MICROBIOME NEWS: Fecal transplant turns cancer immunotherapy non-responders into responders….

MICROBIOME NEWS: Fecal transplant turns cancer immunotherapy non-responders into responders.

Researchers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) demonstrate that changing the gut microbiome can transform patients with advanced melanoma who never responded to immunotherapy—which has a failure rate of 40% for this type of cancer—into patients who do.

Source: MICROBIOME NEWS: Fecal transplant turns cancer immunotherapy non-responders into responders….

I wonder what other cancers this might apply too.

ISRAEL: Israeli scientists say they’ve found ‘Achilles’ heel’ of cancer cells….

Dr. Uri Ben-David of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, who led the research, told The Media Line that scientists have known for well over a century that malignant cells have an abnormal number of chromosomes. Humans have 46 chromosomes (two sets of 23) but in cancer this number changes because, during cell division, chromosome segregation takes place that can lead to a phenomenon called aneuploidy.

Aneuploidy, the presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes in a cell, not only causes common genetic disorders but is also a hallmark of cancer cells. Not all cancers exhibit aneuploidy, but roughly 90% of solid tumors and 75% of blood cancers do, to a certain degree.

According to Ben-David, the findings open up an entirely new avenue for medical research.

“For decades, we’ve been trying to understand why [aneuploidy] happens in cancer and how it contributes to tumor formation and progression,” Ben-David said. More importantly, he said, scientists have been trying to see “if we can take advantage of this quite unique difference between cancer cells and normal cells in order to selectively kill the cancer cells.”

….

Scientists found that aneuploid cancer cells were highly sensitive to the perturbation of the mitotic checkpoint — a so-called cellular mechanism which ensures proper separation of chromosomes during cell division.

Source: Jerusalem Post

Source: ISRAEL: Israeli scientists say they’ve found ‘Achilles’ heel’ of cancer cells….

I’ve got aneuploidy all over the place in my cancer — deletions, trisomy, monosomy… apparently no translocations. I’ll be interested to see if anything comes of this.

Why mRNA vaccines could revolutionise medicine

My article for Spectator:

Almost 60 years ago, in February 1961, two teams of scientists stumbled on a discovery at the same time. Sydney Brenner in Cambridge and Jim Watson at Harvard independently spotted that genes send short-lived RNA copies of themselves to little machines called ribosomes where they are translated into proteins. ‘Sydney got most of the credit, but I don’t mind,’ Watson sighed last week when I asked him about it.

….

The message tells the cell to make part of one of the virus’s proteins which then alerts the body’s immune system. Once invented, the thing is like a general-purpose vaccine. You simply rewrite the message between the same opening and closing sequences, put it in the same kind of bubble, and fire it off — almost as easy for genetic engineers these days as writing a text is for teenagers. It is faster, cheaper, safer and simpler than the old ways of making vaccines.

More conventional vaccine designs may still make a vital contribution to defeating the pandemic, Oxford’s included. And the messenger method has its drawbacks, such as the need for extreme cold storage. But in the long run, messengers probably represent the future of vaccines. Now the principle has been approved by regulators, there may be no need to go through the same laborious and expensive three-phase clinical trials every time. Faced with a truly lethal pandemic — with a 10 per cent mortality rate, say — the vanishingly small likelihood that a new messenger vaccine would be unsafe pales into insignificance. You could deploy it in weeks or days.

What is more, at the cost of a few billion dollars, the world may now be able to build a library of messenger vaccines for every plausible coronavirus and influenza virus with pandemic potential we can find, test them in animals and store the recipes on a hard disk, ready to go at a moment’s notice. Moderna’s vaccine was first synthesised in mid-January, before we even knew the coronavirus was coming out of China.

I’m on a drug which is a monoclonal antibody designed to attack a specific antigen on my cancer. Other treatments involve taking T cells and modifying them so they’ll attack cancer. Why not program a mRNA vaccine to attack those same antigens?

Source: Why mRNA vaccines could revolutionise medicine

HEALTH: Covid-19 vaccines raise hope for cancer, throw open new field of medicine. The first vacc…

HEALTH: Covid-19 vaccines raise hope for cancer, throw open new field of medicine. The first vaccines against Covid-19 aren’t just a landmark in the fight against the pandemic. They’re also the stepping stone for an unconventional technology that could one day defeat other ailments that have eluded doctors, from cancer to heart disease.

Source: HEALTH: Covid-19 vaccines raise hope for cancer, throw open new field of medicine. The first vacc…

WOW: IBM Just Made its Cancer-Fighting AI Projects Open-Source. “The first, PaccMann, uses deep lear…

WOW: IBM Just Made its Cancer-Fighting AI Projects Open-Source. “The first, PaccMann, uses deep learning algorithms to predict whether compounds will be viable anticancer drugs, taking some of the expensive guesswork out of pharmaceutical development, according to the press release.

Source: WOW: IBM Just Made its Cancer-Fighting AI Projects Open-Source. “The first, PaccMann, uses deep lear…

For some weird reason, I’ve become more interested than ever in cancer treatment. 😉