Author Interviews, ESMO, Immunotherapy, Ovarian Cancer / 14.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mansoor Raza Mirza, MD Medical Director: Nordic Society of Gynecologic Oncology Board of Directors: Gynecologic Cancer Inter-Group (GCIG) Faculty: European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Faculty: International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) Chief Oncologist, Rigshospitalet Copenhagen University Hospital Copenhagen, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Recurrent ovarian cancer is an area of significant unmet medical need, and there have been few therapeutic advances for these patients in the past few decades. Niraparib was studied to provide patients with recurrent ovarian cancer an option other than “watchful waiting,” potentially redefining the standard of care for the disease. The ENGOT-OV16/NOVA trial was a Phase 3 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled international study of maintenance treatment with niraparib compared with placebo. Niraparib successfully achieved the primary endpoint of prolonging progression-free survival versus placebo in all three prospectively defined primary efficacy populations: (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, ESMO, Immunotherapy / 13.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mathew Galsky MD Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology Assistant Professor, Urology Director, Genitourinary Medical Oncology The Tisch Cancer Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Since the development of combination cisplatin-based chemotherapy for the treatment of metastatic bladder (urothelial) cancer several decades ago, there have been few advances in the treatment of this disease. Further, until recently, there had been no global standard treatment options for patients with metastatic urothelial cancer progressing despite platinum-based chemotherapy. Several lines of evidence suggest that urothelial cancer may be sensitive to immunotherapeutic treatment strategies. Recently, in a phase I/II study published by Sharma and colleagues in Lancet Oncology, the anti-PD-1 antibody Nivolumab demonstrated a durable objective response rate of 24% in patients with metastatic urothelial cancer progressing despite platinum-based chemotherapy. To confirm to antitumor effects of Nivolumab in this patient population, we conducted a large global multicenter single-arm phase II study (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Journal Clinical Oncology, Melanoma / 13.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Caroline Watts| Research Fellow Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research Sydney School of Public Health The University of Sydney  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A clinic for people at high risk of melanoma was established at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney in 2006 as part of a research project to look at the impact of surveillance regime which included regular full body skin examination supported by dermoscopy and total body photography at 6 monthly intervals. If a suspicious lesion was identified, the lesion was either removed or an image of the lesion was captured using digital dermoscopy and the patient returned in 3 months for review. This study aimed to estimate the costs and benefits from a health system perspective associated with specialised surveillance compared with current routine care high risk people would receive in the community.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Heart Disease, JAMA / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Husam Abdel-Qadir, MD, FRCPC, DABIM (Cardiology and Internal Medicine) Graduate student, Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research Elliot Philipson Clinician Scientist Training Program University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among North American women. The successes of screening and treatment have led to a marked increase in the number of breast cancer survivors, whose cardiovascular health is becoming of prime concern. Many recent publications have raised alarm about the incidence of cardiovascular abnormalities after breast cancer treatment. However, there is a paucity of data about the frequency of death from cardiovascular disease rather than breast cancer. Contemporary estimates of the incidence of competing risks like cardiovascular disease are important to guide discussions about prognosis, subsequent follow-up, and survivorship plans. It is important that such incidence estimates are generated using methodology that appropriately accounts for competing risks to avoid providing results that are biased upwards. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, ESMO / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Amanda Bobridge University of South Australia Adelaide MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite cancer screening being demonstrated to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality, current participation in established screening programs is variable. In Australia, the participation rates range from 37% for bowel cancer (FOBT) screening to 57% for cervical cancer screening. This study aimed to determine the barriers to and enablers for cancer screening and whether the target population for screening would support the concept of combined cancer screening (all screening offered at the same time at the same location). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Pharmacology / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sham Mailankody, MBBS Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The high price of older drugs has been increasingly criticized in part because of recent dramatic price hikes. There are some well known examples like pyrimethamine and more recently EpiPen. Whether and to what degree examples like pyrimethamine represent a common problem or exceptional cases remains unknown. Using Medicare data available for Part B, we sought to analyze the change in average sales price of cancer drugs between January 2010 and January 2015, and whether older drugs were more likely to undergo price increases than newer drugs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, ESMO / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Judith Balmaña MD Medical Oncology Hospital Vall d’Hebron and Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology Barcelona, Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Tumors  with brca1 or brca2 mutations share homologous recombination repair deficiency, which confers sensitivity to different types of dna damaging agents. An understanding of the role of brca1 and brca2 in the repair of double-stranded dna damage opened a window of opportunity for treating brca mutation–associated cancers with targeted therapies. Lurbinectedin is a trabectedin analog that specifically binds to cg-rich motifs with a selective mechanism of action: in living cells, lurbinectedin inhibits active transcription by degradation of elongating rna polymerase ii. This process occurs specifically on activated genes and is associated with the formation of double strand dna breaks and the collapse of replication forks. In addition, lurbinectedin exerts some antitumoral effect in the microenvironment by inhibiting the transcription of selected cytokines by tumor-associated macrophages, abrogating their protumoral properties. Observations that lurbinectedin was active against homologous-recombination-deficient cell lines led us to test it in patients with metastatic breast cancer having deleterious germline brca mutations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy / 11.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bernard Vanhove, Chief Operating Officer Director of R&D and International Scientific Collaborations Ose Immunotherapeutics MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Myeloid suppressive cells, including tumor associated macrophages (TAM) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), represent an abundant immune cell type in the microenvironment of solid tumors where they promote tumor growth, metastases, angiogenesis, inhibiting anti-tumor immune responses. Myeloid cells selectively express SIRPα, an immune tyrosine associated inhibitory receptor (also named CD172a), which controls myeloid functions. We investigated the role of Effi-DEM, new generation checkpoint inhibitor specifically targeting the SIRP- α receptor on the strategic SIRP-α/CD47 pathway in human macrophages polarization and MDSC differentiation. CD47 the ligand of SIRP alpha is ubiquitously expressed in human cells and has been found to be overexpressed in many different tumor cells with a poor prognosis established. Effi-DEM is a selective antagonist of these myeloid suppressive cells as its target SIRP-α is expressed on these cells. Based on this rationale, the preclinical studies conducted with Effi-DEM have demonstrated its potential to transform suppressor myeloid and tumor associated macrophage cells in non-suppressive cells, thereby inducing a reactivation of the immune response. Effi-DEM has also shown to be effective in various aggressive cancer models with encouraging preclinical results, both in monotherapy and in therapeutic combinations with anti-PD-L1 (checkpoint inhibitors) and anti-CD137 (4-1BB) mAbs, activators of the T-cell response. Significant efficacy and survival increase data were demonstrated in models of hepatocarcinoma, melanoma and triple negative breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, ESMO, Immunotherapy / 10.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, FACP, F.A.S.C.O. Professor of Medicine Nellie B. Connally Chair in Breast Cancer Department of Breast Oncology Co-Director, Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Research Program University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: MONALEESA-2 is a Phase III randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, multicenter global registration trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of LEE011 in combination with letrozole compared to letrozole alone in postmenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer who received no prior therapy for their advanced breast cancer. The primary efficacy results from the pivotal MONALEESA-2 study show LEE011 (ribociclib) plus letrozole significantly extended progression-free survival (PFS) compared to a standard of care, letrozole, as a first-line treatment in postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer (HR= 0.556; 95% CI: 0.429-0.720; p=0.00000329)1. The results demonstrate that LEE011 plus letrozole reduced the risk of death or progression by 44% over letrozole alone, significantly extending PFS across all patient subgroups. More than half of women with measurable disease taking LEE011 plus letrozole saw their tumor size shrink by at least 30% during treatment (overall response rate (ORR) in patients with measurable disease = 53% vs 37%, p=0.00028)1. (more…)
Author Interviews, ESMO, Pharmacology / 09.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paolo Bossi MD Medical Oncologist Head and Neck Cancer Department IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori Foundation Milan, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Precise, clear and unbiased reporting of adverse events (AE) is essential to ensure safety of the new drugs. It is crucial also in engaging patients and physicians in a shared decision making: before starting a new treatment I need to discuss with my pt what are the expected benefits and what the toxicities of a new drugs. However, in parallel to the discovery and development of new drugs, little attention has been paid to modernization of the way of collecting toxicities. This line of reasoning is particularly true for new or "relatively new" drugs, such as immunotherapy (IT) and targeted agents (TT). So, we analysed all the trials that lead to the approval of TT or IT from 2000 – 2015 retrieved by FDA database. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, ESMO, Melanoma / 08.