Posted by: jeanne | June 1, 2011

stress kills

Major breast cancer breakthrough made in Irish University

Trinity College scientists use new method to restrict tumors

By

CATHAL DERVAN

IrishCentral.com Staff Writer

Published Wednesday, June 1, 2011, 7:39 AM
Trinity College researchers believe they have made a major breakthrough in the treatment of breast cancer

Trinity College researchers believe they have made a major breakthrough in the treatment of breast cancer.

The Dublin college scientists have discovered that blocking a particular stress response can reduce the spread of breast cancer.

The research was based on a study of women with breast cancer in Ireland between 2000 and 2007 with the results just published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers discovered that those taking drugs that blocked a particular hormone related stress pathway had a much lower risk of dying from their cancer.

Dr Ian Barron, a Health Research Board postdoctoral fellow at TCD, led the research team.

“For patients with cancer, higher levels of stress are associated with more frequent disease recurrence, faster disease progression and higher rates of death from cancer,” Dr Barron told the Irish Examiner.

“Studies have suggested how stress hormones such as adrenaline and oradrenaline could play a role in this process, but this is the first study in humans to show blocking the stress response greatly reduces the risk of cancer spreading or metastasizing.”

The results of the research suggest that, when compared to control groups, women taking the stress hormone blocking drugs in the year prior to their cancer diagnosis were less likely to be diagnosed with invasive or metastatic breast cancer than women who were not taking it.

It also argues that women continuing to take the drugs after their diagnosis were considerably less likely to die from the disease in the five years following diagnosis.

and here’s something about drugs that lower stress hormone levels.

Drugs That Lower Norepinephrine Levels

Drugs That Lower Norepinephrine Levels

Norepinephrine, or noradrenaline, is a catecholamine that functions as a neurotransmitter and a stress hormone. High levels of norepinephrine can refer to high levels of the chemical either in the blood or in the central nervous system. Though both levels can be measured, it is considerably simpler and more common to measure norepinephrine in the blood than in the central nervous system. High concentrations of norepinephrine in the blood often correlates with insomnia and anxiety. Drugs that lower blood concentrations of norepinephrine include serotonin reuptake inhibitors, blood pressure medications, heart medications and lithium salts.

Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors belong to a class of drugs that have anti-depressant and anxiolytic, or anti-anxiety, effects. They block the absorption of brain serotonin back into the neurons. This leaves a larger amount of naturally occurring serotonin available for binding to serotonin receptors in the brain. Via the serotonin receptors, serotonin regulates the processing of negative emotions in the amygdala, the brain’s main fear center. As fear is one of the main catalysts for the secretion of the stress chemicals cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine from the adrenal glands, down-regulating fear can lower blood concentrations of norepinephrine.

The newest class of anti-depressants, which selectively inhibits the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine, may be even more successful in treating depression and anxiety and lowering blood concentrations of stress chemicals, according to a study in the October 2009 issue of “Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.”

Blood Pressure Medications

The attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication guanfacine is a potentially effective medication for lowering blood concentrations of norepinephrine. Guanfacine helps re-establish disrupted neural networks in the prefrontal cortex, reports a study in the April 2007 issue of “Cell.” Guanfacine also lowers both the systolic blood pressure, or top reading, and the diastolic blood pressure, or bottom reading, by stimulating norepinephrine receptors in the prefrontal cortex. A stimulation of the norepinephrine receptors leads to a decrease in nerve signals from the vasomotor center to blood vessels and heart. This causes pressure in the blood vessels and heart rate to drop. It can also reduce stress hormone levels.

Heart Medications

The main heart medications used to prevent the effects of norepinephrine are drugs in the beta blocker class. Beta blockers block the stimulating effects of stress hormones on heart contraction, heart beat, respiration and muscles by competing with the stress hormones for the available binding sites. Beta blockers do not directly lower the levels of norepinephrine, but according to a study published in the March 2009 issue of “Nature Neuroscience,” the beta blocker propanolol can reduce the storage of fearful memories, which could ultimately lower secretions of stress hormones from the adrenal glands.

Lithium Salt

Lithium salts, the oldest medications used to treat psychosis, major depression and bipolar disorder, may also down-regulate the secretion of stress hormones. According to a study published in the May 2010 issue of “Journal of Lipid Research,” lithium ions fight neuroinflammation by decreasing the pro-inflammatory chemical arachidonic acid and increasing the brain levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Neuroinflammation can damage neurons and disrupt neuron connections. This can increase blood concentrations of the stress hormones. By fighting the inflammation in the brain’s neurons, lithium may help to down-regulate the secretion of stress hormones.

 

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