Author Interviews, Dermatology, Melanoma, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 24.05.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrew F. Alexis, MD, MPH Vice-Chair for Diversity and Inclusion Department of Dermatology Dermatologist Center for Diverse Skin Complexions Weill Cornell Medicine – NY MedicalResearch.com: What are the main types of skin cancer?  Is the incidence changing? Response: The 3 main types of skin cancer are melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States1 and 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. (2) The overall incidence has changed as follows:Melanoma: Rates doubled over past 30 years from 1982 to 2011.3 It differs by age group. o Adolescents and adults age 30 and younger: incidence rate is declining o Older age groups (e.g. 80 and older): incidence rate is increasing • Squamous Cell Cancer: o Incidence increased 263% between 1976-1984 and 2000-20104 • Basal Cell Cancer: o Incidence increased 145% between 1976-1984 and 2000-20104 (more…)
Cancer Research, Environmental Risks / 22.05.2024

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of compounds utilized in a variety of industrial and commercial applications, such as firefighting foams and military equipment. Recent research has raised concerns about the possible health implications of PFAS exposure, specifically its association with testicular cancer. Firefighters and military personnel are particularly vulnerable owing to work exposure to PFAS-containing chemicals. This article explores the connection between PFAS exposure and testicular cancer, focusing on the impact on firefighters and military personnel. It will also discuss the legal recourse available for these individuals through AFFF lawsuits. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, University of Pittsburgh / 09.05.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Roderick J. O’Sullivan PhD Associate Professor Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology UPMC Hillman Cancer Center University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For a few years, my group has had the good fortune of collaborating with Dr. Ivan Ahel. Ivan is a world leader in the field of ADP-ribosylation. His work has identified major gaps in our understanding of ADP-ribosylation. This includes his lab discovering that DNA bases can be ADP-ribosylated in bacteria and that a poorly characterized enzyme known as TARG1 could be involved in that process. In discussing this work with Ivan, we were confident that DNA ADP-ribosylation also exists in human cells and that showing this could be pretty important. The problem was that identifying a part of the genome where it might be present, so we could study it, was not so obvious and challenging. But we had a hunch that telomeres could be one part of the genome where it could happen!! Telomeres are really special structures located at the ends of each human chromosome. They demarcate the physical end of each chromosome and prevent chromosomes from becoming entangled – which if it happens, is catastrophic for cells. Our hunch was based on the evidence from other studies that telomeres are natural targets of PARP1, the enzyme that catalyzes most of the ADP-ribosylation in human cells. I then discussed this idea with Anne Wondisford, a medical scientist trainee in the lab, who liked the idea and designed a series of experiments to test it. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, USPSTF / 01.05.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wanda K. Nicholson, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. Senior Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Professor of Prevention and Community Health Milken Institute School of Public Health George Washington University Dr. Nicholson was appointed chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in March 2024. She served as vice chair from March 2022 to March 2024 and as a member of the Task Force from January 2009 through December 2013. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Breast cancer is the second most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths for women in the U.S. After reviewing the latest science, the Task Force recommends screening all women for breast cancer every other year starting at age 40 and continuing through age 74. This new approach has the potential to save nearly 20 percent more lives from breast cancer and has even greater potential benefit for Black women, who are much more likely to die from breast cancer. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research / 11.04.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: RJ Tesi M.D. CEO and Founder of INmune Bio MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • MUC4 expression by high-risk breast cancer (HER2+ or TNBC) is a biomarker that predicts resistance to therapy and an increased risk a metastasis. MUC4 expression can be determined at time of biopsy and therapeutic decisions should be adjusted to optimize the chance of response to first line therapy.
This biomarker is easily determined using immunohistochemistry in the diagnostic breast biopsy tissue similar to testing for HER2 expression. Testing for MUC4 can be easily added to the current panel of routine stains obtained at the time of the diagnostic biopsy. Knowing MUC4 status in women with high-risk breast cancer will improve results.
  • Soluble TNF causes the up regulation of immune checkpoint proteins of cells of the TME. This includes CD47 and SIRPa on tumor based macrophages and CTLA4, PD1, LAG3 and TIGIT on T cells in the TME. INB03 is a pan immune checkpoint modulator. Treatment with INB03 downregulates all immune checkpoint proteins on the cells. Downmodulation of all immune checkpoint proteins improves response to immunotherapy.
