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Personalizing Treatment of Drug-Resistant Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

A new method for identifying personalized drug combinations for treatment-resistant non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs) is reported in Science Translational Medicine this week. Patients with NHLs — the most common hematologic malignancy globally — frequently relapse after frontline treatment. While combination therapies are used to overcome this resistance, they are selected based on population-level responses and fail to account for inter-patient heterogeneity, which limits their efficacy. Instead, a team led by scientist from the National University of Singapore developed an experimental analytic method, called quadratic phenotypic optimization platform (QPOP), that predicts patient-specific drug combination efficacy from a limited quantity of biopsied tumor samples. In a prospective study, they used QPOP to evaluate fresh biopsies from patients with relapsed/refractory NHL. Based on this, physicians were able to alter treatments based on the drug combinations identified, achieving complete responses in five of 17 patients. The study, the researchers write, marks a step forward toward making personalized therapies for NHL a clinical reality.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.