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THE BIOWORLD BIOME: Our Habitat for All Things Science

WHO'S HELPING WHO?

HONG KONG – A new study led by scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) has provided valuable insights into how the function of the human genome depends on RNA-binding proteins, an important discovery that could ultimately lead to the development of new treatments for heart disease.

FROM RIVER BLINDNESS TO CANCER

HONG KONG – The common anti-parasitic agent, ivermectin, may be a viable new option to treat breast cancer, reported Chinese researchers, who have demonstrated that it inhibited the proliferation of breast cancer cells and elucidated its mechanism of action in a new study.

HONG KONG – A collaborative study by U.S. and Chinese researchers has identified an immune system component responsible for the homeostatic control of innate immune responses to nosocomial invasive candidiasis, which represents a potential target that may lead to the development of treatments for the fungal infection. The most common cause of fungal infections in humans, Candida albicans is one of the leading causes of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections.

AIDS 2016

DURBAN, South Africa – Name a persistent disease that is hard to detect and measure, that can come back after it looks like you've beat it, and that should be controlled by the immune system but isn't. One correct answer is HIV. Another is cancer.

HONG KONG – A Korean study has identified a novel small-molecule chemotherapy that offers the potential to be an improved treatment option for patients with tumors having a DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency, which do not respond to conventional chemotherapies. Research was published in the July 5, 2016, early online edition of Cancer Research.

WHITHER IMMUNOTHERAPY?

As far as clinical use goes, checkpoint inhibitors are furthest along, with four approved therapies and dozens of others wending their way through clinical trials. But perhaps no cancer immunotherapy has captured the public's imagination like chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, despite the fact that there are not yet any FDA-approved CAR T cells.

Jedd Wolchok is apparently not one to rest on his laurels. As the principal investigator on the 024 study that led to approval of the first commercially successful cancer immunotherapy, CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor Yervoy (ipilimumab, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.) as well as several phase III trials investigating the combination of Yervoy and PD-1 checkpoint blocker Opdivo, Wolchok has done as much as anyone currently working in oncology for patients.

THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY

HONG KONG – A novel vaccine-based cancer treatment strategy, which can stimulate both an innate and an adaptive immune response, has been developed by scientists at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS) in Yokohama, Japan. That finding may ultimately result in more successful cancer treatments.

HONG KONG – Dendritic cell-based vaccine strategies that target cancer stem cells (CSCs) may be most effective when they are used in the adjuvant setting, according to findings of a new U.S./China collaborative preclinical study in mice reported in Cancer Research.

Cast Your Vote

Should there be restrictions on the use of gene-editing technology?: