Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Prostate Cancer / 02.12.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Jeremy Clark University of East Anglia Norwich Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Earlier this year we published our pilot study which showed how useful we have found urine to be for diagnosing prostate cancer and predicting which cancers will get bigger and nastier up to 5 years later (Connell et al 2019). – Our PUR (Prostate Urine Risk) signatures separated men with low-risk cancer into two groups one of which had 8-times the rate of future development of aggressive cancer that the other. There is nothing in clinical use at present that can do this. The new development is our At-Home Urine collection system which means that we can now send out a urine collection kit to a man at home, he fills up a small pot with his first wee of the day and posts it back to us for PUR analysis. This makes the whole system so much less stressful for the patient. The idea behind it is as follows: the prostate lays just below the bladder, it is a secretory organ and these secretions carry cells and molecules from all over the prostate to the urethra which then get flushed out of the body on urination. If a cancer is present then tiny bits of the tumour are also carried with the secretions and we can detect these in the urine. As the prostate is constantly secreting the levels of biomarkers in the urethra will build up with time. Collecting from the first wee of the day means that overnight secretions can be collected which makes the analysis more sensitive and more robust. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Pharmaceutical Companies / 26.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ambry GeneticsRachid Karam, MD PhD Director, Ambry Translational Genomics Lab Ambry Genetics MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Standard DNA testing for hereditary cancer risk excludes large portions of DNA, thereby missing some mutations. In addition, DNA testing can produce inconclusive results and fail to determine that an error in our DNA increases cancer risk. These limitations impact patients and their families because doctors may not have the information needed to recommend appropriate preventive, early detection, or therapeutic steps. Additionally, relatives may not be referred for genetic testing and obtain the care they would otherwise have gotten if they had learned they had mutations. The study looked at how the addition of RNA genetic testing to standard DNA testing for hereditary cancer risk was able to increase diagnostic yield. The study looked at the first 2,500 patients that received Ambry Genetics +RNAinsight™, paired RNA and DNA genetic testing for hereditary cancer risk. The data from this study showed that the addition of RNA genetic testing to DNA testing (1) identified new mutations that would have been missed with DNA testing alone, and (2) clarified inconclusive results as disease-causing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Colon Cancer, JAMA, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 26.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: MINGYANG SONG, MD, ScD Assistant Professor, Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health Assistant Professor of Medicine Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Increasing data indicate that high intake of omega-3 fatty acid may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Since effects of nutritional factors on risk of cancer, a slow-developing disease, typically emerge only after several years, it is useful to study the effect of preventive agents on cancer precursors such as colorectal polyps. Colorectal polyps are small growths on the lining of the colon or rectum. Most polyps are harmless, but some can become cancerous. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV / 20.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ashish Deshmukh, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor UTHealth School of Public Health Houston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Anal cancer is one of the six human papillomavirus associated cancers.  Rates of anal cancer are increasing in the US, but no prior study quantified the contemporary trends (i.e., increase in rates over time) in anal cancer incidence. It was unknown whether the rise is real or driven by increased screening in some high-risk populations. Incidence trends according to age and stage at diagnosis was also never comprehensively studied. Furthermore, it was unknown whether the rise in incidence has led to a rise in mortality. Our objective was to answer these questions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Prostate Cancer / 20.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeffrey L. Anderson, MD FAHA FACC MACP Distinguished Research Physician Professor of Medicine with Tenure University of Utah School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Omega-3 supplements are widely used for cardiovascular prevention. However, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (105:1132, 2013) reported as an incidental finding in a plasma bank study that the risk of prostate cancer increased with increasing levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and trended to increase with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma / 17.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer M. Gardner, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology University of Washington School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study looked at age-specific differences of melanoma incidence in the United States. It was an observational study looking at population-based registry data extracted from the combined National Program of Cancer Registries-Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results United States Cancer Statistics (NPCR-SEER) database. The overall take home message from this study is that though melanoma incidence has continued to climb in the past decade for both men and women, most of the increase is seen in adults greater than age 40 years of age.  