Human Lymphocyte

Turning the Immune System into an Equal Opportunity Cancer Killer

Results from a small clinical trial comprising 86 cancer patients have prompted scientists to rethink how different cancers are classified and treated. The drug being assessed was Keytruda, a recent addition to oncologists’ arsenal of cancer immunotherapy drugs.  Unlike traditional chemotherapies, which poison and kill cancer cells directly, cancer immunotherapy recruits the body’s own self-defense machinery to attack tumors.  Although our immune systems are very good … Continue reading Turning the Immune System into an Equal Opportunity Cancer Killer

Cancer Moonshot Musings II: Fusion oncoproteins in focus

by Steph Guerra figures by Shannon McArdel The Cancer Moonshot is an initiative that was launched by Joe Biden in 2016 with the goal of accelerating cancer research progress by bringing together world-class researchers and institutions in the battle against this disease. Armed with $300 million in startup funding, plus a total of $1.8 billion authorized over the next seven years, the Cancer Moonshot has … Continue reading Cancer Moonshot Musings II: Fusion oncoproteins in focus

Cancer Immunotherapy: Fighting fire with fire

by Kimberly Hagel figures by Alexandra Was We, as humans, tend to idealize that which is bigger, better, faster, and stronger. It is in our nature to strive towards the best. To improve. To win. Indeed, the penetrance of this mentality reaches to our very core, even to the individual cells of which we are composed. A prime example of this: cancer. Today, cancer is … Continue reading Cancer Immunotherapy: Fighting fire with fire

Microbial Physicians: Delivering drugs with bacteria

by Benika Pinch Fancy a pill packed with bacteria? Researchers are investigating using genetically modified bacteria, taken in pill form, to treat human disease. Informally, they are called “designer probiotics”. But, unlike probiotics (microorganisms with known health benefits), they can’t be obtained via a serving of yogurt from your local supermarket. Rather, the bacteria in question are feats of genetic engineering and are specifically designed … Continue reading Microbial Physicians: Delivering drugs with bacteria

Diabetes, Cancer and the Drug that Fights them Both

by Megan L Norris figures by Bradley Wierbowski The emerging link between cancer and diabetes In the early 2000s, observations that diabetics are more likely to get cancer than non-diabetics began piling up. Was this because diabetes and cancer share general risk factors such as diet, aging and obesity? Or was there a direct link between them, with cancer benefiting from the sugar-rich and inflamed … Continue reading Diabetes, Cancer and the Drug that Fights them Both

A new medical implant might greatly reduce the risk of chemotherapy treatment

Chemotherapy is a common and dangerous cancer treatment due to the negative effects on everything that is not a tumor cell. Researchers from Columbia University have invented a soft medical implant capable of administering drugs from inside the body. The ability to place this device close to the target area allows for a significant (90%) reduction of the drug dosage to be used. Similarly, avoiding body-wide administration of the drug can greatly reduce the damage inflicted by normal chemotherapy dosages. Continue reading A new medical implant might greatly reduce the risk of chemotherapy treatment

The Tricky Business of Targeting Cancers’ “Master Regulators”

Over the past few decades, cancer therapies have become increasingly targeted, with protein and antibody drugs targeting specific proteins with exquisite selectivity. Often, however, the utility of targeted therapies is limited; there are many different paths to outwardly similar cancers, and targeted therapies are often only effective against very specific cancer subtypes. An alternative strategy, championed by cancer researchers at Columbia University, is to target … Continue reading The Tricky Business of Targeting Cancers’ “Master Regulators”

T Cell

FDA suspends (and promptly restarts) clinical trial for new cancer therapy

Bringing a new medical therapy to market is rarely a straightforward task, as a biotech company called Juno Therapeutics learned firsthand.  Juno specializes in CAR-T therapy, which uses genetic engineering to teach a patient’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells. Unfortunately, 3 of the 129 patients who had received this treatment in a clinical trial recently died from excessive brain swelling, prompting the FDA to … Continue reading FDA suspends (and promptly restarts) clinical trial for new cancer therapy

Opinion: Can Obama’s Plan Cure Cancer? Shooting the moon one patient at a time

by Steph Guerra During his last State of the Union address, President Obama announced a new national effort for ‘a moonshot’ to cure cancer. He wants “America to be the country to cure cancer once and for all.” Still reeling from the premature loss of his son to brain cancer, Joe Biden is set to spearhead this major push for federal cancer research funding. Cancer … Continue reading Opinion: Can Obama’s Plan Cure Cancer? Shooting the moon one patient at a time

Oncolytic viruses- A one of a kind FDA approval

by Nishita Parnandi figures by Krissy Lyon One of the biggest challenges in treating cancer is to specifically target the cancerous site in a tissue without killing the surrounding normal cells. The use of oncolytic viruses is a new cancer treatment that is excellent at achieving just that. An oncolytic virus named ImlygicTM manufactured by Amgen recently received the stamp of approval from the FDA … Continue reading Oncolytic viruses- A one of a kind FDA approval