Predicting Breast Cancer Spread and More

  • Scientists from Johns Hopkins University developed a new diagnostic tool for predicting breast cancer spread. Knowing whether a tumor is going to metastasize is crucial for timely addressing the issue and ultimately prolonging lives. Current prediction tools use genetics screening which can be difficult to interpret. The new tool, called MAqCI, developed by Professor Konstantopoulos team is based on cell characteristics, behavior and phenotype. This was reported in Nature Biomedical Engineering on May 6th.
  • A new and potentially more effective way to prevent the spread of castration resistant prostate cancer was identified by researchers from at Boston University School of Medicine. The team of researchers “discovered that inhibition of the protein BRD 4” may be a way to hinder cancer spread by regulating cancer cell migration and invasion. The study was published in Molecular Cancer Research on May 20th.
  • Through a unique intersection of biology, medicine, physics and mathematics, researchers from Johns Hopkins University created a visualization they compared to Google Maps of blood vessels and blood flow in a tumor. While this technology will likely not be used to directly study human cancer growth, the tools can be used to identify earlier signs of cancer and predict it’s behavior to customize treatment. A report originally published in March was publicized recently on a physics news site.

What’s New with Cancer Moonshot?

On Thursday, April 25, 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden announced that he will be running for the Democratic Presidential nomination. But back in 2016, President Obama called on Biden to “lead a new, national ‘Moonshot’ initiative to eliminate cancer as we know it.” So what’s been happening with the Cancer MoonshotSM since then?

“Cancer Moonshot” by World Economic Forum is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

First, there’s been a name change. Cancer Moonshot 2020 is now known as Cancer Breakthroughs 2020. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is working to implement Cancer MoonshotSM. In a November 19, 2018 update, NCI Acting Deputy Director Dinah Singer, PhD, explained that the Moonshot is now moving from planning to research. A critical first step was the formation of the Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) and the publication of their 2016 report on recommendations for accelerating cancer research. NCI is now in the process of operationalizing the recommendations from this report.

On April 19, 2019, Claire Dietz reported in The Cancer Letter that NCI Board of Scientific Advisors had approved eight concepts as Request for Applications (RFAs), including three Cancer MoonshotSM  concepts at a March 25, 2019 meeting. One of the Cancer MoonshotSM  concepts centers around next generation technology for next gen cancer models (NGCMs).

Learn more about research initiatives Cancer MoonshotSM is supporting.


Time Restricted Eating, Circadian Rhythms, and More

A selection of cancer research in the news this past week…

  • An animal study on breast cancer showed that eating within just an eight-hour window every day could “prevent the development of tumours”. The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Manasi Das, suggested that “this intervention may be effective in breast cancer prevention and therapy”. The study on time restricted eating was formally presented at ENDO 2019 conference (March 23-26, New Orleans).
  • Researchers from Tulane University established that circadian disruption caused by exposure to dim light at night may contribute to the metastatic spread of breast cancer to the bone. This animal study was also presented at ENDO 2019 conference.
  • Also focused on breast cancer, a trial conducted at Marshall University demonstrated that walnut consumption altered gene expressions related to tumor progression and could “decrease breast cancer growth and survival”. The new study on this ongoing research is in press and is due to be published in Nutrition Research. Note: Primary funding for this study “was from the California Walnut Commission to WEH”.
  • Researchers from Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine conducted a study that uncovered “how cancer cells with identical genomes can respond differently to the same therapy”. The study published in Nature Communications established the “relationship between mitochondria variability and drug response” which “may lead to more effective targeted cancer treatments”.
  • University of Bradford and University of Surrey, UK researchers discovered that prostate cancer cells “spit out” a protein from their nucleus taken up by other cells, including normal cells, which provokes tumor growth. The study was published in Scientific Reports.
  • A study conducted by researchers from the UK and Spain determined that a protein produced by melanoma cells triggers reprogramming of healthy immune cells to prevent them from attacking cancer cells and to help them survive instead. The study was published in Cell.