cancer biology

Outsmarting treatment-resistant prostate cancers

Aggressive prostate tumors can rapidly evolve to resist PARP inhibitors, but it may be possible to detect resistance early enough to counteract.   Two views of the structure of the DNA-repair protein PARP1 It was a surprising discovery that opened up a new avenue for treating prostate cancer. In recent years, studies have revealed that gene mutations long associated with breast and ovarian cancers – BRCA1 and BRCA2 – also play a significant role in driving … Read More

Oregon’s precision medicine pioneer targets earlier cancer detection

OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Director Brian Druker talks with Medscape about breaking out of one-size-fits-all thinking in cancer screening and prevention ____________________ “We are now in the process of building an entire program on what I call precision early detection of cancer,” said Brian Druker, M.D., “We are trying to be more accurate in taking the same precepts of precision medicine for advanced cancer and using them earlier.” If it works, Druker told Medscape’s editor-in-chief, … Read More

A new way to guide cancer immune therapy

Scrutinizing the immune cells infiltrating a tumor may reveal the cancer’s vulnerability or resistance to immune-based therapies.  

The cancer drug that “changed everything”

Understanding the earliest drivers of cancer formation can lead to less toxic and more effective treatments.   It transformed the outlook for people diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. A disease with a three- to five-year life expectancy became, for most patients, a chronic, long-term condition managed with a daily pill. And this week, researchers published the outcomes of people treated for more than 10 years with the drug imatinib (Gleevec), ushered from lab to clinical … Read More

Why breast cancer is more dangerous for new moms

Breast cancers that emerge after a woman gives birth are significantly more deadly. Those diagnosed within five years of childbirth are about three times more likely to spread and give rise to life-threatening metastatic tumors. Researchers now are closing in on the reasons why.   Scientists at OHSU have discovered how the liver – one of the most common sites of breast cancer metastasis – becomes vulnerable to tumor invasion after childbirth. Using rodent models, … Read More

Knight Cancer signal achievements of 2016

The staff and faculty of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute accomplished much together during the past year. Here’s a sampling of achievements that reflect the mission of delivering compassionate care and scientific discoveries that will end cancer as we know it:

The ‘Cancer translated’ blog top ten posts of 2016

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s “Cancer translated” blog explores new findings, ideas and debates in cancer medicine, from basic biology, to clinical trials, to prevention, survivorship and patient advocacy. We sorted a year’s worth of posts to find the most heavily trafficked reports. Here’s the top 10 in order of popularity:

New insight into the anti-cancer effect of aspirin

For reasons that remain uncertain, people who take aspirin on a regular basis have a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and certain other malignancies. Now researchers have identified a previously unknown way that aspirin could achieve this result: “The benefit of aspirin may be due to its effect on blood cells called platelets rather than acting directly on tumor cells,” says Owen McCarty, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Oregon Health … Read More

Predicting colon polyp risk from microRNA

Differences in microRNA in colon polyps may help identify high risk cases that require more frequent follow-up screening, according to a study with four OHSU co-authors that is featured on the cover of Cancer Prevention Research this month.

Instant message to cancer: time to die

Cancer researchers have uncovered a signaling link – like a Snapchat between cells – that could be used to make tumors more vulnerable to therapy. It is a signaling mode that’s also active in severe autoimmune diseases. In the new study published online Friday in Nature Communications, researchers showed that boosting the signal in a mice with tumors made cancer cells suffer more DNA damage from cancer drugs. It also blocked the growth of new … Read More

Targeting leukemia with drug combinations

Targeting leukemia with drug combinations

Cancer researchers have devised a way to rapidly screen combinations of drugs to identify pairs of agents most likely to work synergistically against some of the most difficult to treat forms of leukemia.