Cancer Research

Tip Sheet: New COVID-19 transmission study, returning to school, video of biorepositories — and a new weight loss study

SEATTLE —  April 2, 2021 — Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news. April is National Minority Health Month, with a focus on the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color. See more details below on related Fred Hutch programming.Save the date for our monthly public science event, “Science Says” on Tuesday, April 27.

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Research Leader Elected as a Fellow to the American Association for Cancer Research Academy

Deputy director, chief scientific officer, and associate director for Basic Research at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has been elected to the 2021 class of Fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy, a prestigious accolade offered only to individuals whose work has had a significant and enduring impact on cancer research.

Cancer Research Expands Body’s Own Immune System to Kill Tumors

Scientists are hoping advances in cancer research could lead to a day when a patient’s own immune system could be used to fight and destroy a wide range of tumors. Cancer immunotherapy has some remarkable successes, but its effectiveness has been limited to a relatively small handful of cancers. In APL Bioengineering, researchers describe how advances in engineering models of tumors can greatly expand cancer immunotherapy’s effectiveness to a wider range of cancers.

Robin Roberts, Charles Barkley and TNT’s Ernie Johnson Jr. team up to #EndCancer on Feb. 4

An all-star lineup of basketball greats, several of whom are courageous cancer survivors, will share their stories Feb. 4 at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s A Conversation with a Living Legend event. Robin Roberts, an anchor of “Good Morning America,” will join Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Ernie Johnson Jr. for a virtual fireside chat with a special guest appearance by 11-time NBA All-Star Charles Barkley.

Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, Receives 2020 ACCC Clinical Research Award

Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, Chief of Medical Oncology and Associate Cancer Center Director for Translational Research at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital, has been selected as the 2020 Clinical Research Award recipient by the Association of Community Cancer Centers for significantly and positively impacting oncology patients, their families, and the broader oncology community.

Henry Ford Health System Receives $16 Million Gift to Benefit Henry Ford Pancreatic Cancer Center

Henry Ford Health System today announced a $16 million gift to its Henry Ford Pancreatic Cancer Center (HFPCC), which was launched in 2018 by an initial $20 million gift from the same donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. The gift will bolster the HFPCC’s clinical and translational research endeavors in the fight against this devastating disease, for which the five-year survival rate is only 9 percent.

A Conversation With a Living Legend honoring Admiral William H. McRaven raises $1 million

The North Texas A Conversation With a Living Legend® raised $1 million this week in a virtual version of the signature fundraising event benefiting The University of Texas
MD Anderson Cancer Center. The 31st annual event honored Admiral William H. McRaven, U.S. Navy, Retired, in an interview Nov. 16 with CBS News’ Bob Schieffer. Proceeds will benefit MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program®, a collaborative effort to accelerate the development of scientific discoveries into clinical advances that save patients’ lives.

Roswell Park Sees Suggestion of Benefit in First Clinical Trial to Combine Beta-Blocker and Checkpoint Inhibitor

The same biochemical triggers that spur a “fight or flight” response when we encounter threats may help tumor cells to thrive. A team of researchers from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is looking at ways to disrupt that dynamic so that cancer treatments can be more effective. Their latest work, published today in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggests that a drug widely prescribed to control blood pressure may improve patients’ response to cancer immunotherapy.

Adding image guidance to post-operative radiation therapy can reduce side effects for women with cervical cancer

A phase III trial from India shows that an advanced radiation therapy technique leads to fewer gastrointestinal side effects in women who receive radiation after undergoing hysterectomy for cervical cancer. Findings from the PARCER trial (NCT01279135) will be presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting.

Radiosurgery reduces cognitive decline without compromising survival for patients with 4+ brain metastases

Results of a new randomized phase III trial suggest that stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) should replace whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) as the standard of care for patients with four or more brain metastases. Results from the clinical trial (NCT01592968) will be presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting.

Adding advanced PET scans to radiation treatment plans for prostate cancer increases failure-free survival rates

Adding the advanced PET radiotracer fluciclovine to conventional imaging to help guide radiation treatments for recurrent prostate cancer can improve disease-free survival rates, a new study finds. Findings from the randomized phase II/III EMPIRE-1 trial (NCT01666808) will be presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting.

Molecular Shape Shifters

Our DNA acts like a book of recipes for making proteins. But if a recipe is wrong, what does a cell do Peng Mao, PhD, and his team discovered an intricate series of events that cells use to repair our DNA as the recipes are being read. Their findings could lead to improved cancer treatments.

Radiation oncology research and clinical trial results to be featured at ASTRO’s Annual Meeting

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) announced today the press program for its 2020 Annual Meeting, which will feature studies on cancer treatment advances and discussions of topical issues including COVID-19. Researchers will present their findings via live webcasts on October 26 and 27. Register for press access at www.astro.org/annnualmeetingpress.

MD Anderson and Taiho Pharmaceutical announce collaboration to accelerate development of novel therapies for brain metastasis and other unmet medical needs

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., today announced a three-year strategic collaboration to accelerate the development of treatments for significant unmet medical needs in oncology, including patients with brain metastases and those with cancers refractory to available therapies.

“Multitasking” AI Tool Extracts Cancer Data in Record Time

Digital cancer registries collect, manage, and store data on cancer patients to help identify trends in diagnoses and treatment. However, cancer pathology reports are complex. To better leverage data, scientists developed an artificial intelligence-based natural language processing tool to help extract information from textual pathology reports.

5 Key Areas of Cancer Research Presented by Thought Leaders at Annual Review in Oncology Virtual Symposium

Atlantic Health System Cancer Care will continue its tradition of world-class medical education with its 2020 Annual Review in Oncology Virtual Symposium. The symposium, held virtually this year with free registration, will take place Saturday, June 27, 2020, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. Distinguished faculty from some of the Northeast’s leading cancer centers will summarize the latest advances in oncology, which have recently been presented at international conferences. The diverse range of topics should be of interest to surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists and other physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.

Food for Thought

Some people must make the difficult decision whether to put food on the table or spend money on other necessities, such as a utility bill or rent. In a recently published paper, Jean McDougall, PhD, and colleagues report the results of a 400-person survey that assesses food insecurity before and after cancer diagnosis

Memorial Sloan Kettering – Hackensack Meridian Health Partnership Announces Funding for Inaugural Immunology Research Collaboration Projects

The Memorial Sloan Kettering – Hackensack Meridian Health Partnership has formed an Immunology Research Collaboration, through which researchers can apply for funding to support innovative investigations to explore the power of the immune system and ways it may be harnessed to fight cancer. Three researchers’ projects were selected in 2020 for funding support.

New Liver Cancer Research Targets Non-Cancer Cells to Blunt Tumor Growth

“Senotherapy,” a treatment that uses small molecule drugs to target “senescent” cells, or those cells that no longer undergo cell division, blunts liver tumor progression in animal models according to new research from a team led by Celeste Simon, PhD, a professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and scientific director of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. The study was published in Nature Cell Biology.

Creating a Vaccine against COVID-19

David Peabody, PhD, and Bryce Chackerian, PhD, are creating vaccines from particles that are the opposite of Trojan Horses: they look deadly on the outside but are harmless on the inside. Their virus-like particles may rouse the immune system into combatting COVID-19. The idea is to trick the body into believing it’s been infected with a microscopic foe.