He Lost His Newborn to Childhood Cancer but for Andrew Kaczynski, the Fight Has Only Begun

When their six-month-old daughter Francesca was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer over Labor Day weekend last year, Andrew Kaczynski and his wife Rachel Ensign used their journalistic acumen (he’s a reporter at CNN, she at the Wall Street Journal) to gather as much information as possible about her disease. “It was literally like the worst reporting project ever,” Kaczynski says. They discovered that there were only four oncologists in the country who specialized in Francesca’s type of cancer, an aggressive tumor known as ATRT, and within a week of the pathology report they packed up and moved from Brooklyn to Boston, where their baby girl could begin treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. After a three-month battle, Francesca died on Christmas Eve. She was just nine months old.
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1950s Antibiotic Found to Kill Tumor Cells with DNA-repair Glitch

An antibiotic developed in the 1950s and largely supplanted by newer drugs, effectively targets and kills cancer cells with a common genetic defect, laboratory research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists shows. The findings have spurred investigators to open a clinical trial of the drug, novobiocin, for patients whose tumors carry the abnormality.
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Diseases & TreatmentsMedicalXpress

Carcinogen-exposed cells provide clues in fighting treatment-resistant cancers

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have discovered a biological mechanism that transforms cells exposed to carcinogens from environmental factors like smoking and ultraviolet light into immunogenic cells that can be harnessed therapeutically to fight treatment-resistant cancers. As reported in Science Advances, that mechanism involves spurring the release of small proteins known as chemokines which, in turn, recruit antitumor immune cells (CD8+ T cells) to the tumor site to block metastasis, potentially enhancing the effectiveness of a new generation of immunotherapies.
Diseases &

Research Roundup: “Bad Fat” Slows Killer T-Cells from Attacking Cancer and More

Every week there are numerous scientific studies published. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting ones. “Bad Fat” Slows Killer T-Cells from Attacking Cancer. Researchers at the Salk Institute discovered that the environment inside tumors, otherwise called the tumor microenvironment, contains a lot of oxidized fat molecules. When they are ingested by killer T-cells, this “bad fat” suppresses the killer T-cells’ ability to kill cancer cells. The T-cells, requiring energy, increase the amount of a cellular fat transporter, CD36, which then saturates the T-cells with more oxidized fat, which further decreases their tumor-killing ability. The research was published in the journal Immunity.
Diseases &

New methods may lead to optimal treatment for lung cancer

Today as they did 100 years ago, doctors diagnose cancer by taking tissue samples from patients, which they usually fix in formalin for microscopic examination. In the past 20 years, genetic methods have also been established that make it possible to characterize mutations in tumors in greater detail, thus helping clinicians select the best treatment strategy.
ScienceZME Science

Urine test detects brain tumors with 97% accuracy

Brain tumors are some of the most challenging types of cancers to diagnose. When they’re caught by a doctor, the patient often already has neurological symptoms such as partial limb immobility or slurred speech. Japanese researchers at Nagoya University have recognized this problem and have devised a novel microRNA test that can detect brain tumors from less than a drop of urine.
Diseases & TreatmentsGenetic Engineering News

Old Antibiotic Novobiocin Inhibits Growth of BRCA-Mutated, PARPi-Resistant Tumors in Mice

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have discovered that an antibiotic developed in the 1950s and largely superseded by newer drugs, effectively targets and kills cancer cells that have a common genetic defect. Studies in laboratory cell lines and in mouse tumor models showed how the antibiotic, novobiocin (NVB), selectively killed tumor cells with abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which normally help to repair damaged DNA.

Patients in Bind as Brain Cancer Drug Price Rises to $1,000 Per Pill

FRIDAY, June 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The maker of the expensive brain cancer drug Gleostine has removed it from the Medicare drug rebate program, a move that could have dire consequences for some patients. The drug from NextSource Biotechnology is used to treat glioblastoma and other brain cancers and...
Diseases &

Do You Have a Question About Mental Health & Cancer– Strong In Cancer — A New Column From SurvivorNet with Dr. Marianna Strongin

A cancer diagnosis has the potential to throw your entire life into disarray, impacting both your physical and mental wellbeing. At SurvivorNet, we believe treating the whole person is imperative for success, so we’ve teamed up with Dr. Marianna Strongin to leverage her expertise as a licensed clinical psychologist. Each week Dr. Strongin will answer SurvivorNet reader questions on topics ranging from how to manage anxiety about your health to how to talk to your family about your diagnosis and everything in between. (You can submit your questions here.)
Public HealthBBC

Leukaemia patient mistook cancer for Covid-19

A leukaemia patient is urging people not to assume their symptoms are coronavirus after he mistook his cancer for long Covid. Rob Hale from Thornbury said he delayed seeking medical help because he believed he was experiencing the after effects of Covid-19. When he did see his GP he was...
Diseases &

New findings expand hopes for a stem cell cancer ‘vaccine’

One perk of being an 'experienced' science writer is the opportunity to follow-up on promising research over the years. I love charting the course of scientific research from the first gleam in a researcher's eye, to animal studies, to clinical trials and even -- sometimes -- a bonafide new treatment for a deadly disease.
Diseases &

Analysis reveals origins of a leukemia that straddles diagnostic categories

Research led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Munich Leukemia Laboratory highlights molecular analysis as an approach to improve classification and diagnosis of acute leukemia. Researchers have identified gene alterations that drive a subset of acute leukemias in children and adults. These leukemias previously defied classification, making diagnosis...
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Survivors' Plasma Helps Blood Cancer Patients Battle COVID-19

FRIDAY, June 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Giving COVID-19 survivors' blood plasma to blood cancer patients hospitalized with COVID-19 significantly improves their chances of survival, a new study finds. "These results suggest that convalescent plasma may not only help COVID-19 patients with blood cancers whose immune systems are compromised, it...
Diseases &

Presence of certain stem cells linked to nongenetic resistance mechanisms of cancer cells

Cancer cells can develop resistance to therapy through both genetic and non-genetic mechanisms. But it is unclear how and why one of these routes to resistance prevails. Understanding this 'choice' by the cancer cells may help us devise better therapeutic strategies. Now, the team of Prof. Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology) shows that the presence of certain stem cells correlates with the development of nongenetic resistance mechanisms. Their study is published in the prestigious journal Cancer Cell.