New Study Finds That Most Cancer Mutations Are Due to Random DNA Copying ‘Mistakes’

Excerpt:

“Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists report data from a new study providing evidence that random, unpredictable DNA copying ‘mistakes’ account for nearly two-thirds of the mutations that cause cancer. Their research is grounded on a novel mathematical model based on DNA sequencing and epidemiologic data from around the world.

” ‘It is well-known that we must avoid environmental factors such as smoking to decrease our risk of getting . But it is not as well-known that each time a normal cell divides and copies its DNA to produce two new cells, it makes multiple mistakes,’ says Cristian Tomasetti, Ph.D., assistant professor of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. ‘These copying mistakes are a potent source of cancer that historically have been scientifically undervalued, and this new work provides the first estimate of the fraction of mutations caused by these mistakes.’ ”

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Leading Cancer Organizations: Trump’s Proposed NIH Budget Cuts Will Threaten Research, Patient Care

Excerpt:

“Many of the nation’s leading research organizations and cancer centers have voiced their opposition to President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, which includes a $5.8 billion cut to NIH funding in 2018.

“The budget ‘blueprint’ — released Thursday — proposes $54 billion in cuts overall, including a 16.2% decrease, or $12.6 billion, for the Department of Health and Human Services.”

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ASCO Statement: President’s Budget Will Devastate U.S. Research Enterprise

Excerpt:

“ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO, released the following statement today:

” ‘We soundly oppose President Trump’s budget outline, which would cut $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Reducing NIH’s funding by nearly 20% will devastate our nation’s already-fragile federal research infrastructure and undercut a longstanding commitment to biomedical science that has fueled advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

” ‘When we are on the cusp of tremendous advances in cancer care, the United States can’t turn back the clock on research that will benefit millions of Americans with life-threatening diseases and their families. Gutting the U.S. research infrastructure won’t make America First, but will decidedly place the United States behind other countries in scientific advances. Failure to nurture the historic U.S. investment in research places health outcomes, scientific leadership, and economic growth at risk.’ ”

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AACR Strongly Opposes the Draconian Cuts to Medical Research Proposed in President Trump’s FY 2018 Budget

Excerpt:

“On behalf of the entire cancer research community, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) was shocked to learn that the Trump administration is proposing to cut $5.8 billion from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget in fiscal year (FY) 2018.  At a time when extraordinary progress is being made against cancer and many other diseases, these draconian cuts would set research back for decades and also threaten the careers of an entire generation of young investigators working in labs and clinics all over the country who are committed to improving public health and saving lives.”

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Chi-Med Presented Sulfatinib Neuroendocrine Tumors Phase Ib/II Results at the 14th Annual Conference of European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society

Excerpt:

“Hutchison China MediTech Limited (“Chi-Med”) (AIM/Nasdaq: HCM) presented data from the ongoing Phase Ib/II clinical trial of sulfatinib in patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors (“NET”) at the 14th Annual Conference of European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (“ENETS”), held in Barcelona, Spain from March 8 to 10, 2017. Sulfatinib is an oral, novel angio-immunokinase inhibitor that selectively targets vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (“VEGFR”), fibroblast growth factor receptor (“FGFR”) and colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (“CSF-1R”), three key tyrosine kinase receptors involved in tumor angiogenesis and immune evasion. Five other sulfatinib clinical trials are underway in China and the US, including two Phase III studies in NET patients (SANET-p and SANET-ep), one Phase II study in thyroid cancer patients and one Phase II study in biliary tract cancer patients.”

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Cabozantinib Elicits Responses in Neuroendocrine and Carcinoid Tumors

Excerpt:

“In a phase II study reported at the 2017 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, the tyrosine kinase inhibitor cabozantinib (Cometriq) was evaluated in advanced carcinoid and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Radiographic responses to therapy were observed in both tumor subtypes, and compared to other drugs historically used in this setting, progression-free survival data were encouraging, according to Jennifer A. Chan, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston.

“Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway inhibitors have shown activity in advanced neuroendocrine tumors. Recent studies have suggested that activation of the MET signaling pathway may also play a role in the growth of neuroendocrine tumors. Increased expression of MET correlates with decreased overall survival in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, Dr. Chan noted.”

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CancerConnect Launches Online Community for Patients with Neuroendocrine Tumors

Excerpt:

“OMNI Health Media (OMNI) announces the launch of a new online community on CancerConnect for individuals with neuroendocrine tumors (NET). This community will provide patients and their loved ones with information and support. Join the conversation in the NET community here.

“Although neuroendocrine tumors have historically been considered rare, the incidence of neuroendocrine tumors has been increasing.  Recent statistics suggest that the current number of people with neuroendocrine tumors exceeds 100,000 in the United States—more than the number of people with other, better known cancers like pancreatic or stomach cancer. The increase in NET diagnoses parallels improved diagnosis and treatments around the world.”

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Strosberg Discusses Latest Lutathera Data in Midgut Neuroendocrine Tumors

Excerpt:

“In December 2016, the FDA informed Advanced Accelerator Applications that its new drug application for Lutathera (177Lutetium DOTA-octreotate) as a treatment for patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) would need to be resubmitted.

“The application was based on the phase III NETTER-1 trial, which randomized patients with advanced, progressive, somatostatin receptor-positive midgut NETS to receive either Lutathera (116 patients) plus best supportive care, including octreotide long-acting repeatable (LAR), or octreotide LAR alone (113 patients).”

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Immunotherapy Needs a New Math

Excerpt:

“A group of doctors and other healthcare industry professionals have set out to develop a more efficient tool for assessing the true value of immuno-oncology (I/O) drugs. They note that these drugs often come with high prices that may distract from their advantages over other types of therapy. For example, Kroger Pharmacy is selling the checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy) for $140 per mg. At the recommended dose of 3 mg/kg for melanoma patients, the total expense can be high. However, ipilimumab is one of the class of I/O drugs that have improved expectations on supportive care costs and survival benefit. The old measures of value may not apply. Therefore, how does one determine whether $140/mg is a fair price for the drug?”

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