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[ Tumor's Genetic Identity Not Revealed By Single Biopsy ]

Tumor's Genetic Identity Not Revealed By Single Biopsy

Taking one biopsy sample of a tumor may not be enough to reveal its full genetic identity, according to a breakthrough Cancer Research UK study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday 8 March. The study is significant because it suggests relying on one sample could overlook important biomarkers that help make tailored treatments effective, explaining perhaps why personalized cancer therapy has been less successful than expected. Professor Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK said in a statement that the study highlights "important differences that exist within tumours and suggest a way to improve the success rate of personalised cancer medicines". The lead author of the study is Professor Charles Swanton, who works at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute and the UCL Cancer Institute.

Following Local Radiation Treatment, Rare Medical Phenomenon Of Systemic Tumor Disappearance Reported In A Patient With Metastatic Melanoma

A rarely seen phenomenon in cancer patients - in which focused radiation to the site of one tumor is associated with the disappearance of metastatic tumors all over the body - has been reported in a patient with melanoma treated with the immunotherapeutic agent ipilimumab ( Yervoy ™ ). Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center shared their findings in a unique single-patient study, which could help shed light on the immune system's role in fighting cancer. Their observations suggest that the combination of ipilimumab and radiation may be a promising approach for the treatment of melanoma. The findings are published as a brief report in the March 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The work was done at Memorial Sloan Kettering's Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy.

How Protein Machinery Binds And Wraps DNA To Start Replication

Before any cell - healthy or cancerous - can divide, it has to replicate its DNA. So scientists who want to know how normal cells work - and perhaps how to stop abnormal ones - are keen to understand this process. As a step toward that goal, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and collaborators have deciphered molecular-level details of the complex choreography by which intricate cellular proteins recognize and bind to DNA to start the replication process. The study is published in the journal Structure. "Every cell starts to replicate its genome at defined DNA sites called 'origins of replication, '" said Huilin Li, a biologist at Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University, who led the study. "A cell finds those origins in its vast genome with a protein 'machine' called the 'origin recognition complex, ' or ORC.

Cancer Vaccines And The Challenges They Present

The first therapeutic cancer vaccine has now been approved by the FDA, and a diverse range of therapeutic cancer vaccines directed against a spectrum of tumor-associated antigens are currently being evaluated in clinical trials, according to a review published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The tumor microenvironment and other immunosuppressive entities can potentially limit the efficacy of vaccines. To counteract this, the use of vaccines with immune checkpoint inhibitors, certain chemotherapeutics and small-molecule targeted therapies, and radiation is being evaluated both in preclinical and clinical studies. A detailed review by Jeffrey Schlom, Ph.D., of the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology at the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, outlines the diverse vaccine platforms currently being evaluated preclinically and in randomized phase II and phase III clinical trials.

Surprising Discovery In Mouse Model Reveals That An Anti-Cancer Gene Also Fights Obesity

This result, obtained after five years' research, is published in leading journal Cell Metabolism. The authors, led by Manuel Serrano (CNIO), believe it will open the door to new therapeutic options not only against cancer, but against obesity and even the ageing process. The team has also demonstrated that a synthetic compound developed in-house produces the same anti-obesity benefits in animals as the study gene. Their findings add new weight to a hypothesis that is gaining currency among researchers in the field; namely that cancer and ageing, and now obesity too, are all manifestations of the same global process that unfolds in the body as its tissues accumulate more damage than natural repair mechanisms are able to cope with. Prominent among these natural repair mechanisms are a small set of genes noted primarily for their protective effect against cancer.

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