New Cancer-Killing Virus Launches Dual Attack on Carcinoma

Because the stroma—the connective tissue that supports an organ's functioning cells—surrounding a tumor provides the tumor with nutrients and helps to protect it from the immune system, patients whose tumors are rich in stroma have a poorer prognosis. Researchers have found a potential solution to this problem by modifying an existing oncolytic virus so that it can attack not only carcinoma cells but also cancer-associated fibroblasts, stromal cells that support the tumor and shield it from...
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Once Thought to Relieve Pain, BH4 Could Instead Fight Cancer

A study recently published in Nature outlined the importance of targeting tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) as a possible treatment for cancer. Pain researcher Clifford Woolf, MB, BCh, PhD, Director of the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children's Hospital, and chemist Kai Johnsson, PhD, Professor at the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, discovered in 2013 that BH4 is a protein that modulates neuropathic and inflammatory pain sensit...
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Novel Management Strategies for Immune-Related Pruritus: An Interview With Shawn Kwatra, MD

Immunotherapies such as PD-1 inhibitors have improved survival for many patients with cancer. However, these therapies are associated with adverse events that, if not properly managed, impair quality of life and may lead to treatment interruptions or discontinuation. Pruritus is one of the most common immune-related adverse events, and while many cases may be managed with conventional therapy, some patients do not respond. Shawn Kwatra, MD and colleagues reported on a case of an 88-year-old woman receiving pembrolizumab, a PD-1 inhibitor, for metastatic lung adenocarcinoma who developed severe pruritus refractory to standard treatment. Dr. Kwatra and colleagues found that intravenous naloxone, an opioid antagonist, resulted in a reduction in pruritus severity from 10 to 1 (on a scale of 0 to 10) within 1 hour. i3 Health spoke with Dr. Kwatra, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, about his findings and the challenges, potential advances, and role of multidisciplinary care in the management of dermatologic immune-related adverse events.

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In Relapsed/Refractory AML, Immunotherapy Plus Chemotherapy Yields Results

​ A phase 2 clinical trial of a chemotherapy/immunotherapy combination involving azacitidine and nivolumab has produced promising results in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The most common type of leukemia, AML is a deadly cancer of the blood and bone marrow with a 5-year survival rate of only 27.4%. Some patients experience relapse after initial treatment success; others have refractory disease, where some leukemic cells remain in the bone marrow even after ag...
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How Breast Cancer Escapes Immune Attack

​ Just as the body has evolved immune defenses that can attack cancer cells, cancer cells have evolved their own means of escaping from the immune system's attack. Understanding how cancer evades the immune system is crucial to the development of effective immunotherapies designed to restore and stimulate the body's immune response against tumors, say the authors of a study published in Cancer Research . These researchers have found a mechanism by which breast cancer cells resist the attack of c...
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