Tuesday, May 11, 2021

At Home Genetic Testing for Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk


How important is it to receive genetic counseling both before and after testing for risk factors? Can women skip these counseling sessions without adding undue stress on themselves?

This question plus determining the feasibility of doing remote testing are being examined in the Magenta (Making GENetic Testing Accessible) study of 4,000 women participating in all 50 states.

Given the lack of good screening tools for OC, some women, especially those in more rural areas, with strong family histories of breast or ovarian cancer may feel more empowered to make pro-active decisions about undergoing prophylactic surgery rather than live with the fear of possibly getting cancer. To find out more about study, follow this link.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Novel Vaccine Harnesses Tumor Cells to Stimulate Immune Response


BioVaxys, the company that has developed a vaccine to stimulate the immune system, is seeking permission for compassionate use for women with advanced OC in Europe. Additionally, the company has approached the regulatory health agencies in the US and Europe to begin clinical trials in the upcoming months.

BVX-0918A, the vaccine, uses the patient's own cancer cells to make them more recognizable to the body's defense system. Specifically, the vaccine would make the cancer cell more visible for cancer-killing T-cells. BioVaxys is also planning to combine their vaccine with checkpoint inhibitors, another class of cancer medication, that block certain proteins from shutting down the body's immune response. Cancer cells hijack this natural function in the body and therefore hide from the immune system.

To read more about this fascinating research, follow this link.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Immunotherapy GEN-1Given Fast Track Approval

The FDA announced approval to fast track a novel immunotherapy treatment for advanced ovarian cancer.

The drug, GEN-1, is a non-viral particle that stimulates the production of interleukin-12 to the tumor site. This protein stimulates the immune system to target the tumor. 

The trial successfully completed Phase 1 (Ovation-1) which combined standard chemo with GEN-1 in newly diagnosed women prior to surgery. That study showed that women had a partial or complete reduction in tumor burden compared with women who received the lowest doses. In addition, 88% of these women had complete surgical resection - meaning that they had clean margins, free of any microscopic evidence of cancer. Those women who received both GEN-1 and chemo lived twice as long as those who only received chemo. Because the sample size was too small, the results were not clinically significant.

To find out more about this Phase 1/2 study, you can follow this link that will take you to the Clinical Trials page. To read the article about this study, follow this link.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

OCRA Partners With Microsoft's "AI for Health"


The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, which awards yearly grants for cancer research, will be partnering with Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence for Health to provide some grantees access to MS AI lab.

Because there are so many factors (genetic, environmental and acquired) that can cause cancerous mutations, trying to find patterns in the myriad interactions between cells is incredibly time consuming and unpredictable process. Some researchers will now have access to the powerful computing ability of AI to analyze large amounts of data. To find out more about this venture between OCRA and MS, follow this link.