent the cancer cells from moving to begin with.
  • NFCR manages the Tissue Bank Consortium in Asia, a tissue sample preparation and storage facility that serves as an extensive data hub to support research. So far, the tissue bank has improved the classification of breast cancer, created tests to diagnose cancer, and led to better therapies.
Cervical Cancer

The cervix is a female reproductive organ that forms the lower portion of the uterus or womb, and cancer occurs when cervical cells grow out of control. In most cases, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer. Fortunately, there are now two HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix. Girls as young as 10 can get the vaccine, and all women age 26 and younger should be immunized. Women should also make sure they are getting routine Pap smears during their yearly checkups, as these screen for cervical cancer.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR is designing a new anti-cancer drug that will target cancer proteins that prevent healthy proteins from stopping cancer growth. This new technology has major implications for the possibility of stopping the spread of cancer.
Childhood Cancer

Children can get cancer in the same body parts as adults, but childhood cancers appear suddenly and without early symptoms.  Children’s immature immune system allows the red flags cancer to stay dormant, for longer periods. However, Children have generally have a high cure rate, but childhood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and brain tumors are still the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-14.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • The body’s immune system fights off sickness, but cancer is good at hiding from our immune system.  NFCR is working on a technique that gives the body’s cancer-fighting cells a way to find the cancer, so it can then fight it.
  • NFCR scientists have found microRNAs that can suppress the development of leukemia and increase the rate of normal blood cell growth. To pave the way for new treatments, we are researching how these microRNAs work.
  • We are conducting clinical trials for a drug that shuts down the growth part of giloblastomas, a very aggressive type of brain tumor.
  • NFCR is researching a new treatment for soft tissue sarcomas that cannot be handled with surgery.  A protein in the cancer moves to healthy cells and makes them ready for the cancer to come.  We are trying to identify what the protein is attracted to so that we could apply treatments to fend the protein off.
  • To treat bone cancer, drugs are used to target the growth of the cancer, but there are many different combinations of drugs and they need to match the cancer to be effective.  NFCR is using a computer program to match the correct drug combination to the cancer, reducing the time and costs of developing treatments.
Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum.  It is more common in people over 50, but can affect people younger than 50 too. Because of the complexity of colon cancer The future for a cure relies heavily on analysis on a genetic level then adapting the results to the individual.  Symptoms do not always appear right away, but can include blood in stool, changes in bowel habits and stomach discomfort.

NFCR Research

Prevention

  • We are researching how the nutrient selenium interacts with cancer, with the hope of being able to use selenium supplements to prevent colorectal cancer.

Treatment

  • NFCR is developing a drug that will shut down the formation of arteries that supply nutrients to tumors and a drug that could target the production of new blood vessels, preventing their formation all together.
  • We are identifying markers to monitor and predict therapy outcomes so that treatment can be tailored to be the most effective.  We have found one marker for stage IV colorectal cancer, but are continuing our search for markers for all stages.
  • NFCR is working to determine if the genes that are responsible for the spread of other cancers are also responsible for the spread of colon cancer. We are creating a model so that we can test the genes and any other potential factors leading to colon cancer’s spread. If we know what causes the spread, we can work to stop it.
  • NFCR is conducting clinical trials to study the benefits of Chinese herbal medicines. Initial phases have shown that the herbal medicine alleviates side effects of chemotherapy and has anti-tumor effects. This could lead to an FDA-approved herbal medicine for cancer treatment and a new outlook on traditional Chinese medicine.
  • NFCR is categorizing tumor types based on which ones will likely respond well to the anti-cancer drug Cloretazine so that doctors can more effectively select patients that will benefit from the drug.

The NFCR Coloretcal Cancer Prevention and Detection Kit is a comprehensive educational package with essential information about the causes and symptoms of colorectal cancer, and more importantly, practical suggestions about prevention and early detection, along with details on treatment options that are currently available. Click here to view a sample page on the risk factors of colorectal cancer.

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer affects the esophagus, a tube that carries food and drinks from your throat to your stomach. Early esophageal cancer usually does not cause any symptoms, but later people will have difficulty swallowing, weight loss, and might cough up blood. These lacks of early symptoms are leading to NFCR to look for a more effective way to detect esophagus cancer.

