New on NCI’s Websites for March 2021
, by NCI Staff
NCI’s collection of cancer information products is constantly growing, so we provide periodic updates on new and updated content of interest to the cancer community.
Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971
During 2021, NCI is observing the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971. Over the course of the year, NCI will highlight various aspects of how this law has shaped the last 50 years of cancer research. For example, the story of Mary Lasker, whose advocacy led to the passage of the act, is one of several that illustrate the importance of advocates in tackling the monumental challenges cancer poses.
Ending Racism in Biomedical Research
NCI issued a statement in support of the NIH UNITE initiative to end structural racism and racial inequities in biomedical research. In the statement, NCI Director Norman Sharpless, M.D., describes NCI’s equity and inclusion efforts.
News Release: Fecal Transplants Help Patients with Advanced Melanoma Respond to Immunotherapy
For people with cancers that do not respond to immunotherapy drugs, the use of fecal transplants to change the gut bacteria may help the cancers respond, according to results of a recent NCI study. In the study, some patients with advanced melanoma who initially did not respond to an immune checkpoint inhibitor did respond to the drug after receiving a transplant of fecal bacteria from a patient who had responded to the drug.
News Release: SARS-CoV-2 Infection May Mean Lower Risk of Future Infection
An NCI study has found that prior infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, appears to protect against reinfection from the virus, at least for a few months. The finding may be important for deciding when to return to physical workplaces, schools, and other activities.
Video: Manufacturing CAR T Cells to Accelerate Cancer Immunotherapy Research
Only a handful of research labs in the United States can make CAR T cells for use in clinical trials. This video explains an NCI effort to expand and centralize the production of this form of immunotherapy so it can be tested in larger clinical trials performed at multiple hospitals.
Biomarker Testing for Cancer Treatment
Biomarker testing (also called tumor testing, tumor profiling, or tumor genetic testing) is a way of identifying changes in tumors that may help doctors select the most effective treatments for patients. This revised NCI resource answers several common questions people have about biomarker testing.
New Research Findings from the Center for Cancer Research
Scientists with NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR) have made important advances in determining how normal cells progress to become cancer cells. One study shows how damaged cells survive the cell cycle, the process of cells dividing and multiplying. Another study uncovered a key mechanism that fuels uncontrolled cell growth in yeast. Although the study was conducted in yeast cells, it could hold important clues for understanding how cancer and some genetic disorders occur in humans.
CCR scientists have also identified a protein that may be a target for new treatments for lung squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of lung cancer.
Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis Hosts Scientific Meetings
NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD) recently hosted two virtual scientific meetings: the Second NCI Workshop on Cell-Based Immunotherapy for Solid Tumors (for which video recordings of each day’s presentations are available) and the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN).
Aggressive Brain Tumor Mapped in Genetic, Molecular Detail
A new study has produced a detailed map of the genes, proteins, and infiltrating cells and signaling pathways that play key roles in driving glioblastoma. The study of tumors from 99 patients is the largest and most detailed schematic of this deadly brain tumor. The research is part of NCI’s Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC), managed by DCTD’s Office of Cancer Clinical Proteomics Research.
New Cancer Prevention Science Blog Posts
NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) recently published several new posts in the Cancer Prevention Science blog. To mark the anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971, DCP Director Philip Castle, M.D., Ph.D., honors scientists who shaped cancer prevention research during the last 50 years. Another post discusses research that reveals that naproxen (Aleve), an over-the-counter drug that has been readily available to consumers for years, may open a new option for preventing colorectal cancer in high-risk individuals with Lynch syndrome. Another reports that new data suggest aspirin’s protective effect for colorectal cancer comes only if people begin taking it before age 70.
And a pair of posts report on the recent NCI-sponsored Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Cancer Research Symposium, where experts discussed the widespread use of cannabis and cannabinoid products by cancer patients and how scientists are looking for ways to learn more about cannabis with help from people with cancer.
New Issue of OCG e-Newsletter Published
The Office of Cancer Genomics (OCG) has published issue 25 of its e-Newsletter. This issue highlights a new OCG program to support new technologies for use in creating next-generation cancer models, updated features and functions of the Cancer Target Discovery and Development (CTD2) Dashboard, updates on models available through the Human Cancer Models Initiative and data and new features of its searchable catalog, and the CTD2 Network’s PANACEA DREAM Challenge.
New Content from the Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives
NCI’s Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives (CSSI) has launched a new page of resources for researchers and clinicians associated with NCI’s Serological Sciences Network for COVID-19 (SeroNet). CSSI’s Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) program is featuring an investigator spotlight on Jonathan Schneck, M.D., Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University, who is using IMAT support to create immunotherapy technology to enrich and activate cancer-specific T cells. And the center’s Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) program has added new and updated informatics tools to the ITCR tool catalog.
Updates to Two Resources on HPV
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can cause many types of cancer. The updated HPV and Cancer page provides information about HPV, how it causes cancer, how it spreads, screening tests that can find cell changes caused by HPV, and the vaccine that can prevent cancer from forming.
Most women who have abnormal cervical screening test results do not have cervical cancer. Often, they have early cell changes that can be monitored or treated before cancer develops. The HPV and Pap Test Results page explains what tests are used to screen for HPV and cervical cancer, as well as follow-up tests and procedures after abnormal test results.
Advances in Endometrial Cancer
NCI-funded researchers have made significant advances in both the understanding and treatment of endometrial cancer. This new page highlights some of the latest research in endometrial cancer, NCI-supported programs that are fueling progress, and research findings from recent studies.
Advances in Bladder Cancer Research
Recent advances in immunotherapy and targeted therapy have greatly improved the treatment of bladder cancer. This page highlights some of the latest research in bladder cancer, including clinical advances that may soon translate into improved care and research findings from recent studies.
Resources on Managing the Last Days of Life
The PDQ summary Last Days of Life has been extensively revised. It includes updated information about care at the end of life, including common symptoms and questions about treatment, to help people with cancer and their families understand what to expect during this time.
Milestones in Cancer Research and Discovery
NCI’s timeline of milestones in cancer research and discovery was recently updated to include discoveries and advances made since 2014. Additionally, new entries were added throughout and links to related NCI content have been added.
New Drug Information Summaries
The following summaries have been added to NCI’s collection of drugs approved for different types of cancer.
- Lisocabtagene maraleucel (Breyanzi), a CAR T-cell therapy, was approved to treat adults with certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Umbralisib tosylate (Ukoniq) was approved to treat patients with marginal zone lymphoma or follicular lymphoma that has come back or did not respond to treatment.
- Relugolix (Orgovyx) was approved to treat patients with advanced prostate cancer.
- Tepotinib hydrochloride (Tepmetko) was approved to treat adults with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer that has a specific MET gene mutation.