Currently, monoclonal antibodies targeting immune checkpoint proteins are a mainstay of cancer therapy and cancer drug development. These strategies target one immune checkpoint protein at a time. To date, combination therapy targeting two immune checkpoint proteins has been tried (e.g.: anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA4 combination therapy) with mixed results. Combination immune checkpoint strategies may increase therapeutic response but increase toxicity. INB03 downregulates all immune checkpoint proteins. This is equivalent to giving a patient a 6 antibody cocktail – something that cannot be done in man. As expected, decreased immune checkpoint expression improves response to therapy by converting immunotherapy resistant tumors to immunotherapy sensitive tumors.
  • In TNBC, MUC4 expression predicts both resistance to anti-PD1 therapy and increased risk of distant metastasis. Treatment with INB03 decreases expression of proteins associated with tumor metastasis, decreases the number of metastasis and improves response to anti-PD1 therapy. Early use of INB03 may prevent distal disease and improve tumor control.
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Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Prostate, Prostate Cancer, Urology, Vaccine Studies / 08.04.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sujit Nair, PhD Director of GU Immunotherapy Research Department of Urology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How is the vaccine obtained? Response: https://classic.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03262103 Dr. Tewari is the treating physician and clinical lead on the study.  This is a phase I, open-label, clinical trial (NCT03262103) using a dose escalation strategy in 12 patients diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer with plans for surgery. The investigational agent used in the trial is Poly-ICLC, an immune modulator developed by ONCOVIR. Poly-ICLC is a double-stranded RNA that mimics viral activity, thereby stimulating the immune response. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Radiology / 28.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yolanda Bryce, MD Director, Interventional Radiology Residency Program Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? For whom would this treatment be indicated? Response: The standard of care for local breast cancer includes surgery, however many patients are poor surgical candidates or refuse surgery. I use cryoablation to treat this population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer, Radiology / 25.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Steven S. Raman, M.D., FASR, FSIR Professor of Radiology, Urology and Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you describe the TULSA technique? Response: Prostate cancer is the most common solid organ cancer in men.  Currently whole gland ablation relies on surgery or radiation both of which have high rates of impotence and incontinence but also have up to a 30% rate of post therapy recurrence. TULSA is a new minimally invasive technique to treat PCa under MRI guidance with both near continuous whole gland MRI imaging and MRI thermometry to make sure the extent of lethal heating over 55 degrees Celsius is known.  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cannabis / 23.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian J. Piper, PhD Associate Professor of Neuroscience Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Scranton PA 18411 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Many cancer patients use marijuana to treat pain, nausea, or anxiety, often without communicating this with their health care providers. Two observational studies (1, 2) from a single institution in Israel purporting to find a dangerous drug interaction between medical cannabis and immunotherapy have been cited hundreds of times, including by clinical practice guidelines. The cannabinoid CB2 receptor is found on immune tissues so it is biologically possible that marijuana could make immunotherapies like nivolumab less effective. However, there were anonymous reports on PubPeer (3-5) of many irregularities in the data-analysis. If there were unappreciated differences on other important variables at baseline besides subsequent cannabis use, this could change the interpretation of these influential reports (1, 2). This investigation involved attempting to repeat and verify the data-analysis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, JAMA / 19.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric Montminy MD Interventional Endoscopist Cook County Health and Hospitals System Chicago, Illinois   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study was performed in the backdrop of recent colorectal cancer screening guideline updates.  Two national organizations are recommending screening initiation at two different ages: USPSTF recommends initiation at age 45 and the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends initiation at age 50. With now two national organizations recommending different ages to start screening, patients may become confused (particularly those between 45-50).  Prior confusion has been documented when breast cancer screening recommendations were being changed as well.  Our focus was to examine colorectal adenocarcinoma incidence rates with stage stratification of those who are between the ACP and USPSTF recommendations (ages 46-49). Our study utilized SEER17 data registries over 2000-2020 to collect incidence rates within the U.S.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Microbiome / 07.