In this week's Science Translational Medicine, scientists from the University of Freiburg discuss immune checkpoint inhibitor-based cancer treatments targeting programmed death receptor-1 or programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), and the need to consider unique tumor mutations that modulate drug responses when designing combination treatments. The authors highlight studies showing that oncogenic signaling pathways can work with inflammatory networks to avoid immune responses in certain cancers, and touch on how certain oncogenes harbor mutations that result in tumor-specific PD-L1 regulatory mechanisms. As a result, it is critical to consider mutational differences when designing regimens that combine immunotherapies with targeted treatments, they say. They also urge caution when combining immunotherapies with targeted treatments due to the potential for unexpected side effects.
And in Science Advances, a team of Chinese scientists presents data showing differences in the gut microbiomes of schizophrenia patients versus healthy individuals, and demonstrate that the transfer of a schizophrenia microbiome to germ-free mice can trigger behavioral and neurochemical changes indicative of the disorder. The researchers used 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing to analyze the gut microbial communities of schizophrenia patients and healthy controls, finding significant differences between the two groups including less diversity in the schizophrenics. Further study uncovered 77 differential operational taxonomic units responsible for the differences. Notably, when the the gut microbiome of patients with schizophrenia were transplanted to healthy mice, the animals displayed locomotor hyperactivity, decreased anxiety, depressive-like behaviors, and increased startle responses. GenomeWeb has more on this and a related study, here.