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. dr Lidija Kandolf Sekulovic MD, PhD EADO project access to innovative medicines coordinator Interdisciplinary Melanoma team, Department of Dermatology Medical Faculty, Military Medical Academy Belgrade, Serbia MedicalResearch.com: What made you set out to organize this survey? Response: Before 2011 there were no effective treatment options for metastatic melanoma patients, but that have tremendously changed in the last 5 years. Now we have innovative medicines which are able to prolong overall survival of these patients to more than 18 months, and in some patients, durable responses lasting for up to 10 years are not infrequently reported. However, the access to these medicines is restricted, and patients and physicians are facing more and more difficulties to obtain them. This is especially the case for countries of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, where majority of patients are still treated with palliative chemotherapy that does not prolong overall survival. We wanted to explore this issue more deeply, to map the access to innovative medicines between 1st May 2015 to 1st May 2016, and particularly the access to first-line treatment recommended by ESMO and EDF/EORTC/EADO guidelines that are based on scientific evidence and which are published in 2015 and 2016. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer, Prostate Cancer, UT Southwestern / 08.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Ryan Hutchinson MD and Yair Lotan MD Department of Urology University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommendation against PSA screening generated significant controversy. Research since then has relied heavily on survey data to examine the impact of the recommendation on PSA screening practices. In a hotly charged issue such as this, such data can carry significant bias. We examined a large, whole-institution data in the years before and after the USPSTF recommendations reflecting actual practice and found that the changes in PSA use at our institution, if any, were small. This is more consistent with behavior seen after the vast majority of practice recommendations. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 07.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Riccardo Taulli, PhD Assistant Professor of Biochemistry Dept. of Oncology, University of Turin Via Santena 5, 10126 Torino, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Rhabdomyosarcoma is a muscle-derived pediatric cancer for which therapeutic options have not improved significantly over the past decades, especially for its metastatic form. MicroRNAs are small regulatory molecules that control gene expression at the post-transcriptional level, fine tuning a wide number of cellular mechanisms, processes and behaviors. In our work, we underwent a large microRNA isolation and sequencing effort using human samples of the three major rhabdomyosarcoma subtypes, along with cell lines and normal muscle, to identify novel molecular circuits with therapeutic potential. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Pancreatic / 06.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Pouria Jandaghi Functional Genome Analysis, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum Heidelberg, Germany Department of Human Genetics, McGill University University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre Montreal, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although the overall five-year survival of all patients with cancer stands at 63%, for pancreatic cancer patients, it is a disheartening 8% - a number that remains largely unchanged for three decades. Of the patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, about 85% exhibit pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Most of these patients die within 4 to 6 months after diagnosis. The poor prognosis is caused by the its detection at only late stages, and lack of effective options for chemotherapy. The widely used chemotherapeutic agent gemcitabine, confers a median survival advantage of only 6 months, and resistance to therapy develops in the vast majority of patients. Given this poor prognosis of patients with PDAC, there is an urgent need to find more effective therapies. In this study, we set out to investigate potential therapeutic targets by dissecting gene expression profiles of tumors and control samples. Candidate targets were validated with respect to their suitability and analyzed functionally. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Journal Clinical Oncology, Lung Cancer / 05.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donald R. Sullivan, M.D., M.A. Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine Oregon Health & Science University Investigator, VA Portland Health Care System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is an inextricably link between physical and mental health, and all too often clinicians focus solely on the physical components of disease. A life-threatening diagnosis such as cancer often evokes significant psychological distress and lung cancer patients are at significantly risk. Up to 44% of lung cancer patients experience depression symptoms and 5-13% major depressive disorder, higher than most other cancers. Previous studies have demonstrated the development of depression or depression symptoms at lung cancer diagnosis can increase patient mortality, but there is a paucity of research exploring how longitudinal changes in depression symptoms impact patient outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, ENT, HPV / 04.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric M Genden, MD, FACS Isidore Friesner Professor and Chairman Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this report? How has the clinical picture of HPV infections of oral and throat cancers changed over the past two decades? Response: There has been no change however there has been a epidemic of viral induced throat cancer in men. The HPV virus has been established a the causative agent in cervical cancer in women. It has now been identified as a major causative agent in tonsillar and base of tongue cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bijou R. Hunt,  MA Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System Chicago, IL  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Hispanic women, as well as the leading cause of cancer death for this group. Research has shown that there are differences by Hispanic subgroup in various causes of death, including cancer, but we haven’t seen data on breast cancer specifically among Hispanic subgroups. The most important question we wanted to address with this study was: do breast cancer prevalence and mortality vary by Hispanic subgroup? (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cognitive Issues, Education, Lancet, Leukemia, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 04.