Synthesizing a Marine Sponge Compound that Fights Cancer

Halichondrins, natural products isolated from marine sponges, have demonstrated antitumor activity both in live mice and in human cancer cell cultures. Previously, the limited supply of halichondrins has made it difficult to develop drugs utilizing their antitumor activity. However, after 30 years of research, scientists have now been able to harvest the tumor-fighting capabilities of halichondrins by incorporating a synthesized version into a drug called E7130. When halichondrins were first dis...

Can Artificial Intelligence Diagnose Skin Lesions? With Philipp Tschandl, MD, PhD

​ Philipp Tschandl, MD, PhD, and colleagues found that current artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that use "deep learning"—a type of machine learning that is based on artificial neural networks— outperform humans, even experts, in the classification of pigmented skin lesions . In this interview with i3 Health, Philipp Tschandl, member of the Vienna Dermatologic Imaging Research (ViDIR) Group of the Medical University of Vienna's Department of Dermatology, discusses the significance of the s...

Pembrolizumab Approved in Metastatic Small Cell Lung Cancer

Pembrolizumab (Keytruda®, Merck) has received accelerated FDA approval for patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) experiencing disease progression during or after platinum-based chemotherapy following at least one other previous line of therapy. Metastatic SCLC, or extensive-stage SCLC, comprises around 15% of all lung cancers and occurs primarily in heavy smokers. It carries a dismal outlook; only 5% of patients with extensive-stage SCLC live for two years after diagnosis. Appro...

HPV-Linked Head and Neck Cancer: Biomarker Predicts Outcome

A biomarker that can be identified by blood test was discovered to be a potential indicator of prognosis for human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal cancer. "Head and neck cancers that are caused by HPV infection tend to have a better overall outcome than head and neck cancers related to other factors like smoking and alcohol," said Gaorav Gupta, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and senior author of the...

Antigen-Presenting Fibroblasts Found in Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which is for the most part resistant to chemotherapy and lacks effective treatments, is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Researchers have now identified a potential therapeutic target in this deadly disease: antigen-presenting fibroblasts. "We can't diagnose patients [with PDAC] early enough because we don't have tools, and they don't respond to drugs. One barrier to the drugs is the fibroblasts in the stroma...

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