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This Week in Clinical Cancer Research: Apr 29, 2011

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In Clinical Cancer Research this week, MIT's Alice Shaw and Benjamin Solomon of the MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia present their review of studies targeting anaplastic lymphoma kinase in lung cancer. Deregulation of tyrosine kinase-mediated signaling contributes to initiation and progression of cancer, the authors write, and chromosomal rearrangements involving the tyrosine kinase anaplastic lymphoma kinase occur in a variety of malignancies like non-small cell lung cancer. "The aberrant activation of ALK signaling leads to 'oncogene addiction' and marked sensitivity to ALK inhibitors such as crizotinib," Shaw and Solomon add. "Current efforts seek to expand the role of ALK kinase inhibition in lung and other cancers and to address the molecular basis for the development of resistance."

Also in Clinical Cancer Research this week, a team of researchers in Europe say tumor-infiltrating macrophages are associated with suppression of metastasis in high-grade osteosarcoma, presenting a rationale for treatment of the disease with macrophage-activating agents. The researchers carried out genome-wide gene expression profiling on prechemotherapy biopsies of metastatic and non-metastatic patients, and found that more than 100 differentially expressed genes were upregulated in patients without metastases. "Remarkably, almost half of these upregulated genes had immunological functions, particularly related to macrophages. Macrophage-associated genes were expressed by infiltrating cells and not by osteosarcoma cells," the authors write. "This study provides a biological rationale for the adjuvant treatment of high-grade osteosarcoma patients with macrophage activating agents, such as muramyl tripeptide."

A team of US researchers writes that human prostate cancer harbors the stem cell properties of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in Clinical Cancer Research this week. The researchers induced prostate cancer cell lines for osteoblastogenic and adipogenic differentiation, and found that cell lines LNCaP, PC-3, and DU145 displayed osteoblastic features, and PC-3 and DU145 also displayed adipocyte-like cells. "The adipogenic differentiation was accompanied by growth inhibition, and most of the adipocyte-like cancer cells were committed to apoptotic death," the authors write. "This study thus revealed that prostate cancer cells harbor the stem cell properties of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. The abnormally expressed adipogenic UCP1 protein may serve as a unique marker, while adipogenic induction can be explored as a differentiation therapy for prostate cancer progression and bone metastasis."

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.