Cancer Research

Western University researchers are working on a way to use artificial intelligence to predict a patient's response to two common chemotherapy medications used to treat breast cancer - paclitaxel and gemcitabine.

Peter Rogan, PhD, and a team of researchers, including Stephanie Dorman, PhD, and Katherina Baranova, BMSc, at Western's Schulich School of Medicine&Dentistry, are hoping to one day remove the guesswork from breast cancer treatment with this technique.

Based on personal genetic analysis of their tumours, patients with the same type of cancer can have different responses to the same medication. While some patients will respond well and go into remission, others will develop a resistance to the medication.

Researchers have identified for the first time the triple mechanism that stops chromosome separation in response to situations that compromise the integrity of the genetic information. The loss of this response capacity is characteristic of cancerous cells.

Cell proliferation requires the chromosomes to be copied (replicated) and distributed (segregated) to the two future daughter cells. Cells continually undergo spontaneous alterations (injuries) to the DNA that makes up the chromosomes, because of their aqueous (reactive) environment, for example. In response to DNA injuries, cells put a stop to the cell division cycle, in order to allow time for the injuries to be repaired and prevent the transmission of damaged, incompletely replicated chromosomes.

Engineers have developed a new medical device aimed at improving diagnostic procedures for various cancers. The Tadpole Endoscope is like a micro-robot fish with a camera which is swallowed by the patient.

It is different from existing wireless capsule endoscopes by addition of a soft tail that allows it to be guided around the stomach remotely by a doctor, allowing for more comprehensive imaging and accurate location of problems within the body.

We want drugs to get better and we don’t want them to be just for the rich. Health care, in much of modern America, has become a right rather than a luxury so a country that is fine with overpaying for a phone is less inclined to have gaps in health care quality.

People want Apple and Samsung to make money so the companies are motivated to create the next great phone. If Apple is the most highly-valued company in the U.S., they earned it and if you want their new iPhone 6s first, you pay the price, even if the new features are negligible.

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.