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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jun 7, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in South Korea say that T lymphocytes derived from human cord blood provide effective immunotherapy to protect against tumors in humans. The researchers transplanted cord blood mononuclear cells and tumor cells into mice, and found "dramatic tumor remission" following transfer of the cord blood cells. "Mice that receive neonatal cord blood transplants have reconstituted T cells with significant antitumor effects against human cervical and lung tumors, with a high infiltration of CD3+ T cells showing dramatic induction of apoptotic cell death," the authors write. "We also confirmed that T cells showed tumor specific antigen cytotoxicity in vitro."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in California present findings from a study of the effects of herbal remedies on survival and quality of life in long-term breast cancer survivors. The researchers collected information on herbal remedy use and quality of life from 371 women who had survived more than 10 years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. They found that 59 percent of participants were herbal remedy users, the most common being echinacea, herbal teas, and gingko biloba, and that herbal remedy use was associated with non-statistically significant increases in the risks for all-cause deaths and breast cancer mortality. "Our data provide some evidence that herbal remedy use is associated with poorer survival and a poorer physical component score for health-related quality of life among women who have survived breast cancer for at least 10 years," the authors write.

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the UK and the US present findings from a study on the synergistic effects of oncolytic reovirus and docetaxel chemotherapy in the treatment of prostate cancer. The researchers assessed the effects of this combination therapy on PC3 and Du 145 cell lines, and found that it led to increased late apoptotic and necrotic cell populations, reduced tumor growth, and increased survival in a PC3 tumor-bearing mouse model.

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.