Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Gender Differences / 14.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Faecal Coliforms analysis” by SuSanA Secretariat is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Mahiben Maruthappu Public Health Registrar MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gender disparities in the fields of science and technology have been documented, and  it becomes increasingly apparent at higher levels of seniority. In this analysis, we found a quantifiable difference in cancer research funding awarded to female principle investigators compared to male principle investigators (PIs). Across all cancer research funding grants that we identified, male PIs received 3.6 times the total investment value, and 1.6 times the average award value compared with their female counterparts. 
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer / 11.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41344" align="alignleft" width="143"]Alex Krist, M.D., M.P.H Professor of family medicine and population health Virginia Commonwealth University and Active clinician and teacher at the Fairfax Family Practice residency Dr. Krist[/caption] Alex Krist, M.D., M.P.H Professor of family medicine and population health Virginia Commonwealth University and Active clinician and teacher at the Fairfax Family Practice residency MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers to affect men. However, the decision about whether to be screened is complex and personal. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reviewed the latest research on the benefits and harms of screening for prostate cancer using PSA-based testing, as well as evidence on treatment. We found that men who are 55 to 69 years old should discuss the benefits and harms of screening with their doctor, so they can make the best choice for themselves based on their values and individual circumstances. Men age 70 and older should not be screened, as the benefits of screening diminish as men age and the harms are greater.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Osteoporosis / 05.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chenfang Dong, Ph.D & M.D. Professor Department of Pathology and Pathophysiology Zhejiang University School of Medicine,  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Basal-like breast cancer (BLBC), which generally falls into the triple-negative breast cancer subtype, is associated with a poor clinical outcome due to few treatment options and poor therapeutic response; thus there is a pressing need to elucidate the determinants of aggressiveness in BLBC and identify potential therapeutic targets for this challenging disease. By analyzing gene expression profiles of breast cancer in multiple publicly available datasets that contain over 5000 cases, we have identified that UDP-galactose ceramide galactosyltransferase (UGT8), a key enzyme in the sulfatide biosynthetic pathway, promotes BLBC progression by activating sulfatide-αVβ5 axis. Importantly, we identify that zoledronic acid (ZA), a marketed drug for treating osteoporosis and bone metastasis, is a direct inhibitor of UGT8, which has the potential to become a valuable targeted drug for treating Basal-like breast cancer. 
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Radiation Therapy / 03.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41471" align="alignleft" width="130"]Chelain Goodman, MD PhD PGY-3, Radiation Oncology Northwestern University Chicago, IL 60611 Dr. Goodman[/caption] Chelain Goodman, MD PhD PGY-3, Radiation Oncology Northwestern University Chicago, IL 60611 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Circulating tumor cells are cancer cells that are shed from the primary tumor into the peripheral blood stream and are hypothesized to be one of the first steps in the initiation of metastatic progression. Prospective studies have demonstrated that approximately 15-25% of patients with early-stage breast cancer can be found to have at least one circulating tumor cell in a small sample of their blood. Currently, all patients with early-stage invasive breast cancer who undergo breast conserving surgery receive adjuvant radiation therapy. In these analyses, we wanted to determine whether presence of circulating tumor cells may be predictive of benefit of radiation therapy following surgery.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Mammograms / 03.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41460" align="alignleft" width="200"]Anne Marie McCarthy, PhD Department of Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston Dr. McCarthy[/caption] Anne Marie McCarthy, PhD Department of Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Mammography is effective in reducing breast cancer mortality. However, it is not perfect, and approximately 15% of breast cancers are diagnosed despite a negative mammogram before the next recommended screening. MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Response: Using data from the NCI funded PROSPR (Population-Based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens) Consortium, we determined the rates of cancer diagnosis within one year following a negative or positive screening mammogram. The rate of cancer diagnosis within one year of a negative mammogram was small (5.9 per 10,000 screenings), but those cancers were more likely to have poor prognosis than cancers diagnosed after a positive mammogram (43.8% vs. 26.9%). As expected, women with dense breasts were more likely to have cancer diagnosed within 1 year of a negative mammogram. However, breast density was not a good predictor of poor prognosis among women diagnosed with cancer after a negative mammogram. Younger women were more likely to be diagnosed with poor prognosis breast cancer after a negative screening mammogram.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, Kaiser Permanente, Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer / 02.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41442" align="alignleft" width="149"]Matthew P. Banegas, PhD, MPH Center for Health Research Kaiser Permanente Dr. Banegas[/caption] Matthew P. Banegas, PhD, MPH Center for Health Research Kaiser Permanente MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite a large body of research on cancer care costs, we observed a significant evidence gap. Namely, while about one-half of cancer diagnoses in the U.S. occur among people under age 65, it can be difficult to find good data on the costs of care for this population. That’s because most of the current literature on cancer care costs is based on SEER Medicare data, which are limited to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. At a time of rising costs and an ever-increasing number of new therapies, we felt it was important to improve our understanding of cancer costs for U.S. adults of all ages. We examined medical care costs for the four most common types of cancer in the United States: breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer.