In contrast, melanoma incidence decreased in adolescents (ages 10-19 years of age) and young adults (ages 20-29) after peaking around 2004-2005. Melanoma is more common in males in older individuals (older than 50 years of age) but in younger individuals (<50 years of age), melanoma is more common in females.  According to a recently published JAMA-Otolaryngology paper by Bray and colleagues, there may be a subset of younger individuals where males are at a higher risk than females in regard to head and neck melanoma, and after that study was published we noted this to be true in our numbers, as well (we didn’t publish this in our study), further identifying a possibly “at risk” demographic within the younger age groups in addition to young women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Mammograms / 15.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Elham Kharazmi, MD, PhD Co-Leader, Risk Adapted Prevention (RAD) Group Division of Preventive Oncology National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer death in American women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Available evidence suggests that implementation of a screening program can decrease breast cancer mortality. Reductions in breast cancer mortality in Europe over the past two decades have been associated at least in part with the implementation of screening programs. Screening enables the detection of tumors at an early stage, when more treatment options are feasible and most effective. However, screening is associated with substantial risks, such as over-diagnosis, false-positive results, and physical and psychological harms, particularly when large numbers of women with low risk are frequently screened. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Melanoma, Ophthalmology / 15.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mitchell Stark, B.App.Sc (Hons), PhD NHMRC Research Fellow The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute Woolloongabba, QLD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Uveal nevi (moles) mimic the appearance of uveal melanoma and their transformation potential cannot be definitively determined without a biopsy. Moles or naevi in the eye are common but can be difficult to monitor because changes to their shape or colouring can’t always be seen as easily as on the skin. As naevi are difficult to biopsy, they are usually “monitored” at regular intervals. If there is a melanoma in the eye, then outcomes are poor for people if their cancer spreads to the liver. This study aimed to identify a “biomarker” that could be measured in patients’ blood that could be used as an early indicator of melanoma formation (from a mole) or progression to other body sites.  (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Pediatrics / 13.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sairaman Nagarajan, MD Clinical Fellow at State University New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The impetus for this study came from our previous research linking asthma, hay-fever and overall cancer diagnoses using the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey database. The division of Allergy and Immunology at SUNY Downstate has also conducted two pilot studies on the relationship between parental cancer and childhood asthma in Brooklyn’s population; one from Lutheran Medical Center focusing on Hispanics and Asian patients, and the other on African-American and Afro-Caribbean patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, JAMA, OBGYNE / 07.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel L. Winer, PhD Professor Department of Epidemiology School of Public Health HPV Research Group University of Washington Seattle, WARachel L. Winer, PhD Professor Department of Epidemiology School of Public Health HPV Research Group University of Washington Seattle, WA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the U.S., 25% of women do not receive recommended cervical cancer screening. Increasing screening participation is a high priority, because over half of the 12,000 cervical cancers diagnosed each year in the U.S. are in women who are underscreened. Currently available options for cervical cancer screening in the U.S. include Pap testing or HPV testing, either alone or in combination. HPV self-sampling is an emerging option for screening because HPV tests – unlike Pap tests – can be performed on either clinician- or self-collected samples, with similar accuracy. Internationally, several countries (including Australia and the Netherlands) include HPV self-sampling as a cervical cancer screening option for underscreened women.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, JAMA / 02.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nina Niu Sanford, M.D. Assistant Professor Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care UT Southwestern Department of Radiation Oncology Dallas TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Minority racial/ethnic groups present at later stages of cancer and have worse stage-specific survival rates.  Cultural competency represents a single element within the dynamic and trans-disciplinary field of health disparities, but is an important modifiable factor for both providers and health organizations that could be associated with disparities in cancer outcomes. There have been longstanding initiatives and training requirements in medical education specifically designed to improve provider cultural competency over the past couple of decades, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has recently outlined goals for improving cultural competency within its policy statement on cancer disparities. Moreover, ASCO health disparity policies have recently highlighted the association between racial/ethnic disparities in cancer outcomes and a “lack of access to high-quality care that is understanding and respectful of diverse traditions and cultures plays a significant role.”  Given the above, we wished to assess access to culturally competent providers among patients with cancer by race/ethnicity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Melanoma, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 30.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Magdalena Taube, PhD Institute of Medicine, Dept of Molecular and Clinical Medicine Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University Wallenberg laboratory Gothenburg Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Obesity is a cancer risk factor, and bariatric surgery in patients with obesity is associated with reduced cancer risk. However, evidence of an association among obesity, bariatric surgery and skin cancer is limited. In this study we used data from the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study– a prospective controlled intervention trial examining bariatric surgery outcomes – to analyze the impact of bariatric surgery on skin cancer incidence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Pharmaceutical Companies / 23.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ambry GeneticsRachid Karam, MD, PhD Ambry Genetics Aliso Viejo, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: DNA genetic testing is a powerful tool used to tailor medical care based on an individual’s cancer risk. However, even medical grade DNA genetic testing can produce inconclusive results, finding a change in our DNA to be a variant of unknown significance (a VUS) and failing to determine whether it increases cancer risk. When this happens, healthcare providers might not have the information needed to recommend appropriate preventive and early detection steps, or certain cancer treatments, and relatives may not be referred for genetic testing for their own care. In this study, investigators from Ambry, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute, and University of Kansas Cancer Center demonstrated that performing both DNA and RNA genetic testing reduces inconclusive results enabling clinicians to offer cancer screening and treatment resources to the right patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lung Cancer / 23.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Li C. Cheung, PhD Staff Scientist, Biostatistics Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics NCI National Cancer Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Using individualized risk prediction models to select individuals for lung-cancer screening will prevent more lung cancer deaths than current USPSTF guidelines (ages 55-80y; 30+ pack-years; smoke in past 15y). However, risk-based screening would lead to screening even more older smokers with comorbidities, for whom the harms of screening may outweigh the benefits. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma, Technology / 21.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: https://skin-analytics.com/about-us/ Dr. Helen Marsden PhD Skin Analytics Limited London, United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In this technology age, with the explosion of interest and applications using Artificial Intelligence, it is easy to accept the output of a technology-based test - such as a smartphone app designed to identify skin cancer - without thinking too much about it. In reality, technology is only as good as the way it has been developed, tested and validated. In particular, AI algorithms are prone to a lack of “generalisation” - i.e. their performance drops when presented with data it has not seen before. In the medical field, and particularly in areas where AI is being developed to direct a patient’s diagnosis or care, this is particularly problematic. Inappropriate diagnosis or advice to patients can lead to false reassurance, heightened concern and pressure on NHS services, or worse. It is concerning, therefore, that there are a large number of smartphone apps available that provide an assessment of skin lesions, including some that provide an estimate of the probability of malignancy, that have not been assessed for diagnostic accuracy. Skin Analytics has developed an AI-based algorithm, named: Deep Ensemble for Recognition of Malignancy (DERM), for use as a decision support tool for healthcare providers. DERM determines the likelihood of skin cancer from dermoscopic images of skin lesions. It was developed using deep learning techniques that identify and assess features of these lesions which are associated with melanoma, using over 7,000 archived dermoscopic images. Using these images, it was shown to identify melanoma with similar accuracy to specialist physicians. However, to prove the algorithm could be used in a real life clinical setting, Skin Analytics set out to conduct a clinical validation study. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Melanoma / 20.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Immunology, Microenvironment & Metastasis Program Scientific Director, Imaging Facility The Wistar Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We are focusing on how a specific type of brain cells, astrocytes, helps the cancer cells from melanoma and breast cancer to form metastatic lesions.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Global Health, Melanoma / 10.