Author Interviews, CDC, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Melanoma / 07.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gery P. Guy Jr., PhD, MPH Senior Health Economist Division of Unintentional Injury CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The incidence of skin cancer is increasing in the United States, and individuals who indoor tan are at an increased risk of skin cancer. Treating skin cancer costs $8.1 billion annually. The number of high school students who indoor tan dropped by half from 2009 to 2015. In 2015, 1.2 million high school students indoor tanned, down from 2.5 million in 2009. This is a much bigger decrease than we have seen in the past and is an encouraging finding. We also found that 82% of indoor tanners reported sunburn in the past year compared with 54% of those who did not engage in indoor tanning. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Outcomes & Safety, Pharmacology, Prostate Cancer, University of Michigan / 03.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Megan Elizabeth Veresh Caram MD Clinical Lecturer Internal Medicine, Hematology & Oncology University of Michigan   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Abiraterone and enzalutamide are oral medications that were approved by the Food & Drug Administration in 2011 and 2012 to treat men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Most men with advanced prostate cancer are over age 65 and thus eligible for Medicare Part D. We conducted a study to better understand the early dissemination of these drugs across the United States using national Medicare Part D and Dartmouth Atlas data. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 01.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel A. Hamstra, MD PhD Radiation Oncologist Beaumont Hospital Dearborn Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the The SpaceOAR phase 3 trial study and the hydrogel spacer? Response: External beam radiation therapy is commonly used to treat men with prostate cancer. As part of this treatment, side effects can occur involving bowel, urinary, and sexual symptoms. This study was performed to test if an absorbable hydrogel placed between the prostate and rectum (using a simple outpatient procedure) could move the rectum away from the prostate and thus result in sparing of the rectum and decreased bowel toxicity. The study randomized 222 men and the three-year data were just published (The International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology and Physics). With three years of follow-up, we saw that the spacer did improve the radiation plans and decreased both rectal toxicity and urinary toxicity. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Genetic Research, Melanoma / 01.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Reeti Behera, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow in the Weeraratna lab The Wistar Institute Philadelphia PA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Malignant melanoma is an aggressive disease and is the cause of the majority of skin cancer deaths. In particular, older individuals have a much poorer prognosis for melanoma and are more resistant to targeted therapy than compared to young individuals. A recently published study from our lab has shown that age-related changes in secreted factors in the microenvironment can drive melanoma progression and therapy resistance. Klotho is a protein whose expression levels decreases with aging. In this study, we have shown that a decrease in klotho levels in the aged microenvironment drives melanoma aggression and therapy resistance by promoting the oncogenic signaling pathway Wnt5A. We also have shown that reconstituting klotho levels in the aged microenvironment by using rosiglitazone, an FDA-approved drug used to treat diabetes, can reduce tumor burden in aged mice. We also show that Klotho expression is decreased in therapy-resistant melanoma tumors. Reconstituting klotho levels in therapy-resistant melanoma cells by treating with rosiglitazone can inhibit Wnt5A levels and MAPK pathway. We also show that rosiglitazone can significantly decrease therapy-resistant tumor burden in the aged mice, but not in the young. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Imperial College, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 01.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Maria Kyrgiou MSc, PhD, MRCOG Clinical Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Gynaecologic Oncology IRDB - Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London West London Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea-Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity has become a major public health challenge and it's prevalence worldwide has more than doubled amongst women n the last four decadesExcess body weight has been associated with an increased risk of developing and dying from numerous cancers. Although the reported associations may be potentially causal, some of the associations may be flawed due to inherent study biases such as residual confounding and selective reporting of positive results. We included 204 meta-analyses investigating associations between adiposity and the development or death from 36 primary cancers and their sub-types. Adiposity was associated with a higher risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, gastric cardia, colon and rectal cancer in men, biliary tract system, pancreatic, postmenopausal breast among HRT non-users, endometrial, ovarian, and kidney cancer and multiple myeloma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Pediatrics, Radiation Therapy / 01.