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yin Ting Cheung, PhD Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control and Noah D Sabin, MD Department of Diagnostic Imaging St Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, TN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who are treated with high-dose intravenous methotrexate or intrathecal chemotherapy are at risk for neurocognitive impairment, particularly in cognitive processes such as processing speed, attention and executive function. However, many children who receive these therapies do not experience significant impairments, suggesting the need for biomarkers to identify patients at greatest risk. Prior research from our team demonstrated that, during chemotherapy, patients were at risk for white matter changes in the brain, also known as leukoencephalopathy. No studies documented the persistence or impact of brain leukoencephalopathy in long-term survivors of childhood ALL treated on contemporary chemotherapy-only protocols. In this study, we included prospective neuroimaging from active therapy to long-term follow-up, and comprehensive assessment of brain structural and functional outcomes in long-term survivors of ALL treated with contemporary risk-adapted chemotherapy. We demonstrated that survivors who developed leukoencephalopathy during therapy displayed more neurobehavioral problems at more than 5 years post-diagnosis. Moreover, these survivors also had reduced white matter integrity at long-term follow-up, and these structural abnormalities were concurrently associated with the neurobehavioral problems. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, ENT, HPV / 03.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth Franzmann, M.D. Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Vigilant Biosciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Head and neck cancer involves cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx and larynx. It is difficult to treat. Part of the challenge is that it is distinguishing the patients with tumors that are going to behave aggressively from those with less aggressive disease. As a result, many patients undergo treatment that may be more intensive and morbid than they need while others need more aggressive treatment. Tissue markers associated with prognosis may be able to help clinicians differentiate patients who need more aggressive treatment from those whose treatment can be less intensive. CD44 is a cell surface glycoprotein and tumor-initiating marker. CD44 and another surface protein, EGFR, are involved in tumor extension and are associated with poor prognosis. Certain forms of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause oropharyngeal cancer and are associated with a good prognosis. P16 is a surrogate marker for the kind of HPV that causes cancer. Understanding the relationships between how these markers are expressed in cancer tissue may direct patient treatment in the future. (more…)
Author Interviews, Journal Clinical Oncology, Prostate Cancer, Surgical Research, Urology / 30.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric Jacobs, PHD Strategic Director, Pharmacoepidemiology American Cancer Society, Inc. 250 Williams St. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Vasectomy is a common, inexpensive, and very effective method of long-term birth control. However, in 2014, an analysis from a large epidemiologic cohort study, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, found that vasectomy was associated with about 10% higher overall risk of prostate cancer and about 20% higher risk of fatal prostate cancer. Together with other researchers at the American Cancer Society, I analyzed the association between vasectomy and fatal prostate cancer among more than 363,000 men in the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II) cohort, age 40 and older, who were followed for up to 30 years. This is the largest prospective analysis of vasectomy and fatal prostate cancer to date. We also examined vasectomy and prostate cancer in a subset of about 66,000 CPS-II study participants who were followed for new diagnoses of prostate cancer. We found no link between having had a vasectomy and risk of either developing or dying from prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Radiation Therapy, Yale / 30.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nataniel Lester-Coll, MD Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at Yale New Haven, Connecticut  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) has limited treatment options and the prognosis is poor. Mibefradil diydrochloride was identified using a high-throughput compound screen for DNA double stranded break repair inhibitors. Mibefradil was found to radiosensitize GBM tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. Based on these findings, we sought to determine the maximum tolerated dose of mibefradil and radiation therapy in a Phase I recurrent GBM study. Eligible patients with recurrent  Glioblastoma Multiforme received Mibefradil over a 17 day period, with hypofractionated radiation (600 cGy x 5 fractions). There are 18 patients currently enrolled who have completed treatment. Thus far, there is no clear evidence of radionecrosis. A final dose level of 200 mg/day was reached as the maximum tolerated dose. The drug was very well tolerated at this dose. We saw intriguing evidence of enhanced local control in selected cases. Patients enrolled in a translational substudy who received Mibefradil prior to surgery were found to have adequate levels of Mibefradil in resected brain tumor tissue. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Science / 30.