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This Week in Clinical Cancer Research: May 11, 2012


In Clinical Cancer Research this week, researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center report that upregulated JAG1 in adrenocortical carcinoma enhances proliferation of cancer cells in adrenocortical Carcinoma. The team found that JAG1 expression is upregulated in most adrenocortical carcinoma cell lines, and that it enhances cell proliferation through the activation of canonical Notch signaling. "Inhibition of Notch signaling … results in inhibition of cell proliferation," the team writes. "JAG1 is the primary upregulated Notch ligand in ACCs and enhances ACC cell proliferation and tumor aggressiveness in a non-cell-autonomous manner through activation of Notch signaling in adjacent cells."

Also in Clinical Cancer Research this week, a team led by researchers at the University of Chicago reports its use of spleen cells from young mice to eradicate large, established tumors in other mice. The team exposed old mice to UV light to induce tumor growth, and then treated the tumors with spleen cells from young naïve, or young and old immunized mice. The found that the spleen cells from the young immunized mice adoptively transferred to the cancer-suppressed euthymic mice eradicated tumors larger than one centimeter in diameter that had been established for several weeks. Spleen cells from old mice or young naïve mice were ineffective. "Relapse-free destruction of large and long-established tumors expressing a genuine very high-affinity tumor-specific antigen can be achieved by using adoptive transfer of lymphocytes from immunized young individuals," the authors write.

And finally in Clinical Cancer Research this week, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report that survivin may be a viable treatment target for patients with malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. The MD Anderson team examined levels of survivin in human malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor cells, and found it to be highly expressed. "Human MPNST cell lines exhibited survivin mRNA and protein overexpression; expression in both nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments was noted," the team writes. When they knocked down survivin, the team noticed an abrogation of cancer cell growth, and marked apoptosis. "Patients with MPNSTs should be considered for ongoing or future clinical trials that evaluate anti-survivin therapeutic strategies," the team adds. "Most importantly, future investigations should evaluate additional pathways that can be targeted in combination with survivin for maximal synergistic anti-MPNST effects."

The Scan

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.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.