Cancer News and Discussions

weatheriscool
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Researchers study potential new CAR-T cell therapy for multiple myeloma
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06- ... tiple.html
by Mayo Clinic
Researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center are studying a potential new chimeric antigen receptor-T cell therapy (CAR-T cell therapy) treatment for multiple myeloma. Their findings were published on Friday, June 24, in The Lancet.

"CAR-T cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that involves harnessing the power of a person's own immune system by engineering their T cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells," says Yi Lin, M.D., a Mayo Clinic hematologist and lead author of the study.

Dr. Lin says the Food and Drug Administration approved idecabtagene vicleucel, the first CAR-T cell treatment for multiple myeloma, in March. "Today, we are working toward another potential CAR-T cell treatment for multiple myeloma," says Dr. Lin.

Dr. Lin says the CARTITUDE-1 study is a registration-phase 1B/II clinical trial. The trial tested B cell maturation antigen targeting CAR-T cell therapy, ciltacabtagene autoleucel (cilta-cel), in patients with multiple myeloma who received at least three previous lines of therapy with standard drugs, including proteasome inhibitors, immunomodulatory drugs and CD38 antibodies.
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Yuli Ban
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CAR-NK Immunotherapy Targets Cancer Cells, Spares Healthy Cells Carrying Same Markers
Researchers at McMaster University have developed a form of cancer immunotherapy that uses cancer-killing natural killer (NK) cells genetically engineered outside the body to target and destroy cancer cells, including solid tumor types. Their in vitro studies showed that these chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered NK cells can differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells that are found in and around tumors, and destroy only the targeted cells. The team says that this ability of NK cells to distinguish the target cells from healthy cells that express similar markers suggest that CAR-NK therapeutic approaches may offer new promise for cancer immunotherapy.

“These CAR-NK cells are a little bit smarter, in a way, in that they only kill the enemy cells and not good cells that happen to have the same marker,” said Ali A. Ashkar, PhD, a professor of medicine at McMaster. “These cells have a sober second thought that says, ‘I recognize this target, but is this target part of a healthy cell or a cancer cell?’ They are able to leave the healthy cells alone and kill the cancer cells.”
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weatheriscool
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Potential drug target for difficult-to-treat breast cancer: RNA-binding proteins
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- ... ancer.html
by University of California - San Diego

In cancer research, it's a common goal to find something about cancer cells—some sort of molecule—that drives their ability to survive, and determine if that molecule could be inhibited with a drug, halting tumor growth. Even better: The molecule isn't present in healthy cells, so they remain untouched by the new therapy.

Plenty of progress has been made in this approach, known as molecular targeted cancer therapy. Some current cancer therapeutics inhibit enzymes that become overactive, allowing cells to proliferate, spread and survive beyond their norm. The challenge is that many known cancer-driving molecules are "undruggable," meaning their type, shape or location prohibit drugs from binding to them.
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Promising new research on aggressive breast cancer
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- ... ancer.html
by University of Montreal
Better treatments of HER2-positive breast cancer are closer at hand, thanks to new research by a team led by Université de Montréal professor Jean-François Côté at the cytoskeleton organization and cell-migration research unit of the UdeM-affiliated Montreal Clinical Research Institute.

Published in PNAS, the journal of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the new research by Marie-Anne Goyette, a doctoral student in Côté's laboratory, reveals a highly promising therapeutic target to counter the HER2-positive breast cancer.

In HER2-positive breast cancer, a gene called HER2 is expressed that promotes an aggressive form of the disease. Affecting 20 percent of women suffering from breast cancer in Canada, the HER2-positive subtype is associated with a poor prognosis.

What threatens the life of the majority of cancer patients is the power of tumor cells to spread and thus metastasize to other organs, which can interfere with vital body functions. Increasingly, personalized medicine has generated a lot of hope for patients expressing the HER2 gene, but relapses are frequent in many.
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Protective protein prevents cancer cells spreading into the bloodstream
By Michael Irving
July 12, 2021
https://newatlas.com/medical/protective ... etastasis/
Cancer becomes far more dangerous when it spreads through the body. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have identified a protein that stops cells getting into the bloodstream – and found that metastasizing cancer cells ignore it. This may reveal a new drug target for cancer treatment.

Cancer is frustratingly proactive. After it establishes itself in one part of the body, it tends to start shedding rogue cells that venture out into the bloodstream, then to other organs to set up a new “colony.” This process of metastasis makes cancer much harder to track down and remove, and as such exponentially more deadly.

