Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV / 17.12.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ashish A. Deshmukh, PhD, MPH Associate Professor, Management, Policy & Community Health Associate Director, Center for Health Services Research Co-director, Clinical Analytics and Decision Science Lab UTHealth School of Public Health Houston, TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Oropharyngeal cancer is the most common cancer caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) in the United States (US). We know from previous studies that oropharyngeal cancer to be one of the fastest rising cancers in the US. However, trends (i.e., extent of change) in incidence rates among men and women in all 50 US states and trends according to tumor diagnostic characteristics (i.e., stage, size) have not been comprehensively studied. In addition, no prior study evaluated contemporary trends in oropharyngeal cancer mortality (death) rates in the US. Our study provides a comprehensive picture of oropharyngeal cancer incidence and mortality (according to age, stage, tumor size, and state of residence) in all 50 states and DC. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Lancet, Melanoma, Technology / 11.11.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr David Wen BM BCh NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Dermatology University of Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Publicly available skin image datasets are commonly used to develop machine learning (ML) algorithms for skin cancer diagnosis. These datasets are often utilised as they circumvent many of the barriers associated with large scale skin lesion image acquisition. Furthermore, publicly available datasets can be used as a benchmark for direct comparison of algorithm performance. Dataset and image metadata provide information about the disease and population upon which the algorithm was trained or validated on. This is important to know because machine learning algorithms heavily depend on the data used to train them; algorithms used for skin lesion classification frequently underperform when tested on independent datasets to which they were trained on. Detailing dataset composition is essential for extrapolating assumptions of generalisability of algorithm performance to other populations. At the time this review was conducted, the total number of publicly available datasets globally and their respective content had not previously been characterised. Therefore, we aimed to identify publicly available skin image datasets used to develop ML algorithms for skin cancer diagnosis, to categorise their data access requirements, and to systematically evaluate their characteristics including associated metadata.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Radiation Therapy / 01.11.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brianna M. Jones, MD Radiation Oncology Resident Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 4 million deaths worldwide and, presently, there have been over 2 million cases diagnosed in New York. There have been numerous studies that demonstrate cancer patients are at increased risk of diagnosis and mortality to SARS-CoV-2 virus. Several studies have also noted socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity are associated with poorer outcomes. Within NYC, Elmhurst Hospital Center (EHC) emerged as an early epicenter in spring of 2020. The surrounding catchment area of EHC consists of a population that is 54% Latino, 33% Asian, 6% White, 4% Black, 1% Native American, and 1% other according to U.S. Census Bureau, making it one of the most racially and ethnically diverse populations in the country. Its residents are predominantly working-class immigrants with limited resources that work jobs now considered essential (e.g., delivery workers, grocery shops, et cetera). EHC continued to offer a range of cancer services throughout the pandemic. Given the high infection rate and diverse population at EHC, our study provides an opportunity to evaluate outcomes in one of the hardest hit communities to date. Therefore, our aim was to investigate patient characteristics, clinical outcomes, and predictors of COVID-19 diagnosis, severity, and mortality in patients with an active cancer diagnosis at EHC.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 27.10.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shoshana Rosenzweig Medical Student Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe the Phantosmia phenomenon?  Response: Phantosmia is an olfactive disorder resulting in the perception of a foul-smelling odor without odorant stimulus. This study was spearheaded by Dr. Suzanne Wolden, a pediatric radiation oncologist and the senior author of the research. She noticed that patients receiving proton beam therapy were complaining of this phenomenon more than her patients receiving photon therapy. Through this research, the team hoped to characterize radiation treatment induced phantosmia in pediatric, adolescent and young adult patients treated with proton beam therapy and we hoped to identify potential clinical and treatment-related characteristics that may correlate with the development of phantosmia.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 20.10.