New 3-D model of a DNA-regulating complex in human cells provides cancer clues — ScienceDaily

Scientists have created an unprecedented 3-dimensional structural model of a key molecular “machine” known as the BAF complex, which modifies DNA architecture and is frequently mutated in cancer and some other diseases. The researchers, led by Cigall Kadoch, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, have reported the first 3-D structural “picture” of BAF complexes purified directly from human cells in their native states — rather than artificially synthesized in the laboratory -providing an opportunity to spatially map thousands of cancer-associated mutations to specific locations within the complex.

“A 3-D structural model, or ‘picture,’ of how this complex actually looks inside the nucleus of our cells has remained elusive — until now,” says Kadoch. The newly obtained model represents “the most complete picture of the human BAF complex achieved to date,” said the investigators, reporting in the journal Cell.

These new findings “provide a critical foundation for understanding human disease-associated mutations

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A study detailing the processes that control mole size may help scientists find new ways to prevent skin cancer from growing — ScienceDaily

Moles stop growing when they reach a certain size due to normal interactions between cells, despite having cancer-associated gene mutations, says a new study published today in eLife.

The findings in mice could help scientists develop new ways to prevent skin cancer growth that take advantage of the normal mechanisms that control cell growth in the body.

Mutations that activate the protein made by the BRAF gene are believed to contribute to the development of skin cancer. However, recent studies have shown that these mutations do not often cause skin cancer, but instead result in the formation of completely harmless pigmented moles on the skin. In fact, 90% of moles have these cancer-linked mutations but never go on to form tumours. “Exploring why moles stop growing might lead us to a better understanding of what goes wrong in skin cancer,” says lead author Roland Ruiz-Vega, a postdoctoral researcher at

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New England Cancer Specialists will soon offer scalp-cooling technology to help reduce hair loss in cancer patients

By Chiara Battelli MD, President & Lead Physician at New England Cancer Specialists

A cancer diagnosis can change many things about our lives. As patients move forward with their doctor to examine treatment options, one of the major concerns they express is hair loss associated with chemotherapy. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict who will lose their hair even though it is a common and significant side effect of cytotoxic chemotherapy. Studies have shown that hair loss during cancer treatment can lead to lower self-esteem and feelings of depression, ultimately causing up to 10% of patients to forego chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy drugs damage hair follicles in a variety of ways: some drugs cause hair thinning or hair loss only on the scalp, while others can cause hair to thin or fall out on the arms, legs, underarms, eyebrows, or eyelashes. If a person is going to lose hair during treatment, it

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Researchers identified that SUCLA2-deficient prostate cancer cells can be selectively treated with thymoquinone — ScienceDaily

The compound thymoquinone (TQ) selectively kills prostate cancer cells at advanced stages, according to a new study published in Oncogene. Led by researchers at Kanazawa University, the study reports that prostate cancer cells with a deletion of the SUCLA2 gene can be therapeutically targeted. SUCLA2-deficient prostate cancers represent a significant fraction of those resistant to hormone therapy or metastatic, and a new therapeutic option for this disease would have immense benefits for patients.

Hormone therapy is often chosen for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer but nearly half of patients develop resistance to the treatment in as little as 2 years. A mutation in RB1, a tumor suppressor gene that keeps cell growth under control, has been pegged as a particularly strong driver of treatment resistance and predicts poor outcome in patients.

“Mutations in tumor suppressor genes are enough to induce initiation and malignant progression of prostate cancer, but

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UCI biochip innovation combines AI and nanoparticle printing for cancer cell analysis

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 7, 2020 – Electrical engineers, computer scientists and biomedical engineers at the University of California, Irvine have created a new lab-on-a-chip that can help study tumor heterogeneity to reduce resistance to cancer therapies.

In a paper published today in Advanced Biosystems, the researchers describe how they combined artificial intelligence, microfluidics and nanoparticle inkjet printing in a device that enables the examination and differentiation of cancers and healthy tissues at the single-cell level.

“Cancer cell and tumor heterogeneity can lead to increased therapeutic resistance and inconsistent outcomes for different patients,” said lead author Kushal Joshi, a former UCI graduate student in biomedical engineering. The team’s novel biochip addresses this problem by allowing precise characterization of a variety of cancer cells from a sample.