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Suzanne Dobbinson, PhD Senior Research Fellow Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Behavioural Science Division Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Skin cancer prevention programs, such as the SunSmart program in Victoria, have been implemented in Australia over 30 years with the aim of reducing the population’s exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), the main cause of skin cancer. A recent reduction in melanoma rates among younger Australians has led to this paper which examines the extent of behaviour change in Melbourne, Australia, and the potential contribution of prevention programs to the decline in melanoma rates. Previous population-based studies assessing the impact of these programs have focused on measuring the change in the prevalence of individual sun protection behaviours, and thus have largely overlooked the use of sun avoidance and composite sun protection behaviours. The focus on tracking individual behaviours may have underestimated the behaviour change associated with these programs. We analysed data from a series of cross-sectional surveys conducted in Melbourne during summer months between 1987 and 2017. These data include the summer before the SunSmart program commenced (1987-88) and across summers in three subsequent decades. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, General Medicine, JAMA, Melanoma, Stanford / 07.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eleni Linos MD MPH DrPH Professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology Stanford University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We know that tanning beds are harmful: people who use tanning beds are more likely to get skin cancer. Sexual minority men are much more likely to use tanning beds and also more likely to get skin cancer. In a separate study we discovered that one reason sexual minority men use tanning beds is if it is convenient: e.g. if close to home, cheap, and easy. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjd.17684). Recent research showed that tobacco retailers cluster in LGB neighborhoods: https://sph.unc.edu/sph-news/more-tobacco-retailers-in-lgbt-neighborhoods-may-explain-smoking-disparities/. This made us wonder if tanning salons also cluster in neighborhoods with more gay men.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 04.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Ranjit Manchanda MD, MRCOG, PhD Professor & Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) Fellow Integrated Academic Training Programme Director London Specialty School of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Health Education England Cancer Research UK, Barts Centre | Queen Mary University of London Department of Gynaecological Oncology | Barts Health NHS Trust, Royal London Hospital London  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Current national and international guidelines recommend genetic-testing (for BRCA genes) in women with breast cancer (BC) who fulfil recognised/established clinical criteria which are based on a history of cancer in the patient and family. However 50% of BRCA carriers do not fulfil these criteria. Thus the current  family-history or clinical-criteria based approach misses half the people at risk. Additionally only 20%-30% of patients eligible tend to get referred for and access BRCA testing. Newer genes like PALB2 which cause breast cancer have been identified and can also be tested for. Knowing a patient’s mutation status (carrier identification) can have a number of benefits. After unilateral breast cancer, mutations carriers can choose contralateral prophylactic-mastectomy (CPM) or preventative mastectomy of the second breast to reduce their risk of developing contralateral breast cancer. Additionally they can opt for surgical prevention for ovarian-cancer (OC). Cancer affected carriers may become eligible for novel drugs (like poly-adenosine-diphosphate-ribose-polymerase (PARP) inhibitors) and other precision-medicine based novel drug therapies through clinical trials. A major advantage of genetic-testing is enabling testing relatives of breast cancer mutation carriers, to identify unaffected relatives carrying mutations who can benefit from early diagnosis and cancer prevention. Testing everyone instead of being restricted by family history will identify many more mutation carriers and their family members who can benefit from precision prevention. A large proportion of these cancers are preventable in known unaffected mutations carriers. (more…)
Antibiotic Resistance, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Journal Clinical Oncology, University Texas / 03.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fangjian Guo, MD, PhD Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston TX  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The identification of BRCA1/BRCA2 pathogenic variants in women susceptible to breast or ovarian cancer in the 1990s created an opportunity for targeted, individualized cancer prevention. BRCA testing in young women before cancer onset enables early detection of those with increased cancer risk and creates an opportunity to offer life-saving prophylactic procedures and medication. We used insurance claims data to assess the use of BRCA testing in unaffected young women <40 years of age between 2006 and 2017 and found that BRCA testing among cancer-free women under 40 has more than doubled in recent years. However, only about 25% of all BRCA testing done in 2017 was performed in unaffected young women under 40. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 03.10.2019

