translational research

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:

Making cancer clinical trials more relevant

When a new cancer drug improves survival in a clinical trial, it too often remains unclear whether the drug will be effective in clinical practice, asserts a provocative commentary (co-authored by an OHSU physician) that’s making headlines.

Intel pledges crowdfunding for precision oncology at OHSU

A precision oncology clinical trial in the works at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute gained a $25,000 pledge from Intel Corp. The company said it will contribute the money by means of a fund on Consano, a crowdfunding website that lets individuals donate directly to researchers or institutions.

Immunotherapy takes a new turn for life-threatening prostate cancer

At the recent European Society for Medical Oncology meeting, OHSU oncologist Julie Graff, M.D., presented the first evidence of meaningful clinical activity for PD-1 blockade in men with aggressive, advanced-stage prostate cancer. It’s a heartening result given that prior studies of men with metastatic prostate cancer showed no evidence of anti-tumor activity with immune therapies that work by blocking PD-1 signals. In a video interview with ecancertv.org, Graff talked about what the findings could mean for patients.

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.