Scientific Sessions

Cancer evolution and its progression

Tumor progression is initiated by a process of clonal evolution where cancer evolve through repeated process of clonal expansion, clonal selection and genetic diversification with highly variable patterns of genetic diversity resulting in tumour progression. The importance of this process has been increasingly recognized over the past decade: tumour heterogeneity, the major cause of therapeutic resistance to antitumor agents, results from the genetic, epigenetic and micro environmental selective pressure that tumour cells undergo during cancer progression. Tumor progression is driven by mutations that confer growth advantages to different subpopulations of cancer cells. As a tumor grows, these subpopulations expand, accumulate new mutations, and are subjected to selective pressures from the environment, including anticancer interventions. This clonal evolution process can lead to the emergence of therapy-resistant tumors and poses a major challenge for cancer eradication efforts.

 

 

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Cancer Epidemiology and prevention

The scientific study of factors responsible for the initiation, metastasis and prognosis of various types of cancer in a particular group of population represents Cancer Epidemiology. Cancer epidemiologic study includes the distribution, determinants, and frequency of malignant disease in specific populations. Epidemiological research findings on cancer can facilitate the formulation of suitable therapeutic treatment methods and preventive medicines for cancer The objective is to define causative factors to formulate preventive strategies for control of the disease. Epidemiologic assessment provides the clinician with a quantification of cancer risk, outlines the basis for screening modalities for high-risk populations, and determines the efficacy of any preventive intervention. Three types of epidemiologic research apply to the field of cancer. Descriptive epidemiology focuses on the trends and frequency of disease in a given population. Analytic epidemiology deals with identifying causes and the predisposing risk associated with the development of disease. Clinical epidemiology outlines screening programs and evaluates the impact of prevention strategies on overall outcome.

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Cancer genome and its functional models

All the DNA contained in the nucleus of our cells makes up your genome. Inside the nucleus of the cells, the genome is packaged into two sets of chromosomes: one set from your mother and one set from your father. The DNA in the chromosomes contains genes, which encode foe a specific function in our body, in the alphabet of our genes there are four letters: A, C, G and T and they are arranged in a particular sequence. Genomics is the study of the sequence of these letters in your DNA and how each particular genes passes information to help each cell in your body work properly.

These chromosomes are composed DNA.  All cancers arise as a result of changes that have occurred or mutations in the DNA sequence of the genomes of cancer cells. Cancer cells contain several gene mutations and it results in defective cell. This abnormality in cell division can result either when active oncogenes are expressed or when the tumor suppressor genes are lost.  Over years of time a lot of new things have been learnt about these mutations and the abnormal genes that operate in human cancers are understood well. Cancer research has helped a lot in moving into an era in which it will be possible to obtain the complete DNA sequence of large numbers of cancer genomes and has contributed a lot to understand the different type of cancers. Cancer research and genome sequencing studies has provided us with a detailed and comprehensive perspective on how individual cancers have developed.

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Cancer epigenetics

The study of somatically heritable changes involved in the molecular processes that influence the transfer as well as flow of information from between the DNA of the cancer cells and their gene expression patterns is known as cancer epigenetics. This study involves the comparative investigation of nuclear organisation, DNA methylation, histone modification and the consequences of genetic mutations in genes encoding epigenetic regulations among both the normal and tumor cells.

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Reconstructive Surgery

After cancer treatment cancer patients or survivors are left with major changes in the body which can be either in functional or in physical form. Reconstructive surgery aims to restore the normal function as well as the physical changes caused due to cancer treatment. Reconstructive surgery is done on a medical basis which involves the role of a surgical oncologist and a reconstructive surgeon during the surgery. These surgeries are mainly performed in certain type of cancers which include breast cancer, skin cancer, melanoma, uveal melanoma, eye cancer, oral cancer, throat cancer, parathyroid cancer, thyroid cancer, skull based tumors, head and neck cancer, cancer of vulva, vagina and cervix. Reconstructive surgeries are usually performed immediately after removal of the tumor but in some cases they are performed after completion of other treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Reconstructive surgery cannot be performed unless the cancer is completely removed from the diagnosed location as it may result in other consequences. The recovery time of reconstructive surgery depends on the type of surgery.

Most of the reconstructive surgeries include microvascular techniques also known as free flap surgery in which the surgeon takes tissue and blood vessels from one part of the patient’s body and transfers them to the damaged part, this process is also known as transplantation. Other type of reconstructive surgeries includes the use of artificial implants, local flap surgery, scar revisions, skin, tendon and bone grafts. As far of the present cancer cases, it has been observed that breast cancer is most commonly reported among women and most of the reconstructive surgeries performed are for breast cancer.

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Imaging and radiomics

Imaging methods are used for obtaining pictures of the body and it plays an important role in detection of cancers, it also helps in determining the stage of the cancer and locating the cancer so that it can be treated properly. Imaging method are also helpful in detecting whether the cancer has returned even after treatment.  Non-invasive medical imaging, such as magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, computed tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography (PET), is routinely used for assessing tumour and anatomical tissue characteristics for cancer management. Cancer imaging as well as 

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Artificial intelligence in cancer treatment

Application of artificial intelligence in healthcare has found to improve disease diagnosis, effective treatment, management of the disease. As there are large number of people diagnosed with cancer during every year and a huge number of data is generated throughout the cancer treatment application of artificial intelligence has improved the oncological care.

