ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Electronic Records / 30.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Debra A. Patt, MD, PhD, MBA, FASCO Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Oncology - Clinical Cancer Informatics Medical oncologist at Texas Oncology, and US Oncology Research Breast Cancer Committee member MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cancer care is increasing in complexity with differentiation of cancer subtypes, new treatments, and treatment sequences and combinations. Complying with evidence based therapy has become an increasing challenge. We see that compliance with guideline based care across the country is highly variable. Our study evaluated an electronic health record based Clinical Decision Support System to facilitate compliance with evidence based guidelines--or pathways--to deliver care to adult patients with cancer. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Leukemia, UC Davis / 28.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian A. Jonas, M.D., Ph.D. UC Davis Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? At this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and European Hematology Association (EHA) virtual meetings, we presented data on the rapidity and likelihood of response to venetoclax treatments, and its associated characteristics, in older patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We evaluated data from two clinical trials of venetoclax in combination with azacitidine, or decitabine (M14-358), or low-dose cytarabine (LDAC) (M14-387) in this patient population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Yale / 28.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel J. Boffa, MD Associate Professor of Thoracic Surgery Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The study examined networks that formed around hospitals that had been previously ranked in the top-50 by US News and World Report. These top-ranked hospitals have shared their brand with hospitals in their network, which leads some people to believe that the care is the same at top-ranked hospitals and their affiliate hospitals. We wanted to determine if outcomes after complex surgical procedures were truly the same at affiliate hospitals and top-ranked hospitals. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Colon Cancer / 26.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Nastazja Dagny Pilonis, MD Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center Institute of Oncology, Warsaw, Poland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Currently recommended 10-year interval between screening colonoscopies is based on the limited evidence. We decided to assess what is the risk of colorectal cancer and colorectal cancer death after singe negative screening colonoscopy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Melanoma, Nature / 21.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kelly Brooks PhD Research Officer QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There are approximately 175 new cases a year for melanomas inside the eye called uveal melanomas. These cancers spread to other sites of the body in about half of patients. Uveal melanomas are very different to skin melanomas and so far no effective treatment have been approved to treat uveal melanoma once it has spread. We sequenced uveal melanoma tumours from over 100 different patients to look at what mutations are responsible for tumour growth and development. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 19.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paolo A. Ascierto, MD Melanoma. Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics Unit Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione "G. Pascale" Napoli - Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As we know, in Covid-19 pneumonia, especially in its complication “acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)”, a key role is played by the immune system. We know that when we treat a tumor with immunotherapy, it could give side effects because the stimulated immune system produces a series of substances to destroy the tumor. Sometimes, the immune system can also give side effects related to a hypersecretion of some cytokines, such as IL 6, the target of tocilizumab. This condition is called cytokine storm, or better, cytokine release syndrome (CRS).Oncologists use tocilizumab in the management of CRS that can occur following the use of bispecific antibodies, or recently, the use of CAR-T cell therapy, where such drug is approved for CRS treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lancet, Nature / 19.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew Galsky, MD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Standard first-line treatment for metastatic urothelial (bladder) cancer has been platinum-based chemotherapy for decades. In 2016, atezolizumab, an immunotherapy that inhibits PD-L1, received accelerated approval by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic urothelial cancer for patients progressing despite prior platinum-based chemotherapy and this was followed by approvals for 4 additional PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitors in this setting over the next couple years. With this first new drug class approved, representing the first new drugs approved for metastatic urothelial cancer for decades, logical question arose (a) should we combine these drugs with platinum-based chemotherapy in the first-line metastatic treatment setting and (b) is there a role to replace first-line chemotherapy with atezolizumab monotherapy. The IMvigor 130 trial was designed to address these questions. The trial enrolled 1213 patients who were randomized to treatment with (a) atezolizumab plus platinum-based chemotherapy, (b) placebo + platinum-based chemotherapy, or (c) atezolizumab monotherapy. The trial employed a hierarchical analysis plan such that comparisons between arms for certain endpoints could only be formally tested if other the preceding comparisons demonstrated a significant improvement. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 19.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jesus G. Berdeja, MD Director of Myeloma Research Sarah Cannon Nashville, TN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite many advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma in recent years, the majority of patients will progress through all available therapies and ultimately succumb to their disease. Thus there is still a high unmet medical need. The Phase 1b/2 CARTITUDE-1 study evaluates the safety and efficacy of JNJ-4528, an investigational BCMA-directed CAR-T therapy, in the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. Participants in this study have already tried approved therapies, and had received a median of five prior treatment regimens and their median overall survival is less than 12 months. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Genetic Research, Pancreatic / 15.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Núria Malats, MD PhD, Head of the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Group Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The high mortality of pancreatic cancer is a consequence of late diagnosis because of the absence of symptoms in the earliest stages, and defining risk populations is therefore crucial to be able to carry out diagnostic tests that reveal the presence of the tumour as early as possible. Diabetes and pancreatic cancer are connected because the pancreas secretes insulin; in diabetic people, this does not occur in a normal way. It is estimated that around 50% of patients with pancreatic cancer presents diabetes. But it is an outstanding challenge for researchers to figure out which is the cause and which is the consequence. To conduct the study, the team used data from more than 3,500 persons from PanGenEU, a large European study involving centres from six countries, including Spain, and led by Malats, to analyse the relationship between multiple risk factors and pancreatic cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 14.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: AVM Biotechology Theresa A. Deisher, Ph.D Founder and CEO Chariman of Board AVM Biotechnology Dr. Deisher discusses AVM Biotechnology’s plan to study the immune stimulator AVM0703, developed for it’s anti-tumor effects, as a potential agent to combat COVID-19. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What is AVM0703 currently being studied to treat? Response: Our lead small molecule, AVM0703, is a novel, patent-pending repurposed formulation of an active pharmaceutical ingredient that has been U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved since 1961. AVM0703 works by supercharging and mobilizing immune cells, including a novel natural killer T-cell (NKT), novel cytotoxic T lymphocytes and a CD11b very high dendritic cell, which invade and destroy tumors more effectively than untreated immune cells. AVM Biotechnology has received clinical trial approval from the FDA to begin Phase I/II trials to characterize the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and antitumor activity of AVM0703 administered as a single intravenous infusion to pediatric and adult patients (≥12 years old) with terminal, no-option lymphoid malignancies. In addition, we are planning to study AVM0703 in Phase I/II trials in patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19 infection. The proposed study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-ascending dose study of AVM0703 administered as a single intravenous infusion. The study’s objective is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of AVM0703 in patients with COVID-19, as well as assess pharmacokinetics and dosing, including the maximum tolerated dose and the recommended Phase II dose. We hope to begin recruiting patients next month (June 2020). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA / 14.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
  • Sung Jun Ma, MD, resident physician in Radiation Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (first author)
  • Oluwadamilola T. Oladeru, MD, a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: More than 40% of women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative early-stage breast cancer have high recurrence scores (RS) of 26-30. Optimal adjuvant systemic therapy in this subgroup remains unclear, and national guidelines currently recommend either chemoendocrine therapy or endocrine therapy alone. In addition, the difference in overall survival of a patient with a RS 26-30 versus RS >30 is unclear. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cancer Research / 13.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Udai Banerji, MD The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Not only have I been working in the RAS mutations oncology world for a while, but I also have prior preclinical experience working with VS-6766 (RAF/MEK inhibitor) and defactinib (FAK inhibitor), the two drugs in the Phase 1 study that was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual medical meeting on April 27th. It is important to know that there is a great significant medical need for novel treatments for KRAS mutant tumors, which are difficult to treat, aggressive, and quite common across advanced solid tumors, including low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and colorectal cancer (CRC), resulting in the need for novel treatments in an area of significant medical need. I felt that early signals in preclinical research warranted a clinical trial; so that, combined with my RAS experience, made pursuing the Phase 1 study a clear fit. A clinical trial setting allowed us to explore RAF and RAS inhibitor combinations in multiple tumor trials, which was our aim. The data presented at AACR convey safety and dose response results from the dose-escalation portion and expansion cohorts from an open-label, investigator-initiated Phase 1 study evaluating the combination of VS-6766 (RAF/MEK inhibitor) and defactinib (FAK inhibitor) therapy in patients with LGSOC and KRAS mutant NSCLC. The introductory data described in the study suggest that a novel intermittent dosing schedule of RAF/MEK and FAK inhibitor combination therapy has promising clinical activity in patients with KRAS mutant LGSOC and KRASG12V mutant NSCLC, including patients formerly treated with a MEK inhibitor. Expansion cohorts remain ongoing. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, MD Anderson, Pharmaceutical Companies / 09.