Liver Tumor Growth in Mice Slowed with New Chemo-immunotherapy Treatment

Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of liver cancer, but treatment options are limited and many patients are diagnosed in late stages when the disease can’t be treated. Now, University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers have developed a new treatment that combines chemotherapy and immunotherapy to significantly slow tumor growth in mice. The researchers believe that with more research, the strategy could be translated to benefit patients with the disease.

“The current drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hepatocellular carcinoma only increases the average survival of patients by about three months,” said Kevin Staveley-O’Carroll, MD, PhD, chair of the MU School of Medicine’s Hugh E. Stephenson Jr., MD, Department of Surgery and director of Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. “While any extension of life is valuable, our research team is developing a new therapeutic strategy that might extend and improve the quality of life for these patients.”

Immunotherapy boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight off cancer. The therapy has been used to help treat several cancers, such as melanoma and lung cancer. However, little research exists on combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy.

During the study, one group of mice was treated with the chemotherapy agent sunitinib and another group was treated with an immunotherapy antibody known as anti-PD-1. Over a period of four weeks, tumors in mice treated with sunitinib grew 25 times larger. Tumors in mice treated with immunotherapy grew at a slower rate and were 15 times larger. However, a third group of mice treated with a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy experienced even slower tumor growth at a size that was only 11 times larger.

“Our results show that a combined chemo-immunotherapeutic approach can slow tumor growth in mice more effectively than either individual treatment,” said Guangfu Li, PhD, DVM, assistant professor in the MU Department of Surgery. “This innovative combination promotes an anti-tumor immune response and better suppresses growth of the cancer. Our findings support the need for a clinical trial to test whether this could become a cost-effective treatment that could help improve the lives of patients with liver cancer.”

The study, “Successful Chemo-immunotherapy against Hepatocellular Cancer in a Novel Murine Model,” was published in the January issue of the Journal of Hepatology. Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (1 R01 CA164335-01A1 and R01-CA-025000) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (R01DK 057830). The researchers have no conflicts of interest to declare related to this study. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

Source: University of Missouri

Nature Study Suggests New Therapy for Gaucher Disease

Scientists propose in Nature blocking a molecule that drives inflammation and organ damage in Gaucher and maybe other lysosomal storage diseases as a possible treatment with fewer risks and lower costs than current therapies.

An international research team led by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which also included investigators from the University of Lübeck in Germany, report their data Feb. 22. The study was conducted in mouse models of lysosomal storage disease and in cells from blood samples donated by people with Gaucher disease.

Details can be found from Brückenkopf GmbH website.

HIV test performed on USB stick

The device, created by scientists at Imperial College London and DNA Electronics, uses a drop of blood to detect HIV, and then creates an electrical signal that can be read by a computer, laptop or handheld device.

The disposable test could be used for HIV patients to monitor their own treatment.

Furthermore, the technology could enable patients with HIV to be managed more effectively in remote locations.

Continue reading “HIV test performed on USB stick”

Foundation Medicine Adds New Immunotherapy Features to Its Market-Leading Products

Foundation Medicine announced the addition of new clinical markers to its FoundationOne® and FoundationOne® Heme products, which are designed to enhance oncologists’ insight into potential response to immunotherapies. This ability to determine TMB and MSI from its assays is additional to the existing comprehensive profiling of genes provided by FoundationOne and FoundationOne Heme. Taken together, the molecular information provided by Foundation Medicine provides unique insights to physicians and enhances their ability to predict response to immunotherapies, identify targeted therapeutic options, and improve access to clinical trials all from a single assay.

“Cancer immunotherapies are at the forefront of cancer treatment, and new, quantitative approaches are needed to predict clinical responses to this important, but also expensive, class of therapies,” said Vincent Miller, M.D., chief medical officer of Foundation Medicine. “Prior to our ability to measure TMB and MSI with FoundationOne, these biomarkers could only be detected separately, either through tests such as immunohistochemistry, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or whole exome sequencing. Importantly, high-quality, predictive TMB scoring can only be accurately performed with sophisticated algorithms developed to work with broad, hybrid capture-based platforms that can analyze all relevant alterations simultaneously. Integrating this capability to measure TMB and MSI with one tissue sample, and reported in one test, represents an important advance in clinical care.”

A growing body of evidence, most recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting this year, validates the ability of a new independent marker, TMB, to predict the likelihood of response to cancer immunotherapies. TMB is reported as the total number of DNA mutations per megabase in a tumor sequence. This phenomenon has been validated across a wide range of tumor types, including advanced bladder cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, advanced head and neck cancer and melanoma. Some tumors develop high TMB as a result of defective mismatch repair of DNA, a condition in which the length of certain DNA areas becomes more widely varied than normal. This condition, which is referred to as MSI-high and MSI-high tumors, almost always has a high TMB.

“The ability to accurately measure multiple biomarkers simultaneously, including TMB and MSI, is an important advance for the field of cancer immunotherapy, and one that is unique to Foundation Medicine,” said Thomas George, M.D., GI oncology program director, University of Florida. “Foundation Medicine’s combination of advanced sequencing platforms and highly-specific algorithms gives me access to all relevant genomic biomarkers for my patients at once, helping to save both time and tissue.”

“We were encouraged by the findings presented at ASCO, including the possibility of identifying patients more likely to benefit from checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy,” said Dr. Miller. “Our goal is to empower doctors and patients with a full range of relevant, actionable genomic information, and we’re excited to offer our distinctive solution to estimate TMB and MSI simultaneously and with exceptional accuracy, supported by sophisticated algorithms and rooted in contextual insights from our knowledgebase FoundationCORE™. This is something no other next-generation sequencing platform offers.”

Independent of the FoundationOne and FoundationOne Heme assays, Foundation Medicine also offers testing for PD-1 and PD-L1 protein expression, providing, in combination with the FoundationOne assays, a full suite of cancer immunotherapy assays for oncologists.

A press release can be found from Foudation Medicine Website.

Fractyl receives CE for duodenal mucosal resurfacing to treat metabolic diseases

Fractyl Laboratories announced that the Company’s Revita DMRTM System, used to perform minimally invasive duodenal mucosal resurfacing for the treatment of metabolic diseases (Revita DMR procedure), has received European CE Mark approval. The announcement was made during a company presentation of new data in liver disease at the 2016 International Liver Conference of the European Association for the Study of Liver (EASL) in Barcelona, Spain. Fractyl’s presentation, “Endoscopic duodenal mucosal resurfacing (DMR) improves metabolic measures including hepatic transaminase levels in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D): Data from a first-in-human study,” included new data that a single Revita DMR treatment improved metabolic control in patients with both type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. The results presented included a lowering of hepatic transaminase levels, sustained through six months of follow up.

“Both CE Mark approval and the first opportunity to share our early results in liver disease are major milestones for Fractyl and for our clinical and research partners. This is the first of several presentations on Revita DMR that will take place over the next two months across the major endocrinology, GI and diabetes conferences,” said Harith Rajagopalan, MD, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO of Fractyl.

CE Mark approval gives Fractyl the opportunity to commercialize Revita DMRTM in the European Union for the treatment of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. CE Marking confirms that Revita DMR has met the requirements of the European Medical Devices Directive.

In 2015, Fractyl announced results from 39 patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes in a single-site, proof-of-concept study in which beneficial changes in blood sugar were observed following Revita DMR. The data presented at EASL from the same population expands on this previously announced data and suggests beneficial changes in markers of fatty liver disease following Revita DMR.

a press release can be found from Fractyl Website by clicking here.