Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, JAMA, OBGYNE / 13.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45199" align="alignleft" width="160"]Megan Clarke, PhD, MHS Cancer Prevention Fellow Clinical Genetics Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics National Cancer Institute Rockville, MD 20892 Dr. Clarke[/caption] Megan Clarke, PhD, MHS Cancer Prevention Fellow Clinical Genetics Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics National Cancer Institute Rockville, MD 20892  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
  • Infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. While hrHPV infection is common, most infections are benign and clear on their own without causing cervical cancer. However, some women develop persistent hrHPV infections and are at risk for cervical cancer and its precursors (i.e., precancer).
  • The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends screening every 3 years with cervical cytology (i.e. Pap) alone, every 5 years with hrHPV testing alone, or with a combination of hrHPV testing and cytology (co-testing) for women aged 30 to 65 years.
  • Screening with hrHPV testing is highly sensitive for detecting cervical precancer but requires additional triage tests to identify HPV-positive women at high-risk of developing cancer who should undergo colposcopy (visualization of the cervix) and biopsy from those at low-risk who can be safely monitored.
  • Currently, Pap cytology is recommended as a triage test for women testing HPV-positive, but this approach requires frequent re-testing at short intervals because the risk of cervical precancer is not low enough in HPV-positive women who test cytology negative to provide long-term reassurance against future risk. In most settings, women who test HPV-positive, cytology-negative are referred to repeat screening within one year.
  • The p16/Ki-67 dual stain assay is a molecular test that measures two specific proteins, p16 that is strongly linked with hrHPV infection, and Ki-67, a marker of cell proliferation that is common in precancers and cancers.
  • Studies have shown that the dual stain test has greater accuracy for detecting cervical precancers in HPV-positive women compared with cytology.
  • In order to determine the optimal screening intervals for the dual stain test, long-term prospective studies are needed to determine how long HPV-positive women who test dual stain negative can be safely reassured of a low precancer risk.
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Technology / 11.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45202" align="alignleft" width="133"]Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD University of Miami Dr. Ernstoff[/caption] Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD University of Miami MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Despite the best efforts of all healthcare providers, colon cancer screening is underutilized with screening rates ranging anywhere from 58-76% based on the state (American Cancer Society 2017). At best we are still failing to screen 25% of the population.  Patients have serious concerns about colorectal cancer (CRC) screening with the most common barriers to screening being fear of colonoscopy and of the bowel preparation, amongst others. These barriers coupled with the lack of understanding of the risks, benefits, and the efficacy of screening contribute to our inadequate screening. This study aims to prove that through education, and most importantly comprehension, patients will choose one of the 6 recommended colorectal cancer screening tests that best fits their preferences. In this study we had 24 patients who previously refused colonoscopy on 3 separate occasions, and had no other CRC screening, undergo a virtual reality (VR) demonstration, created by TheBodyVR, to see if education would improve the uptake of screening. Prior to the virtual reality demonstration, the patients completed a 5-item questionnaire which evaluated their baseline knowledge of CRC risk, polyps and screening as well as determining barriers to prior screening. The patient then viewed the VR demonstration which starts with an overview of colorectal cancer, followed by a tour through a virtual colon explaining and showing the viewer polyps and cancer. Finally, the demonstration reviews and compares the strengths and weaknesses of all USPSTF-recommended CRC screening tests.  After the study, the patients complete the same questionnaire, and in this study there was a statistically significant improvement in knowledge in all questions.  Ultimately, 23 of 24 patients who previously refused colorectal cancer screening on 3 separate occasions chose to undergo screening after the VR demonstration, and about 50% have performed the screening 60 days out from the study's completion.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Genetic Research, University Texas / 10.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45179" align="alignleft" width="200"]Mohammad Bilal, MD University of Texas Medical Branc Dr. Bilal[/caption] Mohammad Bilal, MD University of Texas Medical Branch MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer among adults in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer related deaths. Recent studies have shown an increasing incidence of CRC in younger patients. This has led to increasing interests in identifying patient populations who might be at increased risk of developing CRC. The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force of Colorectal Cancer (MSTF) recommends that CRC screening should begin at age 50 in average-risk persons. However, recently the American Cancer Society (ACS) have published recommendations to begin CRC screening at age 45 years in average risk patient population. These recommendations were primarily based of modeling studies since there is little outcomes data in younger age groups in regards to prevention and detection of CRC. Despite these new recommendations from the ACS, there is limited direct evidence to support CRC screening at a younger age. In our study, we have evaluated the predictors of increased prevalence of adenomas in the 40 to 49-year-old individuals undergoing colonoscopy. 