Author Interviews, Lung Cancer / 02.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41398" align="alignleft" width="200"]CT scan showing a cancerous tumor in the left lung Wikipedia image CT scan showing a cancerous tumor in the left lung
Wikipedia image[/caption] Cary P. Gross, MD Department of Internal Medicine Section of General Internal Medicine Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center National Clinician Scholars Program Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In both the US and England, lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths, and there is particular concern about access to high quality care among older persons in both countries. However, little is known about how the two nations compare regarding lung cancer care. We studied over 170,000 patients with lung cancer, and found that patients in the US were more likely to be diagnosed at an early stage (25% in US vs 15% of patients in England).  Our international team also found that patients in the US were more likely to receive treatment for their cancer, and were more likely to survive.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma, Primary Care, University of Pittsburgh / 18.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34201" align="alignleft" width="200"]Laura Korb Ferris, MD, PhD Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute Director of Clinical Trials, Department of Dermatology University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Dr. Laura K. Ferris[/caption] Laura K. Ferris MD, PhD Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute Director of Clinical Trials, UPMC Department of Dermatology University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Dermatology is one of the greatest utilizers of physician extenders, including physician assistants (PAs) in medicine. The scope of practice of PAs has also expanded over time from a role in assisting the dermatologist to taking a more independent role and many PAs now do skin cancer screening examinations and make independent decisions about which lesions are suspicious for skin cancer and need to be biopsied. Our main findings were that, overall, in comparison to board-certified dermatologists, PAs were more likely to perform biopsies of benign lesions. For every melanoma that they found, PAs biopsied 39 benign lesions whereas dermatologists biopsied 25. In addition, PAs were less likely than dermatologists to diagnose melanoma in situ, the earliest and most curable, but also hardest to identify and diagnose, form of melanoma. However, PAs had a similar rate of diagnosing the more clinically-obvious forms of skin cancer, including invasive melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, Erectile Dysfunction / 18.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41214" align="alignleft" width="143"]Dr Pan Pantziarka Dr Pan Pantziarka[/caption] Dr Pan Pantziarka, PhD Program Director, Drug Repurposing: Anticancer Fund Coordinator: Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (www.redo-project.org)  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project is an on-going collaboration assessing the evidence of anticancer activity in a wide range of already licensed non-cancer drugs. A subset of these drugs have a sufficient level of evidence to support clinical investigation and these are profiled in detail in order to synthesise the existing evidence and to bring it to the attention of clinical researchers. In the case of the PDE5 inhibitors sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil the evidence is clear that these drugs have multiple anticancer mechanisms of action at clinically relevant dosing. In particular there is evidence that these drugs target anti-tumour immune responses, as shown from a small number of early stage clinical trials. This opens up the prospect of using these cheap and widely available drugs in combination with existing therapies to improve the number and duration of responses. The chance to increase the therapeutic effectiveness of immune checkpoint inhibitors is especially compelling and definitely warrants clinical research.
AACR, Author Interviews, Genetic Research / 18.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41267" align="alignleft" width="200"]Ed Liu, M.D President and CEO The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) Dr. Ed Liu[/caption] Ed Liu, M.D President and CEO The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A few years ago we and others identified a complex genomic instability profile commonly found in the genomes of breast, ovarian and endometrial carcinomas, which is characterized by hundreds of isolated head-to-tail duplications of DNA segments, called tandem duplications. We refer to this configuration as the tandem duplicator phenotype, or TDP. In this study, we perform a meta-analysis of over 2,700 cancer genomes from over 30 different tumor types and provide a detailed description of six different types of TDP, distinguished by the presence of tandem duplications of different sizes. Collectively, these profiles are found in ~50% of breast, ovarian and endometrial carcinomas as well as 10-30% of adrenocortical, esophageal, stomach and lung adeno-carcinomas. We show that distinct genetic abnormalities associate with the distinct TDPs, clearly suggesting that distinct molecular mechanisms are driving TDP formation. In particular, we provide strong evidence of a casual relationship between joint abrogation of the BRCA1 and TP53 tumor suppressor genes and the emergence of a short-span (~11 Kb) TDP profile. We also observe a significant association between hyper-activation of the CCNE1 pathway and TDP with medium-span (~230 Kb) tandem duplications, and between mutation of the CDK12 gene and medium- and large-span TDP (coexisting 230 Kb and 1.7 Kb tandem duplications). Importantly, we find that different forms of TDP result in the perturbation of alternative sets of cancer genes, with short-span TDP profiles leading to the loss of tumor suppressor genes via double transections, and larger-span TDP profiles resulting in the duplication (i.e. copy number gain) of oncogenes and gene regulatory elements, such as super-enhancers and disease-associated SNPs. 
Author Interviews, Blood Clots, Cancer Research / 17.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jens Sundbøll Department of Clinical Epidemiology Aarhus University Hospital Aarhus, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The incidence of acute peripheral arterial occlusion is approximately 1.5 cases per 10,000 person-years. In comparison, the incidence rate of deep venous thrombosis is about 5-10cases per 10,000 person-years. It has been established previously that deep venous thrombosis in the lower limb and pulmonary embolism may be presenting symptoms of cancer and is associated with a poor cancer prognosis. However, whether arterial thromboembolism of the lower limb also can represent prodromal symptoms of occult cancer and worsen cancer prognosis has never been investigated.
AACR, Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Pancreatic / 17.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41101" align="alignleft" width="200"]Zhensheng Wang, M.P.H., Ph.D. Postdoctoral Associate Duncan Cancer Center-Bondy Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US Dr. Wang[/caption] Zhensheng Wang, M.P.H., Ph.D. Postdoctoral Associate Duncan Cancer Center-Bondy Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our prior research consistently found a significant inverse association between circulating levels of soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE), an anti-inflammatory factor, and risk of pancreatic cancer. It has also been found that sRAGE levels or RAGE signaling are modulated by anti-hypertensive (anti-HT) medications, including angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACEi), β-blockers, and calcium channel blockers (CCBs). These medications have been shown in prior pre-clinical or experimental research to either increase sRAGE concentrations, decrease formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), or dampen pro-inflammatory receptor for AGE (RAGE) signaling pathway. We therefore hypothesized that there would be an inverse association between use of anti-HT medications and risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is a major public health concern in the United States, as it is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related mortality with an estimated of 43,090 deaths in 2017. Pancreatic cancer typically occurs in elderly individuals who also have chronic comorbid medical conditions, such as hypertension. Anti-HT medication use in individuals ≥ 18 years old has increased from 63.5% in 2001-2002 to 77.3% in 2009-2010, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the U.S. Therefore, it is of great public health significance to address the potential association between anti-HT medication use and risk of pancreatic cancer in the general population.
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 17.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41199" align="alignleft" width="200"]Mark E. Hatley, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Member Molecular Oncology Division, Department of Oncology St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, TN 38105 Dr. Hatley[/caption] Mark E. Hatley, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Member Molecular Oncology Division, Department of Oncology St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, TN 38105 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma occurring in children. Tumors appear histologically and genetically as undifferentiated skeletal muscle and are thus thought to solely originate from early skeletal muscle cells. However, tumors occur throughout the body, including sites devoid of skeletal muscle. In addition, tumor location is a key feature of staging and 40% of patients develop RMS in the head and neck. Interestingly, head and neck muscle development is distinct from the development of trunk and limb muscle. Previously we described a model of rhabdomyosarcoma which occurred specifically in the head and neck and originated from non-muscle cells. In this study we investigated how normal development programs are hijacked to drive rhabdomyosarcoma location. We demonstrated that RMS can originate from immature blood vessel cells that lie in between muscle fibers specifically in the head and neck. During development, these cells are hijacked, and become reprogrammed into rhabdomyosarcoma rather than mature endothelial cells. These RMS cells express factors important in head and neck muscle development. Our findings highlight that cell of origin contributes to RMS location and may explain why a high proportion of RMS occurs in the head and neck. 
