Genome Analysis Helps Keep Deadly Brain Cancer at Bay for Five Years

Excerpt:

“An analysis of a patient’s deadly brain tumor helped doctors at Smilow Cancer Hospital identify new emerging mutations and keep a 55-year old woman alive for more than five years, researchers report in the journal Genome Medicine.

“The median survival rate for patients with glioblastoma multiform (GBM) is only 15 months, but three separate genomic analyses of the tumor identified new mutations that allowed doctors to adjust treatment and keep the patient alive for over five years, through two recurrences of the cancer.”

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Scientists Identify Key Defect in Brain Tumor Cells

Excerpt:

“In a new study, Yale researchers identified a novel genetic defect that prevents brain tumor cells from repairing damaged DNA. They found that the defect is highly sensitive to an existing FDA-approved drug used to treat ovarian cancer—a discovery that challenges current practice for treatment of brain tumors and other cancers with the same genetic defect, said the scientists.

“The study was published on Feb. 1 by Science Translational Medicine.

“Certain and leukemias have mutations in genes known as IDH1 and IDH2. The mutations render the cancers sensitive to treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, significantly increasing the survival time for patients with the mutations. To better understand this sensitivity, a cross-disciplinary team of researchers led by Yale created models of the mutation in cell cultures.”

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Immunotherapy 2.0 Named Advance of the Year in ASCO’s 12th Annual Cancer Progress Report

Excerpt:

“A growing number of patients with cancer are benefitting from research advances in immunotherapy, leading the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to name immunotherapy as the Society’s advance of the year for a second year in a row. Released today, this year’s report, Clinical Cancer Advances 2017: ASCO’s Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer highlights the expanding role of immunotherapy. Evolving research findings are providing new insights on how to get the optimal results from these relatively new treatments.”

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A New Prognostic Classification May Help Clinical Decision-Making in Glioblastoma

Excerpt:

“New research shows that taking molecular variables into account will improve the prognostic classification of the lethal brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM).

“The study was led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

“Published in the journal JAMA Oncology, the study found that adding significant molecular biomarkers to the existing GBM classification system improves the prognostic classification of GBM patients who have been treated with radiation and the drug temozolomide.”

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New Study Aims to Extend TTFields Beyond Grade IV Brain Cancer Domain

Excerpt:

“The use of tumor treating fields (TTFields) as a treatment for patients with brain tumors has, thus far, largely been focused on in glioblastoma, but an upcoming trial aims to expand the use of the device to the grade III patient population, says Daniel O’Connell, MD.

“Currently, the device is only FDA approved for use in grade IV brain tumors, but O’Connell, a neuro-oncologist at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, anticipates the FDA will grant its approval for use in grade III tumors within the next 2 to 3 months.”

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NCCN Publishes Patient Education Resources for Gliomas—Its First in a Series on Brain Cancer

Excerpt:

“January 9, 2017) The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) has published the NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheets for Brain Cancer – Gliomas—the first in a series of patient education resources focused on Brain Cancer. Published by NCCN through support of the NCCN Foundation®, and, in part through funding from NCCN Foundation’s Team Pound the Pavement for Patients, these resources inform patients about their disease and the treatment options available to them.”

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Attacking Glioblastoma by Combining Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors with Gene Therapy Looks Promising

Excerpt:

“Attacking an aggressive brain tumor with immunostimulatory gene therapy while enhancing the immune system’s ability to fight it with immune checkpoint inhibitors might be a promising approach to treat patients with glioblastoma multiforme, a brain tumor currently associated with a very poor prognosis.

“The findings from the study, “Immunosuppressive Myeloid Cells’ Blockade in the Glioma Microenvironment Enhances the Efficacy of Immune-Stimulatory Gene Therapy,” published in Molecular Therapy, revealed that combining both these approaches in glioblastoma mice models significantly extended their survival, compared to either treatment alone.”

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Cancer-Related Depression

Excerpt:

“Being diagnosed with cancer is a stressful, life-changing event that can evoke feelings of fear, worry, sadness, and anger. Depression gives one feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, disinterest in previously enjoyable activities, and a consistently down and sad mood. Depression often interferes with one’s ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy life. Patients with cancer are especially at risk for depression because of the physical changes and limitations from symptoms and treatment as well as of the uncertainty their treatment holds on their lives.”

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How Do We Solve the Crisis in Cancer Communication?

Excerpt:

“Five rounds of the usual chemotherapy/radiation protocol kept Alan Gross alive through decades of living with lymphoma. The treatments were grueling, but he was living proof that science was giving us ways to live with cancer. Then the disease came roaring back, and doctors told him that their medicine no longer worked. They told him to get his affairs in order.

“Every day, thousands of Americans get the end-of-life warning that Alan and his wife, Jane Townsend, heard two years ago. The words are so powerful that they can have a concussive effect, making it hard to hear, to speak, to process information. ‘Your ability to think clearly and concentrate isn’t there,’ Jane told me.”

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