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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Feb 14, 2012


In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Poland investigate how the frequency of T regulatory cells modulates the survival of multiple myeloma patients. "This study identifies several abnormalities of immune system in MM [multiple myeloma], which only partly could be normalised after successful therapy," the authors write. "The dysfunction of immune system such as decreased antigen presentation along with increased frequencies of suppressive cells and cytokines might facilitate progression of the disease and infectious complications limiting survival of MM patients."

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the UK report a pilot study of the use of circulating tumor cells as biomarkers for pancreatic cancer. The team took blood samples from 54 patients, and used two platforms — isolation by size of epithelial tumour cells and CellSearch — to find CTCs. "ISET detected CTCs in more patients than CellSearch (93% vs 40%) and in higher numbers," the authors write. "Heterogeneity observed for epithelial cell adhesion molecule, pan-cytokeratin (CK), E-Cadherin, Vimentin and CK 7 expression in CTCs may account for discrepancy in CTC number between platforms." ISET offers researchers flexible CTC characterization and could be used to develop CTC biomarkers for pancreatic cancers.

And finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the Netherlands report on gene expression profiles of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded glioma samples. The team performed gene expression profiling on 55 paired FFPE-fresh frozen glioma samples. They show what "expression data from FFPE material can be used to assign samples to intrinsic molecular subtypes identified using FF material." In addition, the researchers say, "this assignment allows the use of archival material, including material derived from large-randomised clinical trials, to determine the predictive and/or prognostic value of 'intrinsic glioma subtypes' on Exon arrays."

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.