Moffitt Researchers Discover New Therapeutic Target for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

A new Moffitt Cancer Center study published in the journal Immunity offers insight into how lung cancer cells evade the protective immune system, potentially opening a door for novel antibody-based immunotherapies. Their study centers on a molecule called Jagged2, which plays a primary role in fueling the aggressiveness and immune evasion capacity of lung cancer.

LJI welcomes new faculty member Miguel Reina-Campos, Ph.D.

Cancer researcher Miguel Reina-Campos, Ph.D., has joined the faculty of La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) as an Assistant Professor to lead the Laboratory of Tissue Immune Networks. His laboratory at LJI aims to investigate the basis of CD8+ T cell tissue immunity to improve life-saving cancer immunotherapies.

Cancer cells rev up synthesis, compared with neighbors

Tumors are composed of rapidly multiplying cancer cells. Understanding which biochemical processes fuel their relentless growth can provide hints at therapeutic targets. Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have developed a technology to study tumor growth in another dimension — literally. The scientists established a new method to watch what nutrients are used at which rates spatially throughout a tissue.

Microbubble Macrophages Track Tumors #ASA184

At the 184th ASA Meeting, Ashley Alva of the Georgia Institute of Technology will describe how attaching microbubbles to macrophages, a type of white blood cell, can create high-resolution and sensitive tracking images useful for disease diagnosis. Because of the attached microbubbles, the cells sent back an echo when hit with ultrasound, which is nonionizing and noninvasive and has great depth of penetration. This allowed the team to visualize the macrophages in vivo with high resolution and sensitivity. Visualizing macrophages in vivo could also provide a powerful tool for understanding immune responses and monitoring therapeutic efficacy.

AI Tool Predicts Colon Cancer Survival, Treatment Response

New AI tool accurately predicts both overall survival and disease-free survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis.
The model uses visual markers on pathology images to glean insights into a tumor’s genomic profile and predicts tumor behavior, disease progression, treatment response.
The new model could help augment clinical decision-making.
Because the AI tool relies on images alone, it could be particularly valuable for hospitals lacking the technology or expertise to perform sophisticated genomic profiling of tumor tissues.

Women in Medicine: Dr. Priyamvada Rai to Co-lead Tumor Biology Research Program

Priyamvada Rai, Ph.D., is the new Tumor Biology Research Program co-leader at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – University of Miami Health System.

Lipid nanoparticles carry gene-editing cancer drugs past tumor defenses

As they grow, solid tumors surround themselves with a thick, hard-to-penetrate wall of molecular defenses. Getting drugs past that barricade is notoriously difficult. Now, scientists at UT Southwestern have developed nanoparticles that can break down the physical barriers around tumors to reach cancer cells. Once inside, the nanoparticles release their payload: a gene editing system that alters DNA inside the tumor, blocking its growth and activating the immune system.

Sidekick Microbubbles Carry Anti-Cancer Drugs, Damage Tumor Vessels #ASA182

Naomi Matsuura, of the University of Toronto, and her team are adapting microbubbles to become more potent tools for cancer therapy. By shrinking the bubbles and directly loading them with anti-cancer drugs, the bubbles can lower the dose of free drug that is injected and diffuses into nontumor tissue in the body. This results in more targeted treatment and fewer side effects for the patient. Matsuura will discuss her team’s results in her presentation, “Ultrasound-stimulated, drug-loaded bubbles for cancer therapy,” as part of the 182nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. The session will take place May 24 at 11:30 a.m. Eastern U.S.

Singing a Tumor Test Song

Singing may be the next-generation, noninvasive approach to determining the health of a patient’s thyroid. When a person sings, the vibrations create waves in the tissue near the vocal tract called shear waves. If a tumor is present in the thyroid, the elasticity of its surrounding tissue increases, stiffening, and causing the shear waves to accelerate. Using ultrasound imaging to measure these waves, researchers can determine the elasticity of the thyroid tissue. They demonstrate the technique in Applied Physics Letters.

Girl gets her smile back – and a new jaw – thanks to innovative tissue engineering procedure

Nine-year-old Grace Moss of Laredo, Texas, was facing a daunting prospect. A tumor that had invaded her jaw had been removed, but now the plastic surgeon wanted to remove her fibula – the smaller of the two bones in her lower leg – to use as a graft.

Personalized drug screens could guide treatment for children with brain cancer

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Hopp Children’s Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ) have demonstrated that personalized drug screens can be used to identify new therapeutic candidates for medulloblastoma. The approach measures the effectiveness of therapeutics using tumor cells obtained from a biopsy and can be performed in a few days—making it one of the quickest sources of information used in clinical decision-making.

Brooke Emerling awarded Research Scholar Grant by American Cancer Society

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is pleased to announce that the American Cancer Society has awarded Brooke Emerling, Ph.D., a Research Scholar Grant (RSG) to study a new approach to targeting tumors that have a mutation in the p53 gene—the most altered gene in human cancers. The grants are often a career-launching award for “rising stars” in the cancer research arena. The four-year grant will help advance Emerling’s research toward eliminating cancer as a major health problem.

Personalized Microrobots Swim Through Biological Barriers, Deliver Drugs to Cells

Biohybrid robots on the micrometer scale can swim through the body and deliver drugs to tumors or provide other cargo-carrying functions. To be successful, they must consist of materials that can pass through the body’s immune response, swim quickly through viscous environments and penetrate tissue cells to deliver cargo. In this week’s APL Bioengineering, researchers fabricated biohybrid bacterial microswimmers by combining a genetically engineered E. coli MG1655 substrain and nanoerythrosomes, small structures made from red blood cells.

Roswell Park’s Dr. Pawel Kalinski to Lead $14.5M NCI-Funded Immunotherapy Effort

A team led by Pawel Kalinski, MD, PhD, of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has earned a five-year, $14.54 million award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to expand a promising immunotherapy platform. Funded through the NCI’s Program Project Grant program, this prestigious five-year grant will fund five clinical trials, all focused on a strategy for making some of the most common immunotherapies work for more cancer patients.

Designer Probiotic Treatment for Cancer Immunotherapy

Columbia Engineers have engineered probiotics to safely deliver immunotherapies within tumors, including nanobodies against two proven therapeutic targets—PD-L1 and CTLA-4. Continuously released by bacteria, the drugs continue to attack the tumor after just one dose, facilitating an immune response resulting in tumor regression. The versatile probiotic platform can also be used to deliver multiple immunotherapies simultaneously, enabling the release of effective therapeutic combinations within the tumor for more difficult-to-treat cancers like colorectal cancer.

Can the flu shot help fight cancer?

Physicians and scientists at Rush University Medical Center have found that injecting tumors with influenza vaccines, including some FDA-approved seasonal flu shots, turns cold tumors to hot, a discovery that could lead to an immunotherapy to treat cancer. The study results were published December 30th in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.