NFCR Research

Prevention

  • People with a condition called Barrett’s esophagus are much more likely to get esophageal cancer. These people undergo tests to look for early signs of cancer, but the tests are not very effective, and most warning signals are not noticed. NFCR is working on an improved method using imaging technology to detect changes in the esophagus that could signal the development of precancerous cells. With this new technique, cancer prevention would be possible.
Gastric Cancer

In 2013, more than 13,000 men and 8,000 women will be diagnosed with gastric (or stomach) cancer in the U.S., and most will be over 70 years old. Gastric cancer typically begins in the inner layer of the stomach, and can spread, or metastasize, into nearby organs or lymph nodes. Early stomach cancer often does not cause symptoms, but as the cancer grows patients might feel discomfort, nausea, or loss of appetite.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR is designing a new anti-cancer drug that will target cancer proteins that prevent healthy proteins from stopping cancer growth. This new technology has major implications for the possibility of stopping the spread of cancer.
  • NFCR is researching metastasis by are working on a new treatment that copies the way our body’s special genes and proteins normally slow the spread of cancer and this new approach could prevent it from spreading all together.
  • Another way NFCR is trying to stop the spread of cancer is by identifying the genes that allow cancer cells to first move away from the main tumor and into nearby healthy areas, the initial step of cancer spreading throughout the body. Once these genes are identified, we can develop drugs to stop them and this approach may prevent the cancer cells from moving to begin with.
Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer includes cancers found in the mouth, nose, sinuses, salivary glands, throat and lymph nodes in the neck. Most start in the tissues that line the mouth, nose and throat and are strongly linked to tobacco use. Often, Head and Neck Cancer’s reappear despite physical removal. These cancers can cause a lump or sore that won’t heal a chronic sore throat, difficulty swallowing or a change in voice.

NFCR Research

Prevention

  • We are creating a risk model for cancer recurrence to help find preventative treatments to avoid developing the cancer again.
  • NFCR is conducting clinical trials to identify medications or natural substances that can stop the process leading to cancer development.
Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer forms in the lining of tubes in your kidneys that are used to filter and clean blood.  Kidney Cancer Spreads rapidly because of the kidneys role in blood circulation.  It is most common in people over 40 and can cause blood in urine, a lump in the abdomen, unexplained weight loss, and loss of appetite.

 

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR-funded scientists are developing novel human antibody-based treatment for kidney cancer. In addition, these antibodies can also be developed as imaging reagents to help with diagnosis of kidney cancer.
Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer found in the white blood cells, which help the body fight infection. Without the body’s natural defense system, we are prone to anemia, bleeding and infections. Common symptoms are fever and night sweats, bruising and bleeding easily, bone and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck or groin, lots of infections, losing weight and lack of appetite.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR is creating a new form of the cancer-fighting drug Onrigin. The drug works by killing cells. Our new form of the drug will only be able to kill once it has entered a cancer cell, leaving healthy cells alone.
  • NFCR scientists have found microRNAs that can suppress the development of leukemia and increase the rate of normal blood cell growth. To pave the way for new treatments, we are researching how these microRNAs work.
  • We are working on a technique that improves the body’s ability to fight leukemia by equipping the cancer-fighting cells with a way to find the cancer, which normally hides.
Liver Cancer

The liver is the largest organ inside the body, and performs many vital functions: a person cannot survive without his or her liver. More common in African and East Asian countries, liver cancer is often tied to hepatitis infection (A, B, and C), exposure to toxic chemicals, or excessive alcohol consumption. Symptoms of liver cancer are often nonspecific, and are not apparent until later stages of the disease.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR is designing a new anti-cancer drug that will target cancer proteins that prevent healthy proteins from stopping cancer growth. This new technology has major implications for the possibility of stopping the spread of cancer.
  • NFCR is trying to stop the spread of cancer is by identifying the genes that allow cancer cells to first move away from the main tumor and into nearby healthy areas, the initial step of cancer spreading throughout the body. Once these genes are identified, we can develop drugs to stop them and this approach may prevent the cancer cells from moving to begin with.
Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers and is the leading killer among all types of cancer.  Smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.  If we can initiate a disconnect between smoking and lung cancer, countless lives will be saved.  People with lung cancer may have a chronic cough, chest pain, coughing up blood, repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis, swelling in the neck and face, and loss of appetite.

NFCR Research

Prevention

  • We are building risk models to predict the development of smoking-related lung cancer. People identified as high risk can then take preventative measures. We are also researching the use of curcumin (an Indian curry spice) as one preventative treatment.