Dr. Dario Altieri in his lab with Dr. Ekta Agarwal conducting an experimentMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ekta Agarwal, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dario Altieri, M.D. Wistar president and CEO ,Director of the Institute’s Cancer Center Robert & Penny Fox Distinguished Professor and co-first author on the study. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Mitochondrial reprogramming is one of the hallmarks of cancer cell growth and metastasis. There are several studies correlating mitochondrial dynamics to increased cancer cell motility and invasion. However, therapies that can target molecular markers associated with mitochondrial functions and integrity are still obscure. Thus, it is crucial to identify novel targets and pathways that regulate mitochondrial functions in cancer. This study reveals one such mitochondrial molecular pathway which might serve as an actionable anti-cancer therapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Lung Cancer, Vaccine Studies / 28.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Naomi E Aronson, MD, FIDA, FACP Professor and Director, Infectious Diseases Division Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda, MD  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: BCG is a live attenuated mycobacteria vaccine used to prevent tuberculosis which has been reported to have associated nonspecific effects such as treatment of diabetes, bladder cancer, prevention of severe respiratory infections in children, and suppressed autoimmune responses. In earlier reports in the 1970s, results of epidemiologic studies were divided as to whether BCG vaccine was associated with subsequent rates of malignancy, specifically leukemia (protective) and non Hodgkins lymphoma (higher rates). To further evaluate these observations we studied cancer data collected in the 60 year follow up of a controlled trial of BCG in American Indian/ Alaska Native schoolchildren. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Pancreatic / 24.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hadas Reuveni, PhD VP of Research and Development Kitov Pharma MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Current treatments fail to provide patients with an effective and long-lasting response, mostly given to the nature of the tumor microenvironment which hinders drug accessibility, the late stage on diagnosis and the rapid upregulation of compensatory alternative signaling pathways by the tumor cells that lead to cancer drug resistance. Two of the major parallel pathways regulating tumor survival and metastasis as well as the crosstalk of the tumor and its microenvironment are mediated by insulin receptor substrate (IRS) 1 and 2, and by the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). Both IRS1 and STAT3 have been shown to play a significant role in development of drug resistance by tumor cells. NT219, the focus of the current study, is a small molecule that presents a new concept in cancer therapy. NT219 represents a new family of novel compounds acting as a dual inhibitor of both IRS1/2 and STAT3 signaling both directly in the tumor and its microenvironment. We have previously shown that simultaneous inhibition of these two pathways is crucial to overcome drug resistance, and to prolong the positive response of the anti-cancer activity of approved cancer drugs. NT219 targets IRS1/2 for degradation using a unique mechanism, supported by a feed-forward decrease in IRS gene expression. A long-term suppression of both IRS and STAT3 by NT-219 has been demonstrated in previous preclinical studies, which lasted days following removal of NT219 from the cancer cells, assuring a strong and prolonged anti-cancer activity. This study was designed to investigate the efficacy of NT219 at overcoming drug resistance to several approved oncology therapies using patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of KRAS mutant pancreatic cancer, as well as to validate NT219's mechanism of action and optimal dose regimen.  (more…)
Author Interviews, CT Scanning, JAMA, Lung Cancer, UCSF / 23.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joshua Demb, PhD, MPH Postdoctoral Scholar, Moores Cancer Center University of California, San Diego Health Science Research Specialist Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our study leveraged radiation dose data from 72 facilities performing CT scans around the United States to learn more about the radiation dose used for lung cancer screening scans, as well as possible institutional predictors that might be associated with higher dose.  Currently, the American College of Radiology has recommendations for how these low-dose lung cancer screening scans should be performed. However, it is unclear how much adherence there currently is to these guidelines. Our findings indicated that there is wide variation in the distribution of radiation doses for low-dose lung cancer screening scans both within- and between facilities in our sample—in some cases this variation led to doses higher than the ACR recommendations.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, End of Life Care, JAMA / 19.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donald Sullivan, MD, MA, MCR Associate Professor of Medicine & Associate Fellowship Program Director Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine Oregon Health & Science University Investigator, Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC) VA-Portland Health Care System  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
  • Patients with lung cancer suffer from considerable physical and psychological symptom burden and palliative care is underutilized or delivered too close to death to provide meaningful benefits for these patients. Palliative care is associated with improved quality of life for these patients, but the findings regarding a survival benefit are not clear.
