Cancer Research

Retinoblastoma is a childhood retinal tumor usually affecting children ages one to two and the most common malignant tumor of the eye in children. Left untreated, retinoblastoma can be fatal or result in blindness.

Retinoblastomas have been found to develop in response to the mutation of a single gene, the RB1 gene, demonstrating that some cells are only a step away from developing into a life-threatening malignancy.

Researchers have developed two new anticancer peptide vaccines and two peptide inhibitors as part of a larger peptide immunotherapy effort, according to two studies published in  OncoImmunology

Researchers from  at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center identify new peptide vaccines and inhibitors that target the HER-3 and IGF-1R receptors. All four agents elicited significant anti-tumor responses in human cancer cell lines and in animal models. 

Head and neck cancer underway. Credit: Akira Kouchiyama, CC BY-SA

By Emma King, University of Southampton and Christian Ottensmeier, University of Southampton

An international research consortium has found that longer telomeres increase the risk of melanoma.

Men who had moderate baldness affecting both the front and the crown of their head by age 45 were at a 40% increased risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer than men with no baldness, according to a new, large cohort analysis from the prospective Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men.
Aggressive prostate cancer usually indicates a faster growing tumor resulting in poorer prognosis relative to non-aggressive prostate cancer later in life. There was no significant link between other patterns of baldness and prostate cancer risk. 

The genetic mutation BRAFV600E secretes a protein that promotes the growth of melanoma tumor cells and modify the network of normal cells around the tumor to support the disease's progression, according to a new paper.

Targeting this mutation with Vemurafenib reduces this interaction, and suggests possible new treatment options for melanoma therapy. BRAFV600E is common present in metastatic melanoma. 

A new generation of chemotherapy drugs that are more effective and less toxic could be on the horizon thanks to a new mechanism to inhibit proteasomes, protein complexes that are a target for cancer therapy.

A member of the category of enzymes known as proteases, the proteasome is a protein complex responsible for several essential functions inside cells, such as eliminating harmful or non-functioning proteins and regulating the processes of apoptosis (programmed cell death), cell division and proliferation, say the authors in Chemistry&Biology,who were led by Daniela Trivella, researcher at the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory at the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials.

A mutation  in a gene called KNSTRN, which is involved in helping cells divide their DNA equally during cell division, is caused by ultraviolet light is likely the driving force behind millions of human skin cancers, according to new research.

Genes that cause cancer when mutated are known as oncogenes. Although KNSTRN hasn't been previously implicated as a cause of human cancers, the research suggests it may be one of the most commonly mutated oncogenes in the world.

A new blood test could allow doctors to predict which ovarian cancer patients will respond to particular types of treatment. The test could be developed and used in hospitals within the next few years.  

It would mean medics could see which patients could benefit from blood vessel-targeting drugs - such as bevacizumab - in addition to conventional therapy. Meanwhile, others who are not going to benefit would be spared the time and side effects associated with having the drug.  

The test would also help to reduce the cost to the NHS. Ovarian cancer has seen little increase in survival rates over the last few decades and scientists are seeking new treatment strategies to improve the standard approach of surgery and chemotherapy.