Treatment

  • NFCR is creating a model to identify the genetic make up of early stage lung cancer.  With this information, doctors can personalize treatment plans to target the specific type of cancer.
  • Cancer cells in the blood are rare and haven’t really been researched because there wasn’t a technology that could capture them. NFCR has developed a microchip device that can now detect tumor cells circulating in the blood. The device could be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, make timely adjustments to treatments and potentially for early cancer detection.
  • We are working on a technique to test how effective the chemotherapy drug Taxol will be before treatment is started. Not everyone responds to Taxol, so identifying its effectiveness can avoid wasting time with unnecessary treatments.
  • NFCR is creating a new form of the cancer-fighting drug laromustine. The drug works by killing cells. Our new form of the drug will only be able to kill once it has entered a cancer cell, leaving healthy cells alone.
Lymphoma

Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma occur in the immune system and affects white blood cells. It can start in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver or bone marrow. The available treatment options are not effective enough and more than 20,000 children and adults are expected to lose their battle against this lethal disease in 2013 alone. If we are able to educate our immune system to lymphoma cancer, the treatment options will make a difference.

People with lymphoma may have swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin, unexplained weight loss, fever, weakness and tiredness that won’t go away, and pain and swelling in the abdomen.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR is conducting a clinical trial of a technique to improve the immune system’s ability to fight lymphoma by giving the cancer-fighting cells a way to find the cancer, which normally hides. We are also working to enhance these fighting cells more quickly and cost-effectively.
  • NFCR scientists have found microRNAs that can suppress the development of leukemia and increase the rate of normal blood cell growth. To pave the way for new treatments, we are researching how these microRNAs work.
  • NFCR is developing a drug that will shut down the formation of arteries that supply nutrients to tumors and a drug that could target the production of new blood vessels, preventing their formation all together.
  • NFCR is working on an anti-cancer drug that only works after it enters a cancer cell, leaving healthy cells in tact. Keeping healthy cells alive gives people more strength to fight off the cancer.
  • We are improving the benefits of bone marrow transplants by creating a process to stop the transplanted cells from attacking the patient’s healthy cells. We found a way to tell which cells will attack, and to cause them to self-destruct before they have a chance. The process leaves behind the helpful cells from the transplant so that some benefits are still received.
  • NFCR is categorizing tumor types based on which ones will likely respond well to the anti-cancer drug laromustine so that doctors can more effectively select patients that will benefit from the drug.
Melanoma

Although most skin cancers are curable, melanoma will claimed an estimated 9,480 U.S. lives in 2013, accounting for 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Melanoma is more difficult to prevent because, unlike other types of skin cancer, heredity plays a major role in its development. Melanoma is also more aggressive in spreading (metastasizing) to distant body parts, and treatment is often ineffective once metastasis occurs. Only 15-20% of patients with metastatic melanoma survive for 5 years or longer. Better treatment strategies are in high demand for this lethal skin cancer.

NFCR Research

Prevention

  • NFCR is working to create a second layer of sunscreen inside of your body. Some foods have nutrients that lessen the skin damage caused by UV rays, which reduces the overall risk of cancer (for example, the chemical lycopene, found in foods like tomatoes). More research into these foods could lead to using diet as a prevention method.

Treatment

  • We have found an enzyme that can slow and stop the growth of melanoma, especially when combined with chemotherapy. With further research, we hope to develop a new therapy to more effectively fight melanoma.
  • Cancer becomes very fatal when it spreads to other areas, but little is known about how it spreads. NFCR started to look into how cancer spreads and we found two genes that stop the spread of melanoma. This discovery could lead to more effective anti-cancer therapies.
Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer, in which malignant cells grow in the chest or abdomen lining. Most individuals who develop mesothelioma have been exposed to airborne asbestos particles on a regular basis. Symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent cough, and difficulty breathing. It usually takes decades for symptoms to appear after an individual’s first exposure.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR manages the Tissue Bank Consortium in Asia, a cancer tissue sample preparation and storage facility that serves as an extensive data hub to support research. So far, research on cancer tissue from the tissue bank has improved the classification of breast cancer, created tests to diagnose cancer sooner, and led to better therapies.
Metastatic Cancer

Metastatic cancer is more likely to be fatal because the cancer cells have already spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. This makes treatment complicated as there the cancer is no longer centralized. The cancer has most likely to spread to the lungs, liver and bones but can spread elsewhere.

NFCR Research

NFCR has a Center for Metastasis Research that is supported by the Lucy Fund for Metastatic Cancer Research. The Center tries to understand the metastatic process with an eye toward finding ways to prevent the spread of cancer.

