Oncology and Immuno-Oncology INSIGHTS

Current Liquid Biopsy Landscape

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There are over 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses each year in the US alone1. While recent advances in immuno-oncology and personalized medicine have the potential to decrease cancer deaths, there is still a lack of commonly-used early diagnostic tests to detect the presence of cancer before the patient experiences any physiological symptoms. Liquid Biopsies for Early Detection Research into liquid biopsies as a tool for early cancer...  Read More

Modelling Autophagy in Cellular Processes

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Autophagy in Cellular Processes Autophagy is derived from Greek and means self(auto)-eating(phagy). This process occurs in all eukaryotic cell types that contain a lysosomal compartment. In fact, basal autophagy contributes to long-lived protein degradation, organelle turnover in the cytoplasm, and the recycling of macromolecules to maintain bioenergetics1. The purpose of autophagy is not solely the simple elimination of materials, but rather the dynamic recycling of cellular components...  Read More

Nobel Awarded to Immuno-Oncology Pioneers

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The 2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their contributions in the field of Immuno-Oncology. The Immuno-Oncology revolution has improved quality of life and decreased cancer mortality rates, though cancer remains the second leading cause of death worldwide. Immuno-Oncology Databases A variety of models played key roles in the development of cancer therapies, such as xenograft and syngeneic mouse...  Read More

Liver Awareness Month

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October marks National Liver Awareness month. Estimates for the global burden of chronic liver disease range from 50 million to over 100 million affected individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2000 — 2015 there was a 31% increase in deaths from chronic liver disease. Numerous diseases ranging from liver cancer to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to hepatitis pose an increasing...  Read More

2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Awarded to Two Immunologists

photo from 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Awarded to Two Immunologists

On Monday, October 1, 2018 the Nobel Committee announced the recipients of this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The two Nobel laureates were James P. Allison — a professor and immunologist from MD Anderson Cancer Center — and Tasuku Honjo — an immunologist from Kyoto University. Both researchers split the prize evenly for their pioneering discoveries relating to "cancer therapy inhibition of negative immune regulation."...  Read More

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There is a lot to be excited about this year as mortality rates continue to drop for major cancer types, including breast cancer. Between 1989 and 2015 deaths from breast cancer specifically declined 39%, a decline American Cancer Society attributes to "improvements in early detection." There's still work to be done, however. An estimated 270,000 new cases of breast cancer...  Read More

Pancreatic Cancer Microbiome Suppresses Immune Responses

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Alterations in the microbiome have an acknowledged role in cancer pathology1,2. Earlier this year, however, researchers at New York University published a manuscript3 connecting the pancreatic microbiome to cancer progression. In this report, Pushalkar et al. demonstrate that the endogenous microbiome of the pancreas can drive immunosuppressive conditions in humans and mice, which creates a pro-tumorigenic state. Treatment regimens that include modulating the microbiome show promise for...  Read More

Webinar: Estrogen-Related Effects in Breast Cancer Xenograft Models

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Breast cancer xenograft models are often treated with supplemental estrogen, but this can induce a range of adverse effects on immunodeficient mouse models including impaired urinary tract function and skin problems. Failure to control for these strain-dependent effects can seriously impact the reproducibility of preclinical research — or lead to early termination of your experiment due to their severity. In a recent webinar, Pharmatest — a contract...  Read More

Evaluating IO Bispecifics with PBMC-Humanized Mice

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Humanized mice engrafted with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) have become the preclinical workhorses for evaluating bispecific antibodies and other multi-specific, T cell-engaging cancer immunotherapies. PBMC-engrafted models, such as huPBMC-NOG are favored for their relative speed, versatility, affordability, and high level of translational relevance. Key to the effective application of PBMC-engrafted models is an understanding of their strengths and limitations. This article will highlight these strengths...  Read More

Improved Safety in CAR T Cell Therapy

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The fight against cancer has recently improved by enlisting the patient's immune system to battle tumor cells. Administering checkpoint inhibitors, for example, can stop molecules such as PD-1 from interfering with T cell activity and allow T cells to attack cancer cells. Keytruda® (Merck) and Opdivo® (BMS) are two well-known checkpoint inhibitors that have improved treatment of certain cancer types. Checkpoint inhibitors work indirectly. CAR T cells...  Read More


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