 

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Use of nanotechnology and bio-markers in cancer

Nanotechnology

Conventional cancer treatment methods use surgery, radiation and chemotherapy which causes severe damage to the other normal tissue along with severe side effects and sometimes it also results in incomplete eradication of cancer. Use of nanotechnology in cancer has many applications which include diagnosis, detection, treatment and therapy for cancer along with safe and less harmful methods.  Applying nanotechnology for cancer diagnosis and treatment is still in developing stage.

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Cancer cell biology

Cell division is a highly regulated process in which its growth and inheritance are controlled by its DNA or genetic material. Cell division occurs when they receive a proper signal from the growth factors which are present and keep circulating in the bloodstream or when they are signalled by a nearby cell to which they are directly connected. When a signal for cell division is received, the cell undergoes cell cycle in which it passes through many phases for the division to get completed, these steps are verified by the checkpoints along each step of the process. Any violation from the systematic process of cell division can make them cancerous. A cancer cell is the one which grows out of control, it ignores the signals which instruct them to cease dividing, to die and shed and also to specialize. These cells have the ability to travel and spread to different parts of the body. Cancer cells contain several gene mutations and it results in defective cell. This abnormality in cell division can result either when active oncogenes are expressed or when the tumor suppressor genes are lost. Gene mutations in the cancer cell enables it to invade a normal tissue where the cancer has started or to travel through the blood stream and to spread to other parts of the body where it can continuously divide.

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Cancer immunology

The study and understanding of the immune system in the development of cancer and its progression is known as cancer immunology. It aims for obtaining deep understanding between cells of the immune system with the cancer cells or tumors as it is important for the invention of new cancer treatment methods or therapies. Research in cancer immunology has led to the development of cancer immunotherapy where the immune system is itself used for treating cancer and looked for its cure. It has also led for identification of cancer antigens or tumor antigens, helped in understanding mechanisms of tumor evasion from the immune response, cancer immunoediting, immuneosurveillance. Cancer immunosurveillance and immunoediting are related to protection against development of tumors in animal systems and also for identification of targets for immune recognition of human cancers. Studies in cancer immunology focuses on understanding the immune microenvironment, where multiple cells like regulatory T cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells which usually accumulate in tumors show molecular interactions in the tumor microenvironment and inhibit the antitumor immune responses.

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T-cell response to treat cancer

T-cells are thymus derived lymphocytes. There are many types of T-cells and each one is specific in its function. It also helps in fighting cancer directly or indirectly, Killer T-cells kill the cancer cells directly by finding the cancer cells and these killer T-cells and also be stimulated to kill cancer cells. Another T-cell known as Helper T-cell fight cancer indirectly. Cancer affects T-cell functions, during chemotherapy it depletes the T-cells and other white blood cells.  A newly emerged research therapy involves re-engineering of a patient’s T-cells in such a way that they recognize and kill the cancer cells. It has been found effective in case of lymphoma. The functioning of T-cells is dependent on cancer-immunity cycle. When cancer cells die they give away antigens which are recognised by the immune system. Special immune cells called antigen-presenting cells takes up these cancer antigens and are present on their cell surface so that other immune cells can identify it. The antigen-presenting cells activates the T-cells in the lymph nodes and instructs them to recognise the cancer cells. These activated T-cells travel through the blood stream, infiltrates the cells, recognises the cancer cells and kills them.  

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Treatment according to pathology and biology

Pathology of cancer helps in diagnosis and identifying the extent of cancer within the body and helps in determining better treatment options. Pathology is based on the diagnosis determined by examining cells and tissues under a microscope. Pathology report gives the identified information in the form of a document which contains the information about the size, shape and appearance of the specimen an also identifies the disease and helps in determining the treatment options.

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Radiation therapy during early stages

Radiations or particles with high energy are used in treatment for destroying cancer cells, this method of treatment is known as radiation therapy. Basing on the requirement the type and amount of radiation to be given is decided by the doctors.

 

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Drug and immunotherapy combinations

Use of drugs in cancer treatment show remarkable responses but for many patients they stop working this phenomenon is known as drug resistance. Drug resistance is the most challenging problem faced by cancer researchers. Failure of a drug while treatment may result in cancer recurrence. Drug combinations are believed to overcome or delay the development of drug resistance in cancer patients while treatment. Drug combinations include two different approaches, one of them is by co-administering drugs which work through different mechanisms in which one increases tumor cell killing while the other reduces drug risistance.

 

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Types of cancer

Classification and naming of cancer is based on the location of the body or organ in which they begin and also on the type of cells they are made up of. The clinical terms which are used for certain general type of cancer are carcinomasarcomaleukemialymphoma and myeloma. If a cancer starts in the skin or the tissue that line the other organs it is termed as carcinoma. When cancer is developed in connective tissues such as bones, muscles, cartilage and blood vessels it is termed as sarcoma. If cancer has developed in the bone marrow which is responsible for production of blood cells, then it is termed as leukemia. Cancer of the immune systems are called lymphoma and myeloma. 

 

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Breast cancer research

Breast cancer research brings out new innovations in the treatment and diagnostic methods for breast cancer, breast cancer epidemiologic research has helped in finding out physical activities that reduces the risk of breast cancer, new discoveries in drugs and medication, Breast cancer research studies gave a better understanding for the genetic, biochemical, and cellular basis of breast cancer which in turn boosted up the preclinical, translational and clinical studies with a biological basis including Phase 1 and phase 2 trials.

 

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