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research / 10.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "JFK Plaza/ Breast Cancer Awareness" by nakashi is licensed under CC BY 2.0Univ.- Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schreiner Section Biosimulation and Bioinformatics Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics, and Intelligent Systems Medical University of Vienna General Hospital WIEN / AUSTRIA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The choice of correct individualized therapy for breast cancer depends on correct diagnosis: receptors for estrogen, progesterone and HER2 are determined routinely. However 5-10% of these routine diagnostics are inaccurate and may entail suboptimal therapy. We have paved the way for additional diagnostics from gene expression data so as to increase precision of diagnostics.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Exercise - Fitness / 10.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45101" align="alignleft" width="120"]Laurien Buffart, PhD  Chair Amsterdam eXercise in Oncology (AXiON) research Departments of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Medical Oncology VUmc  Amsterdam | The Netherlands Dr. Buffart[/caption] Laurien Buffart, PhD Chair Amsterdam eXercise in Oncology (AXiON) research Departments of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Medical Oncology VUmc  Amsterdam | The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: There is evidence from randomized controlled trials that exercise has beneficial effects on physical fitness, fatigue, quality of life and self-reported physical function during and following cancer treatment. The magnitude of the effects, however, often appear modest, possibly because interventions rarely target patients with worse symptoms and quality of life. Based on individual patient data from 34 randomized controlled trials, we found that exercise interventions during cancer treatment are effective in maintaining muscle strength and quality of life, regardless of their baseline values. Offering exercise interventions post cancer treatment to patients with a relatively high muscle strength and quality of life does not appear to further improve these outcomes. For aerobic fitness, exercise interventions during treatment had larger effects in patients with higher baseline aerobic fitness, whereas all patients were able to improve aerobic fitness post treatment. Greater effects on fatigue and self-reported physical function were found for patients with worse baseline fatigue and physical function, both during and post-treatment. 
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Red Meat / 05.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "bacon&eggs" by ilaria is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Maryam Farvid, Ph.D., Research Scientist   Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior prospective studies on red and processed meat consumption with risk of breast cancer have produced inconsistent results. Current meta-analysis of 15 prospective studies shows that women who eat a high amount of processed meat each day may have a higher risk of breast cancer than those who don't eat or have a low intake in their diet. 
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, MD Anderson, University Texas / 01.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44913" align="alignleft" width="120"]Filip Janku, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Clinical Trials Program) Center Medical Director, Clinical and Translational Research Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030 Dr. Janku[/caption] Filip Janku, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Clinical Trials Program) Center Medical Director, Clinical and Translational Research Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clostridium novyi-NT is an attenuated strain of bacteria Clostridium, which induced a microscopically precise, tumor-localized response in a rat brain tumor model and in companion dogs bearing spontaneous cancers. Clostridium novyi-NT can only grow in hypoxic (low-oxygen) tumor environment and destroys cancer cells by secreting lipases, proteases, and other hydrolytic enzymes; recruiting inflammatory cells to tumors eliciting anti-tumor immune responses in animals. Furthermore, intratumoral injection can plausibly induce an immune mediated abscopal effect in non-injected tumor sites. Therefore, we designed a phase I dose-finding study to test for safety and tolerability of the single intratumoral injection of Clostridium novyi-NT in 24 patients with advanced cancers with no available standard therapies. We also designed experiments to study activation of antitumor immune response in blood and tumor samples from patients undergoing the therapy. We demonstrated that single dose of intratumoral injection of Clostridium novyi-NT is feasible and has led to significant destruction of injected tumor masses. Adverse events, which were often related to the tumor destruction at the infected site, could have been significant but mostly manageable. Correlative studies of pre-treatment and post-treatment tumor and blood samples suggested immune response to therapy.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 30.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31912" align="alignleft" width="145"]Mammogram showing small lesion - Wikipedia Mammogram showing small lesion