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Ashray Gunjur MBBS (Hons), B. Med Sci, MPHTM FRACP Clinical Research Training Fellow Melbourne, Australia   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As background, the last ~5 years have seen a surge of interest in the relationship between gut microbiota and cancer response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). We know that though a fraction of many different cancer types will respond to these therapies, it is currently very hard to predict who that will be- so ‘microbiome’ based biomarkers to select patients, or even strategies to change a patient’s microbiome to enhance their chance of responding, are very attractive. A key challenge, however, has been a lack of consistency in the microbes associated with response or non-response across different studies from different regions. While geographic, methodological, and technical variation likely contribute to this, most studies examined the gut microbiome at a genus- or species- taxonomic rank level, while we know there is significant intra-species (strain-level) diversity. As such, one of our key research questions was whether we could improve the reproducibility of microbial ‘signatures’ of response across cohorts using higher resolution approaches- with our hypothesis being that strain-resolution signatures would outperform species- or lower resolution signatures. We obtained our signature by analysing baseline faecal samples from the CA209-538 clinical trial, a wonderful investigator-initiated study sponsored by the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia). I was fortunate enough to work on this trial as a clinical investigator while training to be a medical oncologist. (more…)
Cancer Research, Social Issues / 05.03.2024

Caring for a spouse battling cancer presents unique challenges, often requiring a delicate balance of physical, emotional, and logistical support. Providing care in the comfort of a home can offer a sense of familiarity and warmth during a challenging time. The aim must be to create a supportive environment, manage medical needs, and seek emotional support. It will empower spouses as they embark on this journey of care and compassion. According to the AACR Cancer Progress Report, cancer survivors have significantly improved from 50 years ago. It constituted only 1.4 percent of the US population earlier, but they have increased considerably. The number of cancer survivors is estimated to grow to 26 million by 2040. All they need is proper treatment and support to battle it. In this article, we'll delve into effective approaches and available aids for spouses managing the intricate challenges of caring for cancer patients. These insights and resources aim to enhance the quality of life for their beloved partners while safeguarding their own health and wellness.

Establishing a Supportive Environment

When caring for a wife with cancer at home, it is paramount to establish a supportive environment for her. It includes creating a calm and comfortable space that promotes relaxation. Ensure the environment is clean, organized, and free from clutter. Additionally, it's essential to maintain open communication with healthcare providers and loved ones to coordinate care effectively. Establishing a routine that accommodates the wife's and the caregiver's needs will create a sense of predictability and stability. It is crucial during this challenging time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research / 04.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Takemi Tanaka, Ph. D. Professor, Stephenson Cancer Center Department of Pathology, School of Medicine University of Oklahoma Health Science Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our previous cohort study has shown that breast cancer progresses 60 days after diagnostic biopsy in early-stage ER+ breast cancer. Others have also reported increased breast cancer mortality due to surgery delay. These observations raised the question of how slow-growing ER+ breast cancer progresses so quickly in just 60 days following diagnosis, prompting us to hypothesize whether needle biopsy of breast tumors accelerates pro-metastatic changes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Case Western, Colon Cancer, JAMA / 07.12.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathan A. Berger, M.D. Distinguished University ProfessorHanna-Payne Professor of Experimental MedicineProfessor of Medicine, Biochemistry, Oncology and GeneticsDirector, Center for Science, Health and SocietyCase Western Reserve University School of Medicine   Rong Xu, PhD Professor, Biomedical Informatics Director, Center for Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: 75% of the US Population has overweight or obesity and 15% has Type 2 Diabetes. Both overweight/obesity and diabetes promote increased incidence and worse prognosis of colorectal cancer. The new GLP1RA drug class are rapidly becoming the most effective treatment for both diabetes and overweight/obesity. By controlling diabetes and overweight/obesity, we hypothesized that the GLP1RAs might be effective at reducing incidence of colorectal cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Pharmacology / 17.11.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lisa-Marie Smale, PharmD
PhD Candidate Clinical Pharmacy
Radboud University Medical Center
Department of Pharmacy
Nijmegen, the Netherlands Lisa-Marie Smale, PharmDPhD Candidate Clinical PharmacyRadboud University Medical CenterDepartment of PharmacyNijmegen, the Netherlands   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cancer drugs are not always fully used by patients, while these drugs are mostly expensive and environmentally damaging, both in production and (waste) disposal. Therefore we investigated whether unused drugs of patients can be collected, verified of quality by a pharmacy, to be redispensed to other patients instead of being disposed of. We were interested whether such an approach ultimately leads to lower environmental impacts and costs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Lung Cancer, NIH, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford / 01.11.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Summer S Han, PhD Associate Professor Quantitative Sciences Unit Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research (BMIR) Department of Neurosurgery and Department of Medicine Department of Epidemiology & Population Health (by Courtesy) Stanford University School of Medicine Dr. Eunji Choi PhD Instructor, Neurosurgery Department: Adult Neurosurgery Stanford University School of Medicine   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, killing about 127,000 people annually, but it can be treatable if detected early.
