Infectious Diseases

HIV in Liver Cells Found to Be Inactive, Narrowing Potential Treatment Targets

 In a proof-of-principle study, researchers at Johns Hopkins revealed that certain immune system cells found in the human liver, called liver macrophages, contain only inert HIV and aren’t likely to reproduce infection on their own in HIV-infected people on long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is a regimen containing combinations of HIV-targeting drugs that prevents the growth of the virus but does not eradicate it. The report on the findings, published
Infectious Diseases

Patients with Rare Natural Ability to Suppress HIV Shed Light on Potential Functional Cure

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have identified two patients with HIV whose immune cells behave differently than others with the virus and actually appear to help control viral load even years after infection. Moreover, both patients carry large amounts of virus in infected cells, but show no viral load in blood tests. While based on small numbers, the data suggest that long-term viral remission might be possible for more people. A
cancer Cancer Discovery Cancer screening

Combination chemotherapy and immunotherapy effective in Phase II leukemia study

A combination of the standard-of-care chemotherapy drug known as azacitidine, with nivolumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor, demonstrated an encouraging response rate and overall survival in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) according to findings from a Phase II study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Results from the trial, led by Naval Daver, M.D., associate professor of Leukemia, were published in the Nov. 8 online issue of Cancer Discovery. The study followed 70 patients
Biotechnology

New Penn Medicine Center Brings Immunotherapy Research to Brain Tumor Treatment

Today, Penn Medicine is announcing the newest Translational Center of Excellence (TCE) in the Abramson Cancer Center, focused on Glioblastoma Multiforme, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer. The team will investigate new immune therapies for glioblastoma and, in particular, design and test new CAR T cell therapies. This involves engineering patients’ T cells (the cells that act on behalf of the immune system) to attack tumor cells.
Biotechnology

Researchers Ground-Breaking Discovery Finds New Link Between Autoimmune Diseases and a Gut Bacterium

Queen’s University researchers have, for the first time, found a specific microbe in the gut that pumps out protein molecules that mimic a human protein, causing the human defence system to turn on its own cells by mistake. The culprit in this case is called Bacteroides fragilis, a bacterium that normally lives in the human gut. The Queen’s team has shown that this bacterium produces a human-like protein that could
Biotechnology

Johns Hopkins Grant Project Looks at Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment Resistances

 Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center received a $3.1 million grant to study the resistance of limited stage small cell lung cancer to a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (chemoradiation). The National Institutes of Health awarded the grant to researchers from The Johns Hopkins University, co-led by Luigi Marchionni, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of oncology, Christine Hann, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of oncology, and Phuoc Tran, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of
Biotechnology

Researchers Uncover Potential New Drug Targets in the Fight Against HIV

Johns Hopkins scientists report they have identified two potential new drug targets for the treatment of HIV. The finding is from results of a small, preliminary study of 19 people infected with both HIV—the virus that causes AIDS—and the hepatitis C virus. The study revealed that two genes—CMPK2 and BCLG, are selectively activated in the presence of type 1 interferon, a drug once used as the first line of treatment
cancer Cancer Discovery

Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and Cancer Research Institute Announce New Collaboration in Cancer Immunotherapy

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) announced today that FNIH has selected CRI to be its source of landscape intelligence in immuno-oncology, also called cancer immunotherapy. This collaboration draws on CRI’s 65 years of leadership in cancer immunotherapy and its first-in-class immunotherapy landscape analyses produced by members of the Anna-Maria Kellen Clinical Accelerator program at CRI. With the unprecedented progress of
Immunotherapies

Scientists Identify a Protein Complex That Shapes the Destiny of T Cells

Like a mentor helping medical students choose between specialties, a protein complex helps shape the destiny of developing T cells, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have reported. The research appears today in the journal Science Immunology and adds to growing evidence of the critical role cell metabolism plays in the immune system. The protein complex is mTORC1, which regulates cell growth and metabolism. St. Jude immunologists found mTORC1 acts
cancer Cancer Discovery

Breast Cancer Could Be Prevented by Targeting Epigenetic Proteins, Study Suggests

Researchers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto have discovered that epigenetic proteins promote the proliferation of mammary gland stem cells in response to the sex hormone progesterone. The study, which will be published June 19 in the Journal of Cell Biology, suggests that inhibiting these proteins with drugs could prevent the development of breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease. Mammary glands contain two types of
cancer Cancer Discovery

Temple University Scientists Eradicate Cancer Cells Through Dual Targeting of DNA Repair Mechanisms

