NEWS

CRISPR/Cas9, not embryonic stem cells, will be used to generate new knockout mouse strains.

August 23

Studies pinpoint T-cell subset that PD-1 blockade revives, metabolic deficiencies that drive exhaustion.

August 23

Analysis uncovers new germline mutations, notably in DNA repair genes, that may influence sarcomas.

August 23

BRAF inhibitor triggers responses in patients with advanced or metastatic disease but may lead to second cancers.

August 23

If pilot phase successful, future goal could be 10,000 total lines, all linked to clinical and genetic data.

August 19

Report makes suggestions to better understand the tests’ utility and strengthen oversight of labs.

August 17

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RESEARCH WATCH

Cholesterol is the cellular sterol that drives Hedgehog signaling through PTCH.

August 26

The prostate cancer risk SNP rs7463708 promotes transformation via upregulation of PCAT1 lncRNA.

August 26

Telomerase diffuses rapidly to find and engage telomeres in transient and stable interactions.

August 19

SETD2 methylates α-tubulin to mediate cytoskeletal remodeling and maintain genomic stability.

August 19

Tumor cell–induced endothelial cell necroptosis promotes tumor cell extravasation and metastasis.

August 12

The crystal structure of arginine-bound CASTOR1 illustrates how the mTOR pathway can sense arginine.

August 12

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NOTED THIS WEEK

August 26, 2016

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that it will acquire Medivation for about $14 billion. Medivation’s drug portfolio includes enzalutamide (Xtandi), which blocks multiple steps in the androgen receptor signaling pathway and is approved for the treatment of advanced metastatic prostate cancer. Two other Medivation drugs—talazoparib and pidilizumab—are in development for the treatment of BRCA-mutated breast cancer and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, respectively.

For the overall population of the United States, heart disease has been the leading cause of death for decades, followed by cancer. However, the mortality burden of cancer now has surpassed that of heart disease in 22 states, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which presents data through 2014. In 2000, cancer was the leading cause of death in just two states: Alaska and Minnesota.

When the FDA recommended against the use of power morcellators in 2014 due to their potential to spread undetected uterine cancer in women undergoing minimally invasive hysterectomy, some experts expressed concern that abdominal procedures would cause more surgical complications. However, despite an increase in abdominal hysterectomy, “no increase in the rate of major perioperative complications was found,” according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

According to a study published in Annals of Oncology, women with breast cancer who expected to suffer more and worse side effects from adjuvant hormone therapies before treatment began experienced nearly twice as many side effects as women who thought that the treatment wouldn’t cause problems. If women experience too many side effects or poor quality of life, they may stop taking the drugs, potentially affecting the success of the treatment and their survival, the researchers noted. If expectations can predict the risk of experiencing side effects, interventions such as counseling could lower the risk and improve adherence to treatment.

The FDA granted priority review to Clovis Oncology’s rucaparib for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer in patients with BRCA-mutated tumors (as detected by an FDA-approved test) who have been treated with two or more platinum-based chemotherapies. The agency is expected to issue an approval decision by February 23, 2017.

The FDA also granted Orphan Drug Designation to TG Therapeutics’ TG-1202, an oral next-generation PI3Kδ inhibitor for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Researchers are evaluating the drug in a phase III trial as a treatment for patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed disease.

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired the country’s science and education minister, Dmitry Livanov. Olga Vasilyeva, a historian of the Russian Orthodox Church and outspoken admirer of the one-time Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, has been named Livanov’s successor. The move has prompted additional concern among scientists, who learned earlier this month that the government will lay off about 10,000 researchers, most of whom hail from the country’s basic research organization, the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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RESEARCH WATCH