“Single-cell analysis is essential to identify and classify cancer types and study cellular heterogeneity. It’s necessary to understand tumor initiation, progression and metastasis in

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New technology allows cancer patients to watch movies during radiation

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — No matter the age, radiation treatment can be tough on any cancer patient. Which is why UCHealth helped develop a special piece of technology to help reduce anxiety and stress associated with it.

The technology is called ‘RadFlix’ and it allows patients to safely watch their favorite TV shows and movies all while undergoing radiation.

“This can be a very traumatic experience for these kids,” said Dr. Douglas Holt, the Chief Resident radiation oncologist with the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Holt helped develop the device. It’s a radiation compatible, video distraction system that can be used with any type of radiation treatment.

“That’s important because it’s very technically challenging to do that in radiation,” Holt said.

Not only is it convenient for a patient to watch TV or a movie on ‘RadFlix’ while undergoing radiation therapy, but it also helps them cut down on the

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Preliminary results of two large immune therapy studies show promise in advanced cervical cancer — ScienceDaily

Preliminary results from two independent, phase II clinical trials investigating a new PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1)-based immune therapy for metastatic cervical cancer suggest potential new treatment options for a disease that currently has limited effective options and disproportionately impacts younger women.

David O’Malley, MD, of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC — James), presented the preliminary study results at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020 on Sept. 18. O’Malley was the lead presenter for both trials, which were sponsored by Agenus Inc.

Each study involved more than 150 patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer from cancer treatment centers across the United States and Europe. All patients were previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy as a first-line therapy. The two independent but consecutive phase II trials tested a new immune-based agent

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Personalized cancer therapy improves outcomes in advanced disease — ScienceDaily

Patients receiving care for advanced cancer at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health were more likely to survive or experience a longer period without their disease progressing if they received personalized cancer therapy, report University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers.

Led by Razelle Kurzrock, MD, director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy at Moores Cancer Center and senior author of the study, a multidisciplinary molecular tumor board was established to advise treating physicians on course of care using an individual patient’s molecular tumor makeup to design precision medicine strategies.

“Patients who underwent a molecular tumor board-recommended therapy were better matched to genomic alterations in their cancer and had improved outcomes,” said Kurzrock. “The three-year survival for patients with the highest degree of matching and who received a personalized cancer therapy was approximately 55 percent compared to 25 percent in patients who received therapy that

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Nuclear magnetic resonance insights set stage for next-gen targeted cancer therapies for adults and children

Nuclear magnetic resonance insights set stage for next-gen targeted cancer therapies for adults and children
First author Tao Xie, Ph.D., and corresponding author Charalampos Babis Kalodimos, Ph.D., chair, both of the Department of Structural Biology at St. Jude, have visualized previously unknown structures of the ABL kinase through the use of an NMR spectrometer. Credit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have visualized previously unknown structures of the ABL kinase, offering insight for designing the next generation of targeted therapies for adult and childhood cancers. The work will advance understanding of treatment resistance to targeted cancer therapies. The findings appear as an advance online publication today in Science.

Central to this achievement was the United States’ most powerful nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, which was installed at St. Jude in 2019. Just as microscopes enable scientists to peer inside a cell, NMR spectroscopy lets researchers visualize previously invisible, or undetectable, molecular structures that cannot be seen with other

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Cancer cells use nerve-cell tricks to spread from one organ to the next — ScienceDaily

Tumors come in many shapes and forms — curable or deadly, solid or liquid, lodged inside the brain, bone, or other tissues. One thing they all have in common, however, is a knack for molecular deceit. It is often by posing as normal cells, or by hijacking them, that cancer cells advance their takeover of biological systems and learn to grow, survive, and spread to new organs.

Recently, Rockefeller scientists found that breast and lung tumors can appropriate a signaling pathway used by neurons to metastasize. In a report published in Nature, the researchers describe how these cancer cells enlist nearby blood vessels to gain access to this nerve signal, ultimately enabling their escape from the primary tumor and into the bloodstream.

In addition to illuminating previously unseen aspects of tumors’ relationship with their surroundings, the findings could lead to new strategies for diagnostics and treatment.

Blood vessels: more

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