Clinical trials take innovative approach
Since their arrivals at Yale within the past six years, Joseph Paul Eder, MD, and Patricia LoRusso, DO, have overseen a sharp increase in the number of clinical trials conducted by the Phase I Program at Yale Cancer Center. Bench investigators and the clinicians who design and conduct early-phase trials interact regularly, each sharing knowledge with the other that both strengthens the basic science and brings new discoveries to patients more quickly and effectively.
Mystery of breast cancer risk gene solved, 20 years after its discovery
More than 20 years after scientists revealed that mutations in the BRCA1 gene predispose women to breast cancer, Yale scientists have pinpointed the molecular mechanism that allows those mutations to wreak their havoc. The findings, reported Oct. 4 in the journal Nature, will not only help researchers design drugs to combat breast and ovarian cancers, but also help identify women who are at high risk of developing them, the authors say. “There have been about 14,000 papers written about BRCA1, and you would think we already know everything about the gene, but we don’t,” said senior author Patrick Sung, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry and of therapeutic radiology and member of the Yale Cancer Center.
Study points to potential new brain cancer treatment
A recent Yale study may have found a new way to fight brain cancer. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Therapeutic Radiology have identified a genetic defect in brain tumor cells that makes them sensitive to a class of drugs known as PARP inhibitors. The defect, a mutation of the IDH1 and IDH2 genes, impairs cancer cells’ ability to repair DNA, making them especially vulnerable. The study was published on Feb. 1 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.Source: Yale Daily News
Researchers at Yale have taken steps toward a ‘completely unexpected’ new way to treat brain cancer
Researchers at Yale think they've come up with a new way to treat a certain kind of brain tumor using a drug that's already been approved by the FDA. In a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers outline a hypothesis for using the drug to tackle brain cancer. Thing is, the hypothesis they put forward is the exact opposite of the one other scientists, as well as several drug companies including Agios Pharmaceuticals, had previously been working with. The drug they discuss, called a PARP inhibitor, blocks a protein our cells use to repair DNA and kill off tumors. In certain kinds of cancer, that repair system is broken, which allows cancer cells to thrive.Source: Yahoo Finance
Yale scientists identify key defect in brain tumor cells
In a new study, Yale Cancer Center researchers identified a novel genetic defect that prevents brain tumor cells from repairing damaged DNA. They found that the defect is highly sensitive to an existing FDA-approved drug used to treat ovarian cancer — a discovery that challenges current practice for treatment of brain tumors and other cancers with the same genetic defect, said the scientists.
Scientist Joann Sweasy awarded Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize
Joann Sweasy treats the future of her postdocs with the same demanding attention and rigor she applies to experiments in her lab. For her strong advocacy for those working in her lab, Sweasy, the Ensign Professor of Therapeutic Radiology and professor of genetics, was awarded the Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize by the Provost’s Office at a ceremony at Harkness Auditorium Sept. 19.
The Way We Pay Doctors Is Hurting Health Care
For several decades, specialists in the U.S. have been paid considerably more than primary-care physicians. On average, orthopedic surgeons, cardiologists, radiologists and plastic surgeons make about twice as much as internists, pediatricians and family medicine doctors. True, most specialists train for a longer period of time than primary-care providers, but the degree of divergence in compensation has little to do with market forces or input costs. The difference has consistently been tied to how we pay for care with our emphasis on volume, procedures and technology, rather than prevention, care coordination, evaluation expertise and outcomes.Source: The Wall Street Journal
Yale doctor seeks to limit surgeries for small kidney tumors
Not all kidney cancers are killers, and many small tumors can be left alone or watched over time because there is a low risk they will become dangerous, according to Dr. Brian Shuch at the Yale School of Medicine. While doctors can detect more tumors because of increasingly sensitive tools, such as MRIs, surgery to remove the cancer is not called for in many cases, said Shuch, an assistant professor of urology and radiology. “Many of these small tumors are very indolent or wimpy — low grade or low aggressiveness and low potential to spread or cause harm,” Shuch said. As many as 90 percent of tumors smaller than 4 centimeters fall into this category. Some actually turn out to be benign, he said.Source: New Haven Register
Dr. Peter Glazer receives prestigious Outstanding Investigator Award for cancer research
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has named Peter M. Glazer, M.D., Ph.D., as a recipient of its Outstanding Investigator Award (OIA). Glazer is the Robert E. Hunter Professor of Therapeutic Radiology, professor of genetics and chairman of the department of Therapeutic Radiology at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center.
Cancer is way more likely to kill you if you rely on 'natural' therapies
There's a decent chance you'll get some kind of cancer at some point. If you’re a man, your odds are one in two. If you’re a woman, one in three. Your risk of dying from cancer is only slightly lower: one in four and one in five, respectively. This is a scary thought. A cancer diagnosis often means intense, brutal therapies are on the horizon. That’s a tough forecast for even the least hospital-averse people, so it's not surprising that many look for other options. Could a juice cleanse purge the body of harmful toxins and starve cancer cells? Perhaps you've heard anecdotes about a friend-of-a-friend outliving her prognosis using only acupuncture. But while mainstream cancer treatment has a long way to go, the fact remains that it's far more effective than any "natural" solution. You are more than twice as likely to die from your cancer if you choose alternative medicine.Source: Popular Science
Gene editing opens the door to a “revolution” in treating and preventing disease
In a move that seems likely to help clear the path for the use of gene editing in the clinical setting, on February 14 the Committee on Human Gene Editing, formed by the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, recommended that research into human gene editing should go forward under strict ethical and safety guidelines.
Dr. Burtness on the Use of Immunotherapy After Chemoradiation in Head and Neck Cancer
Barbara Burtness, MD, professor of Medicine, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the use of immunotherapy in patients with head and neck cancer who have residual disease following treatment with chemotherapy and radiation. According to Burtness, it seems that the addition of radiation therapy can change the tumor immune microenvironment, as there are more tumor infiltrating lymphocytes and an upregulation of PD-1 expression. An ongoing trial at Yale Cancer Center is currently looking at patients with head and neck cancer who have persistent disease after being treated with chemotherapy and radiation. These patients are being given pembrolizumab (Keytruda), the rationale being that the upregulation of PD-1 and the augmentation of the tumor infiltrating lymphocytes will create an overall better environment. It remains to be seen whether response rates do, indeed, increase with this immunotherapy treatment, says Burtness.Source: OncLive
Yale scientists edit gene mutations in inherited form of anemia
A Yale-led research team used a new gene editing strategy to correct mutations that cause thalassemia, a form of anemia. Their gene editing technique provided corrections to the mutations and alleviated the disease in mice, the researchers said. The finding could lead to studies of a similar gene therapy to treat people with inherited blood disorders.