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paola Scaffidi, PhD Group Leader Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory The Francis Crick Institute London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Every cancer is different, but even within the same tumor cells are highly diverse, and only some of them are truly immortal and drive tumor growth. This is quite surprising if we think that cancer arises from one cell that keeps replicating itself. So why are some cancer cells more dangerous than others? And why do some cells "get tired" along the way and, at some point, stop dividing? In our study we describe one cellular mechanism that provides some answers to these questions. We have found that to be able to divide indefinitely, cancer cells have to strongly reduce the levels of a nuclear protein called histone H1.0. This is needed to allow activation of many genes important for cancer cell proliferation, which otherwise would be somehow "hidden" within the cell nucleus. Importantly, though, while tumors grow, some cells raise back the levels of H1.0, which hides these genes again and makes the cells stop proliferating. So the end result is that within the same tumor we have a mix of cells, some which keep these important genes on, while others switch them off and, as a consequence, lose their ability to divide, and differentiate into a more mature state. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Education / 30.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adam Brufsky, MD, PhD, FACP Medical Director of the Women's Cancer Center University of Pittsburgh Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • The Make Your Dialogue Count survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Novartis between June 20 and August 22, 2014. A total of 359 surveys were collected among women 21 years+ living with advanced breast cancer in addition to 234 caregivers of women with advanced breast cancer and 252 licensed oncologists who treat at least five advanced breast cancer patients per month within the United States. Novartis conducted the survey with guidance from oncologists, patient advocacy experts and a psychologist to better understand the dialogue around treatment goals and decisions that takes place among advanced breast cancer patients, caregivers and oncologists.
  • Main survey findings show communication gaps exist in discussions between patients and oncologists, particularly around treatment plans and goals.
  • 89% of patients and 76% of oncologists said that it’s important or very important to discuss long-term treatment plans beyond the current recommended treatment at their initial advanced breast cancer diagnosis. Yet, 43% of patients reported that this did not take place.
  • 70% of patients and 65% of oncologists said that it’s important or very important to refer patients to support services at their initial advanced breast cancer diagnosis. Yet, only 36% of patients reported that this was something their doctor did.
  • 23% of oncologists said that at times their emotions have kept them from sharing certain information with their advanced breast cancer patients, and 27% of oncologists said that, in certain situations, they do not discuss with patients the fact that advanced breast cancer is incurable.
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Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer, Science / 27.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Iryna Saranchova MD PhD candidate Michael Smith Laboratories Vancouver, BC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? • The immune system is efficient at identifying and halting the tumour emergence at early stages. However, when metastatic (sufficient to cause death) tumour appears, the immune system is no longer able to recognize the cancer cells and control their growth and spread. • Recent studies of solid cancers have shown considerable heterogeneity between different tumour types and several lines of evidence suggest that tumours are not only heterogeneous, but they constantly evolve during the disease progression and this often hampers the existing treatment methods. • It means that it is important to consider each patient’s mutational changes accumulated over time in antecedent primary, metastatic lesions and/or local recurrences. This approach will help to understand the mechanism of tumour development, create a background for specific treatment modality and prevent therapeutic failure with consequent systemic relapse of the disease • Therefore, in our project we were aiming to find possible immune markers of tumour transition from the primary stage to its metastatic form. For this purpose, we selected a special study model: two pairs of separate mouse tumour cell lines, where metastatic cells arose from the initial primary tumour. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Colon Cancer, Geriatrics / 27.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xabier Garcia-De-Albeniz MD PhD Research Associate Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Mongan Institute for Health Policy Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Randomized controlled trials are considered the gold standard to inform health care delivery. Unfortunately, no randomized controlled trials of screening colonoscopy have been completed. Ongoing trials exclude persons aged 75 or older, and will not have mature results before 2025. However, healthy persons older than 75 may live long enough to benefit from colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. The Medicare program reimburses screening colonoscopy without an upper age limit since the year 2001. We used the extensive experience of Medicare beneficiaries to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of screening colonoscopy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nature, Technology / 23.