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lucie Turcotte, MD, MPH University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Assistant Professor Minneapolis, MN 55455 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have observed dramatic improvements in the number of survivors of childhood cancer over the last 60 years. As more children are surviving, we have identified many important late health consequences of cancer therapy. One of the most devastating of these late health consequences is the diagnosis of a second cancer. As we have identified late effects, such as second cancers, we have modified therapy in an effort to prevent long-term sequelae of therapy, while still maintaining superior survival rates. For this study, we utilized data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), which is a cohort of more than 23,000 survivors of childhood cancer from multiple centers in North America, who were initially diagnosed between 1970 and 1999. Our analysis focused on elucidating whether survivors diagnosed more recently were experiencing fewer second cancers, and determining whether a reduction in second cancers could be associated with treatment modifications. The most important finding from this study is that the reductions in therapeutic radiation exposure that occurred between 1970-1999 resulted in a significant reduction in the second cancers experienced by survivors of childhood cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Wistar / 28.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maureen E. Murphy, Ph.D. Professor and Program Leader, Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs Associate Director for Education and Career Development The Wistar Institute Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Murphy group discovered a coding-region variant of the p53 tumor suppressor gene, called Pro47Ser, that exists in individuals of African descent. In previous studies this group reported that this amino acid change reduces the ability of p53 to function as a tumor suppressor. In this study, African American women from two different large cohorts were assessed for the incidence of the Pro47Ser variant in pre-menopausal breast cancer. A modest but statistically significant association was found between Pro47Ser and pre-menopausal breast cancer. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Endocrinology, Journal Clinical Oncology, Prostate Cancer, Testosterone / 27.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farzin Khosrow-Khavar, M.Sc. Ph.D. Candidate Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University Center for Clinical Epidemiology - Jewish General Hospital Montreal, QC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown an association between androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, these studies had methodological limitations that may account for this positive association. Using appropriate study design and methodology, we found no association between androgen deprivation therapy and risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) in patients with prostate cancer. These results were consistent by cumulative duration of  androgen deprivation therapy use and by ADT modality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Heart Disease, JAMA / 24.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip C. Haycock, PhD MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit University of Bristol Bristol, England MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The direction and causal nature of the association of telomere length with risk of cancer and other diseases is uncertain. In a Mendelian randomization study of 83 non-communicable diseases, including 420,081 cases and 1,093,105 controls, we found that longer telomeres were associated with increased risk for several cancers but reduced risk for some other diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Personalized Medicine / 24.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eran Andrechek, PhD Eran Andrechek, PhD Associate Professor Department of Physiology Michigan State University East Lansing, MI Associate Professor Department of Physiology Michigan State University East Lansing, MI  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Of the various types of breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer (lacking estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2) has the worst outcome and is largely limited to chemotherapy for treatment.  Other types can be treated with personalized medicine, resulting in better outcome.  For instance, a HER2+ve breast cancer can be treated with Herceptin, which targets HER2 itself.  The fact that triple negative breast cancer lacks these sort of targeted treatments presents a clear need in breast cancer therapy. The goal of this study was to bring together our computational work using large databases from breast cancer with research into therapeutic options.  Essentially we wanted to ask if we could use patterns in what genes were being expressed to predict optimal therapy for triple negative breast cancer.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Genetic Research, PLoS, Prostate Cancer / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: G. Andrés Cisneros, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Chemistry Center for Advanced Scientific Computing and Modeling, University of North Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The accurate maintenance of DNA is crucial, if DNA damage is not addressed it can lead to various diseases including cancer. Therefore, the question arises about what happens if enzymes in charge of DNA repair are themselves mutated. We previously developed a method to perform targeted searches for cancer-related SNPs on genes of interest called HyDn-SNP-S. This method was applied to find prostate-cancer SNPs on DNA dealkylases in the ALKB family of enzymes. Our results uncovered a particular mutation on ALKBH7, R191Q, that is significantly associated with prostate cancer. Subsequent computer simulations and experiments indicate that this cancer mutation results in a decreased ability of ALKBH7 to bind its co-factor, thus impeding its ability to perform its native function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, CMAJ, Lifestyle & Health / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ellen Warner, MD, FRCPC, FACP, M.Sc. Affiliate scientist Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Toronto, ON MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this review? Response: As a medical oncologist who has treated breast cancer patients for over 30 years, I have found that most of the women in my practice are desperately looking for things they can do beyond standard surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc. to increase their chance of cure.  