Gene Therapy Offers Treatment for Metastatic Melanoma
NCI researchers, led by Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, chief of surgery in NCI's Center for Clinical Research (CCR), achieved sustained regression of advanced melanoma by genetically engineering a patient's own white blood cells to recognize and attack cancer cells, as reported online August 31 in Science.
The treatment resulted in tumor regression for 2 of 17 patients: a 52-year-old man with advanced melanoma that had spread subcutaneously and to his liver, and a 30-year-old man whose melanoma had metastasized to his lymph nodes. Both men have remained disease-free more than a year after their treatment. Read more
Guest Update by Dr. Asad Umar
NCI Committed to Colorectal Cancer Prevention
Over the last several years, there has been important progress in clinical research testing the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor celecoxib (Celebrex) to prevent the recurrence of colon polyps in individuals who have had such polyps removed. This includes the recently published efficacy results of two phase III trials - the Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib (APC) and PreSAP trials - both of which demonstrated a significant reduction in the recurrence of colon polyps among participants taking celecoxib compared with placebo.
These trials, however, were not entirely positive for the safety profile of celecoxib. According to an NCI-funded independent safety analysis of data from both trials, there is an increased risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events associated with the daily use of celecoxib, particularly at higher doses. Celecoxib, the analysis found, can significantly increase blood pressure, which could possibly account for the increased cardiac risk. This must be investigated further, however. (Detailed information on the results of these studies and NCI-supported studies involving celecoxib are available on the NCI Web site.) Read more