Research Outreach Blog
February 3, 2022

World Cancer Day 2022: Innovations in cancer research

Despite cancer being a leading cause of death worldwide, detecting cancers early enough to treat them remains a significant challenge. World Cancer Day, held annually on February 4, presents an opportunity to celebrate the advances that have been made, and to reflect on the work still to be done. This blog post brings together five Research Outreach articles that outline current research focused on improving the treatment options available for different types of cancer. Follow the links to read about the projects in full.


1. A new concept for the treatment of brain cancer


Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is a serious form of brain cancer with highly limited treatment options. Through extensive clinical trials, dendritic cell vaccines have been shown to prolong life in patients. However, a successful randomised controlled clinical trial (RCT) has not been carried out. Professor Stefaan Van Gool, Medical Director of the Immuno-Oncological Center (IOZK) in Cologne, aims to understand why. His extensive literature review reveals the reasons why carrying out a successful RCT for GBM patients is so challenging. Building on this work, the IOZK team are developing promising new combination anti-cancer immunotherapy strategies that can be integrated with first-line treatment to improve patient prognosis. [Read more]


2. Promising treatment for ovarian cancer reaches final stages of clinical trials


Ovarian cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer. A treatment approach using platinum-based chemotherapy compounds is commonly used, however some tumour cells are resistant to the drugs used in this process. VBL Therapeutics is developing a promising new anti-cancer gene therapy: VB-111. With its unique dual mode of action, it targets the tumour environment by disrupting the blood supply to the tumour and recruiting immune cells to fight the tumour. Clinical trials show the treatment to be safe, well tolerated, and it has a positive impact on ovarian cancer. Further clinical trials are ongoing to learn more about the efficacy and long-term effects of VB-111 in a large, international group of patients. [Read more]


3. Exploring a novel approach to lung cancer treatment


Lung cancer, just like other types of cancer, is mostly treatable when diagnosed in the earliest stages. Treatments mainly include chemotherapy and surgeries such as sublobar resection and lobectomy. The thoracic surgical team led by Dr Calvin Ng at Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, have successfully applied a novel approach to lung cancer treatment. They have used non-invasive bronchoscopic microwave ablation (BMA) in the treatment of lung cancer and shown it to be safe and effective. It could serve as a foundation for future treatment of lung cancer in patients across the globe. [Read more]


4. New hope for accurate prognosis of prostate and blood cancers using 3D telomeric imaging and Lamin A/C


Professor Sabine Mai of the University of Manitoba, Canada, has been examining the links between genomic instability and cancer using 3D imaging of the genome. She has also collaborated on cutting-edge research, utilising a potential biomarker called Lamin A/C for determining the aggressiveness of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the severity of Multiple Myeloma. This research is a first step toward circumventing the pitfalls pertaining to current prognostic techniques. Prof Mai wrote a review in 2020, along with Niina Dubik, summarising what is currently known about Lamin A/C in normal and tumour cells. [Read more]


5. Exosome microRNAs as liquid biopsies for the monitoring of prostate cancer


Neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) is a highly aggressive variant of prostate cancer that emerges in response to hormone therapy. Dr Sharanjot Saini and her staff, from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, USA, are studying exosomes – nano-sized vesicles that transfer lipids, proteins, or genetic information between cells. These could be used as a source of biomarkers to provide a timely diagnosis of NEPC among prostate cancer patients. This has the potential to inform clinicians about treatment options and improve patient clinical outcomes. [Read more]


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