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anita Katharina Wagner, PharmD, MPH, DrPH Associate Professor of Population Medicine Director, Ethics Program, Point32Health (parent company of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan) Co-Director, HMS Fellowship in Health Policy and Insurance Research Co-Director, Center for Cancer Policy and Program Evaluation (CarPE) Department of Population Medicine Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The expectation for new cancer drugs is that they help patients live better longer. Increasingly more cancer drugs are approved without documented quality of life or overall survival benefits.   At the same time, cancer drug prices are rising.  We studied use of and spending on selected new cancer drugs among patients with employer-sponsored health insurance. We found that among 37348 patients who received one or more of 44 oral targeted cancer drugs, the proportion of patients who received a drug without documented overall survival benefit increased from 13% in 2011 to 59% in 2018.  By 2018, spending on drugs without documented overall survival benefit accounted for 52% of the $3.5 million spend on the 44 drugs since 2011. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Frailty, JAMA / 08.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marieke van Winden MD MSc PhD candidate Dermatology Radboud Institute for Health Sciences Department of Dermatology Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What underlying conditions would factor in a decision for Watchful Waiting?  Response: Basal cell carcinomas are frequently treated because of the risk for progression, which can cause a significant morbidity due to local tissue invasion and destruction. However, most BCCs are characterized by a relatively indolent nature, growing slowly and frequently asymptomatically. Because patients with a limited life expectancy might not live long enough to develop symptoms from basal cell carcinoma progression, they might not live long enough to benefit from treatment. Underlying conditions that determine life expectancy should therefore be considered when weighing BCC management options. When life expectancy is expected to be relatively short, and the consequences of  watchful waiting (WW) are relatively low risk (low tumor burden expected within the remaining lifespan), WW should be considered. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, JAMA, Vaccine Studies / 07.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yuehan (Jenny) Zhang, ScM PhD Candidate in Cancer Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infectious virus worldwide. Oral HPV infection has resulted in a continual increase in the incidence of oropharynx cancer over the past two decades in the US. New HPV infections are preventable with vaccines, which first entered use in the US in 2006. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer / 02.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sophia Harlid, Ph.D. Associate Professor/Docent in Molecular Epidemiology Department of Radiation Sciences Umeå University Umeå, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Antibiotics has previously been associated with in increased risk of colorectal cancer, with this study we were able to use comprehensive registry data to further break down and validate this relationship.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy, Kidney Disease, NEJM / 18.08.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Toni K. Choueiri, MD Director, Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology Director, Kidney Cancer Center Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg Chai Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The standard of care for patients diagnosed with locoregional RCC is partial or total nephrectomy. Nearly half of patients will eventually experience disease recurrence following nephrectomy and no standard, globally approved adjuvant therapy options are currently available for this population. The phase 3 KEYNOTE-564 study met its primary objective of demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in disease-free survival with pembrolizumab vs placebo as adjuvant therapy for patients with RCC post nephrectomy, supporting pembrolizumab as a potential new standard of care for patients at high risk of disease recurrence following surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, Science / 13.08.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Lizhe Zhuang PhD Dr Karol Nowicki-Osuch PhD Dr. Rebecca C. Fitzgerald MD Medical Research Council Cancer Unit, Hutchison/Medical Research Council Research Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Barrett’s oesophagus affects about one out of 100 people in the UK and is thought to be a precancerous lesion of a more deadline cancer, oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Barrett’s is a condition where the squamous cells in the lower part of oesophagus are replaced by a special type of columnar cells, which look like intestine, a far distant organ, raising a question where are these columnar cells come from. Many theories have been proposed in the past decades and no agreement was reached, and many conclusions were based on mouse models which do not recap the human condition. We therefore collected fresh samples of human tissues that correspond to all the possible theories and assessed them all together using state of the art technologies.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 23.07.