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David S Hong, M.D MD Anderson Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics Division of Cancer Medicine University of Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Larotrectinib is a first-in-class, CNS active, oral TRK inhibitor exclusively designed to treat tumors with an NTRK gene fusion and does not have secondary targets. In previous presentations and published in The Lancet Oncology, larotrectinib demonstrated robust tumor-agnostic efficacy in an integrated dataset of 159 adult and pediatric patients with TRK fusion cancer across three clinical trials (Feb 2019 data cut-off date). In these studies, the objective response rate (ORR), according to investigator assessment, was 79% (95% confidence interval [CI], 72 – 85%), with a complete response rate of 16%. In this analysis presented at AACR 2020, we sought to evaluate the outcomes in patients from the integrated data set based on different baseline characteristics, including prior lines of therapy and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status. ECOG measures how the disease impacts a patient. ECOG describes a patient’s level of functioning with a numbering scale (0-5) so physicians can uniformly describe a patient’s ability to care for themselves, daily activity and physical activity (selfcare, walking, working, etc). (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Bayer, Cancer Research / 08.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David S Hong, M.D Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics Division of Cancer Medicine MD Anderson, University of Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Larotrectinib is a first-in-class, CNS active, oral TRK inhibitor exclusively designed to treat tumors with an NTRK gene fusion and does not have secondary targets. In previous presentations and published in The Lancet Oncology, larotrectinib demonstrated tumor-agnostic efficacy in an integrated dataset of 159 adult and pediatric patients with TRK fusion cancer across three clinical trials (Feb 2019 data cut-off date). In these studies, the objective response rate (ORR), according to investigator assessment, was 79% (95% confidence interval [CI], 72 – 85%), with a complete response rate of 16%. A variety of NTRK genes have been identified in various tumor types including fusions and non-fusions (e.g., amplifications, rearrangements, deletions, slice variants). In the analysis presented at AACR 2020, we sought to evaluate this pooled data to determine the efficacy of larotrectinib in patients with non-fusion alterations in NTRK genes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA / 08.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anurag K. Singh MD Professor of Oncology Director of Radiation Research Leader, Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapy Program Associate Dean Graduate Medical Education, Research Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Buffalo NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: More than 40% of women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative early stage breast cancer with high recurrence scores (RS) have RS of 26-30. Optimal adjuvant systemic therapy in this subgroup remains unclear, and national guideline currently recommends either chemoendocrine therapy or endocrine therapy alone. In addition, the difference in overall survival of a patient with a RS 26-30 versus RS >30 is unclear. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Infections / 08.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ulrik Stenz Justesen, MD, DMSc Senior consultant at Department of Clinical Microbiology Odense University Hospital Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Anaerobic bacteria are bacteria that do not require oxygen for energy production, and live in various environments including the human gut, where they usually do not cause infections directly. Previous studies have reported an association between bacteria from the Bovis group streptococci, Clostridium septicum and colorectal cancer (CRC). Recently associations between different Bacteroides species., Fusobacterium nucleatum and CRC have also been reported. We aimed to investigate this further in a large-scale study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Melanoma / 08.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Neelam A. Vashi, MD Associate Professor of Dermatology Director, Boston University Center for Ethnic Skin Director, Cosmetic and Laser Center Boston University School of Medicine and Daniela P.Sanchez BS Boston Medical Center Boston, MA 02118 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although melanoma most commonly affects Caucasians, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by greater morbidity and mortality rates when diagnosed. Poor prognosis in Hispanic patients is likely multifactorial, and may be secondary to lack of knowledge or misconceptions about melanoma risk, atypical presentation, impaired access to care, and language barriers, ultimately resulting in a delay in diagnosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 04.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emerson Y. Chen, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Medical Oncology Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR 97239 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our research group had previously studied how oncology drugs are approved in these two previous papers listed below. One is focused on the time delay trade-off from surrogate endpoints (i.e. response rate and progression-free survival) over definite endpoints (i.e. overall survival and quality of life). The other is focused on how promising the response rate of a drug candidate have to be to be considered for oncology drug approval. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 04.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rebecca Nagy Vice President Medical Affairs Guardant Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer comprises roughly 75% of all cancers of the breast. While many of these cancers can be cured through multi-modality therapy, there remain many deaths due to metastatic spread to distant organs. These metastatic cancers are marked by their resilience in the face of potent targeted therapies and chemotherapies, with many tumors displaying an initial drug response followed by resistance. Recently, genomic sequencing has identified recurrent, oncogenic alterations in HR+ metastatic breast cancer (MBC) with mutations in the catalytic alpha subunit of PI3K (PI3Kα, PIK3CA gene), in over 40% of cases. This has raised hopes for more durable disease control through precise inhibition of this driver oncogene. The SOLAR-1 Phase III study of alpelisib combined with fulvestrant in PIK3CA-mutated HR+ MBC showed a markedly improved PFS over fulvestrant monotherapy but pervasive resistance nonetheless. To characterize the basis for such resistance to combination hormone plus PIK3CA targeted therapy, we conducted a detailed, longitudinal analysis of tumor and plasma circulating cell-freetumor DNA (ctDNA) among patients with HR+ MBC who participated in a phase I/II dose escalation study of alpelisib in combination with letrozole or exemestane. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Melanoma / 29.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Matthew H. Law, PhD Senior Research Officer, Statistical Genetics QIMR Berghofer MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A large genetic study of melanoma involving a global collaboration of scientists, co-led by QIMR Berghofer, the University of Leeds in the UK, and the National Cancer Institute in the US which is part of the National Institutes of Health, has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics. Melanoma is a sometimes-deadly skin cancer, with an estimated 350,000 cases worldwide in 2015, resulting in nearly 60,000 deaths. Melanoma begins in melanocytes, cells in the skin responsible for making the pigment melanin that gives colour to the skin. Melanin is able to block some of the harmful effects of UV radiation, which is why people with pale skin are at a higher risk of skin cancer, but the protection is not complete. Moles also develop from melanocytes, and having a high number of moles is a risk factor for melanoma. UK based co-lead author, Dr Mark Iles from the University of Leeds’s Institute for Data Analytics, said the researchers examined DNA from 37,000 people who had been diagnosed with melanoma and compared their genetic information to that of nearly 400,000 people with no history of the disease.” Joint study leader and QIMR Berghofer statistical geneticist Associate Professor Matthew Law said the researchers identified 33 new regions of the genome and confirmed another 21 previously reported regions that are linked to a person’s risk of developing melanoma of the skin. Two of the new regions we’ve discovered that are linked to melanoma have previously been linked to autoimmune disorders. This provides further evidence that the immune system plays an important role in a person developing melanoma. We also found an association between melanoma and common genetic variants in the gene TP53, which is a gene critical in controlling DNA repair when cells divide, and in suppressing cancer.” Co-lead author on the study and senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute, Dr Maria Teresa Landi, said the research also uncovered other important clues to the genetic causes of melanoma. We used the relationship between moles, pigmentation, and melanoma to identify 31 additional gene regions that potentially influence melanoma risk. For example, one of the regions we identified is involved in melanocyte growth,” Dr Landi said. “Moreover, we also included people from Mediterranean populations involved in the MelaNostrum Consortium. Most studies of melanoma use people with northern or western European ancestry (e.g. British) and by expanding our analysis to include Mediterranean populations, we will gain a greater understanding of the genetics of melanoma in this highly sun exposed group.” (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Pancreatic / 17.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Cristina Bosetti PhD Head of the Unit of Cancer Epidemiology Mario Negri Department of Oncology Milan Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Aspirin has been known since long time to have a beneficial effect in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Additional evidence indicates that it has also a favorable role on the risk of various cancers. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Journal Clinical Oncology / 10.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew Galsky, MD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by switch maintenance immunotherapy? Response: For decades, platinum-based chemotherapy has been standard first-line treatment for metastatic urothelial (bladder) cancer. The standard approach to first-line chemotherapy is to administered approximately 6 cycles of treatment (in the absence of disease progression or prohibitive side effects), and then to stop treatment and monitor. Unfortunately, virtually all patients with metastatic disease will experience disease progression after stopping chemotherapy. However, we know that if we just continue the same platinum-based chemotherapy until progression of cancer (rather than stopping after ~6 cycles), the side effects continue to accumulate but the benefits plateau. Approximately 5 years ago, the first new systemic therapies were approved to treatment metastatic urothelial cancer in decades, immune checkpoint inhibitors (PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitors). In fact, 5 PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with metastatic urothelial cancer progressing despite prior platinum-based chemotherapy. Given that these drugs are non-cross resistant with chemotherapy in at least a subset of patients (i.e., they can provide benefit even when chemotherapy is no longer working), and because they are well tolerated by a large proportion of patients, a logical question is rather than waiting until cancer progresses after stopping first-line chemotherapy, what if we started immunotherapy immediately. Switch maintenance refers to switching from chemotherapy to a different class of drug (e.g., immunotherapy) and maintenance refers to trying to "maintain" the response achieved with initial chemotherapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Lung Cancer / 27.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Amy C. Moore PhD Director of Science and Research GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer MedicalResearch.com: What is the mission of the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer? Response: GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer’s mission is to transform survivorship by saving, extending, and improving the lives of those vulnerable, at risk, and diagnosed with lung cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Melanoma, NYU / 25.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Polsky, MD, PhD Professor of Dermatology and Pathology Alfred W. Kopf MD, Professor of Dermatologic Oncology Director, Pigmented Lesion Section The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology New York University Grossman School of Medicine Perlmutter Cancer Center Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center New York, NY 10016 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for the study was to determine the extent to which new treatments for metastatic melanoma were impacting melanoma mortality rates for the United States population. Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated that several new agents were highly effective at prolonging survival. These treatments belong to two different groups of medications: those targeting the biological pathway activated by mutation in the BRAF oncogene, which occurs in just under 50% of metastatic melanomas; and those targeting the immune system, called checkpoint inhibitors. These drugs prevent melanomas from suppressing the immune response to the tumors. Ten treatments were approved beginning in 2011, including six treatments between 2011 and 2014. We examined mortality rates between 1986 and 2016, prior to and after FDA approval of these agents. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, Prostate Cancer, Vanderbilt / 24.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeffrey R. Smith, MD PhD Department of Medicine, Division of Genetic Medicine Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and Vanderbilt Genetics Institute Vanderbilt University Medical Center Medical Research Service Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Veterans Administration Nashville, TN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Roughly 20% of men with prostate cancer have a family history of the disease, and 5% meet criteria for hereditary prostate cancer. Although prostate cancer has the greatest heritability of all common cancers (twice that of breast cancer), extensive heterogeneity of its inherited causes has presented a considerable obstacle for traditional pedigree-based genetic investigative approaches. Inherited causes across, as well as within families are diverse. This study introduced a new familial case-control study design that uses extent of family history as a proxy for genetic burden. It compared a large number of men with prostate cancer, each from a separate family with a strong history of the disease, to screened men with no personal or family history. The study comprehensively deconstructs how the 8q24 chromosomal region impacts risk of hereditary prostate cancer, introducing several new analytical approaches. The locus had been known to alter risk of prostate, breast, colon, ovarian, and numerous additional cancers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bristol Myers Squibb, Cancer Research, Pharmaceutical Companies / 19.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: https://www.cgen.com/ Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D. President and CEO Compugen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? Would you discuss Compugen’s underlying cancer hypothesis regarding the targeting of multiple checkpoint pathways to enhance tumor response? Response: Cancer immunotherapy has revolutionized the landscape for cancer treatments by providing new drug options leading to lasting benefits for patients. Yet, response rates vary greatly across different cancer indications, leaving a significant unmet medical need for many patients and a continuing challenge to discover new biological pathways that can serve for the development of new cancer immunotherapies for non-responsive and refractory patients. Using a computational approach which is designed to discover new biological pathways and drug targets, we identified PVRIG as a novel immune checkpoint and a newly discovered inhibitory pathway in the DNAM axis. Our hypothesis is that PVRIG and TIGIT (another inhibitory pathway discovered by us and others) are two parallel and complementary inhibitory pathways in the DNAM axis and that in certain tumor types and patient populations, there may be a need to block both PVRIG and TIGIT in order to enhance anti-tumor immune responses. Moreover, reported molecular intersections between the DNAM axis and the PD-1 pathway, the most prevalent pathway targeted by approved immunotherapies, suggest that there is a linkage between these three pathways. As such, our PVRIG inhibitor may work in synergy with PD-1 and TIGIT inhibitors, suggesting that various drug combinations may be required to address these three pathways based on their dominance in different cancer patients and cancer indications. With this recently announced Phase 1/2 triple combination study, we will be directly testing our hypothesis of an intersection between the three parallel immune checkpoint pathways – PVRIG, TIGIT and PD-1 – and that the simultaneous blockade of these pathways has the potential to synergistically enhance anti-tumor immune response and expand the reach of cancer immunotherapy to patients non-responsive or refractory to approved immunotherapies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lung Cancer, Occupational Health / 18.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Theresa S. Emory MD Department of Pathology, Peninsula Pathology Associates Newport News, VA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cosmetic talc products can contain asbestos, which is the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma. We investigated 75 individuals with malignant mesothelioma, whose only known exposure to asbestos was repeated exposures to cosmetic talcum powder. 83% of the individuals were female and several occurred in barbers/cosmetologists. 16% occurred in individuals younger than 45 years old, and on average the subjects were 11 years younger than predicted, based on SEER data. The asbestos fibers in tissue samples that were examined in 11 cases were identical (anthophyllite and tremolite) to those identified in cosmetic talc. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 13.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alyson Haslam, PhD Nutritional Epidemiologist Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy Oklahoma State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Checkpoint inhibitor drugs for the treatment of cancers have received a lot of attention in recent years because of their ability to induce responses in certain tumors. To quantify the eligibility and response of these drugs in the US population, we published an article about a year ago (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2732329). Since that publication, there were several confirmatory studies that failed to show a benefit in important outcomes such as overall survival or progression-free survival, and the US FDA made some revisions to certain checkpoint inhibitor drug labels. This prompted us to re-evaluate the eligibility of these drugs. (more…)