  • Low-dose computed tomography, or CT scan, has been shown to significantly reduce the number of lung cancer deaths. But because the radiation delivered by the scans can be harmful (they use on average about 10 times the radiation of standard X-rays), only those people at relatively high risk for lung cancer should be screened. The two biggest risk factors for lung cancer are exposure to tobacco smoke and age. Current national guidelines that rely on age and smoking exposure to recommend people for lung cancer screening are disproportionally failing minority populations including African Americans, according to a new study led by researchers at Stanford Medicine.
  • In 2021, the national guidelines by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued revised recommendation guidelines on lung cancer screening, lowering the start age from 55-year to 50-year and the smoking pack-year criterion from 30 to 20, compared to the 2013 USPSTF criteria. In comparison to the 2013 criteria, the new modifications have been shown to lessen racial disparities in screening eligibility between African Americans and Whites. However, potential disparities across other major racial groups in the U.S., such as Latinos, remains poorly examined.
  • Meanwhile, risk prediction model assesses a person’s risk score of developing an illness, such as lung cancer.
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Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Thyroid / 27.10.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maaike van Gerwen, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Institute for Translational Epidemiolog Director of Research Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Where are these PFAS chemicals found? Response: Over the past decades, we have seen an increasing trend in thyroid cancer which cannot be fully explained by increased use of medical imaging (including ultrasound). Certain environmental exposure are known to impact on the thyroid gland, including thyroid dysfunction or development of cancer. PFAS are chemicals that are known to disrupt the function of endocrine organs, such as the thyroid gland. We therefore hypothesized that PFAS exposure may be one of the potential risk factors for thyroid cancer and thus one of the potential reason for the increasing thyroid cancer incidence. PFAS chemicals are widespread in the environment and have been found in the soil, water, and air. PFAS are also widely used in a variety of consumer products including non-stick cookware, stain resisting fabric, firefighting foams, but are also found in drinking water and food. This leads to an almost universal exposure of the general population. (more…)
Breast Cancer, Technology / 22.10.2023

Breast cancer accounts for 12.5% of new annual cases in the world, making it the most common of all cancers. Early detection is vital, since when breast cancer is localized, it boasts a 99% survival rate. Despite this fact, only 64% of breast cancer cases are detected at a localized stage in the US, according to data obtained from the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The good news is that scientists at MIT have developed a new device that can simply be incorporated into a bra. Doing so would allow more frequent monitoring of people with a high risk for breast cancer and it would enable women to detect very early stage tumors.