- Wikipedia[/caption] Sage J. Kim, PhD Division of Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study examined the rates at which women who received patient navigation in a randomized clinical trial reported barriers to obtaining a screening mammogram. The trial, called the Patient Navigation in Medically Underserved Areas (PNMUA) study, randomly assigned patients to one of two groups: one received a patient navigation support intervention and the other served as a control. Of the 3,754 women who received the patient navigation intervention, only 14 percent identified one or more barriers to care, which led to additional interactions with navigators who helped overcome barriers. Black women, women living in poverty, and women who reported high levels of distrust of the health care system were the least likely to report barriers. Women who reported barriers were more likely to have additional contact with navigators and obtain a subsequent screening mammogram. The extra support could help with early diagnosis and better survival and mortality outcomes.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, UCLA / 28.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44899" align="alignleft" width="200"]Manon Eckhardt, PhD Gladstone Institutes Quantitative BioSciences Institute University of California San Francisco  Dr. Manon Eckhardt[/caption] Manon Eckhardt, PhD Gladstone Institutes The Quantitative Biosciences Institute University of California San Francisco  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes 5% of all cancers worldwide, including cervical cancer and an increasing number of head and neck cancers. Most cancers are caused by mutations in genes, leading to the production of malfunctioning proteins that result in unconstrained cell division. However, certain viruses like HPV can cause cancer without introducing mutations. In this study, we compared cancers of the same type (i.e. head and neck) that are caused by either mutation or virus infection to identify important processes that are dysregulated in both subsets. We hypothesized that identifying which proteins the virus binds can lead the way to prioritize which of the proteins and cellular processes (pathways) that are affected in cancer cells are most important. To do this, we identified the complete set of human proteins that interact with HPV. We next determined genes that were more frequently mutated in non-viral cancers, and combined both data sets. The proteins we find to be both binding to HPV and mutated in non-viral cancers will be potential targets for new, more specific drug development, and help better understand the development of head and neck cancer. From the many pathways we identified in this study, we highlighted two pathways with further mechanistic studies: the oxidative stress response, which helps cancer cells survive, as well as a pathway that allows the cancer to spread to other parts of the body.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, Microbiome, Science / 27.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44863" align="alignleft" width="200"]Joao Xavier PhD Associate Faculty Member | Computational & Systems Biology Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY 10065 Dr. Joao Xavier[/caption] Joao Xavier PhD Associate Faculty Member | Computational & Systems Biology Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY 10065  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our team at Memorial Sloan Kettering has been investigating the intestinal microbiota of patients receiving bone marrow transplantations for more than eight years now. We have found through several studies that these patients lose important healthy bacteria from their microbiota, and that these losses are mostly caused by the antibiotics given as prophylaxis or to treat infections. We also found that the drastic changes in the microbiota composition, especially the intestinal dominations by bacteria such as Enterococcus, increase the risk of transplant-related complications and lowered patient survival. We aimed to determine the feasibility of autologous microbiota transplant (auto-FMT) as a way to reconstitute lost bacteria. This randomized study found that indeed auto-FMT could reconstitute important microbial groups to patients. 
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Ovarian Cancer / 25.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44766" align="alignleft" width="200"]Site of Ovarian Cancer - Wikipedia Image Site of Ovarian Cancer - Wikipedia Image[/caption] Fabian Coscia PhD Department of Proteomics and Signal Transduction, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, German and Ernst Lengyel MD PhD Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Section of Gynecologic Oncology University of Chicago, Chicago, IL  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Ovarian cancer is a very aggressive disease. Only one in six patients survives more than 10 years after the first diagnosis. This high mortality is primarily because the disease is usually detected late in its course, when the tumor has already spread from the ovaries to the surrounding organs in the abdomen. In an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Munich, the University of Chicago and the University of Copenhagen, we performed deep tissue proteomics on archived biobank material to identify drivers of long-term patient survival. 