In response, finding ways to prevent metastasis is a major arm of cancer research. In recent years, scientists have discovered molecules, proteins and protein signaling pathways that help tumors spread, providing a good starting point for developing drugs that target these. An existing drug has already been found to patch up leaky blood vessels that cancer cells can penetrate more easily. Coating immune cells in nanoparticles could help them hunt down rogue cancer cells in the bloodstream. Or dietary changes could reduce the chances of metastasis.
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Researchers discover a new pathway to tackle follicular lymphoma
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- ... phoma.html
by The Spanish National Cancer Research Centre
In order to grow beyond control, tumors manipulate cell signals to make it appear as if the cells have the nutrients they need. That is the case in follicular lymphoma, a type of tumor that affects the B lymphocytes of the immune system. One in six follicular lymphoma patients has mutations in RagC, a gene involved in the mTOR nutrient signaling pathway.

The team led by Alejo Efeyan, head of the Metabolism and Cell Signalling Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), has discovered that genetic inhibition of the RagC protein blocks the activation of B lymphocytes and delays the onset of follicular lymphomas without side effects. The study, which was carried out in animal models, was published this week in the journal Cell Reports.

One of the most common lymphomas

Follicular lymphoma is the second most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It affects the B cells of the immune system, and its incidence is increasing with five to seven cases per 100,000 population. It is a cancer with a slow progression, but there is no cure, and patients eventually stop responding to the few treatments available.
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Antihypertension drug may help patients with noncancerous brain tumors affecting hearing

by Katie Marquedant, Massachusetts General Hospital
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- ... brain.html
New research led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Massachusetts Eye and Ear indicates that the blood pressure drug losartan may benefit patients with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a hereditary condition associated with vestibular schwannomas, or noncancerous tumors along the nerves in the brain that are involved with hearing and balance. The findings, which are published in Science Translational Medicine, are especially important because vestibular schwannomas are currently treated with surgery and radiation therapy (which carry risks of nerve damage), and no drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat these tumors or their associated hearing loss.

"Developing effective therapeutics to preserve hearing function in patients with NF2 is an urgent unmet medical need. The greatest barrier to managing NF2-related auditory impairment is our incomplete understanding of how schwannomas cause hearing loss," says co-senior author Lei Xu, MD, Ph.D., an investigator in the Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology within the MGH Department of Radiation Oncology. A previous report showing that scarring, or fibrosis, exists in schwannomas and correlates with hearing loss prompted the team to test whether a drug that blocks fibrosis might be effective.
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Yuli Ban
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Researchers Find Common Denominator Linking All Cancers
All cancers fall into just two categories, according to new research from scientists at Sinai Health, in findings that could provide a new strategy for treating the most aggressive and untreatable forms of the disease.

In new research out this month in Cancer Cell, scientists at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI), part of Sinai Health, divide all cancers into two groups, based on the presence or absence of a protein called the Yes-associated protein, or YAP.

Rod Bremner, senior scientist at the LTRI, said they have determined that all cancers are present with YAP either on or off, and each classification exhibits different drug sensitivities or resistance. YAP plays an important role in the formation of malignant tumours because it is an important regulator and effector of the Hippo signaling pathway.

“Not only is YAP either off or on, but it has opposite pro- or anti-cancer effects in either context,” Bremner said. “Thus, YAPon cancers need YAP to grow and survive. In contrast, YAPoff cancers stop growing when we switch on YAP.”
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Yuli Ban
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New research could keep cancer fighting T cells from burning out before the job is done
In a new Nature Immunology study, researchers report that T cells can be engineered to clear tumors without succumbing to T cell exhaustion
Fighting a tumor is a marathon, not a sprint. For cancer-fighting T cells, the race is sometimes just too long, and the T cells quit fighting. Researchers even have a name for this phenomenon: T cell exhaustion.

In a new Nature Immunology study, researchers at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) report that T cells can be engineered to clear tumors without succumbing to T cell exhaustion.

"The idea is to give the cells a little bit of armor against the exhaustion program," says LJI Professor Patrick Hogan, Ph.D. "The cells can go into the tumor to do their job, and then they can stick around as memory cells."
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weatheriscool
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Smart combination therapy for liver cancer tackles drug resistance

by Netherlands Cancer Institute

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- ... ancer.html
Liver cancer is one of the most common cancer types worldwide and is especially common in China. A collaborative effort between researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Shanghai using CRISPR/Cas has led to the discovery that insensitivity to a liver cancer drug can be prevented if it is given in combination with a second drug.

Finding the alternative pathway in the cancer cell

More and more cancer drugs—known as targeted therapy—inhibit the effects of DNA errors in the cancer cell. Unfortunately, cancer cells often are—or become—resistant to these drugs. They then continue to divide via an alternative signaling route in the cell. Molecular cancer researcher Rene Bernards exposes these routes in cancer cells by blocking all routes off, one by one, using genetic techniques such as CRISPR/Cas.
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