A Patch In Time
The device is a flexible patch that can be attached to any bra. It has an ultrasound tracker that can analyze breast tissue from various angles—and the images obtained are as high in quality as those obtained from ultrasound probes used in medical imaging clinics The device provides real-time information that is easy to access and interpret. The development of the device resulted from the personal experience of MIT associate professor. Canan Dagdeviren. The latter’s aunt was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer at the age of 49, passing away six months later. While sitting by her aunt’s bedside, the researchers created a rough schematic of a diagnostic patch that could be incorporated into a brassiere. The aim was to enable women to obtain more frequent information instead of depending on a once-yearly (or less frequent) checkup. Dagdeviren’s device is essentially a miniature 3D-printed ultrasound scanner that has tiny openings. It can be rotated to obtain images from a plethora of angles, and does not require medical expertise to use. The device leverages the very latest technology, including AI algorithms, biomedical systems, and low-power circuits
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Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Melanoma / 06.10.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Mitchell Stark B.App.Sc (Hons), PhD UQ Amplify Senior Research Fellow Skin Cancer Genomics and Biomarker Discovery Group Leader Frazer Institute Faculty of Medicine The University of Queensland Translational Research Institute Woolloongabba, QLD 4102   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nodular melanoma (NM) is one of the most aggressive subtypes of melanoma. Despite making up only 14 per cent of cases, it is the largest contributor to melanoma deaths. Nodular melanoma is difficult to catch early because it grows fast and has often spread deeper in the skin by the time it’s diagnosed. Around a quarter of NM cases also appear as a skin-coloured tumour, which might go unnoticed for longer. In this study we wanted to determine whether there were genetic variants associated with nodular melanoma, which might contribute to nodular melanoma risk. We identified 39 genes with rare DNA variants which had the greatest frequency in nodular melanoma patients compared to non-NM patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, OBGYNE, Surgical Research / 04.10.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gabriele Martelli, MD Breast Unit, Surgery Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori Milan, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Approximately 8% of breast cancer cases are associated with pathogenic germline variants of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Women with a pathogenic BRCA1 variant have lifetime risks of breast or ovarian cancer of 45% to 80% and 30% to 60%, respectively. Women with a pathogenic BRCA2 variant have lifetime risks of breast or ovarian cancer of 35% to 60% and 10% to 25%, respectively. BRCA1 breast cancer is often more aggressive than sporadic disease, while BRCA2 breast cancer is often of similar aggressivity to sporadic disease. However, few studies have investigated outcomes of breast-conserving surgery, prophylactic mastectomy, or prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy in patients with BRCA1/2 breast cancer. We conducted a cohort study to assess outcomes of breast-conserving surgery vs mastectomy, prophylactic mastectomy vs no prophylactic mastectomy, and prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy vs no prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy in patients with BRCA1/2 breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Cancer Research / 09.08.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sibaji Sarkar, Ph.D. Division of Biotech, Quincy College Quincy MA. Biology/STEM MBC College, Wellesley MA, Boston MA. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main developmental differences between adult and pediatric tumors? Response: The treatment of both pediatric and adult types of brain tumors is complex.  The treatment and prognosis depend on their origin, development, progression and location. It is extremely important that the origin, which involves formation of cancer stem/progenitor cells, is investigated to understand growth, drug resistance and relapse of the brain tumors. Pediatric brain tumors often are less metastatic and treatable but chemo leaves adverse effects for longer times. Adult metastatic brain tumors usually have worse prognosis. To understand and develop better treatments we need to understand the differences in the origin and progression of these different types of brain tumor [1]. One of the important aspects is epigenetic alterations. Epigenetic alterations are reversible and different from mutations in genes, which are usually permanent. In epigenetic alterations, modifications occur on DNA or the protein histones around which the DNA is folded and they regulate whether a gene will express or not (will make a protein or not), that determines a special function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Ovarian Cancer / 07.08.