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This Week in the Medical Journals: Jun 29, 2012


In JAMA this week, a team led by researchers at St Jude Children's Research Hospital reports on the use radiotherapy in children with favorable-risk Hodgkin lymphoma. The team enrolled 89 patients, 47 of whom received radiotherapy after achieving complete response with chemotherapy, and 41 of whom received no radiotherapy after chemotherapy complete response. Two-year event-free survival was 89.4 percent in patients who did not receive radiotherapy versus 92.5 percent in patients who did receive radiotherapy, the team reports.

In NEJM this week, a team led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report on the safety and activity of an anti-PD-1 antibody in patients with advanced cancers. Programmed death 1 is an inhibitory receptor expressed by T-cells, and inhibiting it can help patients overcome immune resistance. The team enrolled 296 patients with advanced melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer, castration-resistant prostate cancer, or renal-cell or colorectal cancer, and administered anti-PD-1 antibody — they found that among the 236 patients in whom response could be measured, objective responses were most apparent in those with non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, or renal-cell cancer. "Responses were durable; 20 of 31 responses lasted 1 year or more in patients with 1 year or more of follow-up," the team says, adding that "the adverse-event profile does not appear to preclude its use."

Also in NEJM, a second group of researchers led by investigators at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine also report on the efficacy of anti-PD-1 antibody in advanced cancers. The team also examined the blockade of a PD-1 ligand, PD-L1. They administered an anti-PD-L1 antibody to patients with difference advanced cancers, and also found that non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, and renal-cell cancer patients responded best. "Responses lasted for 1 year or more in 8 of 16 patients with at least 1 year of follow-up," the team writes. "Antibody-mediated blockade of PD-L1 induced durable tumor regression and prolonged stabilization of disease in patients with advanced cancers."

The Scan

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

The New York Times reports that new Israeli data suggests a decline in Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant infection, though protection against severe disease remains high.

To See Future Risk

Slate looks into the use of polygenic risk scores in embryo screening.

PLOS Papers on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus, Bone Marrow Smear Sequencing, More

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, archived bone marrow sequencing, and more.