Vox Populi*: A Daughter’s Thoughts On the 5th Anniversary of Her Mother’s Death From Ovarian Cancer
“European researchers report [at the 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting being held in Orlando, Florida from May 29 through June 2nd] that starting treatment early for an ovarian cancer relapse based on CA125 blood levels alone does not improve overall survival, compared with delaying treatment until symptoms arise.”
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s charitable initiative supporting groundbreaking research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients in an accelerated timeframe, has reached a significant milestone, awarding the first round of three-year grants — that total $73.6 million — to five multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research Dream Teams. … Each Dream Team’s project, funded for three years pending satisfactory achievement of stated milestones, is “translational” in nature, geared toward moving science from “bench to bedside” where it can benefit patients as quickly as possible. …
A Dream Team of leading cancer researchers will accelerate development of drugs to attack a mutated [PI3K] molecular pathway that fuels endometrial, breast and ovarian cancers, funded by a three-year $15 million grant awarded today by [SU2C] … Genetic aberrations in the network, known as the PI3K pathway, are found in half of all breast cancer patients, 60 percent of all cases of endometrial cancer and 20 percent of ovarian cancer patients. Other cancers that include a mutationally activated PI3K pathway include melanoma, colon and prostate cancers, brain tumors, and leukemia.
A women’s lifetime breast cancer risk is approximately 13 percent, and her ovarian cancer risk is less than 2 percent. But women with BRCA1 (BReast CAncer 1) or BRCA2 (BReast CAncer 2) gene mutations may be 3 to 7 times more likely to develop breast cancer, and 9 to 30 times more likely to develop ovarian cancer, respectively, than women who do not possess such mutations. A recent report, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine on May 20, 2009, states that genetic testing of high-risk women for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers is greatly underutilized.
“Researchers in London have demonstrated the ability of adult stem cells from bone marrow (mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs) to deliver a cancer-killing protein to tumors. The genetically engineered stem cells are able to home to the cancer cells, both in culture and in mouse models, and deliver TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), destroying the tumor cells while sparing normal cells. …”
Researchers have generated altered immune cells that are able to shrink, and in some cases eradicate, large tumors in mice. The immune cells target mesothelin, a protein that is highly expressed, or translated in large amounts from the mesothelin gene, on the surface of several types of cancer cells. The approach, developed by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, shows promise in the development of immunotherapies for certain tumors. The study appeared online the week of Feb. 9, 2009, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In a more recent study, appearing online May 5, 2009, in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, NCI researchers developed a human antibody against mesothelin that shows potential, in laboratory experiments, for cancer treatment and diagnosis.
Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reported recently that symptoms of ovarian cancer tend to be relatively stable over time for women who are at increased risk of ovarian cancer based upon family history of cancer or BRCA 1/2 gene mutation.