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The Few

When immunotherapy works for a cancer patient, it seems to work incredibly well, Wired reports. But, it notes, it doesn't work for everyone — not even the majority of patients.

"The reality is immunotherapy is incredibly valuable for the people who can actually benefit from it, but there are far more people out there who don't benefit at all," Vinay Prasad from Oregon Health and Science University tells Wired. He has estimated that immunotherapy will only help fewer than 10 percent of cancer patients. Wired notes, though, that he limited his calculation to checkpoint inhibitors that turn T cells on to kill cancer cells.

Now, researchers and companies are turning to new CAR-T cell therapies in which patients' own T cells are removed and genetically engineered to attack tumor cells, Wired adds. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved two such approaches this year, Novartis' Kymriah for leukemia and Kite Pharmaceuticals' Yescarta for B-cell lymphoma.

But, even with the ascendance of CAR-T therapies, Wired writes that those new approaches will still only work for a sliver of patients. Still, it adds that the therapies have attracted a lot of interest — and a high price tag.

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The Scan

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.

Study Examines Relationship Between Cellular Metabolism, DNA Damage Repair

A new study in Molecular Systems Biology finds that an antioxidant enzyme shifts from mitochondria to the nucleus as part of the DNA damage response.

Stem Cell Systems Target Metastatic Melanoma in Mouse Model

Researchers in Science Translational Medicine describe a pair of stem cell systems aimed at boosting immune responses against metastatic melanoma in the brain.

Open Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas Team Introduces Genomic Data Collection, Analytical Tools

A study in Cell Genomics outlines open-source methods being used to analyze and translate whole-genome, exome, and RNA sequence data from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas.