Immunotherapy — using one’s immune system to treat a disease — has been long lauded as the “magic bullet” of cancer treatments, one that can be more effective than the conventional therapies of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. One specific type of immunotherapy, called adoptive T cell therapy, is demonstrating promising results for blood cancers and may have potential against other types of cancers, too.
Here, Leslie Popplewell, M.D., associate clinical professor and staff physician in City of Hope’s Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, explains what this treatment entails.
What is adoptive T cell therapy and how does it work to treat cancer?
Every day, our immune system works to recognize and destroy abnormal, mutated cells. But the abnormal cells that eventually become cancer are the ones that slip past this defense system. The idea behind this therapy is to make immune cells (specifically, T lymphocytes) sensitive to cancer-specific abnormalities so that malignant cells can be targeted and attacked throughout the body.
Who would be good candidates for this type of therapy? » Continue Reading
Thanks to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), high school students across the state gained valuable hands-on experience with stem cell research this summer. City of Hope hosted eight of those students.
As part of the CIRM Creativity Awards program, the young scholars worked full time as members of our biomedical research teams. They received mentoring from physicians and scientists and interacted closely with each other and their mentors to gain firsthand practice in laboratory research with stem cells.
Through the Creativity Awards, CIRM supported students at nine institutions throughout the state. Students were encouraged to share their experiences through various social media outlets with videos, blog posts and Instagram photos.
The video, produced by student interns here at City of Hope, was named a favorite by CIRM and gained widespread attention from news media outlets including NBC4 Los Angeles, the Bay Area’s ABC7 and NBC4 in New York. Drawing from the hit movie “Frozen,” the video encourages stem cells (and presumably the students) to — you guessed it — “Let It Grow.”
Take a look, and join us in congratulating these creative young scientists.
Radiation therapy can help cure many children facing Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. When the radiation is delivered to a girl’s chest, however, it can lead to a marked increase in breast cancer risk later in life.
A recent multi-institutional study that included City of Hope’s Smita Bhatia, M.D., M.P.H., the Ruth Ziegler Chair in Population Sciences, examined the long-term effects of chest radiation on female survivors of childhood cancers, primarily Hodgkin lymphoma. The researchers wanted to determine whether more current therapies using less radiation could reduce the breast cancer risk, and if the amount of area exposed was a factor.
Past research has shown that standard doses of radiation therapy to the chest increase breast cancer risk, with incidence rates among these women ranging from 5 percent to 14 percent by age 40.
For the current chest radiation study, lead author Chaya Moskowitz, Ph.D., of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and the research team looked at more than 1,200 women who received various amounts of radiation in treatment of childhood cancers. They found that even women who received lower amounts of radiation as children still were much more likely to develop breast cancer than the average woman, with as many as 30 percent developing breast cancer by age 50. » Continue Reading
A patient diagnosed with cancer – especially a rare, advanced or hard-to-treat cancer – needs specialized care from exceptionally skilled and highly trained experts. That kind of care saves lives, improves quality of life and keeps families whole.
That kind of care is best found at comprehensive cancer centers like City of Hope.
One of the top cancer hospitals for cancer in the United States, according to U.S.News & World Report’s annual rankings, City of Hope has also been awarded the highest level of accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and is listed on Becker’s Hospital Review’s 2014 list of “100 Hospitals and Health Systems With Great Oncology Programs.”
Further, recent research found that receiving cancer care at a comprehensive cancer center improves survival of patients with cancers of the breast, lung, liver, stomach, pancreas and oral tissues, among others.
The cancer patients in the video above don’t need to be convinced by such commendations or research, however. They were convinced by City of Hope itself.
Read more about them:
- Sheldon Querido: bladder cancer
- Bridget Hanchette: glioblastoma
- Christine Pechera: lymphoma
- Charlie Habib: dermatofibrosarcoma
Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting us online or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). City of Hope staff will explain what’s required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.
Appetite loss may be common during cancer treatment, lasting throughout your therapy or only occasionally, but it can be managed.
Below are tips from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that can help you keep your weight up and, in doing so, keep your body well-nourished. (See the end of this article for a delicious chocolate-avocado smoothie recipe that’s perfectly in line with these recommendations.) » Continue Reading
Myelodysplasia, sometimes referred to as myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, is a rare group of blood disorders caused by disrupted development of blood cells within the bone marrow, resulting in a decreased number of healthy blood cells. People diagnosed with the condition, considered a precancer, may be at greater risk for leukemia.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 13,000 new cases of myelodysplastia are diagnosed each year. As the average age of the population in the U.S. goes up, the number of new cases seems to be increasing.
Here, Margaret O’Donnell, M.D., clinical professor and associate clinical director for City of Hope’s Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Program, sorts out the facts about myelodysplasia. She also describes how our world-class experts excel in treating these complicated diseased and how the team works continuously to better understand and more effectively treat myelodysplasia. » Continue Reading
Twenty years ago, scientists discovered that a mutation in a gene now widely known as BRCA1 was linked to a sharply increased risk of breast cancer, paving the way for a new chapter in identifying women at risk of the disease and giving them options to potentially avoid an aggressive cancer. But experts have also long known that other genes probably play a role as well. Now, one of those genes has been identified: PALB2.
Mutations in this gene, rarer than the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, can make breast cancer nine times more likely to develop in women and eight times more likely for men, according to a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine from an international team of researchers, including two City of Hope scientists.
“This one is serious,” Jeffrey Weitzel, M.D., director of the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics at City of Hope and one of the leaders of the study, told the Associated Press. Susan Neuhausen, Ph.D., The Morris & Horowitz Families Professor in Cancer Etiology and Outcomes Research, is also one of the study’s authors.
Weitzel said the gene is probably the most dangerous in terms of breast cancer risk after the BRCA genes. » Continue Reading
The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope turned 54 this year. Marking the occasion, the academy announced a new scholarship in honor of longtime director Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D.
Salvaterra, a professor in City of Hope’s Department of Neurosciences, has led the summer student academy for nearly four decades, helping thousands of students participate in laboratory research projects at City of Hope.
“I stay involved with the academy because I love seeing these kids doing science,” Salvaterra said. “To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed by the attention, but it’s a real honor to receive this recognition.”
His own work has included studies designed to determine the neuronal cellular fate and specific neurotransmitter phenotypes of cells in the nervous system. Another project is meant to help define genetic pathways involved in Alzheimer’s disease. » Continue Reading
Stevee Rowe has a very personal connection to the research she’s conducting on neural stem cells: Her late father participated in a City of Hope clinical trial involving neural stem cells.
Rowe — her full name is Alissa Stevee Rowe, but she prefers to use her middle name — will enter her senior year at the University of California, Riverside, this fall. She currently is enrolled in the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy. Her project examines neural stem cells used to target brain cancer.
Her father, Steven Keith Rowe, was a patient at City of Hope who enrolled in a clinical trial to treat his brain tumor with neural stem cells. “My father wanted to help further research and was always willing to try anything he could,” she said. Now she hopes to do the same. » Continue Reading