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 16.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lindor Qunaj BSc MD'19 Medical student, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University Brown Center for Biomedical Informatics Providence, Rhode Island MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study was motivated by growing concerns that incomplete or delayed release of clinical trial data may put patients at risk of harm or suboptimal treatment and slow the pace of biomedical innovation. Especially in a field as rapidly evolving as oncology, complete and timely dissemination of clinical trial results is critical to the advancement of both patient care and scientific discovery. In an analysis of press releases from eight large pharmaceutical companies, we found that the median delay from presumed availability of Phase 3 trial data to peer-reviewed publication or public posting of results was 300 days. Studies reporting positive findings were published more rapidly than those with negative results.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JNCI, UT Southwestern / 16.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yingfei Wang, Ph.D. and Weibo Luo, Ph.D. Department of Pathology UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas TX 75390 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Tumor metastasis is frequently found in breast cancer patients and causes more than 90% of cancer death. There is currently no cure for this deadly disease. We have known that breast tumor is not supplied with sufficient oxygen (a phenomenon known as hypoxia), which makes breast cancer cells more aggressive and may be responsible for tumor recurrence, metastasis, and therapy resistance. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is a master regulator frequently detected in the hypoxic regions and switches on many oncogenes needed for breast cancer cells to grow and spread around the body. The role of HIF in gene regulation is precisely controlled and shutting down of HIF’s activity would be a promising strategy for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Supplements / 13.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41173" align="alignleft" width="133"]Nathalie Scheers PhD Asst. Professor Chalmers University of Technology Dept of Biology and Biological Engineering Food and Nutrition Science Göteborg, Sweden  Dr. Scheers[/caption] Nathalie Scheers PhD Asst. Professor Chalmers University of Technology Dept of Biology and Biological Engineering Food and Nutrition Science Göteborg, Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many different forms of iron supplements are used to treat iron deficiency symptoms or as phosphate binders in patients with renal disease. two of these iron supplements, the chelates ferric citrate and ferric EDTA have been observed to drive colon cancer in mice. In the newly published study in Oncotarget, we are reporting our work on how these iron compounds differ compared to the simple salt ferrous sulphate, which is another common iron supplement. The main finding of this study was that ferric citrate and ferric EDTA promoted the cancer biomarker amphiregulin which in turn activated the MAP kinase ERK in gut epithelial cancer cells. There were no such effects in ferrous sulphate-treated cells. 
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Pharmaceutical Companies / 09.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41105" align="alignleft" width="133"]Aaron Mitchell, MD Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine,  Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil Dr. Mitchell[/caption] Aaron Mitchell, MD Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Financial relationships between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry are very common. However, we are just beginning to figure out whether these relationships may lead to potentially concerning changes in physician behavior - whether physicians tend to prescribe more of the drugs made by a company that has given them money. We decided to ask whether oncologists who receive money from drugmakers are more likely to use the cancer drugs made by companies that have given them money in the past. In studying two specific groups of cancer drugs, one for kidney cancer and one for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), we found that oncologists who had received payments such as meals, consulting fees, travel & lodging expenses from the manufacturer of one of these drugs tended to use that drug more. When looking at oncologists who received payments for research, we found increased prescribing among the kidney cancer drugs but not the CML drugs.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lung Cancer, PNAS / 08.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41075" align="alignleft" width="132"]Nada Kalaany, PhD Harvard Medical School Boston Children's Hospital  Boston, MA 02115 Dr. Kalaany[/caption] Nada Kalaany, PhD Harvard Medical School Boston Children's Hospital Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: ​ Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the predominant form of lung cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in the US and worldwide. Over a quarter of NSCLC harbors activating mutations in the KRAS oncogene, which despite decades of attempts, has proven to be very difficult to target. KRAS has previously been demonstrated to directly bind to and activate the pro-proliferative kinase PI3K, which is typically activated by insulin/insulin-like growth factor1 (IGF1) signaling. KRAS-PI3K binding is required for KRAS-driven lung cancer formation and progression. However, whether this interaction is sufficient for lung tumor formation and whether additional input is required from insulin/IGF1 signaling, has remained largely controversial.
Author Interviews, JNCI, Lung Cancer, UT Southwestern / 04.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40982" align="alignleft" width="142"]Amyn Habib, M.D. Associate Professor, Neurology & Neurotherapeutics UT Southwestern Medical Center Dr. Amyn Habib[/caption] Amyn Habib, M.D. Associate Professor, Neurology & Neurotherapeutics UT Southwestern Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is expressed in most lung cancers and could play an important role in driving the growth of lung cancer.  Drugs are available that can block the activity of the EGFR. However, EGFR inhibitors are successful in only a small subset of lung cancers that have a mutant form of the EGFR, and do not work in the majority of lung cancers that have the normal form of the EGFR. 
