Research on Cancer Producing Enzyme Earns Prestigious Award

Oceanside, NY, September 17, 2009 --( A study on a primary lung cancer-causing enzyme and an enzyme that stops its activity has been awarded the prestigious Murry Friedman Surgical Resident Competition Award by the Brooklyn and Long Island Chapter of the American College of Surgeons.

The study was presented by surgical resident Anna Gasparyan, MD, department of thoracic oncology, South Nassau Communities Hospital, and co-authored by Shahriyour Andaz, MD, FACS, FRCS, director of thoracic oncology at South Nassau, Chen C., MD, PhD; Svetlana Danovich, DO, PhD; Stewart Fox, MD; Kodali S., MD, PhD; Rathnasabapathy C., MD, PhD; and Jen C. Wang, MD.

The objective of the award-winning study focused on analyzing histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity in lung cancer in order to design the most effective use of HDAC inhibitors. HDAC is, a class of enzymes responsible for the regulation of many genes including some involved in cancer proliferation. HDAC inhibitors have been shown to inhibit proliferation of cancer cells and cause apoptosis, or cell death, of tumor cells.

The intense focus on the development of HDAC inhibitors is a result of their ability to block angiogenesis (a normal and vital process in growth, development and wound healing, but also a fundamental step in the transition of tumors from a dormant to a malignant state) and cell cycling (the series of events involving the growth, replication, and division of a cell).

Previous research has shown that HDAC inhibitors affect an array of solid and hematological cancers, including neuroblastoma, melanoma, leukemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer.

“Taking into account what we already know about HDAC inhibitors, it is vital that the medical community and researchers move rapidly and aggressively to discover and understand the most effective uses for them in the fight against cancer,” said Dr. Andaz. “In addition to the potential that they have demonstrated, their other encouraging feature is that they have demonstrated little toxicity.”

The low toxicity may limit or reduce the severity of common side effects such as hair loss, diarrhea, nausea, skin rashes, mouth sores and fatigue that are often associated with chemotherapy drugs.

The award winning study compared parts of lung tissue specimens from 20 patients with lung cancer that had cancer cells to areas that were normal. Using the QRT-PCR method (Quantitative Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction) a positive test proves that genetically modified cancer cells are present in the sample. The study showed that HDACs not only act on the histone deacetylation, they also act on many nonhistone protein substrates such as hormone receptors, chaperone proteins and cytokeratin proteins, which regulate cell proliferation and cell death.

This is the third consecutive year in which a study including Dr. Andaz has earned the prestigious award. Dr. Andaz specializes in complex chest cancer procedures and minimally invasive thorascopic surgery. His expertise includes resection and reconstruction of chest wall sarcomas, mesothelioma, tracheal resections and reconstructions, endobronchial surgery, esophageal resection and lung volume reduction surgery. Eliminating the need for large incisions and painful rib resections, the minimally invasive approach offers faster healing and shortened recovery time. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Andaz, call 1-877-SouthNassau.

South Nassau Communities Hospital is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 435 beds, more than 875 physicians and 2,600 employees. Located in Oceanside, NY, the hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profit teaching hospital that provides state-of-the-art care in cardiac, oncologic, orthopedic, bariatric, pain management, mental health and emergency services. In addition to its extensive outpatient specialty centers, South Nassau is a designated Stroke Center, boasts Long Island’s first and only Gamma Knifeâ and provides emergency and elective angioplasty. South Nassau is designated as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons and is recognized as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society of Bariatric Surgery.

South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker