In this month's Cancer News Review podcast, Dr. William Nelson, director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center discusses the top stories in cancer research. 

First, he discusses recent news of DNA sequencing efforts in leukemia.  As the availability of genome sequencing technology grows, we can inventory all of the acquired defects that contribute to cancer, he says. Finding cancer's "Achilles heel," the driver defects that spur cancer is the goal.  A cancer researcher at Washington University who has leukemia underwent DNA sequencing and researchers found the specific abnormality that drove his cancer.  Luckily, there was a drug already available that targets the abnormality and was used successfully to treat the researcher's leukemia.   Nelson says we are now beginning to use genomic sequencing to inform clinical decisions, and it will be important to determine regulatory standards to applying this technology.

In recent research appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nelson discusses a treatment for aplastic anemia.  Researchers had success using a treatment that mimics the action of hormones that helps make platelets and bone marrow.  He says we'll need to know more about its benefits and safety before the drug can be widely used.

In the podcast, Nelson also discusses two Johns Hopkins-led research studies, including drugs that boost the immune system and a poison pro-drug approach to treating cancer.  He predicts we may see more of this type of research in the future.

Program Notes:

0:15 DNA and RNA sequencing for Leukemia
1:15 DNA and RNA help with direction of treatment
2:15 Cost of sequencing  
3:00 Therapy for Lung Cancer
4:10 The benefit of the therapy
4:26 Unique targeting for the therapy
5:26 The antibodies treating advanced cancers
5:43 Treatment for aplastic anemia
7:00 Long term benefits and effects of Eltrombopag
8:00 A common weed treating cancer
9:05 New strategy for cancer therapy

 

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