March 20, 2018

Health Roundup - Cancer Edition

Cancer 'vaccine' eliminates tumors in mice, researchers find

Injecting minute amounts of two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumors in mice can eliminate all traces of cancer in the animals, including distant, untreated metastases, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The approach works for many different types of cancers, including those that arise spontaneously, the study found. The researchers believe the local application of very small amounts of the agents could serve as a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation.

One agent is currently already approved for use in humans; the other has been tested for human use in several unrelated clinical trials. A clinical trial was launched in January to test the effect of the treatment in patients with lymphoma.

Levy, who holds the Robert K. and Helen K. Summy Professorship in the School of Medicine, is the senior author of the study, which will be published Jan. 31 in Science Translational Medicine. Instructor of medicine Idit Sagiv-Barfi, PhD, is the lead author.  Levy is a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy, in which researchers try to harness the immune system to combat cancer. Research in his laboratory led to the development of rituximab, one of the first monoclonal antibodies approved for use as an anticancer treatment in humans.

"All of these immunotherapy advances are changing medical practice," Levy said. "Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself. In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal."

Ovarian cancer doesn't start in the ovaries: 'Silent killer' begins in the fallopian tubes, study reveals

Two studies published last fall have confirmed that ovarian cancer actually starts in the fallopian tubes. Ovarian cancer, dubbed a 'silent killer', kills 14,000 women in the US each year. Lead researcher Dr Ron Drapkin says the recent findings will likely lead to advancements in prevention, detection and treatment of the disease.

Chlamydia DOUBLES ovarian cancer risk, major study finds

Chlamydia is incredibly common across the world, including the United States, where 1.5 million adults currently have the infection, according to the latest CDC data. Though it can be cured with just one pill, or one course of antibiotics, it can be hard to spot. Often, it shows no symptoms and is only spotted from an STD test.  Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths for women; 55 percent of the women who get it die within five years of diagnosis. 
Posted by Jill Fallon at March 20, 2018 1:10 PM | Permalink