Treatment Research

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  • Ibrutinib Relieves Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease Symptoms
    Posted: January 11, 2017

    The targeted cancer therapy ibrutinib can effectively treat the symptoms of chronic graft-versus-host disease, a common and serious complication of allogeneic stem cell transplants, findings from a small clinical trial show.

  • Identifying Novel Drug Combinations to Overcome Treatment Resistance
    Posted: December 21, 2016

    Drug resistance is a common occurrence that can lead to tumor relapse and patient death. Scientists are exploring combinations of different cancer drugs that have the potential to kill more cancer cells and overcome or delay drug resistance.

  • Cellular Immunotherapy Targets a Common Human Cancer Mutation
    Posted: December 7, 2016

    In a study of an immune therapy for colorectal cancer that involved a single patient, researchers identified a method for targeting the cancer-causing protein produced by a mutant form of the KRAS gene.

  • Device Uses Cancer Cells' Mass to Predict Response to Treatment
    Posted: November 22, 2016

    Scientists have designed a device that measures the mass of single cancer cells to predict how cells respond to drug treatment. The technology could potentially help clinicians determine whether a drug effectively kills cancer cells.

  • Educating Patients about Genetic Test Results: An Interview with Carol Weil about the COMET Study
    Posted: October 14, 2016

    The recently launched COMET study will examine whether educating patients with cancer about genetic testing will increase their knowledge and reduce their stress levels after receiving genomic testing results.

  • Chromosomal Instability Score May Predict Response to Cancer Treatment
    Posted: September 23, 2016

    A new study suggests that a chromosomal instability score may help guide treatment choices for patients with cancer.

  • Tumor DNA in Blood May Signal Response to T-Cell Transfer Immunotherapy
    Posted: August 31, 2016

    A study suggests that doctors could use circulating tumor DNA to quickly identify patients who are responding to T-cell transfer immunotherapy.

  • Olanzapine Helps Prevent Nausea and Vomiting Caused by Chemotherapy
    Posted: July 21, 2016

    A drug currently used to treat several psychiatric conditions can help prevent nausea and vomiting in patients receiving chemotherapy, a large clinical trial showed.

  • Anthrax Toxin-Based Cancer Therapy Targets Tumor Blood Vessels
    Posted: July 20, 2016

    A therapy that uses the anthrax toxin selectively targets blood vessels that feed tumors and support their growth and spread, researchers have found.

  • Early-Stage Cancer Trials Support Promise of Precision Medicine, Immunotherapy
    Posted: June 17, 2016

    Encouraging findings from several early-stage clinical trials featured at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting support the promise of precision medicine and immunotherapy.

  • Blood Test for Genetic Changes in Tumors Shows Promise as Alternative to Tumor Biopsy
    Posted: June 14, 2016

    The largest study of its kind to date has shown that a test that assesses DNA mutations and other changes in genetic material shed from tumors into the blood—a liquid biopsy—produced results highly similar to those of traditional tumor biopsies.

  • Patient-Derived Antibody Appears to Selectively Target Tumor Cells, Spur Immune Attack
    Posted: June 6, 2016

    The CFH antibodies killed tumor cells in cell lines of several cancer types and slowed tumor growth in mouse models of brain and lung cancer, without evidence of side effects.

  • Targeted Photoimmunotherapy Approach for Cancer Moves Forward
    Posted: April 25, 2016

    Two new studies from NCI researchers add to growing evidence of the promise of a novel type of cancer immunotherapy that uses infrared light to activate rapid and selective killing of cancer cells.

  • Nanoparticle Generator Slips Chemotherapy Past Tumor Cells’ Protective Barriers
    Posted: April 11, 2016

    Researchers have developed a new injectable nanoparticle-generating technology that can deliver a cancer drug to the nucleus of metastatic breast cancer cells.

  • Persistent Peripheral Neuropathy Increases Fall Risk among Cancer Survivors
    Posted: February 5, 2016

    Many female cancer survivors have problems with mobility and other physical functioning as a result of persistent peripheral neuropathy caused by chemotherapy treatment, according to a new study.

  • Checking In on Cancer Checkpoint Inhibitors
    Posted: December 18, 2015

    NCI’s Dr. James Gulley discusses cancer checkpoint inhibitors, their impact on patient care, and future directions for these therapies.

  • Treating Cancer without Harming the Heart
    Posted: December 7, 2015

    Some cancer treatments may damage the heart, and researchers from the fields of oncology and cardiology are working to find ways to prevent, manage, and possibly even reverse these side effects.

  • Study Identifies New Opportunities for Targeted Immunotherapy
    Posted: October 29, 2015

    A team of NCI researchers has reported that several types of gastrointestinal cancer have tumor-specific mutations that can be recognized by the immune system, thereby offering a new therapeutic opportunity for patients with these tumors.

  • FDA Approves Rolapitant to Prevent Nausea and Vomiting from Chemotherapy
    Posted: September 11, 2015

    The FDA has approved rolapitant to prevent chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

  • Collateral Damage: Missing Tumor Suppressor Gene Creates Opening for Cancer Treatment
    Posted: May 15, 2015

    Tumor cells that are missing one copy of the tumor suppressor gene TP53 often harbor another genetic alteration that may make them susceptible to a targeted attack, according to a new study.

  • Donor telomere length and survival after hematopoietic cell transplantation in patients with severe aplastic anemia
    Posted: February 10, 2015

    A new NCI study has found that, among patients with severe aplastic anemia who received a hematopoietic cell transplant from an unrelated donor, those whose donor white blood cells had longer telomeres had higher survival rates five-years after transplantation than those whose donor white blood cells had shorter telomeres.

  • Precision Medicine Initiative® and Cancer Research
    Posted: January 30, 2015

    Under the Precision Medicine Initiative, NCI is working to accelerate the pace of research that will help identify which treatments work best for which patients.

  • Which Patients Will Benefit from Immunotherapy for Cancer? Some Hints Emerge
    Posted: December 17, 2014

    Researchers have identified a “genetic signature” in the tumors of patients with advanced melanoma who responded to a form of immunotherapy called checkpoint blockade. The results could be the basis for a test that identifies likely responders to this treatment as well as for developing new treatments.

  • Method for Identifying Combination Therapies to Combat Treatment Resistance Shows Promise
    Posted: December 12, 2014

    Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston have reported on a method for studying treatment resistance that may identify combinations of targeted therapies that can help to combat resistance in some patients.

  • CAR T-Cell Therapy: Engineering Patients’ Immune Cells to Treat Their Cancers
    Updated: October 16, 2014

    An article about an immunotherapy approach that involves engineering patients’ own immune cells to recognize and attack their tumors. Several small ongoing phase I trials testing ACT in patients with advanced acute lymphoblastic leukemia are described.

  • NIH exceptional responders to cancer therapy study launched
    Posted: September 24, 2014

    The Exceptional Responders Initiative, a study to investigate the molecular factors of tumors associated with exceptional treatment responses of cancer patients to drug therapies, was launched today by NCI. Scientists will attempt to identify the molecular features of tumors that predict whether or not a particular drug or class of drugs will be beneficial.

  • Treatment helps young women preserve their fertility during breast cancer chemotherapy
    Posted: May 30, 2014

    Researchers have found that young women with breast cancer were able to better preserve their fertility during cancer treatments by using hormone-blocking drug injections that put them into temporary menopause. The results announced today at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago are from the Prevention of Early Menopause Study (POEMS), a clinical trial sponsored by NCI.

  • NIH study demonstrates that a new cancer immunotherapy method could be effective against a wide range of cancers
    Posted: May 8, 2014

    A new method for using immunotherapy to specifically attack tumor cells that have mutations unique to a patient's cancer has been developed by NCI scientists.

  • NCI launches trial to assess the utility of genetic sequencing to improve patient outcomes
    Posted: January 30, 2014

    A pilot trial to assess whether assigning treatment based on specific gene mutations can provide benefit to patients with metastatic solid tumors is being launched this month by the NCI. The Molecular Profiling based Assignment of Cancer Therapeutics, or M-PACT, trial is one of the first to use a randomized trial design to assess if assigning treatment based on genetic screening can improve the rate and duration of response in patients with advanced solid tumors.

  • New studies demonstrate that modified T cells are effective in treating blood-borne cancers
    Posted: December 9, 2013

    At the 2013 American Society of Hematology meeting in Dec. 2013, James Kochenderfer, M.D., NCI, presented findings from two clinical trials evaluating the use of genetically modified immune system T cells as cancer therapy. These reports represent important advances in the understanding of gene therapy for treatment of advanced blood-borne cancers.

  • NIH mouse study finds gut microorganisms may determine cancer treatment outcome
    Posted: November 21, 2013

    An intact gut commensal microbiota, which is a population of microorganisms living in the intestine, is required for optimal response to cancer therapy, according to a mouse study by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI)

  • NIH study links Hodgkin lymphoma treatment to possible risk of stomach cancer
    Posted: August 26, 2013

    Hodgkin lymphoma survivors who received certain radiation and chemotherapy regimens have been found to be at increased risk of subsequently developing stomach cancer.

  • MEK: A Single Drug Target Shows Promise in Multiple Cancers
    Updated: June 24, 2013

    Drugs that block the MEK protein have shown promise in several cancers. Trametinib has had encouraging results in patients with advanced melanoma, and selumetinib has been tested in patients with advanced thyroid and ovarian cancers.

