MD Anderson Research Highlights for June 30, 2021

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Research Highlights provides a glimpse into recently published studies in basic, translational and clinical cancer research from MD Anderson experts. Current advances include expanded use of a targeted therapy for a new group of patients with leukemia, molecular studies yielding novel cancer therapeutic targets, insights into radiation therapy resistance and a community intervention to reduce cervical cancer rates.

Turning a pancreatic cancer cell’s addiction into a death sentence

Probing the unique biology of human pancreatic cancer cells in a laboratory has yielded unexpected insights of a weakness that can be used against the cells to kill them.

Led by Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Scientist Dr. Marianne Koritzinsky, researchers showed that about half of patient-derived pancreatic cancer cell lines are highly dependent or “addicted” to the protein peroxiredoxin 4 (PRDX4), as a result of the altered metabolic state of the cancer cell. This addiction, which is vital for the cancer cell’s survival, makes it a precise, potential target against the cancer.

Atlantic Health System Physicians Co-Author 5 Studies, Presented at American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting

Atlantic Health System Cancer Care physicians are co-authors of five original studies presented at this year’s AACR Annual Meeting, held virtually April 10-15 and May 17-21. The AACR meeting is one of the world’s premier scientific gatherings of cancer specialists and researchers.

MD Anderson and Mirati Therapeutics announce KRAS strategic research and development collaboration in solid tumors

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Mirati Therapeutics, Inc. today announced a strategic research and development collaboration to expand the evaluation of Mirati’s two investigational small molecule, potent and selective KRAS inhibitors – adagrasib (MRTX849), a G12C inhibitor in clinical development, and MRTX1133, a G12D inhibitor in preclinical development, as monotherapy and in combination with other agents – which target two of the most frequent KRAS mutations in cancer.

New Biomarker May Predict Which Pancreatic Cancer Patients Respond to CD40 Immunotherapy

Inflammation in the blood could serve as a new biomarker to help identify patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who won’t respond to the immune-stimulating drugs known as CD40 agonists, suggests a new study from researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania published in JCI Insight.

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.

New Research in JNCCN Evaluates Cost-Effectiveness of Olaparib, a PARP Inhibitor, for Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

New research in the November 2020 issue of JNCCN identifies metastatic pancreatic cancer patient subgroups with the highest relative cost-effectiveness from maintenance olaparib, a PARP inhibitor.

Expert alert: Changing the outlook for pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer often is hidden and doesn’t cause symptoms until it has spread. It is a leading cause of cancer deaths in the world.

November 19 is World Pancreatic Cancer Day, but the entire month of November is meant to bring awareness to this disease.

Advances in screening and early detection for high-risk people, minimally invasive surgical innovations and new genetic classifications are changing the outlook for pancreatic cancer, says Dr. Michael Wallace, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist.

Moderate-pace Walking Shrunk Pancreatic Cancer Tumors and Increased Cancer-killing Cells, Small Study Shows

Emily LaVoy, PhD, of the University of Houston, and colleagues explored the effects of moderate-intensity exercise on a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer can be a particularly dangerous form of cancer because it is often diagnosed in later stages and spreads quickly. Though the trial sample was small—thus warranting further study—the results were optimistic.

New experimental blood test determines which pancreatic cancers will respond to treatment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Oct. 22, 2020) — Scientists have developed a simple, experimental blood test that distinguishes pancreatic cancers that respond to treatment from those that do not. This critical distinction could one day guide therapeutic decisions and spare patients with resistant cancers from undergoing unnecessary treatments with challenging side effects.

Deirdre J. Cohen, MD, MS, Appointed as Director of Gastrointestinal Oncology Program of Mount Sinai Health System

Deirdre J. Cohen, MD, MS, an expert in pancreatic and other gastrointestinal cancers as well as an accomplished clinical trial leader has joined Mount Sinai Health System as Director of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Oncology Program and Medical Director of the Cancer Clinical Trials Office at The Tisch Cancer Institute.

Scientists discover novel drug target for pancreatic cancer

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have uncovered a novel drug target, a protein called PPP1R1B, that stops the deadly spread of pancreatic cancer, called metastasis, when inhibited in mice. Published in Gastroenterology, the findings are a first step toward a potential treatment for one of the deadliest cancers known today.

Preventing pancreatic cancer metastasis by keeping cells “sheltered in place”

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that pancreatic cancer metastasis—when tumor cells gain the deadly ability to migrate to new parts of the body—can be suppressed by inhibiting a protein called Slug that regulates cell movement. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, also revealed two druggable targets that interact with Slug and hold promise as treatments that may stop the spread of pancreatic cancer.

Researchers identify therapeutic targets to prevent cancer-associated muscle loss

Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center have identified a key cell signaling pathway that drives the devastating muscle loss, or cachexia, suffered by many cancer patients. The study, which will be published May 22 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that targeting this pathway with a drug already in phase 2 clinical trials for diabetes could prevent this syndrome.

Roswell Park Team Proposes Strategy for Making Pancreatic Tumors Respond to Checkpoint Inhibition

A possible new strategy for treating pancreatic cancer highlights the promise of collaboration between experts in both precision medicine and immunology. The findings from a team led by Agnieszka Witkiewicz, MD, and Erik Knudsen, PhD, at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and published today in the journal Gut suggest a combination treatment approach that can make some breakthrough immunotherapy drugs effective for more patients with pancreatic cancer.

Cedars-Sinai to Study How Fat May Promote Cancer Spread to Liver

A diagnosis of pancreatic or colon cancer often sparks dread about the disease’s likely next destination: the liver. That’s because liver metastasis is a leading cause of death in these patients. A Cedars-Sinai scientific team has been awarded a $9.1 million grant by the National Cancer Institute to study this often-fatal process, with the goal of understanding how cancer spreads to the liver and finding ways to block it.