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA, Yale / 22.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44634" align="alignleft" width="142"]Michael F. Murray, MD, FACMG, FACP Director for Clinical Operations in the Center for Genomic Health Yale School of Medicine Dr. Murray[/caption] Michael F. Murray, MD, FACMG, FACP Director for Clinical Operations in the Center for Genomic Health Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Population screening for the cancer risk associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes has been suggested by some.  We screened a cohort of about 50,000 adult patient volunteers at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania for this risk. 
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, UCLA / 22.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44624" align="alignleft" width="200"]Amar U. Kishan, MD Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology University of California, Los Angeles Dr. Kishan[/caption] Amar U. Kishan, MD Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Three large randomized trials demonstrated an overall survival (OS) benefit when androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is combined with radiotherapy (RT) for high-risk prostate cancer (PCa). The duration of ADT in these seminal studies ranged from six months to lifelong. Because ADT has multiple attendant adverse effects--including bone loss, altered metabolism, diminished muscle mass, gynecomastia, hot flashes, and possibly increased cardiovascular events--shortening the duration of ADT without compromising oncologic effectiveness has been an area of active study. Five trials have compared various durations of ADT, reaching conflicting conclusions with respect to overall survival outcomes, with some suggesting an improvement with longer durations of ADT and others failing to show a uniform survival benefit. Most of these trials have amalgamated Gleason grade group 4 (Gleason score 8) PCa with Gleason grade group (GG) 5 (Gleason score 9-10) PCa. Emerging data indicate that GS 9-10 PCa constitutes a distinct subset of high-risk PCa with inferior outcomes and earlier progression than GS 8 disease. With the knowledge that GS 9-10 PCas constitute a distinct, more aggressive form of PCa, one might hypothesize that longer durations of ADT may be more advantageous in both augmenting local control and controlling potential micrometastatic disease. Alternatively, as GS 9-10 lesions by definition contain highly de-differentiated Gleason pattern 5 disease foci and may proceed to a castrate-resistant state more rapidly, one may also hypothesize that GS 9-10 lesions are less responsive to ADT, and longer durations may be counter-productive. In order to identify differences in the impact of ADT duration on clinical outcomes of patients with GG 4 and GG 5 PCa, we performed an individual patient-level meta-analysis of six randomized trials. Our working hypothesis was that longer durations of ADT would offer significant survival benefits in both groups.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, Dermatology, Emory, JAMA, Medicare / 21.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Actinic Keratosis” by Ed Uthman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Howa Yeung, MD Assistant Professor of Dermatology Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA 30322  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by actinic keratoses? Response: Actinic keratoses are common precancerous skin lesions caused by sun exposure. Because actinic keratoses may develop into skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, they are often treated by various destructive methods. We used Medicare Part B billing claims to estimate the number and cost of treated actinic keratoses from 2007 to 2015. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: While the number of Medicare Part B beneficiaries increased only moderately, the number of actinic keratoses treated by destruction rose from 29.7 million in 2007 to 35.6 million in 2015. Medicare paid an average annual amount of $413.1 million for actinic keratosis destruction from 2007 to 2015. Independently billing non-physician clinicians, including advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, are treating an increasing proportion of actinic keratosis, peaking at 13.5% in 2015. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Readers should understand that the burden of actinic keratosis treatment is increasing in the Medicare population. There is also an increasing proportion of actinic keratoses being treated by advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants. 
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, ENT, HPV, JAMA, Surgical Research / 18.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44611" align="alignleft" width="133"]Richard B. Cannon, MD Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery School of Medicine University of Utah, Salt Lake City  Dr. Cannon[/caption] Richard B. Cannon, MD Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery School of Medicine University of Utah, Salt Lake City  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a nationwide effort to reduce the number of uninsured individuals in the United States and increase access to health care. This legislation is commonly debated and objective data is needed to evaluate its impact.  As a head and neck cancer surgeon, I sought to evaluate how the ACA had specifically influenced my patients.  Main findings below:     MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: This population-based study found an increase in the percentage of patients enrolled in Medicaid and private insurance and a large decrease in the rates of uninsured patients after implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This change was only seen in states that adopted the Medicaid expansion in 2014. The decrease in the rate of uninsured patients was significant, 6.2% before versus 3.0% after. Patients who were uninsured prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had poorer survival outcomes.
