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This Week in Cancer Research: May 6, 2011


In Cancer Research this week, researchers from the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in California say STAT3 inhibition could work as a therapeutic strategy for activated B-cell-like, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Direct inhibition of STAT3 with short hairpin RNA suppressed the growth of human ABC-like diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in mouse models, the authors write. The therapy seems to induce apoptosis, repression of STAT3 target genes, and inhibition of a tumor-promoting microenvironment, they add.

Also in Cancer Research this week, a team from Harvard Medical School says the use of the diabetes drug metformin decreases the dose of chemotherapy necessary for prolonged tumor remission in mouse xenografts of multiple cancer cell types. Metformin selectively kills the chemotherapy-resistant subpopulation of cancer stem cells in genetically distinct types of breast cancer cell lines, the authors write. When they injected metformin and the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin into mice with tumors, the researchers found the combination to be more effective than either drug alone at blocking tumor growth and preventing relapse. "Here, we show that metformin is equally effective when given orally together with paclitaxel, carboplatin, and doxorubicin, indicating that metformin works together with a variety of standard chemotherapeutic agents," the team writes. "In addition, metformin has comparable effects on tumor regression and preventing relapse when combined with a four-fold reduced dose of doxorubicin that is not effective as a monotherapy."

Finally in Cancer Research this week, a team of European researchers present findings from a study of cancer therapy involving multivalent pseudopeptides that target cell-surface nucleoproteins. Recent studies have shown that cell-surface forms of nucleolin are involved in tumor growth, the authors write. In this study, the team found that a synthetic ligand of cell-surface nucleolin NL6 inhibits tumor growth and hampers angiogenesis. "Our findings define N6L as a novel anticancer drug candidate warranting further investigation," they add.

The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.