Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Genetically Definable Subgroups of Cancers Sensitive to Treatment

This article was originally published by News-Medical.

Precision oncology aims to use genetic features of a patient's tumor to tailor anti-cancer therapy. DNA mutations in a drug target have provided a number of therapeutic opportunities; however, there are many cancer types that do not have obvious targetable mutations. A research team at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center led by Todd Miller, PhD, sought to determine whether genetic features could be used to identify novel cancer "subtypes" that span multiple organ sites, and whether this approach could be useful to identify novel treatment strategies.
Miller's team successfully demonstrated that genetic and drug sensitivity data from cancer cells can be used to reveal therapeutic vulnerabilities that transcend cancer lineage. Their results, "A transcriptionally-definable subgroup of triple-negative breast and ovarian cancer samples shows sensitivity to HSP90 inhibition" have recently been published in AACR's Clinical Cancer Research.

"We discovered that a novel, genetically definable mixed subgroup spanning both triple-negative breast cancer and ovarian cancer is vulnerable to treatment with heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) inhibitors. HSP90 inhibitors have been investigated as potential anti-cancer drugs for many years in clinical trials guided by organ site, but tumor response rates have been low. We postulate that testing such drugs in a genetically defined subpopulation of patients would increase response rates."
Todd Miller, PhD, at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center

The team's findings suggest that genetic signatures may be useful to identify cancer subgroups that transcend organ site/lineage and are sensitive to a given class of therapeutics. Future steps include a clinical study using the genetic signature to determine whether it predicts sensitivity to HSP90 inhibitors.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Using A.I. to Transform Breast Cancer Care

Although I do not normally post articles about breast cancer, this article from the N.Y. Times intrigued me because the same principles I think, can be applied to ovarian cancer.

A. I. is "artificial intelligence" and Dr. Regina Barzilay, a computer science professor at M.I.T. and a recipient of the MacArthur genius award in 2017, herself a breast cancer survivor, is focusing her work on helping other women with breast cancer. Her goal is to develop algorithms to determine who is likely to develop breast cancer in the next five years, taking into account the subtle changes noted on mammograms.

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

Friday, October 4, 2019

Congratulations to our own Donna Wiegle!!

It didn't take Donna long to move from an idea of riding cross-country to making it happen during the month of September - ovarian cancer awareness month. Her goal was simple - to talk to anyone and everyone about the signs and symptoms of OC while raising money to support two great causes: Ovations for the Cure of OC and our own Turning-the-Tide Ovarian Cancer Retreats, Inc.

When musing about how much money she should set as her target, she decided go big - $50,000. And she is just shy of that goal. But I'm getting ahead of myself....

For those of us who know Donna, when she sets her mind to something, she makes it happen. When an elderly member of her small community on Swan's Island off the coast of ME was dying, she cooked meals, mowed his lawn, and took care of him.

There was no health care facility on the island, so she started one. It has state-of-the-art telemedicine equipment and here Donna holds classes for the residents, offers blood pressure clinics, arranges for doctors to come to regularly and provide services - in short, she does everything from cleaning the bathroom to drawing blood, saving residents the expense in time and money from leaving the island.

So when the idea of riding a motorcycle cross country and educating men and women about OC, it wasn't a stretch to imagine Donna doing this. She's that kind of woman. When she came across a teal and white Harley for sale one day on the mainland, it didn't take long for the threads of her plan to spin out. She eventually bought the motorcycle, had it specially outfitted for a long journey with the help of her husband Charlie, and the generosity of a local bike shop. She had business cards made up, she received hundreds of cards listing the symptoms of OC from OCRA, got a really cool leather vest inscribed with her logo, "Teal on Wheels", had a flag made up and set her eyes on starting in Oregon for a month long journey.

What has inspired her so much is the generosity of people she has met along her journey - people paying for her meals, handing her $100 bills, even joining in to ride with her along the way. She chronicled her journey on her FB page.

If you haven't yet donated and would like to, you can by following this link to her GoFundMe page.