  • More Research Is Needed on What Patients Being Treated for Cancer Should Eat
    Posted: May 14, 2013

    A survey of online recommendations shows there is a need for more research on the optimal nutritional approaches for patients being treated for cancer.

  • A drug target that stimulates development of healthy stem cells
    Posted: April 17, 2013

    Scientists have overcome a major impediment to the development of effective stem cell therapies by studying mice that lack CD47, a protein found on the surface of both healthy and cancer cells. They discovered that cells obtained from the lungs of CD47-deficient mice, but not from ordinary mice that have the CD47 gene, multiplied in a culture dish and spontaneously converted into stem cells

  • Cancer immunotherapy in children: How does it differ from approaches in adults?
    Posted: April 8, 2013

    More often than not, cancer immunotherapies that work in adults are used in modified ways in children. Seldom are new therapies developed just for children, primarily because of the small number of pediatric patients relative to the adult cancer patient population. Depicted are members of NCI’s Pediatric Oncology Branch. From left: Drs. Crystal Mackall, Daniel Lee, and Alan Wayne

  • NIH study finds increases in risk of certain leukemias related to treatment
    Posted: February 14, 2013

    A new study describes the pattern of risk for chemotherapy-related acute myeloid leukemia among adult cancer survivors over the past three decades who have previously been treated with chemotherapy for other cancers. These patterns coincide with major shifts in treatment practices. In particular, the study found that the risk of treatment-related AML among patients treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma has increased steadily during the last few decades.

  • NIH study uncovers new mechanism of action for class of chemotherapy drugs
    Posted: November 1, 2012

    NIH researchers have discovered a significant new mechanism of action for a class of chemotherapy drugs known as poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors, or PARP inhibitors. They have also identified differences in the toxic capabilities of three drugs in this class which are currently being tested in clinical trials. Prior to this study, PARP inhibitors were thought to work primarily by blocking PARP enzyme activity, thus preventing the repair of DNA damage and ultimately causing cell death.

  • Treating KSHV-Associated Multicentric Castleman Disease
    Posted: September 18, 2012

    In this pilot study, patients with KSHV-associated multicentric Castleman disease will receive intravenous tocilizumab every other week for up to 12 weeks. Patients who do not benefit from tocilizumab therapy alone may go on to receive high-dose AZT and valganciclovir in addition to tocilizumab.

  • Gene identified that sensitizes cancer cells to chemotherapy drugs
    Posted: August 27, 2012

    NCI scientists have found that a gene, Schlafen-11 (SLFN11), sensitizes cells to substances known to cause irreparable damage to DNA.  As part of their study, the researchers used a repository of 60 cell types to identify predictors of cancer cell response to classes of DNA damaging agents, widely used as chemotherapy treatments for many cancers.

  • So Others May Benefit: Young Cancer Patients and Survivors Take Part in Oncofertility Research
    Posted: June 26, 2012

    Finding young people willing to take part in clinical trials can be difficult. Researchers are using new and traditional ways to connect with and enroll young patients in clinical studies to assess and offset infertility caused by cancer and its treatment.

  • A Transfer of Power: Harnessing Patients' Immune Cells to Treat Their Cancer
    Posted: May 1, 2012

    Adoptive cell transfer is a form of immune-boosting therapy that is being tested in clinical trials to treat a number of cancers. Several research studies are using the technique to treat advanced melanoma.

  • Targeted Nanoparticle Tested in Patients with Cancer
    Posted: April 17, 2012

    By packaging molecules of the chemotherapy drug docetaxel in nanoparticles, researchers aim to deliver a high dose directly to tumors and reduce the drug's toxicity. A trial to test the targeted nanoparticle is underway in humans.

  • Complex Immune-Based Cancer Treatment Shows Signs of Progress
    Posted: March 15, 2012

    Genetically engineered T cells are being studied for the treatment of a variety of cancers. This article explores the challenges of moving the therapy from small clinical trials into the clinic.

  • Genetic abnormality predicts benefit from treatment for a rare brain tumor:
    Posted: January 19, 2012

    A clinical trial has shown that addition of chemotherapy to radiation therapy leads to a near doubling of median survival time in patients with a form of brain tumor (oligodendroglioma) that carries a chromosomal abnormality called the 1p19q co-deletion. This abnormality is characterized by the simultaneous deletion of the short arm of chromosome 1 and long arm of chromosome 19. The presence of the chromosomal abnormality was associated with substantially better prognosis and marked improvements in survival in a treatment program of combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy compared to radiation therapy alone.

  • Tackling the Conundrum of Cachexia in Cancer
    Posted: November 1, 2011

    An article about why and how some patients with cancer develop a wasting syndrome that causes dramatic loss of muscle mass and substantial weight loss.

