A Vaccine as an Immunotherapy Booster, Tumor’s Impact on Healthy Tissue Metabolism and More

  • An animal study conducted by an international team of scientists led by researchers from the University of Konstanz in Germany demonstrated that combining a new cancer vaccine with an immune checkpoint inhibitor can dramatically increase the response to therapy rate. The new vaccine is a microparticle-based cancer vaccine, which uses the immunostimulant Riboxxim that has been already approved for application in humans. Combining a cancer vaccine with established drugs creates a foundation for human trials and, eventually, for improving the efficacy of immunotherapies in humans. The study was published in Nature Communications.
  • Researchers from the Washington University in St. Louis conducted an animal study that revealed the impact of melanoma on the metabolism in tissues outside of the tumor. While most of the previous research on cancer metabolism concentrated on the tumor metabolism itself, this study looked at the relationship of the tumor with metabolism in non-malignant tissues. It demonstrated that cancers affect metabolic processes in healthy tissue elsewhere in the body and that, at least in some instances, these metabolic changes take place to support the tumor. The study authors hope that their findings would lead to targeting the metabolism of healthy tissues as a potential treatment for cancer. The study was published in Cell Metabolism.
  • A study by the researchers at UVA Cancer Center shed new light on the intercellular interactions of androgen hormones and their receptors. The study offers new insight into the mechanism of androgen-regulated communication within prostate cancer cells. Its findings could be instrumental for perfecting anti-androgen therapies that are at the core of prostate cancer treatment.  The study was also published in Nature Communications.
  • In an animal glioblastoma study, scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital reprogrammed the host’s immune cells called regulatory T-cells (Tregs) manipulated and hijacked by cancer to assist in its growth and turned them back into cancer killers. It remains to be seen whether this success can be translated into treating humans, and further testing is necessary. This study was also published in Nature Communications.
  • A recent meta-analysis of 17 observational studies found an association between higher mushroom consumption and decreased cancer risk. While observational studies typically only help establish a correlation between the exposure and the outcomes but not prove causation, this meta-analysis, published in Advances in Nutrition, may boost further research into the protective effects of mushrooms and their potential for cancer prevention.
  • Researchers from Brazil and the U.S. developed a low-dose four-drug combination to help prevent metastasizing of cancer by simultaneously targeting multiple pathways in the metastasis-promoting network without triggering drug resistance. The authors hope that their findings, challenging current cancer treatment approaches, “could lead to a new cancer treatment strategy where patients first receive low-dose combination drugs that block metastasis and then receive traditional cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.” This animal study was published in eLife.