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andres F. Correa, MD Assistant Professor Department of Surgical Oncology, and Adrien Bernstein, MD Second Year Urologic Oncology Fellow Fox Chase Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Unfortunately, it has been well-established that historically Black Americans experience increased cancer specific mortality compared to white patients. In prostate cancer specifically studies have shown that when access to care is equitable this gap resolves. This suggests that biological factors are not driving these differences but rather the result of the complex interplay of social determinants and systemic inequities in our healthcare system. Early in the pandemic, multiple studies demonstrated that minority communities disproportionately shouldered poor COVID-19 outcomes.  On March 13th 2020, the American College of Surgeons recommended against elective procedures; however, the definition of an elective oncologic case was left to the discretion of the provider. As prostate cancer treatment can be safely deferred up to a year follow diagnosis, management of prostate cancer during the initial lockdown period of the COVID-19 Pandemic provided a useful analysis of the differential restrictions placed on non-emergent health care during the Pandemic. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Melanoma / 22.07.2021

  MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eleonora Leucci, Ph.D Assistant Professor Laboratory for RNA Cancer Biology Department of Oncology KU Leuven   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Back in 2016, while I was characterising the RNA SAMMSON as essential for mitochondrial translation in melanoma, I noticed that its inhibition was causing cell death across a large spectrum of melanoma cell lines and models, irrespectively of their genetic background and cell state. At that time I still did not know why the effect was so pronounced on melanoma cells, but I knew that antibiotics of the tetracycline family could also block mitochondrial translation and I thought about repurposing them to treat melanoma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, NEJM / 20.07.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jane Fang, MD Clinical Athenex, Inc. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Tirbanibulin is a first-in-class synthetic molecule that has potent anti-proliferative activity by inhibiting tubulin polymerization and disrupting src kinase signaling. It has been formulated as an ointment for the treatment of actinic keratosis, a very common precancerous condition of UV-damaged skin that affects over 50 million people in the US. The most commonly adopted management approach is to remove AK lesions as it is hard to predict which lesion will become cancerous. Lesion-directed treatment like cryotherapy can effectively remove lesions one at a time but does not treat larger field of cancerization. Also, it is limited by associated pain and long term complication such as scarring. Currently approved topical treatments involve cumbersome application courses of weeks or months, and induce considerable local skin reactions that were not well tolerated by patients. The Phase 3 studies demonstrated that a short 5-day once daily course of tirbanibulin ointment 1% is an efficacious and safe topical treatment of actinic keratosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, CDC, Emory, Gender Differences, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 08.07.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PHD Scientific Director, Cancer Disparity Research American Cancer Society MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) have collaborated annually since 1998 to provide updated information about cancer occurrence and trends by cancer type, sex, age group, and racial/ethnic group in the United States. In this year’s report, we focus on national cancer statistics and highlight trends in stage-specific survival for melanoma of the skin, the first cancer for which effective immune checkpoint inhibitors were developed. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Journal Clinical Oncology, Metabolic Syndrome, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 08.06.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Giampaolo Greco PhD MPH Assistant Professor Department of Population Health Science and Policy Icahn School of Medicine  at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The motivation for our study was to understand why mortality rate from breast cancer is much higher in African American women than in White women, despite the fact that these groups have similar incidence rate of breast cancer. Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of metabolic abnormalities that includes abdominal obesity, hypertension, hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia, is more prevalent among African American women and may be a risk factor for breast cancer. Subjective social status (SSS) is the perception of individuals of their own ranking in the social hierarchy and complements other parameters of socioeconomic status, such as income and education, that are considered more objective. Socioeconomic status is associated with cardiovascular and mental health. Although objective measures of social status are associated with worse breast cancer outcomes, the relationship of SSS to breast cancer is uncertain. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 07.06.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mai Takahashi MD MPH Mount Sinai Beth Israel - Resident Physician New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The incidence of head and neck cancer had been significantly increasing in North America and Europe driven by Human Papillomavirus-related cancer (HPV OPC) which account for more than 60% of total oropharyngeal cancer cases. Compared to environmentally related oropharyngeal cancer, the HPV OPC patient population is generally younger and has a much better prognosis. However, they will suffer from long-term deteriorations in quality of life (QoL) and the declines associated with treatment intensity. Hence multiple studies have focused on de-intensification therapy with reduced dose chemoradiotherapy (CRT).  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Radiation Therapy / 03.06.2021

