Cancer

Cancer and the Mutation Paradox

Cancer and the Mutation Paradox

Posted by  | Perspectives in Research

It has long been known — thanks largely to work by Johns Hopkins’ own Bert Vogelstein — that cancer is a disease generally caused by an accumulation of genetic mutations. This is sometimes referred to as the somatic mutation theory.1 This hypothesis states that each time a cell divides and grows, there are opportunities for(...)

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Engineering Magic Bullets for Pancreatic Cancer

Engineering Magic Bullets for Pancreatic Cancer

Posted by  | Perspectives in Research

In a 1909 manuscript titled “Ueber den jetzigen Stand der Chemotherapie” (“About the Current State of Chemotherapy”), Nobel laureate Paul Ehrlich proclaimed, “We must learn to aim in a chemical sense.” What did he mean? Ehrlich was referring to his “magic bullet” theory of chemical specificity, the observation that certain drugs can eliminate disease-causing entities(...)

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The Colorful World of Cancer Drug Discovery

The Colorful World of Cancer Drug Discovery

Posted by  | Perspectives in Research

Melanoma cells stained with PTRF (in red), RPA194 (in green) and nucleus stained in blue. RPA194 is the main subunit of the RNA polymerase I (POL 1) enzyme. Our lab discovered a first-in-class small molecule that inhibits POL 1 enzyme and causes the destruction of RPA194 protein. Here, we are investigating how these proteins are(...)

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A Novel Cancer Immunotherapy Unveiled: Y-Traps

A Novel Cancer Immunotherapy Unveiled: Y-Traps

Posted by  | Perspectives in Research

The human immune system is composed of a diverse array of cells, which collectively work to exterminate pathogenic entities in the body. Yet this system is able to recognize host, or self, tissues as “friendly” through a variety of so-called immune checkpoint signals. Many cancer types — including melanomas and breast cancers — exploit this(...)

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A New Blood Test Tries to Detect Cancer Sooner

A New Blood Test Tries to Detect Cancer Sooner

Posted by  | Perspectives in Research

A patient develops symptoms that cannot be explained. The doctor orders a myriad of tests to discern the cause. If cancer is suspected, the patient may go through a painful and sometimes invasive biopsy procedure to sample the tissue in question. But what if a simple blood draw could be used instead? This is the(...)

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Using Epigenetics to Fight Tumors

Using Epigenetics to Fight Tumors

Posted by  | Perspectives in Research

While the word cancer treatment may identify everything from chemotherapy to radiation, there is significant variance between the type of cancer and its responsiveness to even the most promising therapies. That has been precisely the case for the α-PD-1 immunotherapy treatment. While it has shown remarkable efficacy in patients diagnosed with lung cancer, other types(...)

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When It Hits Too Close to Home

When It Hits Too Close to Home

Posted by  | A Day in the Life

I am equal parts excited and filled with dread as I open the door. The operating room is abuzz with activity, everyone hurriedly working to complete their duties during the operation. I focus on keeping out of the way of the ordered disorder, and avert my eyes from the patient on the operating table. I(...)

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First Approval of Cancer Immunotherapy Based on Genetic Marker

First Approval of Cancer Immunotherapy Based on Genetic Marker

Posted by  | Perspectives in Research

Immunotherapy is rapidly becoming one of the cornerstones of treatment for several types of cancers, and pembrolizumab, a well-known humanized antibody against the checkpoint inhibitor programmed death 1 (PD-1), is again in the spotlight for new expanded use based on patient's genetic differences. In a first of its kind, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(...)

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