Unfortunately, many fall prey to false claims they read over the Internet or hear from well-meaning friends and relatives.  As a result they turn to absurdly restrictive diets (eg. No meat, dairy or sugar) or to ‘supplements’ with unproven effectiveness or even safety. So I thought it would be helpful to review the literature to determine what evidence-based lifestyle changes these women could make that would at least improve their overall health and, ideally, reduce their risk of dying of recurrent breast cancer.  For this review I thought it would be great to team up with Julia Hamer, a pre-med student with a degree in nutrition who just happens to also be an Olympic level athlete! (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Radiation Therapy / 20.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: N. Scott Litofsky, M.D. Chief of the Division of Neurological Surgery University of Missouri School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Radiosurgery is being used more often for treatment of brain metastases to avoid potential side effects of whole-brain radiation, such as cognition and mobility impairment. After surgical resection of a brain metastases, some radiation treatment is generally needed to control brain disease. Few studies have directly compared efficacy of tumor control between surgery followed by whole-brain radiation and surgery followed by radiosurgery. Our objective was to compare outcomes in two groups of patients – one whose brain metastasis was treated with surgery followed by whole-brain radiation and one whose surgery was followed by radiosurgery to the post-operative tumor bed. We found that tumor control was similar for both groups, with survival actually better in the radiosurgery group. The complications of treatment were similar. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer / 20.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Neeraj Agarwal, MD Associate Professor, Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine University of Utah School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Biomarkers predicting response to cancer therapy help guide physicians personalize medicine. Significant advances have been made in the development of therapeutic biomarkers in various malignancies, but not in prostate cancer. Dr. Nima Sharifi’s group at the Cleveland Clinic recently discovered that a germline inherited polymorphic variant (1245A→C) in the HSD3B1 gene correlates with shorter duration of response to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in hormone sensitive prostate cancer (HSPC). HSD3B1 gene encodes the enzyme 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1 (3βHSD1), which catalyzes adrenal androgen precursors into dihydrotestosterone, the most potent androgen. The authors found that the variant allele of HSD3B1 led to decreased progression-free survival in a dose-dependent manner in post-prostatectomy biochemical recurrence and metastatic HSPC (mHSPC). These results needed external validation before application in the clinic. In our study, we sought to provide the first independent validation of these results in patients with mHSPC. (more…)
Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Urology / 19.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yoshifumi Kadono, MD. PhD. Department of Integrative Cancer Therapy and Urology, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I had experienced some patients who underwent radical prostatectomy (RP) complained penile shortening after RP. Once I checked that kind of reports, some reports mentioned the phenomenon of penile shortening (PS) after radical prostatectomy; however, the results were little bit different and the reasons of PS after RP were not well elucidated. Therefore, we started our study to obtain our data. In our study, the penile length (PL) was measured before, 10 days after, and at 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months after RP. And the PL at 10 days after RP was shortest, and it gradually recovered thereafter. Penile length at 12 months after radical prostatectomy was not significantly different from preoperative penile length. Based on MRI investigation, slight vertical repositioning of the membranous urethra after radical prostatectomy caused chronological changes in penile length. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Pharmacology, Prostate Cancer / 19.