Author Interviews, Lung Cancer, Nature, NYU, Technology / 17.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44584" align="alignleft" width="142"]Aristotelis Tsirigos, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Pathology Director, Applied Bioinformatics Laboratories New York University School of Medicine Dr. Tsirigos[/caption] Aristotelis Tsirigos, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Pathology Director, Applied Bioinformatics Laboratories New York University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pathologists routinely examine slides made from tumor samples to diagnose cancer types. We studied whether an AI algorithm can achieve the same task with high accuracy. Indeed, we show that such an algorithm can achieve an accuracy of ~97%, slightly better than individual pathologists. In addition, we demonstrated that AI can be used to predict genes that are mutated in these tumors, a task that pathologists cannot do. Although the accuracy for some genes is as high as 86%, there is still room for improvement. This will come from collecting more training data and also from improvement in the annotations of the slides by expert pathologists.  
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Surgical Research / 17.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44556" align="alignleft" width="166"]Dr. Emily Albright, MD Surgical Oncology Missouri University Health Care Dr. Albright[/caption] Dr. Emily Albright, MD Surgical Oncology Missouri University Health Care MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Traditional medicine had a paternalistic approach but more recent changes have transitioned into shared decision making and a patient centered approach. However, current research has not addressed the mode of communicating bad news to patients. This study was designed to look at trends in modes of communication of a breast cancer diagnosis. This study identified a trend for patients to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer over the telephone in more recent years. Also noted was that of those receiving the diagnosis in person 40% were alone.
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Melanoma / 15.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44531" align="alignleft" width="133"]Lori A. Crane, PhD Department of Community and Behavioral Health Colorado School of Public Health University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora CO Dr. Crane[/caption] Lori A. Crane, PhD Department of Community and Behavioral Health Colorado School of Public Health University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora CO  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nevi, which are commonly called “moles”, are brown or black spots on the skin that are usually raised.  Moles are the number one risk factor for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.  About 9,000 people die of melanoma each year in the U.S. The more moles a person has, the higher their risk for melanoma.  Sun exposure is a major factor in the development of moles, and in order to prevent melanoma, it is important to better understand how moles are formed on the skin. Most moles are formed during childhood and adolescence.  We studied non-Hispanic and Hispanic white children age 3-16 and found that non-Hispanic children developed many more moles than Hispanic children.  Overall, boys developed more moles than girls, but there were some important differences.  For parts of the skin that are often covered by clothing but sometimes exposed to the sun, such as the chest and back, upper arms and upper legs, girls developed more moles than boys, especially among Hispanic children.  In contrast, for parts of the skin that are usually exposed to the sun, such as the face, boys developed many more moles than girls.  The development of moles leveled off by age 16 for parts of the skin usually exposed to the sun, while for the less often exposed skin, children continued to develop moles to age 16.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JAMA, MD Anderson / 15.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44522" align="alignleft" width="160"]Kelly K. Hunt, MD Department of Breast Surgical Oncology The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston Dr. Hunt[/caption] Kelly K. Hunt, MD Department of Breast Surgical Oncology The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We completed a neoadjuvant trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center and published the results in 2005 demonstrating that trastuzumab delivered in combination with anthracycline and taxane based chemotherapy resulted in pathologic complete response rates of up to 60% in patients with HER-2 positive breast cancer. This was a single institutions study and there was concern about cardiac toxicity when using anthracyclines and trastuzumab concurrently. We therefore worked with the NCI cooperative groups, the American College of surgeons oncology group (ACOSOG), to design the ACOSOG Z1041 trial. This trial compared to different regimens in the neoadjuvant