NEWS

Technologies that find and characterize tumor cells in blood could aid in disease management.
April 17

Targeting cells in the microenvironment as well as in the tumor could lead to better patient outcomes.
April 17

FDA advisory panel unanimously recommends approval of Cologuard for colorectal cancer screening.
April 17

Tyrosine kinase inhibitor is well tolerated and active in advanced solid tumors.
April 10

FDA advisory panel recommends approval of HPV DNA testing as a first-line method of cervical cancer screening.
April 10

Moores Cancer Center will collaborate with the new company to gather patients’ genomic and biochemical information.
April 10

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RESEARCH WATCH

Pharmacologic MTH1 inhibition specifically induces cancer cell death and suppresses tumor growth.
April 17

Either under- or overexpression of SRPK1 can constitutively activate AKT and induce transformation.
April 17

Pemetrexed and gemcitabine selectively inhibit growth of a Group 3 medulloblastoma mouse model.
April 10

Clinically relevant doses of paclitaxel induce chromosome missegregation, not mitotic arrest.
April 10

Combined inhibition of EGFR and HER3 sensitizes TNBC to PI3K–AKT pathway inhibitors.
April 10

Vacquinol-1 is a small molecule that kills glioblastoma cells by causing extreme vacuolization.
April 3

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NOTED THIS WEEK

April 17, 2014

Noting that manufacturers rely on marketing practices that appeal to youth, a Congressional report on e-cigarettes released on April 14 calls upon the FDA to “act quickly” to regulate the devices. The report, written by the staff of 11 senators and representatives, also says that manufacturers doubled their spending to market e-cigarettes between 2012 and 2013. Mitchell Zeller, JD, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said earlier this month that a regulatory document is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget and would be released soon, although he could not give a date.

Cambridge, MA–based Foundation Medicine disclosed that it filed a request with the Securities and Exchange Commission to withdraw its proposed public offering of $150 million in common stock. The cancer genetics diagnostics company submitted paperwork to the federal agency for the public offering in March.

British researchers reported a steep decline in the number of young women infected with the two strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) most likely to cause cervical cancer occurred in England after the launch of an HPV vaccination program there in 2008. Based on test results from more than 4,000 women between 2010 and 2012, one in 15 sexually active females ages 16 to 18 was infected with either HPV16, HPV18, or both, down from one in five before the start of the program. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for General Microbiology in Liverpool.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology released three clinical practice guidelines to address fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, and anxiety and depression, health issues frequently reported by cancer survivors. The recommendations, part of a planned series of 18 such guidelines, are available at www.asco.org/guidelines/survivorship.

According to a prospective, single-arm study, 28% of 157 patients pursuing active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer experienced disease progression over 13 years of follow-up and required definitive treatment, leading to a cancer-specific survival rate of 99%. However, about 27% of the men in the trial did not show up for checkups or reply to follow-up letters, casting some doubt on the safety of active surveillance. The findings were reported at the European Association of Urology (EAU) 29th Annual Congress in Stockholm, Sweden.

Also at the EAU meeting, Monique Roobol, PhD, an associate professor of urology at the University of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, said that PSA screening “is here to stay” in spite of the ongoing debate about its risks and potential benefits. Physicians, she said, should abandon a one-size-fits-all approach to screening, prepare to discuss the pros and cons of screening with patients, and account for factors other than PSA when assessing an individual’s risk, because population-based estimates are difficult to translate to a particular patient.

Warning that the biomedical research enterprise in the United States is “under great stress and at risk for incipient decline,” four prominent researchers, including Harold Varmus, director of the NCI, call for multiple systemic changes in an opinion piece in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They write that budgets for scientific funding agencies need to be more predictable, that the number of PhD students should be brought in line with the number of future opportunities, and that grant reviewers should “put a higher priority on the quality, novelty, and long-term objectives of the project than on technical details.” Such changes, they say, “need to be made in a comprehensive fashion, not piecemeal … need to be made with extreme care … and need to begin immediately.”

 

RESEARCH WATCH