A phase I clinical trial led by researchers at City of Hope has demonstrated the promise of a new drug combination for women with triple-negative breast cancer.
This type of breast cancer doesn’t produce any of the three proteins that common cancer therapies target — the identifying characteristic that gives it its name, and which makes it especially difficult to treat. The trial, led by Jeffrey Weitzel, M.D., and George Somlo, M.D., both professors of medical oncology and therapeutics research, tests the common drug carboplatin in combination with a novel targeted therapy called a PARP inhibitor. » Continue Reading
In this series – this part explores the search for innovative new therapies – we explore crucial strides made against women’s cancers by City of Hope researchers during the past year. The projects are many and varied, involving the basics of fighting cancer, analyses of who’s at greatest risk, the search for surprising new therapies, the testing of new treatments and the follow-up with survivors and their partners.
Sophisticated technology for targeted treatment
This year, John C. Williams, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular medicine, published research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on his advances in developing meditope technology.
These engineered peptides “fit” into antibodies, much like a lock and key, making it possible to selectively deliver material to cancer cells. This research also earned prestigious funding from the W.M. Keck Foundation, which will help Williams and his team advance its applications. This includes the recent development of several new meditopes that have the ability to attach to therapeutic antibodies for several different forms of cancer, including breast cancer.
Williams also continues to work with Jinha Park, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of diagnostic radiology, to design meditopes to bind specifically to novel HER2 antibodies that attack HER2 breast cancer. Their work is critical, since it provides a new, more targeted treatment for this aggressive, hard-to-treat form of breast cancer. » Continue Reading
Each study plays a role. Each adds to what we know about cancer. Each brings us closer to cures.
In Part 1, we explained ways in which researchers are seeking to fight cancer through basic science.
Part 2: Studies of risk and prevention
Addressing risk among Latinas
Jeffrey Weitzel, M.D., director of the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics, has focused much of his research on understanding the role and prevalence of BRCA mutations in the Latin American population. Specific mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. » Continue Reading
In this series, we explore crucial strides made against women’s cancers by City of Hope researchers during the past year. The projects are many and varied, involving the basics of fighting cancer, analyses of who’s at greatest risk, the search for surprising new therapies, the testing of new treatments and the follow-up with survivors and their partners.
Advances in immunotherapy
Peter P. Lee, M.D., chair of cancer immunotherapeutics and tumor immunology at City of Hope, is pursuing several projects that are part of a what he calls integrated immunotherapy. This concept advances the idea that effective cancer treatment must address each phase or action of the body’s complex immune system. » Continue Reading
If the new recommendations of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel are widely adopted, HPV testing eventually may replace the Pap test as the primary way to detect cervical cancer. City of Hope cervical cancer expert says the recommendations have merit.
The Pap test – named for its inventor, pathologist George Papanicolaou – is designed to identify cancers and precancers in the cervix, and has been the standard screening for cervical cancer during the past 60 years. The screening is credited with dramatically lowering death rates.
The new test, developed by Roche Molecular Systems, detects HPV’s DNA. HPV, or human papillomavirus, is now known to cause nearly all cervical cancer cases.
The 13 academic gynecologists, pathologists and microbiologists on the FDA’s Medical Devices Advisory Committee Microbiology Panel unanimously concluded that the Roche test is safe and effective as a first-line screening for cervical cancer. It reviewed data from the ATHENA trial, which included more than 47,000 women. » Continue Reading
The findings were published online in advance of print recently in the journal Cancer. In the study, the researchers analyzed more than 41,000 cases of thyroid cancer among teens and young adults (up to 39 years old). Approximately 3 percent of those cases were secondary thyroid cancers.
After controlling for other factors — including demographics, stage of cancer upon diagnosis and how it was treated — the authors found that people with secondary thyroid cancers are 6.6 times more likely to die of the disease compared to those with primary thyroid cancers.
That statistic may sound alarming, but John Yim, M.D., associate professor and surgeon in City of Hope’s Division of Surgical Oncology, said that, overall, thyroid cancer prognoses are very good. » Continue Reading
Christine Crews thought she had a bladder infection she just couldn’t shake. Turns out, the Memphis, Tenn., resident had been living with bladder cancer for 15 years.
A surgeon recommended invasive surgery, but Crews wasn’t comfortable with that recommendation; she wanted other options. When a urologist friend recommended she call City of Hope, she did.
“They actually listened to what I wanted from the surgery,” Crews said. “They were able to give me options that other hospitals were not able to give me.”
In the video above, Crews shares her story to help other people with bladder cancer understand just how special City of Hope is, and what their options really are.
Read the Breakthroughs post “8 questions and answers about bladder cancer.”
Learn more about City of Hope’s bladder cancer program.
“Susan survived breast cancer 20 years ago.” So begins a video of a former City of Hope patient sharing the story of her lung cancer diagnosis and her subsequent treatment at City of Hope.
In her narrative, the former patient expresses shock at her diagnosis, saying she was “totally floored.” After all, she’d never smoked, and the common perception of lung cancer has been that it’s a disease only of smokers. That perception is slowly changing.
As explained by Karen Reckamp, M.D., M.S., co-director of City of Hope’s Lung Cancer and Thoracic Oncology Program: “The most common cause of lung cancer is tobacco smoke, and the risk increases with the quantity and duration of smoking. Yet nearly 15 percent of those who develop lung cancer have never smoked, so there are other factors clearly involved such as the environment and genetics. Although these causes are not well-outlined, research is ongoing to improve our understanding of nonsmoking-related lung cancers.” » Continue Reading
Women undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer should try yoga. That’s the take-home message of a new study linking yoga to a greater sense of well-being and better regulation of stress hormones among female breast cancer patients.
The study, published online March 3 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was conducted by researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and adds to increasing evidence that exercise benefits cancer patients.
“This study supports that the more you do, the better off you are,” said City of Hope’s Joanne Mortimer, M.D., providing expert commentary on the study to HealthDay. Mortimer is director of Women’s Cancers Programs.
To measure the impact of yoga, researchers assigned women undergoing radiation therapy to one of three groups. One group practiced yoga for up to three times a week, one group did stretching exercises for up to three times a week and one group did neither. Participants in each group shared with researchers their feelings of fatigue and how that impacted their quality of life, as well as their levels of depression and sleep disturbances. They also gave saliva samples so researchers could measure their levels of cortisol, considered an indicator of stress. » Continue Reading