setting, one regimen utilizing concurrent anthracycline and taxanes based chemotherapy with trastuzumab and the other regimen utilizing concurrent taxanes with trastuzumab but the anthracycline was delivered in a sequential fashion. The primary end point of the trial was pathologic complete response rates in the breast. The results from this primary end point were published in the Lancet Oncology in 2013 and showed that the pathologic complete response rates were the same with the 2 different regimens. This was important since patients could be assured of similar efficacy without the potential added toxicity of delivering anthracyclines and trastuzumab together. The current publication is a report of the disease-free and overall survival rates from the Z1041 trial. Several studies have shown an association between pathologic complete response rates and survival. The current study shows that there is no difference in survival rates between the 2 different regimens. So once again there is an association between pathologic complete response and survival and it is not important that the anthracycline and trastuzumab are given concurrently in order to achieve these high pathologic complete response rates and improve survival rates.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, Infections / 14.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44516" align="alignleft" width="200"]Nina R. Salama. PhD Member Human Biology Division Member Public Health Sciences Division Affiliate Member Basic Sciences Division Dr. Penny E. Petersen Memorial Chair for Lymphoma Research  Director of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Graduate Program Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Dr. Salama[/caption] Nina R. Salama. PhD Member Human Biology Division Member Public Health Sciences Division Affiliate Member Basic Sciences Division Dr. Penny E. Petersen Memorial Chair for Lymphoma Research Director of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Graduate Program Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We wanted to better understand why certain patients infected with H. pylori developed stomach cancer and how we could better identify them. H. pylori is one of the strongest risk factors for stomach cancer, but how much it predisposes individuals to gastric cancer varies around the world. Working closely with colleagues from Zhengzhou University, we ran tests on 49 samples from China and found that 91 percent of patients infected with the EPIYA D gene variant of H. pylori also had stomach cancer.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy, JAMA, Vanderbilt / 13.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44422" align="alignleft" width="150"]Douglas B. Johnson, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Clinical Director, Melanoma Research Program Melanoma, clinical and translational studies Vanderbilt University Medical Center Dr. Johnson[/caption] Douglas B. Johnson, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Clinical Director, Melanoma Research Program Melanoma, clinical and translational studies Vanderbilt University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Immune checkpoint inhibitors produce long-lasting responses in patients with many different types of cancer. However, they may cause serious autoimmune-like side effects that may affect any organ. We used several large databases to determine how often these side effects were fatal, when they occurred, and which types of side effects were responsible. We found that overall, fatal side effects were uncommon, ranging from 0.3 – 1.3%. However, they tended to occur early on treatment (on average within the first 6 weeks), and affected a variety of organs, including the heart, lungs, colon, liver, and brain. There was a dramatic increase in reporting of fatal toxicities since 2017, likely reflecting the increased use of immune checkpoint inhibitors. 
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy, Melanoma, Nature / 11.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39763" align="alignleft" width="200"]Melanoma CDC/ Carl Washington, M.D., Emory Univ. School of Medicine; Mona Saraiya, MD, MPH This image depicts the gross appearance of a cutaneous pigmented lesion, which had been diagnosed as superficial spreading malignant melanoma (SSMM).  Reminder: Melanoma can take many forms. Not all look like this. Have your skin examined for skin cancer.[/caption] Dr. Noam Auslander PhD National Cancer institute and the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology University of Maryland, College Park MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Immunotherapy – specifically immune checkpoint blockage (ICB) therapy – has been shown to be very effective in treating melanoma. However, only some patients with advanced tumors currently benefit from ICB therapies, while others are completely resistant and hence can be spared from the associated side effects and costs. Hence, predicting which patients are most likely to respond is an important challenge that can have great clinical benefits.  