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Natalie Artzi PhD principal research scientist MIT's Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and Assistant professor of medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital With co-authors: Avital Gilam, João Conde, Daphna Weissglas-Volkov, Nuria Oliva, Eitan Friedman, Noam Shomron MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Metastases are the primary cause for mortality in breast cancer, the most common cancer in women regardless of ethnicity. Recent studies show that germline sequence variants, such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in miRNA-binding sites, can disrupt the downregulation by miRNAs, with a profound effect on gene expression levels and consequentially on the phenotype, including increased risk for cancer. In the current study, we aimed to determine the potential effect of SNPs within miRNA-binding sites on metastatic breast cancer progression and their potential use as suppression targets to prevent metastasis. Our collaborators at Tel-Aviv Universityin a research led by Dr. Noam Shomron found that the SNP, rs1071738, located in a target site for miR-96 and miR-182 on the 3’-UTR of the PALLD gene, encodes the Palladin actin-associated protein, which is a documented player in breast cancer motility. In vitro experiments revealed a functional downregulation of Palladin levels by miR-96 and miR-182, which subsequently reduces migration and invasion abilities of breast cancer cells. My lab then showed in an in vivo experiment that the use of nanoparticles embedded in a hydrogel scaffold as a miRNA delivery vehicle enables an efficient and specific delivery of miR-96/miR-182 directly to breast tumours, which results in marked reduction of breast cancer metastasis. We then proceeded to study the effect of combination therapy in which we will use a chemotherapy drug to shrink the primary tumor and the miRNAs to prevent metastasis. The intercalation of a chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, to the miR-conjugated nanoparticles further improved the effect, leading to significant reduction in both primary tumour growth and metastasis. Our study highlights the therapeutic potential of miRNAs, and specifically miR-96 and miR-182, and support the importance of Palladin regulation in breast cancer metastasis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Technology / 23.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Grace G. Bushnell PhD candidate Department of Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study builds off of previous work from the Shea and Jeruss laboratories at the University of Michigan, which reported that implanted scaffolds can capture early metastatic cells in vivo prior to the colonization of other organs and serve as a platform for early detection of metastatic disease. Furthermore, the presence of a scaffold reduced the tumor burden in other metastatic locations. In this work, the major finding was that early detection using a scaffold combined with a therapeutic intervention led to a survival advantage relative to mice that did not receive a scaffold. The scaffolds had been designed to persist in vivo for longer periods of time than in the original study. Additionally, the scaffold was implanted prior to the inoculation of metastatic cancer cells in the mouse. The role of the immune system in the process was further refined, as the immune cell composition at the scaffold changed significantly after disease initiation. These studies demonstrate that early intervention in a metastatic setting can lead to enhanced survival. This principle of early intervention is well established for the primary tumor, and these studies suggest that this principle may be extended to metastatic disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Genetic Research, UT Southwestern / 23.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Roshni Rao, M.D Breast Surgery University of Texas Southwestern MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterized by not having estrogen, progesterone, or Her2Neu receptors. Although a less common type, it is aggressive, and leads to a disproportionate number of deaths from breast cancer. TNBC is more common in young, African American women, but can be found in other ethnic groups as well. This study performed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, to evaluate for patient genetic ancestry, in 92 patients with TNBC. In regards to self-identified ethnicity, there were 31 African-Americans, 31 Whites, and 30 Hispanics. Utilizing mtDNA, 13% of patients had discordance between self identified ethnicity and mtDNA analysis. Discordance was highest in the Hispanic group. The Hispanic patients were also much younger at initial age of diagnosis, and less likely to have a family history of breast cancer. Ancestry from Nigeria, Cameroon, or Sierre Leone were most common in the African-Americans with triple negative breast cancer. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Journal Clinical Oncology / 22.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Darren R. Feldman, MD Medical Oncologist Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is limited knowledge as to why a minority of patients with advanced germ cell tumors are resistant to chemotherapy while the majority achieve complete responses. Patients with cisplatin-resistant disease require intensive salvage treatment and are at high risk of dying from their disease. We sought to determine whether certain genomic alterations within tumors might be associated with cisplatin-resistance in GCT. We also wanted to identify the spectrum of genomic alterations in this population which might represent novel targets for existing or new drug development in this disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Geriatrics, Melanoma / 21.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: José Antonio Avilés-Izquierdo, PhD Department of Dermatology Hospital Gregorio Marañón Madrid, Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Melanoma is responsible for most of skin cancer-related deaths and the cancer with the highest cost per death and the highest lost of productive-life years in Europe. Despite the importance on early diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma, there are few studies analyzing the reasons that lead patients with melanoma to consult. The impact on prognosis in patients with melanoma according to who first detects melanoma have not been established. (more…)