  Professor Jayant S Vaidya MBBS MS DNB FRCS PhD Professor of Surgery and Oncology University College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What type of single dose radiation is used? Response: The new paper published in the British Journal of Cancer (go.nature.com/3yN0mzu) expands on the previously published results of the large international randomised trial (TARGIT-A trial)(BMJ 2020;370:m2836), that confirmed the long-term effectiveness of Targeted Intraoperative Radiotherapy (TARGIT-IORT): a breast cancer treatment which is increasingly available throughout the world. The TARGIT-A trial found that a single dose of targeted radiotherapy during surgery (TARGIT-IORT) is just as effective as conventional radiotherapy, which requires several visits to hospital after surgery. From the perspective of patients, it is so much better for them and also allows prompt completion of cancer treatment during the COVID pandemic. Conventional external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) is delivered from outside the body via a radiotherapy machine (linear accelerator), and consists of a daily treatment session (known as fractions) to the whole breast, over a period between three to six weeks. Each of these treatments is given over a few minutes, but requires up to 30 hospital visits, which could be a significant distance from where the patient lives. TARGIT-IORT is delivered immediately after lumpectomy (tumour removal), via a small ball-shaped device placed inside the breast, directly where the cancer had been. The single-dose treatment lasts for around 20 to 30 minutes and replaces the need for extra hospital visits, benefiting both patient safety and well-being. The device used is called INTRABEAM. The new results are described on the Nature.com and UCL webpages https://go.nature.com/3ymrplc blog https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2021/may/pioneering-single-dose-radiotherapy-breast-cancer-treatment and explained in a short video https://youtu.be/w0OMjVfJ5pY  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Melanoma / 02.06.2021

MedicalResearch.com interview with: Professor Marie-Aleth Richard EADV Communications Committee Chair Professor, University Hospital of La Timone Marseille, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this Roundtable event? Would you describe the mission of the European Commission’s Beating Cancer Plan? Response: Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is the first, comprehensive EU strategy on cancer, aimed at tackling the disease through all key stages: prevention; early detection; diagnosis and treatment; and quality of life of cancer patients and survivors. The Plan also aims to create opportunities to improve cancer care through research and innovative projects, such as artificial intelligence, and to promote equal access to knowledge and treatments in cancer care across Europe. The EADV seeks to create a bridge between the EU health policy agenda and scientific research, by engaging with policymakers, patient organisations and other stakeholders to support a patient centric-approach; tackling melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) at all stages of the pathway, from prevention to follow-up care. Through our Roundtable event, the EADV brought together these key stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the EBCP on preventing both melanoma and NMSC, as well as identify joint recommendations that step-up measures towards this goal. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, JAMA, USPSTF / 26.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martha Kubik, Ph.D., R.N. Professor and Director School of Nursing College of Health and Human Services George Mason University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, yet about a quarter of people ages 50 to 75 have never been screened for this devastating disease. Fortunately, we know that screening for colorectal cancer is effective and saves lives. New science about colorectal cancer in people younger than 50 years old has enabled us to expand our previous guidelines to recommend that all adults ages 45 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer to reduce their risk of dying from this disease.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Personalized Medicine / 09.