Karen Olsen, PhD

Karen Olsen, PhD, is a science writer at the AACR, where she facilitates the communication of the latest cancer research to the general public and to the trade press. Before joining the AACR, Olsen completed her postdoctoral training at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, where she investigated the role that epigenetic regulators play in cancers and neuronal disorders. She received her doctorate in chemistry from Purdue University, where she focused on integral membrane proteins associated with disease. Olsen lives in Center City Philadelphia.

Recent Studies Tap Into AACR Project GENIE Registry

The AACR Project Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange (AACR Project GENIE) is a unique registry that aggregates, harmonizes, and links clinical-grade cancer genomic data with clinical outcomes from tens of thousands of cancer patients. AACR Project GENIE recently released its sixth data set, increasing the database to nearly 70,000 de-identified genomic records. The database now has information spanning more than 80 major cancer types, including data from more than 11,000 patients with lung cancer, over 9,700 patients with breast cancer, and nearly 7,000 patients with colorectal cancer.

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July Editors’ Picks from AACR Journals

As a monthly staple on this blog, we feature the editors’ picks from the 10 journal issues published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). This month, selections include two articles detailing laboratory culture methods to model human cancers, as well as results from two clinical trials, among other studies. Per usual, articles summarized here are freely available for a limited time.

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Highlights from AACR Meeting Focusing on Environmental Carcinogenesis

Decades of research have led to the identification of an increasing number of cancer-causing substances in our environment. These substances, known as environmental carcinogens, can be found anywhere, including in our air, water, food, and workplace.

Despite the progress we have made in identifying and increasing awareness of such carcinogens, experts believe that we have a long way to go before we have fully delineated them and successfully regulated our exposures to reduce cancer incidence. Therefore, establishing methods to better identify all of the carcinogens in our environment, to measure our exposure to them, and to prevent cancer caused by them are areas of active investigation in the field.

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June Editors’ Picks from AACR Journals

Back for the month of June are the editors’ picks from the eight scientific journals published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Selections this month range from the identification of a long noncoding RNA involved in the canonical TGFβ/Smad signaling pathway to results from a clinical trial for patients with neuroendocrine tumors, a rare cancer type. Articles highlighted below are freely available for a limited time.

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How Can Identifying and Measuring Exposures to Environmental Carcinogens Help Prevent Cancer?

A recent estimate suggests that more than 40 percent of cancers could be prevented. Modifiable factors linked to cancer include tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption, and exposure to ­environmental carcinogens, which are substances in our surroundings that can cause cancer and may facilitate progression of the disease.

Environmental carcinogens could be present in our air, water, or food. While some of these carcinogens have been identified, scientists believe that current measures to mitigate our exposures are inadequate. Other carcinogens present in our environment have yet to be fully defined.

To address these issues, the AACR is hosting a conference focusing on Environmental Carcinogenesis: Potential Pathway to Cancer Prevention next week in Charlotte, North Carolina. This meeting will review current advances in the field with the goal of sparking ideas and discussion about novel ways to prevent cancer.

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From the Journals: Editors’ Picks for May

Every month, the editors from the eight AACR journals select one “must read” article from each issue, which we highlight on this blog. For May, research articles span from an investigation of enzalutamide resistance in prostate cancer to an examination of how distance to care affects treatment initiation and completion among patients with cervical cancer living in urban and rural areas. As usual, all articles summarized here are freely available for a limited time.

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From the Journals: Editors’ Picks

As a regular feature on this blog, we spotlight 10 “must read” articles selected by our editors from each journal issue published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). For the month of April, articles span from a preclinical study of a selective HER-2 inhibitor to a report on the prevalence of cancer risk factors and screening rates in the United States. As always, all articles summarized here are freely available for a limited time.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Manipulating the Immune System in Cancer Therapy

Cancer immunotherapy research has exploded in recent years. This treatment utilizes a patient’s own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. While many successful immunotherapeutic regimens have relied on checkpoint inhibition, other immunotherapeutic approaches, such as adoptive cellular therapies (ACT), the use of bispecific antibodies, and targeting components of the tumor microenvironment, are showing promise in a variety of cancer types.

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