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Genetic Research, JAMA / 03.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40952" align="alignleft" width="200"]Heather Hampel, MS, LGC Associate Director, Division of Human Genetics Associate Director, Biospecimen Research Professor, Internal Medicine Licensed Genetic Counselor The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Columbus, OH  43221 Heather Hampel[/caption] Heather Hampel, MS, LGC Associate Director, Division of Human Genetics Associate Director, Biospecimen Research Professor, Internal Medicine Licensed Genetic Counselor The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Columbus, OH  4322 MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: The background is that we had recently shown that some colorectal cancer patients who underwent traditional screening for Lynch syndrome were eventually found to have double somatic (two acquired) mutations in the MMR genes and they did not have Lynch syndrome at all. This was discovered after their tumor had already had MSI and/or IHC screening test, followed by MLH1 methylation and/or BRAF testing, followed by germline DNA testing on a blood sample from the patient for MMR gene mutations, then finally by sequencing their tumor. This gave us the idea to reverse the sequence and start with tumor sequencing since it might streamline testing, save time, and prevent several other tests. In addition, we knew that all stage IV colorectal cancer are already supposed to have tumor sequencing of the KRAS, NRAS, and BRAF genes and MSI testing for treatment purposes. Our hypothesis was that an upfront tumor sequencing test could replace all these separate tests with similar sensitivity and specificity.
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 29.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39686" align="alignleft" width="165"]In the United States, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are the most common types, but also included are hepatitis D and E. CDC/ E.H. Cook, Jr. Hepatitis Virions
CDC/ E.H. Cook, Jr.[/caption] Dr. Monica Kasting PhD first author Dr. Anna Giuliano PhD Susan. T. Vadaparampil, Ph.D., M.P.H. Senior Member/Professor Center for Infection Research in Cancer H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida.Department of Cancer Epidemiology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In the U.S., approximately 1 in 30 baby boomers are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus. Half of all cases of liver cancer are caused by hepatitis C and liver cancer is one of only three cancer types that are actually increasing in incidence in the US. Because of this, in 2012 the CDC issued a recommendation for universal screening for hepatitis C virus for everyone born between 1945 and 1965 (baby boomers). We wanted to look at the time period after that to see if the rates of screening in that population increased. From 2013-2015 screening among baby boomers only increased by 0.9% (from 11.8% to 12.7%) which indicates we still have a long way to go before we meet our goal of universal screening. 
AACR, Author Interviews, Microbiome, NYU, Pancreatic / 28.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40819" align="alignleft" width="99"]Mautin Hundeyin MD Post-doctoral Research Fellow Dr. Hundeyin[/caption] Mautin Hundeyin MD Post-doctoral Research Fellow George Miller, MD is Principal Investigator and Director of the S. Arthur Localio Laboratory in the Department of Surgery at NYU School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is the devastating disease with grim prognosis. The microbiome has emerged as a contributor to oncogenesis in a number of intestinal tract malignancies. We found that PDA is associated with a distinct stage-specific gut and pancreatic microbiome that drives disease progression by inducing intra-tumoral immune suppression. Targeting the microbiome protects against oncogenesis, reverses intra-tumoral immune-tolerance, and enables efficacy for check-point based immunotherapy. These data have implications for understanding immune-suppression in pancreatic cancer and its reversal in the clinic. 