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kelly de Ligt, PhD Postdoctoral researcher | Project lead ‘PRO implementation in clinical care’ Psycho Social Research and Epidemiology (PSOE) Netherlands Cancer Institute – Antoni van Leeuwenhoek MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Health-related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and survivorship has become increasingly important within breast cancer care, as the majority of women survives at least 10 years after breast cancer diagnosis. Breast cancer survivors may experience multiple co-existing symptoms that affect their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Previous studies have mainly studied these symptoms as separate, independent items. However in reality, survivors usually experience multiple symptoms that can add up. We therefore studied the overall symptom burden in breast cancer survivors and tried to identify patterns in this. We believe this may be more relevant, as currently the needs of breast cancer survivors are not fully met and there is a growing demand for personalized follow-up care. We selected breast cancer survivors from the Netherlands Cancer Registry, which contains comprehensive information about diagnosis and treatment for all cancer patients in the Netherlands. Women who had been surgically treated with or without adjuvant treatment for breast cancer stages I to III and between one and five years after diagnosis were invited to participate in our survey. A total of 404 participating survivors were questioned about their experienced burden for fatigue, nausea, pain, shortness of breath, insomnia, appetite, constipation, diarrhoea, as well as emotional and cognitive symptoms  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Technology / 05.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Saket Navlakha PhD Simons Center for Quantitative Biology Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cold Spring Harbor, NY  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this algorithm? How does it aide in patient care? Response: The machine learning algorithm helps to predict if and when a patient will develop severe COVID symptoms, based on information on how the patient presents on the day of infection. This could lead to improved patient outcomes, by getting a “heads up” on what may happen in the near future. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 04.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Donald Byrne, Ph.D., M.D. Department of Radiation Oncology Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Radiation therapy is used as a treatment for more than half of all cancer patients and can be highly effective at shrinking tumors and killing cancer cells. But radiation treatment can also damage healthy tissue, including tissue in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. This tissue injury can lead to oral mucositis, esophagitis, and proctitis — painful and sometimes debilitating tissue damage. It’s estimated that these injuries occur in over 200,000 patients in the U.S. each year. Our goal was to develop personalized shields that blocked radiation from affecting healthy GI tissue. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, Genetic Research / 03.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Judy H. Cho, MD, Dean of Translational Genetics Director of The Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe Crohn's disease? Whom does it primarily affect? Response: Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory intestinal disease, which affects ~3 million Americans a year. Its most typical age of onset ranges from 15-30 years, and many of those diagnosed also exhibit frequent abnormal healing and complications that constrict the digestive tract. The highest risk genetic mutations that increase risk for Crohn’s disease are found in the gene NOD2; these were first reported 20 years ago. Biological mechanisms by which NOD2 mutations drive Crohn’s disease, and especially fibrotic complications, have been incompletely described up until this point. Further, the reasons why many patients fail to respond to the commonly administered anti-TNF treatments also remain incompletely understood. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Nutrition / 30.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sa Kan Yoo MD PhD Division of Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine Kobe University, Kobe, Japan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cancer is often considered as a disease of “overgrowth”. But, many known “cancer genes” in fact induce cell death rather than cell growth. Because of this phenomenon, it requires involvement of many genes, not a single “cancer gene”, for cells to become cancer. Although this protective phenomenon that cancer genes induce cell death has been known, its exact mechanism has remained unclear. We tackled this problem using the fruit fly, found its mechanism and discovered a way to manipulate it by dietary nutrition. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, HPV, JAMA, Vaccine Studies / 27.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle M. Chen, MD/MHS Clinical Lecturer Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and associated with several malignancies including oropharyngeal, cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, and anal cancers. In 2020, the FDA expanded the indications for HPV vaccination to include the prevention of oropharyngeal cancer, which is the most common HPV-associated malignancy and about 80% of oropharyngeal cancer patients are male. HPV vaccination rates are closely tracked for adolescents but less is known about vaccination rates for young adults. The goal of our study was to understand HPV vaccinations for young adult men and women, ages 18-21.  (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, NIH / 23.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nishanth Ulhas Nair, Ph.D. Affiliation: Staff Scientist at Cancer Data Science Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Date: April 22, 2021 Dr. Raffit Hassan and Dr. Eytan Ruppin at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are the senior authors of this study.