Prevention and Treatment

  • NFCR is researching the role of certain genes in the spread of cancer cells. If we can better understand how cancer spreads, we can develop more effective treatments.
  • We are also exploring the ability of certain mutated genes to stop the spread of cancer cells.
Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma forms in a specific type of white blood cell – plasma cells. Over time, myeloma cells collect in the bone marrow and in solid parts of bone. It is more common in the elderly and African-Americans and can cause bone pain, broken bones, weakness and fatigue, weight loss and repeated infections.

NFCR Research

We have been supporting scientists in this area for a decade, allowing them to test their ideas, evaluate and improve them over time.

Treatment

  • We are improving the benefits of bone marrow transplants by creating a process to stop the transplanted cells from attacking the patient’s healthy cells. We found a way to tell which cells will attack, and to cause them to self-destruct before they have a chance. The process leaves behind the helpful cells from the transplant so that some benefits are still received.
  • NFCR is conducting clinical trials of anti-cancer drugs that stop the growth of new cancer cells and force existing cells to self-destruct.
Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer only affects women and is found in the ovaries, part of the female reproductive system. Known as the “Silent Killer,” too often the cancer goes undiagnosed until the disease is far advanced and has spread throughout the abdomen or to distant organs. It is generally found in women over 50. In many cases, symptoms are very mild or nonexistent. Individuals with symptoms may experience pain in the lower abdomen, bleeding, weight gain or loss, unexplained back pain, loss of appetite, or abnormal periods.

NFCR Research

Detection

  • Only 19% of cases are detected at early stages. To improve this statistic, NFCR is working on a reliable test to detect ovarian cancer when it is in its more treatable stages.

Treatment

  • We are working to increase the effectiveness of the anti-cancer drug Taxol by identifying parts of cancer cells that are particularly sensitive to the drug.
  • NFCR is enhancing our tissue bank that collects and preserves samples to be used for research and partnering with pharmaceutical companies to develop new tests for diagnosis and treatment.
  • We are researching ways to identify and neutralize a protective pathway that may be allowing tumors to resist the anti-cancer drug Taxol.
  • NFCR is trying to stop the spread of ovarian cancer – two-thirds of cases are diagnosed after it has spread throughout the abdomen and other organs. Our Center for Metastatic Research is examining genes that stop the spread of cancer to determine how they work and how to replicate them.
Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer occurs in a gland that is located behind the stomach and helps to break down food.  While treatment exists, there is a greater potential to advance these treatments to have a higher survival rate. People with pancreatic cancer may have yellowing of the skin and eyes, pain in the abdomen and back, weight loss and fatigue.  Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all cancers.

NFCR Research

Prevention

  • NFCR is conducting clinical tests of a drug compound that prevents cancer.  A tumor model test has shown that the compounds can delay the development of pancreatic cancer.

Treatment

  • We are enhancing the effectiveness of the drug Tarceva, by combining it with a new gene that can boost its abilities.
  • NFCR is conducting clinical trials to study the benefits of Chinese herbal medicines. Initial phases have shown that the herbal medicine alleviates side effects of chemotherapy and has anti-tumor effects. This could lead to an FDA-approved herbal medicine for cancer treatment and a new outlook on traditional Chinese medicine.
  • NFCR is using a computer program to match the correct drug combination to the cancer, reducing the time and costs of developing treatments.
Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer only affects men and occurs in a gland located below the bladder. Currently, no effective treatment is currently available for when after the cancer has reached advanced stages. That is why prostate cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in American males. It is very rare in men under 40. People may experience problems urinating, lower back pain and pain with ejaculation. Ninety percent of cases spread from the prostate to the bones.

NFCR Research

Prevention

We are researching how the nutrient selenium interacts with cancer, with the hope of being able to use selenium supplements to prevent prostate cancer.

Detection

  • We are developing an imaging technique to find cancer in its earliest stages, giving us a better chance to fight the cancer. The technique starts by sending a scout in to the body. The scout finds cancer cells and attaches to them. Once the two are attached, the scout lets us know that cancer is there by sending a signal. Our cameras see the signal and we know where the brain cancer is. This early detection will help us to treat the cancer more effectively and, hopefully, with increased success.