Author Interviews, Leukemia / 11.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44407" align="alignleft" width="172"]Hans van Eenennaam, Ph.D. Executive vice president antibody research and site head Aduro Biotech Europe Dr. van Eenennaam[/caption] Hans van Eenennaam, Ph.D. Executive vice president antibody research and site head Aduro Biotech Europe MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A PRoliferation Inducing Ligand (APRIL) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily and has been shown to stimulate the proliferation and survival of healthy B-lymphocytes. Malignant B-lymphocytes, such as multiple myeloma, use APRIL primarily in the bone marrow to support its proliferation and survival. Studies have shown that APRIL is overproduced in patients with multiple myeloma and mediates primarily via binding to B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) to stimulate a wide variety of responses that promote multiple myeloma growth and survival, as well as suppressing the immune system so that the tumor cells are protected and sustained in the bone marrow and can escape current available treatments.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Heart Disease, JAMA, Vaccine Studies / 10.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44374" align="alignleft" width="134"]Jeffrey Rapaport Dr. Rapaport[/caption] Dr. Jeffrey Rapaport MD, PA Emeritus head of Dermatology Teaneck's Holy Name Hospital. Dr. Rapaport discusess a case recently reported in JAMA: In 2016: A 97-year-old female patient was suffering from multiple squamous cell carcinomas varying from small to incredibly large in size on both of her legs. She was injected with the HPV vaccine commonly known as Gardasil, which is also used to treat warts and oral papilloma. She was first injected in her arm, and then after a period of six weeks, the vaccine was directly injected into her tumors. It was observed that this treatment eventually killed off almost all the tumors on her legs. According to recent press coverage, she is now looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday in fall 2018. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?Is HPV thought be a trigger for some cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas? Response: The link between skin cancers and HPV vaccinations has normally been investigated in patients who have received organ transplants. Due to the immune-suppressant drugs these patients must take, it is incredibly common to find cases of skin cancer in patients who have undergone transplants. The relaxed immune system, which would normally eliminate cancers caused by the HPV virus, would open the floodgates for multiple skin tumors to emerge. In this case of the 97 year old, I would assume her immune system was healthy. There is, however, growing evidence that receiving multiple vaccines for the HPV virus is necessary even in patients with healthy immune systems. So, regardless of immune health, I believe we need to expand the frequency of the HPV vaccine, even beyond the current three-tiered system for women below 26 and men below 21.
AACR, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Colon Cancer / 05.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44230" align="alignleft" width="200"]Andrea Sottoriva, PhD, MSc Reader in Cancer Evolutionary Dynamics | Evolutionary Genomics & Modelling Lab Centre for Evolution and Cancer | The Institute of Cancer Research London Dr. Sottoriva[/caption] Dr. Andrea Sottoriva, PhD Centre for Evolution and Cancer, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by a liquid biopsy? Response: Cetuximab is a targeted treatment available for metastatic colorectal cancer patients. Unfortunately, although many patients benefit from Cetuximab, after an initial response to the treatment many patients relapse and become resistant to the drug. We know that this resistance is due to the tumour evolving and adapting to therapy. Liquid biopsies allow to look for residual cancer DNA in the blood of a patient and hence monitor the emergence of resistance over time. We used blood samples take every 4 weeks (quite frequently for this type of study) to monitor the evolution of the cancers under treatment and see if there were some measurements that would predict if and when patients will relapse.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Science / 01.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44269" align="alignleft" width="148"]Dr Andrew South, PhD, Associate Professor in the department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)  Dr. South[/caption] Dr Andrew South, PhD, Associate Professor in the department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by Butterfly Syndrome or recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa? Response: Epidermolysis Bullosa, or EB, is a group of genetic diseases caused by mutations in genes which play a role in maintaining skin integrity. An EB patients’ skin can be very fragile which has been likened to butterfly wings, which are also very fragile. Skin blisters are common in EB patients and in some cases large wounds can result from the slightest mechanical trauma, hence the term Butterfly Syndrome. Skin cancer is a major complication of patients with the recessive dystrophic subtype of EB, known as recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa or RDEB, and these cancers, called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), are very aggressive. SCC is the leading cause of death in patients with RDEB. SCC also arise very early, affecting RDEB patients in their 20’s and 30’s. Our study used genetic analysis of cancers collected from patients to try and determine what causes the cancer at such an early age and what causes these cancers to be so fatal. Skin SCC arising in the general population as a result of sun exposure are generally benign and occur much later in life, regular skin SCC patients are predominantly over the age of 60, therefore something must be different about RDEB SCC.