In the first published results from a $386,000 National Cancer Institute grant awarded earlier this year, a paper by Scott Verbridge and Rafael Davalos in Scientific Reports has been published.

The paper — co-written by John Rossmeisl, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine  associate professor of internal medicine and neurology; Michael Sano, postdoctoral researcher at Stanford; and Virginia Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics Ph.D. students Jill Ivey of Fayetteville, Arkansas and Eduardo Latouche of Valencia, Venezuela, — describes the researchers’ work on developing a new type of treatment for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadly malignant primary brain tumor.

Patients with glioblastoma have a five-year survival rate of less than 10 percent, Verbridge said.

“This statistic has not improved significantly in decades, and there is still no treatment option to preferentially target the glioma stem cells or diffuse infiltrative cells that lead to tumor recurrence after surgery, chemo, or radiotherapy,” Verbridge said.

The paper, “Targeted cellular ablation based on the morphology of malignant cells,” describes research into a new treatment option involving pulsed electric fields (PEFs) that is better at targeting and killing malignant cells while leaving healthy cells alive.

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ATLANTA—A method to better trace changes in cancers and treatment of the prostate and lung without the limitations associated with radiation has been developed by Georgia State University researchers.

Their findings were published Wednesday, Nov. 17 in Scientific Reports by Nature.

The researchers developed a new imaging agent they named ProCA1.GRPR, and demonstrated that it leads to strong tumor penetration and is capable of targeting the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor expressed on the surface of diseased cells, including prostate, cervical and lung cancer.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Imlygic (talimogene laherparepvec), the first FDA-approved oncolytic virus therapy, for the treatment of melanoma lesions in the skin and lymph nodes.

“Melanoma is a serious disease that can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes difficult to treat,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “This approval provides patients and health care providers with a novel treatment for melanoma.”

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Melanoma, one type of skin cancer, is the leading cause of skin cancer related deaths, and is most often caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. According to the National Cancer Institute approximately 74,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma and nearly 10,000 will die from the disease in 2015.

Imlygic, a genetically modified live oncolytic herpes virus therapy, is used to treat melanoma lesions that cannot be removed completely by surgery. Imlygic is injected directly into the melanoma lesions, where it replicates inside cancer cells and causes the cells to rupture and die. 

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The US Food and Drug Administration has approved SonaCare Medical’s Sonablate 450 focused ultrasound system for the ablation of prostate tissue. Focused ultrasound enables treatment of organ-confined prostate disease while preserving surrounding healthy tissue, without radiation or surgery.

“For men with conditions like prostate cancer, the option of a non-invasive procedure that can selectively target and treat diseased tissue is very appealing,” says Neal Kassell, MD, Chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “American men have been traveling overseas for focused ultrasound treatment for prostate diseases for years, and we are pleased that they will now have access to this innovative treatment at leading centers in the United States.” 

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 thinkstockphotos-96586268.jpgA University of Kentucky study shows that withaferin A, a component of Withania somnifera (winter cherry) plant extract, may hold promise as a new treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Winter cherry extract was used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for thousands of years before it caught the interest of Subbarao Bondada, a University of Kentucky College of Medicine professor and researcher for the UK Markey Cancer Center. Because withaferin A shows promise in treating other cancers without the side effects associated with current treatments, Bondada’s laboratory tested it against lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. and is known for being particularly aggressive.

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