translational research

How to re-target cancers that have evaded targeted therapy

Targeted therapy drugs transformed the outlook for people with the rare cancers known as gastrointestinal stromal tumors, enabling some to survive a decade or longer. A fraction of GIST patients, however, never respond to treatment. And most of those who do respond eventually relapse because cancer cells evolve and become resistant to the drugs designed to stop them. It’s the big limitation of targeted therapies. But researchers now have found a way to re-target GISTs that … Read More

Breaking through the limits of cancer medicine

Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., the new director of precision oncology at Oregon Health & Science University, outlines his vision for the field   Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)   The cancer diagnosis, a rare sarcoma, was devastating for an old friend of Gordon Mills. “We spent lots of time trying to understand his disease, trying to characterize it, and he went to my colleagues to ask about what was the next therapy for him,” Mills … Read More

Radiation medicine’s evolving role in cancer care

(NCI/Rhoda Baer)   Expanding treatment options for breast cancer. Enhancing immunotherapy. Addressing disparities in access to cutting-edge treatment. These are some of the highlights from ASTRO, the largest scientific and educational forum for radiation oncology. Members of OHSU’s Department of Radiation Medicine made 11 research presentations and contributed to many more at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in San Diego.

Zeroing in on drug combos against a formidable form of leukemia

  Targeted cancer therapies work by singling out gene mutations that drive tumor growth, then using a drug to block the effects of the mutant gene. But tumors consist of millions of cells that may collectively harbor hundreds of different “driver” mutations. That means therapies for some cancers will have to target more than one mutation at a time to be successful. To help solve the problem, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University devised … 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

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

For rare tumors, a far-reaching trial of immunotherapy

The first federally funded clinical trial of immunotherapy for rare cancers launched this week under the auspices of SWOG, the research consortium headquartered at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. Over 30 different types of rare cancers – defined as less than a 6 in 100,000 incidence per year – will be studied. The DART trial is testing the combined use of ipilimumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting the T-cell antigen CTLA4, and nivolumab, a monoclonal targeting the PD-1 … Read More

Enterprising cancer treatment ideas nurtured with pilot funds

Finding new treatment targets for aggressive prostate cancer, lymphoma and leukemia. Visualizing how breast tumors grow resistant to drug therapy. Using mobile phone sensors to track symptoms in patients with pancreatic cancer. These are some of the new pilot projects funded by the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

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:

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.