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Teemu J Murtola, MD, PhD, adjunct professor University of Tampere, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences Tampere University Hospital, Department of Urology Tampere, Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A previous study called Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) showed that finasteride, which belongs to a drug group called 5alpha-reductase inhibitors lowers serum PSA and increases sensitivity of PSA to detect high-grade prostate cancer in men who had little or no symptoms of the lower urinary tract. We postulated that this effect would increase the accuracy and benefits of PSA-based prostate cancer screening. Finnish Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer was a large trial of over 80,000 men randomized either to be screened for prostate cancer with a PSA test at 4-year intervals or to be followed for prostate cancer incidence and mortality via national registries. Three consecutive screening rounds were commenced between 1996-2008. In the current study we compared the effects of PSA-based screening on prostate cancer risk and mortality separately among men who were using 5alpha-reductase inhibitors finasteride or dutasteride and among men who were not. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Genetic Research, Personalized Medicine, Prostate Cancer / 17.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. John L. Gore, MD Associate Professor Adjunct Associate Professor-Surgery Department of Urology University of Washington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The rationale for our study derives from the uncertainty that both patients and clinicians confront when trying to make decisions about adjuvant therapy for prostate cancers found to have aggressive pathologic features at the time of radical prostatectomy. There is level 1 evidence in support of adjuvant radiation therapy in this setting, but several factors restrain providers from recommending adjuvant radiation. We found that interjecting a genomic test that predicts the risk of clinical metastases 5 years after surgery impacts the treatment recommended and helps men and clinicians feel more confident in the decision they are making or recommending. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research / 17.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carlos H. Barcenas M.D., M.Sc. Assistant Professor Department of Breast Medical Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the last decade we have realized that we were over-treating many early stage breast cancer patients. In addition to the chemotherapy’s obvious side effects, there are also long term complications for breast cancer survivors. Since 2005, we are using a 21-gene-expression assay that predicts the risk of distant recurrence among early stage breast cancer patients. In 2015, initial results from the international clinical trial, TAILORx, found that women with hormone receptor positive, HER2 and lymph node negative early stage disease that had a low recurrence score (RS) of 0-10 from this assay could have chemotherapy omitted altogether. While these findings changed care for women with a low RS, questions remain regarding the management of women with an intermediate RS, defined by this trial as a RS of 11-25. For our retrospective, single-institution study we identified 1,424 stage I and II breast cancer patients with hormone receptor positive, HER2 and lymph node negative treated between 2005 and 2011 who underwent the 21-gene expression assay. The RS distribution was: 297 (21 percent) scored 0–10; 894 (63 percent) scored 11-25; and 233 (16 percent) scored >25. Of those groups, 1.7, 15 and 73.4 percent received chemotherapy, respectively. With a median follow up of 58 months, those with a RS of 11-25 had an invasive disease-free survival (IDFS) rate at five years of 92.6 percent, regardless if patients received chemotherapy or not. Among those patients who did not receive chemotherapy, the estimated rates of IDFS and overall survival was 93 percent and 98 percent, respectively, which was comparable to those who did receive chemotherapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 16.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:: Margaret Q. Rosenzweig PhD, CRNP-C, AOCNP, FAAN Acute and Tertiary Care Department University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A significant survival disparity still exists between African American and non-Hispanic white women diagnosed with breast cancer. There is evidence that symptom incidence, associated distress, and overall cancer-related distress may be unexplored, important contributing factors. The current study was a secondary, exploratory aim from the Attitudes, Communication, Treatment, and Support (ACTS) Intervention to Reduce Breast Cancer Treatment Disparity study, which is a randomized controlled trial of a psychoeducational intervention to encourage acceptance and adherence to chemotherapy compared with usual care for  African American women with breast cancer. The purpose of the current study was to: 1) describe and compare the number of chemotherapy-related symptoms and associated distress among AA women with breast cancer over the course of chemotherapy at 3 time points (at baseline before initiating chemotherapy, midpoint, and at the completion of chemotherapy); and 2) to describe the relationship between the number of chemotherapy-related symptoms and overall cancer distress compared with the ability to receive at least 85% of the prescribed chemotherapy within the prescribed timeframe. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research / 16.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. med. Rachel Würstlein Senior Specialist Clinic and Polyclinic for Obstetrics and Gynecology Klinikum der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München • Campus Innenstadt Munich MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Gene expression profiles provide important information on the risk of recurrence, and subtyping in HR+ HER2- early breast cancer, in addition to conventional clinicopathological factors. The PRIMe study was performed by the West German Study Group (WSG) and prospectively investigated the impact of the gene expression tests MammaPrint, a 70-Gene Breast Cancer Recurrence Assay, and the corresponding 80-Gene Molecular Subtyping Assay, BluePrint, on adjuvant chemotherapy decisions for early-stage breast cancer patients. To do this, a risk assessment (chemotherapy followed by endocrine therapy, versus endocrine therapy alone) for distant metastasis was performed in 452 patients from 27 study centers using conventional clinicopathological factors such as tumour size and grade first, then compared to the results of the gene expression tests MammaPrint and BluePrint. Doctors and patients then reviewed the results and made a decision on the optimal treatment plan, namely in deciding whether or not patients would benefit from, and should therefore be treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Breast Cancer, Dermatology, JAMA / 15.