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pei Wang, PhD Professor, Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA Michael J. Birrer MD PhD Director, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 72205 Amanda G. Paulovich MD PhD Translational Science and Therapeutics Division Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Seattle WA 98109 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How common is serous ovarian cancer? Response: Epithelial ovarian cancer accounts for >185,000 deaths/year worldwide. The most common subtype, high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC), accounts for 60% of deaths. Despite improvements in surgical and chemotherapeutic approaches, HGSOC mortality has not changed in decades. Five-year survival remains ~30% for the majority of patients. Standard of care involves surgical debulking combined with adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy with carbo- or cisplatin in combination with a taxane. At diagnosis, HGSOC is among the most chemo-sensitive of all epithelial malignancies, with initial response rates of ~85%, presumably related to DNA repair defects. Platinum is thought primarily to drive the response rate, due to the lower single-agent response rate for taxanes. Unfortunately, 10-20% of HGSOC patients have treatment-refractory disease at diagnosis, fail to respond to initial chemotherapy, and have a dismal prognosis. The poor response to subsequent therapy and median overall survival of ~12 months for these patients has not changed in 40 years. Despite >30 years of literature studying platinum resistance in cancer, there currently is no way to distinguish refractory from sensitive HGSOCs prior to therapy. Consequently, patients with refractory disease experience the toxicity of platinum-based chemotherapy without benefit. Due to their rapid progression, they are commonly excluded from participating in clinical trials. Consequently, there is no ongoing clinical research that could identify effective therapeutic agents for these patients or provide insights into molecular mechanisms of refractory disease.  “Right now, we can’t identify drug-resistant ovarian cancer patients up front,” said co-senior author Michael Birrer, MD, PhD, who directs UAMS’ Winthrop J. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. “We find them by default: They get sick and pass away so quickly that they can’t even be put on new clinical trials.” To address this unmet clinical need, we performed proteogenomic analysis of treatment-naïve HGSOCs (chemo-sensitive and chemo-refractory) to identify molecular signatures of refractory HGSOC and to identify potential treatment targets. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ovarian Cancer / 04.08.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zai LabRafael Amado, M.D. President, head of Global Oncology Research and Development Zai Lab MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Zai lab is focused on discovering and developing innovative therapies that will help address medical conditions where there are serious unmet needs. Advanced ovarian cancer, with a low survival and high recurrence rate, is a key focus of our oncology R&D research. In addition to our own discovery program, as part of our open innovation model we partner with companies to license drugs for patients in China and co-develop therapies to address leading causes of cancer death. We currently have a license and collaboration agreement with GSK for the development and commercialization of ZEJULA (niraparib) in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. PRIME was a follow-on study to a previously conducted study called PRIMA, which demonstrated clinical benefit of niraparib in newly diagnosed patients with advanced ovarian cancer regardless of biomarker status. The PRIMA study enrolled a population at high risk of recurrence. Thirty-five percent of patients in PRIMA received an individualized starting dose (ISD) of niraparib based on their baseline weight and platelet count. To further evaluate the efficacy and safety of niraparib with an ISD in a broad population, we decided to conduct the PRIME study. We wanted to explore further whether we could decrease toxicity using an ISD and how it would affect clinical outcomes. The Phase 3 PRIME study was conducted at 29 hospitals in mainland China. PRIME was a randomized, placebo-controlled trial designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of niraparib at an ISD as first-line maintenance therapy in a broad range of patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer. All patients in PRIME received an ISD based on their baseline body weight and platelet count. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Hematology, Leukemia / 15.06.2023

Medical Research Interview: Dr. Daniel Thomas MD PhD FRACP FRCPA Program Leader, Blood Cancer Precision Medicine Theme at the South Australia Health Medical Research Institute Clinical Hematologist, Royal Adelaide Hospital Associate Professor, Adelaide Medical School, The University of Adelaide MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe the condition of CMML? Response: Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is a rare, but increasingly frequent, clonal stem cell disorder that results in hyperproliferation of inflammatory monocytes, a form of white blood cells. It features both myelodysplasia and myeloproliferation. CMML is most often found in older adults and leads to anemia, decreased quality of life, and an increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a cytokine that stimulates production, growth, differentiation, activation, and function of myeloid cells (monocytes, neutrophils, and eosinophils). In the presence of RAS-pathway mutations, a greater sensitivity to GM-CSF contributes to the hyperproliferation of myelocytes in myelodysplastic leukemias such as CMML, juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).  In CMML, greater sensitivity to GM-CSF stimulates excessive monocytic precursor proliferation. The PREACH-M Trial, which stands for PREcision Approach to CHronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia, assesses the efficacy of lenzilumab in addition to azacitidine in treatment-naïve CMML participants with RAS-pathway mutations (KRAS, NRAS, CBL) and separately high dose ascorbate in participants with TET2 mutations who do not have RAS-pathway mutations. The study is currently underway and actively enrolling.  It is being conducted and funded by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).  (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Red Meat / 13.06.