Cancer Research

In its first clinical trial, an antibody therapy produced at least partial remissions in a third of patients with multiple myeloma who had exhausted multiple prior treatments, investigators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and other organizations have reported.

The drug, daratumumab, proved generally safe in patients, even at the highest doses tested in the study. The results of the trial - a combined phase 1 and 2 study - strongly support testing of the drug in a larger group of patients in both phase 2 and 3 trials, the authors say.


New research could potentially yield a new platform for cancer vaccines. Leveraging a biologically inspired sponge-like gel called "cryogel" as an injectable biomaterial, the vaccine delivers patient-specific tumor cells together with immune-stimulating biomolecules to enhance the body's attack againstcancer. The approach, a so-called "injectable cryogel whole-cell cancer vaccine."

David Mooney, Ph.D., leads a Wyss Institute team developing a broad suite of novel cancer vaccines and immunotherapies. 


By Katy Bell, University of Sydney; Alexandra Barratt, University of Sydney, and Andrew Hayen, UNSW Australia

Cancer screening is beneficial when it’s able to prevent people dying from cancer. And it should clearly be adopted where there’s evidence showing this. But using cancer survival rates to promote screening, as is often done, is misleading.

Cancer researchers say a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) that spanned three continents has identified four chromosome locations with genetic changes that are likely to alter a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer. 

Researchers say that while more needs to be learned about the function of the specific chromosomal regions involved in susceptibility, the discoveries move them a major step closer to individualized risk assessments for ovarian cancer. In the future, women at greatest risk due to these and other inherited changes may be offered increased surveillance or preventive measures.


If you're at high risk of skin cancer, check your skin regularly. Roman Königshofer/Flickr, CC BY-ND

By H. Peter Soyer, The University of Queensland and Anna Finnane, The University of Queensland

Imagine being able to tone down appetite and promote weight loss, while improving the body’s ability to handle blood sugar levels.

That’s just what Tony Means, PhD, and his team at the Duke University Medical Center were able to do when they blocked a brain enzyme, CaMKK2, in mice.

“We believe we have identified an important drug development target that could potentially turn into a metabolic triple play: appetite control, weight loss and blood sugar management,“ said Means, who is the Nanaline H. Duke Professor and Chairman of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology.

What causes us to lose muscle strength as we age and how exercise can prevent it from happening has never been thoroughly understood, but McMaster University researchers have discovered a key protein required to maintain muscle mass and muscle strength during aging.

This important finding means new and existing drugs targeting the protein may potentially be used to preserve muscle function during aging.

"We found that the body's fuel gauge, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), is vital to slow muscle wasting with aging," said Gregory Steinberg, the study's senior author and professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. He is also co-director of MAC-Obesity, the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Research Program at McMaster.


Regular consumption of caffeinated coffee may help prevent the return of colon cancer after treatment and improve the chances of a cure, according to a new study.

The patients, all of them treated with surgery and chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer, had the greatest benefit from consuming four or more cups of coffee a day (about 460 milligrams of caffeine), according to the study. These patients were 42 percent less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and were 33 percent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause.


n findings never before seen in melanoma, a novel combination therapy was found to be highly effective at treating patients with skin metastases, new research has shown. 

The research found that Interleukin (IL)-2 combined with imiquimod and topical retinoid therapy in patients with so-called "in-transit metastases" is a promising therapeutic option. 
The authors note that the study has limitations in that the records of only 11 patients were analyzed, and there were no experiments conducted to determine the effects of the therapeutic regimen on the systemic immune response.


Cancer survival in England remains lower than countries with similar healthcare systems, according to a new study. Cancer survival in England has steadily improved but the gap in survival remains.

The research, from the London School of Hygiene&Tropical Medicine, compared survival for colon, breast, lung, ovarian, rectal and stomach cancers in England, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Sweden between 1995 and 2009, and survival trends in England up to 2012. It included more than 1.9 million cancer patients in England and another 1.9 million cancer patients from the other five countries. The report analyzed data from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Sweden between 1995 and 2009 and data from England between 1995 and 2012.