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Julie Rani Nangia, M.D. Assistant Professor Breast Center - Clinic Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was fueled by the feedback from women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. One of the most distressing side effects of their treatment is hair loss. It robs them of their anonymity and, for many, their femininity. Scalp cooling therapy has been available for a few years in the UK, but has faced obstacles in FDA clearance in the states. The makers of the scalp cooling device used in this study, Paxman Coolers Ltd., have a personal connection to breast cancer, as the company founder’s wife passed away from the disease. This was the first randomized scalp cooling study, and it shows that the Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System is an effective therapy for reducing chemotherapy-induced alopecia. The results show a 50% increase in hair preservation of grade 0 or 1, meaning use of a scarf or wig is not necessary, in patients who received the scalp cooling therapy as opposed to those who did not. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research / 15.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edwin Posadas, MD, FACP, KM Director, Translational Oncology Program Medical Director, Urologic Oncology Program Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute Clinical Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology Associate Professor, Department of Medicine Cedars-Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings of your work so far? Response: The technology we are using is called a NanoVelcro assay. This is a nanotechnology that can be used to isolate rare cells and cell-like particles in the blood stream. We have focused the use of the NanoVelcro on isolating circulating tumor cells (or CTCs). This technology is about 10 times more sensitive than that currently used in clinics. More importantly, because of some modification in our approach, we can now not only capture CTCs, but also examine them under the microscope and even analyze them using advanced molecular techniques. In this way, we take a classic and modern approach to our work. We firmly believe that there is much to be learned by studying the shapes of these CTCs. We in the cancer field have long known that shape and cellular function are intimately related. In fact, a young pathologist in our group readily recognized that patients with the most aggressive cancers had CTCs with small nuclei, which we verified in a larger study. We are now exploring the importance of these shape variations in CTCs by coupling this classic microscopy-driven approach with RNA characterizations, giving us insight into the molecular nature of the CTC. My collaborator, UCLA Professor Hsian-Rong Tseng, PhD, is a brilliant engineer who has found ways of altering the system to allow us to capture and release live cells for analysis. By using this system, we believe that one day we may be able to avoid performing invasive tissue biopsies to study a cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pain Research, Radiation Therapy / 14.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel McDonald, MD(C) Department of Radiation Oncology Odette Cancer Centre Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Toronto, Ontario, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Radiation treatment has been demonstrated in numerous studies to provide effective and timely pain relief to those suffering from painful bone metastases. However, as a palliative treatment, the goal should be not only to reduce pain but also to maintain and even improve quality of life. To date, studies have not effectively demonstrated this; most of these have included either small sample sizes or utilize questionnaires that aren’t tailored to the palliative cancer population with bone metastases. We aimed to determine how soon after radiation treatment one can expect an improvement in quality of life. Our results showed that patients who had a pain response to radiation also had significantly greater improvements in pain, pain characteristics, functional interference, and psychosocial aspects of well-being at day 10 post-treatment. Further improvements in most domains of quality of life were found for responders at day 42. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Diabetes, Melanoma / 13.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bin Zheng, PhD Assistant Professor Cutaneous Biology Research Center Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Charlestown, MA 02129  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer with more than 75,000 newly diagnosed cases in the US each year. Over the years, various genetic driver mutations have been identified that cause melanoma, including mutations in the genes BRAF and NRAS. Recent genetic insights into the development of melanoma showed that also mutations in NF1 can lead to melanoma. While there are targeted therapies available for BRAF-mutant melanoma, thus far no such therapies are available for NF1-mutant melanoma. We identified that using a combination of an ERK inhibitor, SCH772984, and the antidiabetic drug phenformin could provide a novel therapeutic strategy for NF1-mutatnt melanomas. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy, JAMA / 12.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael C. Heinrich, MD Professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology Oregon Health & Sciences University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior to 2000, there were no effective medical treatments for advanced GI stromal tumor and patients faced an average life expectancy of 18 months or less.  In our study of the  long-term treatment results using imatinib (Gleevec),  we found that approximately 7% of patients were still on front-line therapy at 10 years without any evidence of tumor progression.  More importantly, the estimated 10 year survival was 23%.   Progression-free and overall survival rates were significantly higher for patients with KIT exon 11-mutant GIST when compared with patients with KIT exon 9-mutant or “wild-type” GIST (no KIT/PDGFRA mutations). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, MD Anderson, Orthopedics / 12.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, FACP, FASCO Professor, Department of Breast Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77230-1439  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Bisphosphonates have been commercially available for several decades as supportive care for patients with bone metastases. They reduce the frequency and severity of bone-related complications. While the optimal dose and short-term scheduling of zoledronic acid (and previously, pamidronate) have been determined, there has been no research to determine how long these drugs need to be maintained nor the optimal dose and schedule beyond the first year of therapy. These questions are particularly important for this family of drugs, since they are incorporated into bone and not excreted from the body for many years. We set out to determine whether a reduction in the frequency of administration of zoledronic acid (every 12 weeks) was able to maintain the therapeutic efficacy of this intervention when compared to the “standard” schedule of administration (every 4 weeks). It was a prospective, randomized, non-inferiority trial that recruited patients with metastatic breast cancer with bone metastases and who had previously received 9 or more doses of zoledronic acid or pamidronate. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with one or more skeletal-related events. Four hundred and sixteen patients were randomized in a 1:1 ratio. The two groups were comparable at baseline. After the first year of follow-up, there was no statistically significant difference in SRE rate between the two arms, confirming the non-inferiority fo the every-12-week schedule of zoledronic acid. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Mammograms / 10.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Firas Dabbous, PhD Manager, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Russell Institute for Research & Innovation Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Park Ridge, IL  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: When women are told that there is something abnormal on their screening mammogram that can cause stress and worry while undergoing additional testing, even when they are later told that there is nothing wrong. We wanted to know if receiving a false positive screening mammogram would cause women to think twice before getting their next screening mammogram, and maybe delay coming back for their next screen. This is important because patients who have a false positive experience may have higher chance to develop breast cancer at a later point in time. Therefore, it is important to understand their screening patterns to better educate and inform them about the importance of adhering to mammography guidelines and emphasize the importance of returning on schedule for their next screens. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lung Cancer, PLoS / 09.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kevin ten Haaf MSc Scientific researcher, Public Health Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Lung cancer screening is currently recommended in the United States, for persons aged 55 through 80 who smoked at least 30 pack-years (the average number of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by the number of years the person has smoked) and who currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years. Other countries, such as Canada, are investigating the feasibility of implementing lung cancer screening policies. However, the cost-effectiveness of lung cancer screening in a population-based setting is uncertain. Concerns have been raised on the feasibility of implementing lung cancer screening policies, especially with regards to the potential costs. In this study, the benefits, harms and costs of implementing lung cancer screening in the province of Ontario, Canada were assessed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Heart Disease, PNAS, UT Southwestern / 09.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lawrence Lum, Ph.D. Associate Professor Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research UT Southwestern Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Scarring of the adult heart due to excessive fibrotic responses is common after a heart attack, or following radiation therapy for the treatment of certain cancers. We have identified an anti-cancer agent currently in clinical development called WNT-974 that decreases fibrotic responses and improves heart function following myocardial infarction in mice. This unexpected observation was the outcome of a study focused on identifying unwanted adult tissue toxicities associated with this class of chemicals. (more…)