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This Week in the New England Journal of Medicine


Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine this week look at adding bevacizumab, better known as Avastin, to ovarian cancer therapies. Bevacizumab is used to treat other cancers, including colorectal and lung. In the first article, Fox Chase Cancer Center's Robert Burger and his colleagues found that the addition of bevacizumab to chemotherapy led to an increase in progression-free survival. "Our study shows that bevacizumab plus carboplatin and paclitaxel, followed by bevacizumab, could be considered a front-line treatment option for patients with advanced ovarian cancer," the authors write.

In the second article, St. James's University Hospital's Timothy Perren and his team report on a phase three trial of bevacizumab for ovarian cancer. They say that "the overall magnitude of the benefit with respect to progression-free survival was relatively modest after the addition of bevacizumab to platinum-based chemotherapy and maintenance bevacizumab for the 12-cycle extension after chemotherapy was completed."

Finally, researchers led by Catherine Wu at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute sequenced leukemia cells from 91 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. As they report in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, they found that nine genes are commonly mutated in CLL cells. One of those genes, SF3B1, is involved in the spliceosome and may contribute to further splicing errors.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.