  • Tracking the Rise of Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer
    Posted: August 9, 2011

    Use of robot-assisted prostate surgery has skyrocketed. What the trend means for patients and the health care system is still a matter of study and debate.

  • Design Dilemma: The Debate over Using Placebos in Cancer Clinical Trials
    Posted: May 3, 2011

    Many patients and researchers assert that in cancer clinical trials, placebos are inappropriate and that all participants should receive active treatment. But with the emergence of molecularly targeted anticancer agents, some cancer researchers believe placebo-controlled trials are now feasible and, in some cases, necessary.

  • Investigating Nature's Mysteries for Drug Development
    Posted: April 19, 2011

    More than half of the drugs approved to treat cancer come from a natural product or a natural product prototype. Scientists in NCI-Frederick's Natural Products Branch are exploring ways to harness chemicals produced by marine invertebrates, other animals, plants, and microbes for cancer drug discovery.

  • Fertility Still Possible for Many Male Cancer Survivors, Study Finds
    Posted: March 22, 2011

    Some male survivors of childhood cancer who were thought to be sterile may be able to conceive children thanks to a surgical procedure.

  • Preserving Fertility While Battling Cancer
    Posted: January 11, 2011

    Some oncologists neglect to discuss the possibility of treatment-related infertility with patients of reproductive age. Researchers are developing decision aids to help patients make an informed, carefully considered decision about fertility.

  • Guidelines Urge Exercise for Cancer Patients, Survivors
    Posted: June 29, 2010

    The benefits of exercise are well documented in a number of cancers. A panel of experts in cancer, fitness, obesity, and exercise training convened by the American College of Sports Medicine is spreading what they believe to be one of the most important messages for cancer patients and survivors: Avoid inactivity.

  • Talking About Trials: Overcoming Bottlenecks in Clinical Communication
    Posted: May 18, 2010

    Participation in clinical trials by adult patients is dismally low. No one knows how many patients are offered the opportunity to enroll in trials. NCI researchers are studying how patients hear about trials, whether they discuss enrollment with their providers, and the roles they play in deciding to participate in a trial.

  • Overcoming Age Limits in Cancer Clinical Trials
    Posted: May 18, 2010

    Adolescents, young adults, and the elderly lag far behind other age groups when it comes to enrolling in clinical trials. Their participation is critical to advancing effective therapies for these age groups.

  • FDA Approves First Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine
    Posted: May 4, 2010

    Sipuleucel-T (Provenge) is a relatively nontoxic treatment option for men with hormone-resistant or castration-resistant prostate cancer. The FDA's approval of the vaccine represented the first proof of principle that immunotherapy can work in cancer.

  • Focusing on Older Cancer Patients: A Clinical Need and a Research Necessity
    Posted: April 6, 2010

    Older patients metabolize drugs differently, are more likely to have other illnesses, and are more prone to problems that can influence cancer treatment efficacy. Researchers are now studying and altering their approach to caring for older patients.

  • Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy
    Posted: February 23, 2010

    The pain and discomfort caused by peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common reasons that cancer patients stop their treatment early. Researchers are working to improve new screening, treatment, and prevention options for patients.

  • Harnessing the Biological Activity of Natural Products
    Posted: September 22, 2009

    Researchers have been intrigued by the potent and beneficial biological activity shown by some natural products and are testing ways to incorporate them into standard and experimental cancer treatment regimens, both to enhance the anticancer effects of therapy and reduce side effects.

  • Proton Therapy for Cancer
    Posted: September 8, 2009

    Public interest in this form of radiation therapy is growing, but members of the medical and research communities are concerned that enthusiasm for this promising therapy may be getting ahead of the research.

  • Dietary Supplements and Cancer Treatment: A Risky Mixture
    Posted: August 11, 2009

    Some patients with cancer turn to dietary supplements advertised as having anticancer effects or being supportive of general health. But these biologically active compounds may interact dangerously with chemotherapy, radiation, or other cancer treatments.

  • Delving Into Possible Mechanisms for Chemobrain
    Posted: March 24, 2009

    Cancer or cancer treatment can cause cognitive changes that impair concentration, memory, multitasking, and planning ability. Research is underway to explain why these changes occur and how they may be treated.

  • Lymphedema After Cancer: How Serious Is It?
    Posted: May 29, 2007

    An article about a side effect of cancer treatment that causes lymph to build up in the extremities and cause swelling.

  • Cancer Pain: Helping Patients Help Themselves
    Posted: August 15, 2006

    Researchers are focusing on patient education as an important component in overcoming barriers to cancer pain relief.

  • Communicating about Cancer Pain
    Posted: November 29, 2005

    Patients with cancer may be reluctant to discuss their pain with their doctors for a variety of reasons. NCI sponsors research that examines the barriers that prevent patients from talking about pain.