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This Week in Cancer Research: May 6, 2011

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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

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.