University Hospitals Researchers Initiate Gene Therapy Trial in Patients with Advanced Skin Cancer
News Dec 21, 2007
Researchers at the Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals Case Medical Center are the first in the region to have joined a nationwide clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a gene therapy in patients with advanced melanoma which is aimed to help a patient’s own immune system fight their cancer.
The gene therapy is termed Allovectin-7®, and is injected directly into the cancer while it is still in the body in order to make it appear foreign to the immune system. Previous studies using the gene therapy have shown that injection of a single site of cancer can train the immune system to fight other areas of the disease in the body which have not been injected with the gene.
“Cancer cells often hide from the body’s natural disease-fighting mechanisms because they arise from normal tissue and don’t appear as foreign to the immune system,” said Julian Kim, MD, Chief of Surgical Oncology and lead investigator of the study at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
“The challenge in treating advanced melanoma is to find a way to train the patient’s immune system to recognize cancerous cells as foreign which will help to eliminate them. The concept of injecting a gene into a cancer to make it appear as a foreign tissue essentially creates a personalized vaccine for each individual patient’s cancer. The hope is that the newly formed cancer vaccine will trigger several of the body’s natural immune response mechanisms to recognize and attack the cancer, both within the injected cancer and throughout the body,” Kim added.
Mechanism Controlling Multiple Sclerosis Risk IdentifiedNews
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now discovered a new mechanism of a major risk gene for multiple sclerosis (MS) that triggers disease through so-called epigenetic regulation. They also found a protective genetic variant that reduces the risk for MS through the same mechanism.
Synthetic DNA Shuffling Enzyme Outpaces Natural CounterpartNews
A new synthetic enzyme, crafted from DNA rather than protein, flips lipid molecules within the cell membrane, triggering a signal pathway that could be harnessed to induce cell death in cancer cells. Researchers say their lipid-scrambling DNA enzyme is the first in its class to outperform naturally occurring enzymes – and does so by three orders of magnitudeREAD MORE
Antarctic Worm and Machine Learning Help Identify Cerebral Palsy EarlierNews
A research team has released a study in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Bioinformatics showing that DNA methylation patterns in circulating blood cells can be used to help identify spastic cerebral palsy (CP) patients. The technique which makes use of machine learning, data science and even analysis of Antarctic worms, raises hopes for earlier targeted CP therapies.