  • Palliative care is distinct from hospice. Palliative care is meant to be delivered along with disease-modifying therapy and focuses on improving quality of life by addressing pain and other problems, including physical, psychosocial and spiritual for patients and their families. Hospice care is focused on reducing suffering, pain and anxiety at the very end of life; typically within a few months of death.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Melanoma, Technology / 19.09.2019

SkinVision   MedicalResearch.com Interview with:  Andreea Udrea, PhD Associate Professor University Politehnica of Bucharest   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? The skin cancer incidence rate is increasing worldwide. Early diagnosis and prevention can reduce morbidity and are also linked to decreased healthcare costs. During the last years, efforts have been made in developing smartphone applications for skin lesion risk assessment to be used by laypersons. In parallel, as machine learning (ML) is on the rise, and medical image databases are increasing in size, a series of algorithms have been developed and compared in clinical studies to dermatologists for skin cancer diagnosis. The accuracy of the algorithms and experts were comparable. One drawback of these clinical studies is that they use images acquired by professionals in standardized conditions. So, there is little knowledge of what the accuracy will be when including an ML algorithm in an app and testing it in a non-clinical setup where the image quality may be lower, and the variability in image taking scenarios is higher as images are acquired by non-professionals using the smartphone camera. This study is one of the first that evaluates the accuracy of an app (SkinVision) when being used for risk assessment of skin lesions in the general population. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, End of Life Care / 17.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richy Agajanian, M.D. Chief Medical Officer and Senior Regional Director The Oncology Institute of HopeRichy AgajanianM.D. Chief Medical Officer and Senior Regional Director The Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cancer patients and their families face status-quo treatment protocols and reimbursement models which often result in confusion and unnecessary pain and suffering in the final weeks or months of life while also causing enormous financial burden. To help combat these issues, The Oncology Institute, in collaboration with the Stanford University School of Medicine and CareMore Health, released the study, Enhancing community capacity to deliver value-based cancer care at the end-of-life. This study evaluated the effect of using lay health workers (LHWs), who are non-physician members of the community who have received specialized training to support patient care and navigation, on end-of-life cancer care outcomes, quality and cost.  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Infections / 13.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Kai-feng Pan Director. Department of Cancer Epidemiology Peking University School of Oncology Beijing Cancer Hospital & Institute Peking University Cancer Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Based on a high-risk population in China, we have conducted a large randomized factorial-designed intervention trial (Shandong Intervention Trial) to examine the effect of short-term Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) treatment and 7.3-year vitamin and garlic supplementation on gastric cancer. During 14.7-years’ follow-up in the trial, 2-week treatment for H. pylori resulted in statistically significant reduction in gastric cancer incidence. Results for gastric cancer mortality and for the effects of garlic and vitamin supplementation, though promising, were not statistically significant. Longer follow-up was needed to determine whether the reductions in gastric cancer incidence from H. pylori treatment would persist and lead to a demonstrable reduction in gastric cancer mortality. It also remained unknown whether vitamin and garlic supplementation would yield a statistically significant reduction in gastric cancer incidence and mortality with additionally extended follow-up. In addition, the entire spectrum of effects of these interventions needs to be understood.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, USPSTF / 12.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Carol Mangione, M.D., M.S.P.H., F.A.C.P. Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Professor of Medicine Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD, endowed chair in Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California Los Angeles Professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We all want to find better ways to help prevent breast cancer, a disease that impacts the lives of too many women in the United States each year. Fortunately, the Task Force found there are steps that women at increased risk can take to reduce their chances of developing breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, MRI, Prostate Cancer, UCLA / 12.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rajiv Jayadevan, MD and  Leonard S. Marks, MD Department of Urology UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Men with low risk prostate cancer often enter “active surveillance” programs. These programs allow patients to defer definitive treatment (and avoid their associated side effects) until more aggressive disease is detected, if at all. Patients typically undergo a “confirmatory biopsy” 6 to 12 months after diagnosis to verify that their disease is low risk, and then undergo repeat biopsies every 1 to 2 years. These biopsies have traditionally been performed under the guidance of transrectal ultrasonography. Transrectal ultrasonography is unable to accurately visualize tumors within the prostate, necessitating that biopsy cores be obtained systematically from all parts of the prostate. MRI-ultrasonography fusion biopsy is a newer technology that has been shown to characterize biopsy findings more accurately than transrectal ultrasonography, leading to improved disease detection. This technology also allows us to visualize tumors within the prostate, and directly target these tumors during a biopsy session. (more…)