Exploring the underlying biology of cancer and potential therapeutic strategies: a special issue focused on mechanism-based studies

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Credit: Beijing Zhongke Journal Publising Co. Ltd.

Cancer’s global impact is severe, affecting millions worldwide and driving cancer research to the forefront of biomedical science. A recent special issue from Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica, guest-edited by Dr. Daming Gao and Dr. Gaoxiang Ge from the Center for Excellence in Molecular Cell Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, dives deep into the molecular mechanisms behind cancer’s malignant phenotype – the key to developing effective cancer therapies.

This issue unites leading experts in basic cancer research, summarizing the latest advances in cancer biology and potential therapeutic strategies. Covered topics range widely, from the role of the Hippo pathway in tumorigenesis by Dr. Zhaocai Zhou (Fudan University) and Dr. Lei Zhang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) to the impact of aging on breast cancer by Dr. Limin Zhao (Nanchang University).

Metabolic reprogramming in cancer is explored by Dr. Peng Jiang (Tsinghua University) , Dr.Xianjun Yu from Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, and Dr. Xin Lu from Fudan University, while tumor heterogeneity is tackled by Dr. Hongbin Ji (Center for Excellence in Molecular Cell Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences). The tumor microenvironment in prostate cancer is examined by Dr. Yundong He (East China Normal University) and Dr. Shangcheng Ren (Naval Medical University), while leukemia immunotherapy is discussed by Dr. Junke Zheng and Yaping Zhang from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medcine. RNA methylation in esophageal cancer is reviewed by Dr. Hecheng Li from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medcine.

By exploring cancer’s underlying biology, this special issue aims to contribute to the development of mechanism-based approaches for cancer treatment, bringing hope to those affected by this devastating disease.

JournalActa Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica

Article TitleExploring the underlying biology of cancer and potential therapeutic strategies: a special issue focused on mechanism-based studies

Article Publication Date19-Jun-2023

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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ADVANCES IN CANCER CARE

MAYO CLINIC STAFFMayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Though the rate of cancer diagnosis has fallen slightly post-COVID-19, cancer remains a common diagnosis in the U.S., affecting almost 2 million people annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer remains the leading cause of death in the U.S.

The chronic nature of cancer is one of the reasons why there is so much research happening with countless organizations.

Advancements in cancer therapy are increasing survival rates and offering hope for a cure to more people. We are now treating cancer more precisely and with fewer side effects.

Here are five treatments that are changing the landscape of cancer:

Chimeric antigen receptor-T cell therapy, or CAR-T, is a relatively new therapy that was first approved in 2017 for the treatment of certain types of lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma. Mayo Clinic was one of the centers that treated people as part of the clinical trial that led to the approval of this treatment.

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CAR-T cell therapy uses the power of your immune system to fight your cancer. It involves modifying your immune cells and training them to attack the cancer cells in your body. CAR-T cell therapy is used to treat various conditions including specific types of lymphomas and leukemias, as well as multiple myeloma.

With CAR-T cell therapy, about 70% to 80% of people with lymphoma experience remission, meaning their symptoms of cancer are reduced or gone. More studies are underway using CAR-T cell therapies with more diseases and fewer side effects.

2 Immune checkpoint inhibitors

These therapies enhance your immune system’s ability to detect and eliminate cancer cells. The inhibitors stop your body’s natural checkpoints from limiting the body’s immune response to cancer cells.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first checkpoint inhibitor in 2011 to treat melanom. Since then, 15 more immune checkpoint inhibitors have been approved to treat over a dozen cancers, including small-cell lung, liver and colorectal cancers.

3 Minimally invasive surgery

For many people, surgery remains a necessary part of their cancer treatment. Minimally invasive surgery is defined as the use of small incisions and specialized instruments to remove cancer tissue. Since the incisions are smaller than in traditional procedures, minimally invasive surgery is associated with less pain, fewer complications and faster recovery times.

In recent years, minimally invasive surgical techniques have evolved further, and some surgeons are even using robotic technology to work more accurately and safely in the body’s smallest spaces. Robotic surgery techniques are available for more diseases than ever before.

4 Personalized cancer vaccines

Similar to vaccines for childhood diseases and other illnesses, cancer vaccines have the potential not only to treat certain cancers but to prevent their recurrence. Several cancer vaccines already are approved to treat melanoma, bladder cancer and prostate cancer, but researchers are incredibly excited about personalized mRNA cancer vaccines. These vaccines would be custom-made for an individual based on the specific genetic features of their tumor. Personalized mRNA cancer vaccines are expected to be accessible within this decade.

Researchers are learning more about how these methods work by studying vaccines, as they can be used to treat cancer and prevent its recurrence. This understanding is paving the way for the potential to vaccinate preventively against some cancers, just as we do with many viral illnesses.

5 Advances in radiation therapies

For patients with certain types of cancers, radiation therapy often is prescribed as a part of treatment. Many people are familiar with proton beam therapy, which is a highly precise radiation treatment that destroys cancer cells while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. Proton therapy has been found to cause fewer side effects. Though this technology was approved decades ago, refinements continue to improve its usefulness in many tumor types.

The next advancement in radiation therapy is something known as carbon ion therapy. Like proton beam therapy — with its ability to precisely target and destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue — carbon ion therapy is used to treat cancers that may be resistant to proton therapy. It is available at only a handful of medical centers in Europe and Asia. Mayo Clinic is building the first carbon ion therapy facility in North America at its campus in Jacksonville, Florida.

For more information, visit www.mayoclinic.org.

03

Lung Cancer News

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Oct. 25, 2022 — A new study has revealed significant racial disparities in how quickly minorities with the most common form of lung cancer receive potentially lifesaving radiation therapy compared with their white …

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Aug. 9, 2022 — More females than males who have never smoked have lung cancer and increasing evidence indicates that air pollution may be a major risk factor for these …

July 20, 2022 — Scientists have found that using immunotherapy alongside a drug that blocks a common gene mutation in lung cancer could be a promising new combination therapy for certain types of lung tumors. Their …

July 18, 2022 — Researchers have found a new way to track metastatic cancer cells in the body, which in the future could help identify cancer earlier and give patients more treatment …

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