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Suneel Kamath MD Gastrointestinal Oncologist Cleveland Clinic Senior Author on this research       MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Colorectal cancer rates in young people under age 50 are skyrocketing and have been for the last 3-4 decades. We really don’t understand why because most cases (probably around 70%) are not genetic or hereditary, just random, unfortunate events. We suspect that it is some exposure(s) like excess consumption of red meat, processed foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, excess antibiotic use altering the microbiome, rising incidence of obesity or some other factors. We really don’t know why yet. Our study used a technology called metabolomics, the study of breakdown products and production building blocks for our bodies, to look for differences in colorectal cancer in young people versus people that are older that developed colorectal cancer. Because metabolomics measures how each individual interacts with the exposures in our environment like diet, air quality, etc., it is a way to bridge the gap between our nature (determined by genetics) and nurture (determined by our exposures). (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Nature, Prostate Cancer, UCSF / 12.06.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rebecca E. Graff, ScD Assistant Professor University of California, San Francisco Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Mission Hall: Global Health & Clinical Sciences Building San Francisco, CA 94158 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: PSA screening for prostate cancer has long been controversial. While it does seem to reduce mortality attributable to prostate cancer, it also results in the diagnosis of many cancers that never otherwise would have presented symptomatically. In addition, PSA levels are affected by factors other than prostate tumors (e.g., age, prostatic inflammation, and genetics), such that men with high PSA values are often referred for biopsy but do not end up having cancer. We hypothesized that accounting for the genetic component of PSA could yield adjusted values that better distinguish who should get a prostate biopsy. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford / 06.06.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Allison W. Kurian, M.D., M.Sc. Professor of Medicine and of Epidemiology and Population Health Associate Chief, Division of Oncology Co-Leader, Population Sciences Program, Stanford Cancer Institute Director, Women’s Clinical Cancer Genetics Program Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5405 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What types of cancers were in the study? Response: Genetic testing for cancer risk is increasingly important after a cancer diagnosis, to inform use of targeted therapies, secondary cancer prevention approaches and cascade genetic testing of family members. However, very little is known about how genetic testing is used after a cancer diagnosis at the population level. We leveraged a very large population-based data resource, the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registries of the states of California and Georgia, and linked data from these registries to clinical genetic testing results provided by the four major laboratories that provide such testing. We used this linked registry-genetic testing dataset to study adults (age >=20 years) diagnosed with all types of cancer in the states of Georgia and California from 2013-2019. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lung Cancer, University of Pennsylvania / 05.06.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lova L. Sun, MD, MSCE Medical Oncology Assistant Professor of Medicine Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: An common clinical question for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer with long-term response to immunotherapy-based treatment is how long to continue treatment. The major clinical trials stopped immunotherapy at a maximum of 2 years, but in clinical practice many patients and clinicians continue treatment beyond this time point. We conducted a retrospective study of lung cancer patients across the US with long-term response to immunotherapy, to compare survival between those who stopped treatment at 2 years vs those who continued beyond 2 years. We found that there was no statistically significant difference in survival between the two groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JAMA, MRSA, Radiation Therapy / 06.05.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Beth McLellan, M.D. Chief, Division of Dermatology Montefiore Medical Center Albert Einstein College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How is the decolonization initiated and maintained? Response: We were interested in exploring whether bacteria on the skin plays a role in radiation dermatitis like it does in other skin diseases that cause a breakdown in the skin barrier. We used a bacterial decolonization regimen that includes chlorhexidine 2% cleanser for the body and mupirocin 2% ointment to the inside of the nose for 5 consecutive days before starting radiation therapy and repeated for an additional 5 days every other week for the duration of radiation. (more…)
Lung Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 02.05.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andres Kohan MD MHSc. in Translational Research Joint Department of Medical Imaging University Health Network Mount Sinai Hospital and Women's College Hospital University of Toronto Toronto, Canada   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Inequalities in access to healthcare for oncologic patients and its impact on quality of life and survival have been previously described. However, there also exists reports pointing out that when factors contributing to socioeconomic inequality are accounted for differences in outcome between races remain identifiable. In this context, we sought to evaluate the presence of disparities in imaging in a selected population of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) within AACRs Project GENIE Biopharma Consortium (BPC) dataset v 1.1. This database is the largest in existence that has not only the patients’ imaging and clinical staging/follow-up, but also the genetic profile of the patients’ tumors. (more…)