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, JAMA, Novartis / 26.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40799" align="alignleft" width="145"]Melanie E. Royce, MD, PhD Division of Hematology/Oncology University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center Albuquerque Dr. Royce[/caption] Melanie E. RoyceMDPhD Division of Hematology/Oncology University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center Albuquerque MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: BOLERO-4 is an open label, single-arm, Phase II study that evaluates the combination of everolimus plus letrozole as a first-line treatment for hormone receptor (HR)-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2)-negative advanced breast cancer patients, as well as the use of everolimus plus exemestane beyond initial progression. Results of the BOLERO-4 trial published in JAMA Oncology showed that everolimus in combination with endocrine therapy is an effective first-line treatment option for postmenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer. A total of 202 patients received everolimus in combination with letrozole as first-line treatment between March 7, 2013 and December 17, 2014. Median progression-free survival (PFS) in the first-line setting was 22.0 months (95% CI 18.1-25.1) with an overall response rate of 45% (95% CI 38.1-52.2) and clinical benefit rate of 74% (95% CI 67.7-80.1). A total of 152 (75%) discontinued treatment, primarily due to disease progression (51%) or adverse events (16%). Data from a smaller number of patients in BOLERO-4 also show limited efficacy with continued everolimus, combined with exemestane, following disease progression. Second-line treatment was ongoing in 16 (32%) patients, while 34 (68%) had discontinued. The most frequent reason for second-line treatment discontinuation was disease progression (56%). In the second-line setting, median PFS was 3.7 months (95% CI 1.9-7.4) with an overall response of 6% (95% CI 1.3-16.5) and clinical benefit rate of 28% (95% CI 16.2-42.5). Safety findings from BOLERO-4 are consistent with previous studies of Afinitor in advanced breast cancer. The most common (≥ 20% incidence) first-line all-grade adverse events were stomatitis (69%), weight loss (44%), nausea (37%) and anemia (35%). Most were ‘low grade’ in severity (grade 1 or 2) and generally well managed. Safety findings show the most common (≥ 10% incidence) second-line adverse events were stomatitis (20%) and weight loss (20%). Lower rates of stomatitis in second-line were noted. 
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA / 26.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sang Min Park MD, MPH, PhD Chief, Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine Director, Health Promotion Center, Seoul National University Hospital Professor, Department of Biomedical Science & Family Medicine Seoul National University College of Medicine Seoul, Korea What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chronic hepatitis B patients have a higher risk of hepatocellular carcinoma than the general population, which has been well-established and known to be caused by progression of hepatitis B infection into severe liver diseases. However, whether obesity-related carcinogenesis plays a central role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis B patients remained unclear. Therefore, we assessed the association between body mass index and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis B patients, and stratified all analyses by sex using healthcare big data in the Republic of Korea. We found positive association of trends between body mass index and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in both men and women with hepatitis B infection. The magnitude of the association in women was stronger than that of men. In the severely obese category, the hazard ratio for hepatocellular carcinoma was significantly higher in women compared to men. Our findings highlight that high body mass index is associated with risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis B patients, especially in women, which may be partially explained by higher fat content for the same unit of body mass index in women compared to men.
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Melanoma / 24.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gao Zhang, Ph.D. Staff scientist in the Herlyn Lab The Wistar Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The past 7 years have witnessed the great success in treating patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Despite the breakthrough of molecularly targeted therapies and immune checkpoint blockade therapies, a majority of patients have experienced the rapid tumor recurrence and progression, following the dramatic regression. There is an urgent and unmet need to treat therapy-resistant tumors.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Melanoma / 23.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40724" align="alignleft" width="142"]John W. Epling, Jr., M.D. Dr. Epling[/caption] John W. Epling, Jr., M.D., M.S.Ed., Task Force Member Dr. Epling is is a professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA. He is also the Medical Director of Research for Family and Community Medicine, Medical Director of Employee Health and Wellness for the Carilion Clinic, and maintains an active clinical primary care practice.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., affecting millions of people every year. The Task Force looked at the latest research to see if clinicians can help people prevent skin cancer by providing counseling about ways to reduce risk, including using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding sunlight during peak hours. [caption id="attachment_40730" align="alignleft" width="150"]Sunburn damaged skin - wiki image Sunburn damage - wiki image[/caption] Based on our review of the evidence, we found that counseling younger patients with a fair skin type and their parents is effective at encouraging these sun protective behaviors. By helping reduce their patients’ exposure to harmful UV rays, clinicians can decrease their risk for skin cancer. As such, we recommend that clinicians provide counseling to people who are six months to 24 years old and have a fair skin type. For adults over 24 with a fair skin type, clinicians should consider the individual’s risks for skin cancer when deciding whether or not to provide counseling. 
