Research Highlights from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2018

The 41st San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 4-8, drew more than 7,500 attendees from more than 90 countries. The Symposium offered the latest clinical, translational, and basic research, providing a forum for interaction and communication among researchers, health professionals, and those with a special interest in breast cancer.

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Carl June, MD, Talks CAR T-cell Therapies at AACR Conference

One of the most watched areas in the immuno-oncology field is the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. Carl June, MD, professor in immunotherapy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, is a pioneer in the CAR T field; he helped to treat the first child with CAR T-cell therapy, which was experimental at the time. Emily Whitehead, who was treated with CAR T cells in 2012 for acute lymphoblastic leukemia after she relapsed twice following treatment with chemotherapy, remains in complete remission today.

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Joint Workshop Leads to Recommendations on Novel Drug-Radiation Combinations

Radiotherapy is a mainstay of cancer treatment. In recent years, improved technology has allowed many cancer patients to receive more targeted doses of radiation, which can improve efficacy and spare …

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How Can We Turn “Cold” Pancreatic Tumors “Hot”?

Pancreatic cancer remains a challenging disease to treat, with a five-year survival rate of less than 9 percent, according to recent statistics. Unlike many other cancers, which can now be treated with checkpoint blockade immunotherapy, pancreatic cancer often does not respond to this type of treatment. One potential reason for this lack of efficacy is that pancreatic tumors tend to be nonimmunogenic, meaning that the cancer fails to elicit a strong immune response.

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Inspired By Her Mother, AACR Grantee Embarks on a Career in Cancer Research

Wen-Yang Lin, PhD, MS, currently a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and the recipient of the 2017 AACR-Genentech Fellowship in Lung Cancer Research, is a relative newcomer to the field of cancer research. Previously, she had studied biomedical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles and neuroscience at the University of Washington, where her PhD thesis concerned growth control in Drosophila sensory neurons. During this time, Lin’s mother was diagnosed with stage II ovarian cancer. “My mother had been through several rounds of surgeries, tried different combinations of chemotherapies and radiation therapies,” Lin recalls, “but she still passed away only five years after the diagnosis.”

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AACR Journals Editors’ Picks for November

Every month, the editors from the eight scientific journals published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) select one “must read” article from each issue. Highlighted research encompasses a wide variety of cancer-related discoveries, including basic scientific investigation and epidemiological studies. Read on to learn about this month’s selections, which are freely accessible for a limited time.

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Malignancy, MSI Status, and the Microbiome

The human microbiome – the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that live inside and on the surface of our bodies – has garnered significant scientific interest in recent years. The Human Microbiome Project (HMP), which was launched in 2007, seeks to characterize the diverse microbiota to help understand how these microbes impact human health and disease. Initial results from the HMP predict that over 10,000 microbial species coexist within the human ecosystem.

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Patient Advocates Join Researchers to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities

Cancer patient advocates take on many roles in their communities. They may go out to churches to promote the benefits of cancer screening, lead patient and survivor support groups, or offer a patient’s perspective on review panels that evaluate research grants. Many times, an experience with cancer pushes people to accept advocacy roles to fill some unmet need or simply to give back.

All of these efforts were on display at this year’s American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved in New Orleans Nov. 2-5. Opening the conference, 10 patient survivors and caregivers of various ethnicities and types of cancers took to the stage to describe how cancer has changed them and what cancer research has given them personally.

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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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