Treatment

  • NFCR is working on a gene therapy that releases a virus into the body to infect and destroy tumor cells. The virus does this in a one-two punch: first, it multiplies itself within the cancer cells until the cells die and then it produces a naturally occurring molecule that kills tumor cells directly.
  • We are trying to understand how prostate cancer spreads to the bone by using a 3D model system to research the process. Once we can identify how the cancer spreads, we can work toward preventing it from happening.
  • Cancer cells in the blood are rare and haven’t really been researched because there wasn’t a technology that could capture them. NFCR has developed a blood test that can now trap and isolate tumor cells circulating in the blood. This could be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, make timely adjustments to treatments and potentially for early cancer detection.
Sarcoma

Sarcoma is a very rare cancer that occurs in soft tissues such as fat, muscles or nerves. There are many different types, depending on what tissue the sarcoma starts in. If the cancer spreads, it can put pressure on nerves and organs, causing pain or trouble breathing. The main impediment to the development of new and effective therapeutic approaches for this deadly cancer is the lack of understanding at the molecular level of what genes or proteins have gone haywire to initiate uncontrolled cell growth.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR is collecting data on the rare cancer – clinical history of patients’ disease, analysis of tumor size and surgical outcome, and tissue samples. This information is essential to understanding the makeup of sarcoma and could provide the basis for development of future treatments.
Skin Cancer

Most skin damage leading to skin cancer is caused by over-exposure to UV rays from the sun and tanning beds. So, skin cancer usually forms on parts of the body that are more exposed to the sun – the head, face, neck, hands and arms. Most skin cancers are curable, but one type is more dangerous – melanoma. Melanoma has a hereditary component and is quick to spread to other parts of the body. Learn about self-examinations that can help detect skin cancer early.

NFCR Research

Prevention

  • NFCR is working to create a second layer of sunscreen inside of your body. Some foods have nutrients that lessen the skin damage caused by UV rays, which reduces the overall risk of cancer. For example, lycopene, found in foods like tomatoes. More research into these foods could lead to using diet as a prevention method.

Treatment

  • We have found an enzyme that can slow and stop the growth of melanoma, especially when combined with chemotherapy.  With further research, we hope to develop a new therapy to more effectively fight melanoma.
  • Cancer becomes very fatal when it spreads to other areas, but little is known about how it spreads. NFCR started to look into how cancer spreads and we found two genes that stop the spread of melanoma. This discovery could lead to more effective anti-cancer therapies.
Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer occurs when malignant cells are found in one or both testicles. While it only accounts for 1% of all cancers in men, it is the most common type of cancer in young men between the ages of 15 and 35. Many men with testicular cancer don’t even have any of the known risk factors, such as cryptorchidism, Caucasian ancestry, and a family history of the disease. However, testicular cancer is highly treatable and often curable

NFCR Research

Prevention

  • NFCR is conducting clinical trials to identify medications or natural substances that can stop the process leading to cancer development.

Treatment

  • NFCR is designing a new anti-cancer drug that will target cancer proteins that prevent healthy proteins from stopping cancer growth. This new technology has major implications for the possibility of stopping the spread of cancer.
Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid is a hormone-producing gland at the front of our neck (beneath the larynx). Usually, thyroid cells grow and divide, as the body needs them. Sometimes, this process goes awry, leading to the buildup of extra cells. While this buildup of extra cells often forms a benign mass, or nodule, occasionally these lumps can become cancerous. Any new lumps on your thyroid should be brought to your doctor’s attention.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR is researching the spread of cancer to other sites in the body, which is what makes cancers even more dangerous. We are working on a new treatment that copies the way our body’s special genes and proteins normally slow the spread of cancer and this new approach could prevent it from spreading all together.
  • Another way NFCR is trying to stop the spread of cancer is by identifying the genes that allow cancer cells to first move away from the main tumor and into nearby healthy areas, the initial step of cancer spreading throughout the body. Once these genes are identified, we can develop drugs to stop them and this approach may prevent the cancer cells from moving to begin with.
Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer, also called endometrial cancer, is a cancer that originates in the inner lining of the uterus. Most known risk factors appear to be related to changes in the balance between estrogen and progesterone, two main female hormones. The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding, however it is important to visit a doctor to get a diagnosis.

NFCR Research

Treatment

  • NFCR is developing a drug that will shut down the formation of arteries that supply nutrients to tumors and a drug that could target the production of new blood vessels, preventing their formation all together.
  • NFCR is conducting clinical trials to study the benefits of Chinese herbal medicines. Initial phases have shown that the herbal medicine alleviates side effects of chemotherapy and has anti-tumor effects. This could lead to an FDA-approved herbal medicine for cancer treatment and a new outlook on traditional Chinese medicine.