Examining the Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism in Ovarian Cancer

Dong-Joo (Ellen) Cheon, PhD, Assistant Professor of Regenerative and Cancer Cell Biology at Albany Medical College and the 2017 AACR Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award grantee, has been working in the field of ovarian cancer her entire career.

She was first introduced to ovarian cancer research as a graduate student at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston when she was tasked with generating CA125 knockout mice. CA125, or cancer antigen 125, is a blood serum biomarker routinely used to diagnose and monitor ovarian cancer.

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A Growing Commitment to Cancer Survivors

Thanks to decades of cancer research that have brought us groundbreaking discoveries and treatments, 15.5 million U.S. cancer survivors have more time to spend with their loved ones. That number is only going up, to an estimated 26.1 million by 2040.

For most of these survivors, their journey comes with complications and lasting side effects. Many continue to deal with the physical, mental, and emotional impact of their cancer diagnosis long after their final treatment. Thousands of survivors face financial challenges resulting from or made worse by their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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Conference Set to Present the Latest Research and Developments on Cancer Health Disparities

When Michael Lawing was diagnosed with stage 3 renal cell carcinoma in 1997, he knew almost nothing about the disease.

Neither did his local urologist in rural North Carolina.

Within three years, Lawing’s cancer metastasized. His local doctor referred him to a specialist in Charlotte. Under his care, Lawing began a clinical trial of an immunotherapeutic drug. His cancer stabilized. Over the past two decades, he has experienced several recurrences of cancer, but a steady stream of newly approved treatments, most recently the immunotherapeutic Opdivo (nivolumab), have kept his disease under control. He is currently monitored with quarterly CT scans, but is taking no additional medication and experiences no symptoms or side effects.

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The Unequal Geographic Burden of Lung Cancer

The lung cancer death rate—the number of lung cancer deaths per 100,000 U.S. men and women—has been decreasing slowly but steadily in the United States for the past 25 years. The latest National Cancer Institute (NCI) data show that it declined 31 percent from a high of 59.1 lung cancer deaths per 100,000 U.S. men and women in 1993 to 40.6 in 2015.

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CAR-T Cells: “Bionic” Immune Cells for Treating Cancer

In the 1970s television series The Six Million Dollar Man, the narrator says of severely injured astronaut Steve Austin: “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.” The narrator was referring to “bionic” technologies that provided higher visual acuity, stunning strength, and the ability to run at speeds greater than 60 miles per hour.

Over the past few years, cancer immunologists have achieved a comparable feat. They have taken T cells—the immune cells capable of destroying infectious agents, foreign cells, and cancers—and rebuilt them to be better than they were, better at recognizing and killing cancer cells.

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From the Journals: Editors’ Picks for October

Back for the month of October are the editors’ picks from the eight esteemed scientific journals published by the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR). These journals showcase peer-reviewed studies in diverse areas of cancer research, extending from basic discoveries to clinical trials. As always, the articles highlighted below are freely available for a limited time.

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Party with a Purpose Joins AACR to Support Prostate Cancer Research

For the third year running, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has been selected as the beneficiary of the 18th annual Party with a Purpose, a cause-driven gala in Philadelphia that supports lifesaving cancer research. Funds raised at this year’s event will be dedicated to research focused on prostate cancer. This common cancer is estimated to affect nearly 165,000 men in 2018, according to recent statistics.

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AACR CEO Receives Women for Oncology Award

On Friday, Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, was honored with the 2018 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Women for Oncology Award for her role in supporting the career development of women in oncology.

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FDA Approves a New PARP Inhibitor for BRCA-mutant Breast Cancer

In the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided good news for the breast cancer community this week when it approved a new breast cancer therapeutic called talazoparib (Talzenna), which targets ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) proteins. They also approved a test to identify those patients eligible to receive talazoparib: patients with metastatic or locally advanced, HER2-negative breast cancer who have an inherited, cancer-associated BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutation.

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Understanding Inherited Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. In 2018, 266,120 women and 2,550 men are expected to receive the news that they have the disease, according to National Cancer Institute data.

Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for between 5 percent and 10 percent of breast cancers in U.S. women and between 5 percent and 20 percent of breast cancers in U.S. men. For women who undergo genetic testing and learn that they have inherited a BRCA1/2 mutation before they receive a breast cancer diagnosis there are ways to reduce their risk of going on to develop the disease.

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