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer with limited treatment options and poor prognosis. An in-depth knowledge of genetic, transcriptomic and immunogenic events involved in mesothelioma is critical for successful development of prognostics and therapeutic modalities. In this study we aim to address this by exploring a new large scale patient tumor dataset of 122 mesothelioma patients, called NCI mesothelioma patient data, along with their genomic, transcriptomic, and phenotypic information. Unlike previous large-scale studies which have been focused on malignant pleural mesothelioma patients, our dataset contains an approximately equal representation of malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients which allows to identify any differences between them. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, MD Anderson / 12.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vivek Subbiah, MD Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: RET fusions occur predominantly in 2% of lung cancers and 10-20% of thyroid cancers, and in low frequency in an increasing number of diverse cancers, including pancreatic cancer, salivary gland cancer, and colorectal cancer. The therapeutic relevance of RET fusions occurring outside of lung and thyroid cancers has not been well established.. (more…)
AACR, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Prostate Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicholas Mitsiades MD Associate Professor of Medicine - Hematology and Oncology Baylor College of Medicine Oncologist at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: African American men have higher risk of developing prostate cancer and up to 2.2-times higher mortality rate from prostate cancer relative to men of other ancestries. This is the largest health disparity across all cancers in the US. Socioeconomic factors, especially access to healthcare, definitely contribute to this disparity. African American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at a more advanced stage than other races, and this is unfortunately very common at Ben Taub Hospital, our safety-net hospital in the Houston area, where we serve large racial and ethnic minority populations and patients who lack commercial insurance. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Cancer Research, Pediatrics / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gregory K. Friedman, MD Associate Professor Director, Developmental Therapeutics Associate Scientist, O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB Neuro-Oncology Program Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology University of Alabama at Birmingham MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This was a first-in-children trial to test the safety of an immunotherapy using an altered cold-sore virus (herpes virus or HSV-1), G207, infused directly via catheters into progressive or recurrent malignant brain tumors. Due to modifications in G207, the virus does not harm normal cells but can infect and directly kill tumor cells while also stimulating the patient’s own immune system to attack the tumor. We tested G207 at two dose levels alone and when combined with a single low dose of radiation, which was used to increase virus replication and spread throughout the tumor. The research is important because outcomes are very poor for children with progressive malignant brain tumors, and the toxicities caused by current standard therapies are unacceptably high. Therefore, we greatly need effective and less-toxic targeted therapies for children. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Nutrition, Prostate Cancer / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Anna Plym PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main elements of the healthy lifestyle? Response: Prostate cancer is the most heritable of all cancers, with genetic factors accounting for a large proportion of cases. Although we do not currently know about all the genetic factors contributing, a recent study identified 269 genetic markers for prostate cancer, validated in multiple independent populations (Conti et al., Nature Genetics 2021, Plym et al, JNCI, 2021: https://academic.oup.com/jnci/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jnci/djab058/6207974). Based on a polygenic risk score derived from these 269 markers, we observed that men with a high polygenic risk score have over a 50% risk of developing prostate cancer within their lifetime. With this excess risk in mind, we were interested in possible ways in which the genetic risk of prostate could be attenuated. An increasing number of studies have suggested that lifestyle factors can affect the risk of lethal prostate cancer – however, these studies have seldom incorporated genetic factors. We know from other diseases that a healthy lifestyle is of benefit for individuals at high genetic risk, and we hypothesized that this would be the case for prostate cancer as well. In this study, we examined a healthy lifestyle score for lethal prostate cancer consisting of six components: healthy weight (BMI < 30), not smoking (never smoked or quit > 10 years ago), vigorous physical exercise (3 or more hours per week), high intake of tomatoes or tomato-based products (7 servings or more per week), high intake of fatty fish (1 or more serving per week) and low intake of processed meat (less than 3 servings/week of beef or pork hot dogs, bacon, salami, bologna, or other processed meat sandwiches) (Kenfield et al, JCO, 2016).  (more…)