Proteins commonly known as BRCA – short for BReast CAncer susceptibility gene– serve a critical role in cellular DNA repair, but when mutated they allow genetic errors to replicate, facilitating cancer development. If the BRCA repair system is disabled in cancer cells, the cells simply turn to backup repair mechanisms and adapt to alternative repair pathways, a survival mode that also underlies their ability to evade targeted drug therapies. Now,
cancer Cancer Discovery

By Forming Clots in Tumors, Immune Cell AIDS Lung Cancer’s Spread

University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have found that helping to to form clots within tumors, immune cells that flock to a particular type of lung cancer are actually building a foundation for the tumor to spread within the body. In the journal Nature Communications, researchers report for a particular subset of lung cancer tumors, there is a high prevalence of immune cells called inflammatory monocytes. These
cancer Cancer Discovery

New CAR T Case Study Shows Promise in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy, also known as CAR T therapy, was named the biggest research breakthrough of 2017 by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The personal gene therapy utilizes a patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer. The Food and Drug Administration has approved CAR T therapy products for adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and pediatric and young adults suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Now, researchers at
Infectious Diseases

‘Molecular Scissors’ Could Be Key to Cutting Off Diseases Including HIV Infection

One way to fight diseases including HIV infection and autoimmune disorders could involve changing how a naturally occurring enzyme called SAMHD1 works to influence the immune system, new research suggests. The study, led by researchers from The Ohio State University, details how the enzyme influences proteins that stimulate the immune response. SAMHD1 isn’t a molecular “good guy” or “bad guy” per se, but there are cases in which blocking its
cancer Cancer Discovery

A Combination of Cancer Immunotherapies Could Save More Lives

Scientists at the University of Southampton have discovered a new combination of cancer immunotherapy treatment that could improve patients’ survival rates. The pre-clinical study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, by Dr Sarah Buchan and colleagues, combined antibodies targeting PD-1/PD-L1, a type of immunotherapy known as checkpoint blockade that overcomes the resistance of cancer cells to the immune system, with another antibody against CD27, which kick starts the immune system to find
Biotechnology

New explanation for why airways close in asthma holds promise for future class of drugs

 Houston Methodist researchers have a new explanation for what causes the lungs' airways to close during asthma attacks that could change the lives of the 300 million people worldwide who suffer from asthma. The discovery holds promise for developing a new class of drugs that is radically different from the steroids currently used to treat it. Led by Xian C. Li, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues in the Immunobiology and Transplant Science
Biotechnology

Rare Melanoma Type Highly Responsive to Immunotherapy

Desmoplastic melanoma is a rare subtype of melanoma that is commonly found on sun-exposed areas, such as the head and neck, and usually seen in older patients. Treatment is difficult because these tumors are often resistant to chemotherapy and lack actionable mutations commonly found in other types of melanoma that are targeted by specific drugs. However, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers report in the Jan. 10 issue of Nature that patients with desmoplastic melanoma are more responsive
Biotechnology

Beta Blockers May Boost Immunotherapy, Help Melanoma Patients Live Longer

A common, inexpensive drug that is used to prevent heart attacks and lower blood pressure may also help melanoma patients live longer. Researchers at Penn State found that melanoma patients who received immunotherapy while taking a specific type of beta blocker lived longer than patients who received immunotherapy alone. In a follow-up experiment with mice, the researchers saw the same results. Todd Schell, professor of microbiology and immunology at Penn State
Biotechnology cancer Clinical Trials Immunotherapies

For cancer patients with HIV, immunotherapy appears safe

A new category of immunotherapies called checkpoint inhibitors that has been highly effective against many different cancers appears safe to use in patients with both advanced malignancies and HIV, a population excluded from earlier trials of such therapies, according to an early-phase trial. Study Principal Investigator, Dr. Thomas Uldrick of the HIV & AIDS Malignancy Branch at the National Cancer Institute, will present late breaking results from the first 17
Biotechnology Cell Therapy Clinical Trials Gene Therapy Immunotherapies Infectious Diseases Vaccines

New molecule shows promise in HIV vaccine design

Researchers at the University of Maryland and Duke University have designed a novel protein-sugar vaccine candidate that, in an animal model, stimulated an immune response against sugars that form a protective shield around HIV. The molecule could one day become part of a successful HIV vaccine. "An obstacle to creating an effective HIV vaccine is the difficulty of getting the immune system to generate antibodies against the sugar shield of