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Science, Weight Research / 22.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40716" align="alignleft" width="151"]Dr. Fukumura Dr. Fukumura[/caption] Dai Fukumura, M.D., Ph.D Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology Harvard Medical School Deputy Director, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory, Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA      [caption id="attachment_40718" align="alignleft" width="129"]Joao Incio Dr. Incio[/caption] Dr. Joao Incio PhD Post-Doc, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory           [caption id="attachment_40719" align="alignleft" width="160"]Dr. Rakesh K. Jain PhD Dr. Jain[/caption] Dr. Rakesh K. Jain PhD Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Tumor Biology and director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology Rradiation oncology department Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Based on promising data from preclinical studies and subsequent increase in progression-free survival in patients, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy received accelerated approval for metastatic breast cancer. However, this approval was withdrawn in the United States based on the lack of overall survival benefit in several subsequent phase III studies in metastatic and adjuvant settings. Potential mechanisms of resistance to anti-VEGF therapy include the upregulation of alternative angiogenic and pro-inflammatory factors. Production of some of these factors has been shown to increase in obesity specifically in hypoxic adipose tissues including the breast. Given that up to 70% of breast cancer (BC) patients in the United States are overweight or obese, we addressed one simple but important question in this study: Is obesity contributing to anti-VEGF treatment resistance in breast cancer?
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, MRI, Prostate Cancer / 21.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40681" align="alignleft" width="200"]Veeru Kasivisvanathan MBBS BSc MRCS MSc PGCert Lead for CPD, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, UCL Academic Section Committee, British Association of Urological Surgeons Twitter: @veerukasi PRECISION Study Coordinator https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02380027   Dr. Kasivisvanathan[/caption] Veeru Kasivisvanathan MBBS BSc MRCS MSc PGCert Lead for CPD, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, UCL Academic Section Committee, British Association of Urological Surgeons Twitter: @veerukasi PRECISION Study Coordinator https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02380027   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 
  • We knew that there were limitations in the standard of care pathway for the diagnosis of prostate cancer, TRUS biopsy which missed harmful cancers and over diagnosed harmless cancers.
  • Emerging reports in the literature showed that using an alternative diagnostic pathway, MRI and MRI-targeted biopsy, showed promising prostate cancer detection rates
  • In 2012 we set out in an international working group to design a study that could change clinical practice and replace the standard of care with a pathway involving MRI 
AACR, Author Interviews, Colon Cancer / 20.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40659" align="alignleft" width="173"]Darren D. Browning, PhD | Professor Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University Georgia Cancer Center, Augusta, Georgia 30912-2100 Dr. Darren Browning[/caption] Darren D. Browning, PhD | Professor Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University Georgia Cancer Center, Augusta, Georgia 30912-2100 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cancer of the colon and rectum is one of the most commonly diagnosed and has a high mortality because it is often identified at an advanced stage. In the United States the average overall risk of having to deal with this disease at some point is around one in twenty-five, but the risk is much higher for people who have previously had polyps removed or if a close relative was diagnosed with colon cancer. The risk is even higher for patients with inflammatory bowel disease or heritable disorders such as familial adenomatous polyposis and lynch syndrome. While chemoprevention is clearly warranted, there are currently no drugs available that can reduce the risk for those predisposed to colorectal cancer. Previous work from our laboratory has shown that drugs like sildenafil that inhibit phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5), have a profound effect on the epithelial lining of the intestine. Our recent work has shown that these drugs can prevent intestinal cancers in two different mouse models of human disease. While this class of drugs is best known for treating erectile dysfunction, due to a low side-effect profile they are also prescribed for long-term daily use to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and benign prostate hyperplasia
Author Interviews, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Emory, PNAS, Technology / 16.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40601" align="alignleft" width="139"]Lee Cooper, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Emory University School of Medicine - Georgia Institute of Technology Dr. Cooper[/caption] Lee Cooper, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Emory University School of Medicine - Georgia Institute of Technology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Gliomas are a form of brain tumor that are often ultimately fatal, but patients diagnosed with glioma may survive as few as 6 months to 10 or more years. Prognosis is an important determinant in selecting treatment, that can range from simply monitoring the disease to surgical removal followed by radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Recent genomic studies have significantly improved our ability to predict how rapidly a patient's disease will progress, however a significant part of this determination still relies on the visual microscopic evaluation of the tissues by a neuropathologist. The neuropathologist assigns a grade that is used to further refine the prognosis determined by genomic testing. We developed a predictive algorithm to perform accurate and repeatable microscopic evaluation of glioma brain tumors. This algorithm learns the relationships between visual patterns presented in the brain tumor tissue removed from a patient brain and the duration of that patient's survival beyond diagnosis. The algorithm was demonstrated to accurately predict survival, and when combining images of histology with genomics into a single predictive framework, the algorithm was slightly more accurate than models based on the predictions of human pathologists. We were also able to identify that the algorithm learns to recognize some of the same tissue features used by pathologists in evaluating brain tumors, and to appreciate their prognostic relevance.