Cancer Stem Cells and How to Get Rid of Them

If you have not yet heard of cancer stem cells (CSCs), often considered to be the real culprits in cancer, it is about time you do. CSCs are stem cells found in tumors. Drugs that target them are showing promise in clinical trials. More on that later; first, let’s introduce the concept of stem cells:

All normal tissues in our bodies develop from a small number of very special cells known as stem cells. Stem cells can divide a seemingly unlimited number of times. Continue reading…

New Ways to Treat Solid Tumours

Editor’s note: Recent research has uncovered a potential new way to fight some cancer types. The key is a protein called Eph3A, which is made by the cells of blood cancers and solid tumors. Researchers made a new drug called KB004 to target and kill cells with Eph3A. The drug is currently being tested in a clinical trial with volunteer leukemia patients.

“An international team of scientists has shown that an antibody against the protein EphA3, found in the micro-environment of solid cancers, has anti-tumour effects.

“As EphA3 is present in normal organs only during embryonic development but is expressed in blood cancers and in solid tumours, this antibody-based approach may be a suitable candidate treatment for solid tumours…

“Currently, KaloBios Pharmaceuticals is testing the anti-EphA3 antibody KB004 in a multi-centre Phase I/II clinical trial in Melbourne and the US in patients with EphA3 expressing blood malignancies: AML, MDS and myelofibrosis.”

Switch from Imatinib to Nilotinib Improved Outcomes in Chronic Phase CML

Editor’s note: This story is about the results of a clinical trial – a research study with volunteer patients. The study tested a treatment for people with chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) who had persistent minimal residual disease after long-term treatment with the drug imatinib (Gleevec). For the study, half of the 200 participants continued taking imatinib, and half of the patients switched to the drug nilotinib. It was found that the patients who switched to nilotinib had better outcomes than those who didn’t.

“Patients with chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia who had persistent minimal residual disease after long-term treatment with imatinib achieved deeper molecular responses and undetectable disease when they switched to treatment with nilotinib, according to study results.

“The reduced disease burden associated with the switch to nilotinib may enable patients to enroll on treatment-free remission trials, researchers wrote.

“Timothy P. Hughes, MD, FRACP, FRCPA, head of the division of hematology at South Australia Pathology and clinical professor of medicine at University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues evaluated data from 207 patients with CML. All patients were in complete cytogenetic response yet had detectable BCR-ABL1 after 2 or more years of treatment with imatinib (Gleevec, Novartis).”