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

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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

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.