Joe Dangor (@joedangor)
Activity by Joe Dangor
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic Cancer Center announced today that it is participating in an expanded access program for the experimental cancer drug MK-3475 at its three sites in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. MK-3475 is a therapy for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. This program will provide expanded access to the drug prior to its approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
MK-3475 received “breakthrough therapy” designation from the FDA based on early interim results from a single-arm, open-label Phase I study in 85 patients with surgically unresectable metastatic melanoma. In that trial, the drug had a 51 percent objective response rate. The objective response includes patients with a complete response, those whose tumors were no longer detectable, and those whose tumors shrunk by at least 30 percent compared to baseline.
Rochester Minn. March 17, 2014 — The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center (MCCC) announced today that it has been elected to institutional membership in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of care for cancer patients.
NCCN membership will offer MCCC the opportunity to work with leadership and clinical professionals at other NCCN Member Institutions to create clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians and other health care decision-makers.
“NCCN and the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center share a mission to better the lives of cancer patients,” says Robert Diasio, M.D., MCCC director. “We are excited to work with other NCCN Member Institutions to save lives [...]
WHAT: Construction on the Richard O. Jacobson Building, home to the Mayo Clinic proton beam therapy program, is now complete. Over the next 15 months, physicians, scientists and technicians will calibrate and test equipment in advance of the facility’s scheduled opening in the summer of 2015.
WHERE: Richard O. Jacobson Building, Rochester, Minn.
Enter via loading dock located near the intersection of First Avenue NW and First Street NW.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Feb. 24, 2014 — Blacks may be twice as likely as whites to develop multiple myeloma because they are more likely to have a precursor condition known as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), a Mayo Clinic study has found. Not only is MGUS more common in blacks, but the type seen in the black population is also more apt to have features associated with a higher risk of progression to full-blown multiple myeloma, a cancer of a type of white blood cell in bone marrow.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Feb. 18, 2014 — Newly-diagnosed patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who do not experience any cancer-related outcome events for two years after diagnosis have essentially the same life expectancy as they did prior to diagnosis, a Mayo Clinic study has found. Cancer related outcome events include disease progression or relapse, need for re-treatment or death.
Journalists: Sound bites with lead author Matthew Maurer are available in the downloads.
Results of the study appear in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The findings indicate that the 24-month mark is a significant milestone that can be used both as an effective way to counsel patients on their long-term prognosis and as an earlier endpoint for future studies of newly diagnosed DLBCL.
Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., a consultant in the breast clinic at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center says one limitation of the study is that it was conducted at a time when film screen mammography was the standard. “We’re now using digital mammography which has much better detection and sensitivity in finding cancers early.” she says.
Dr. Pruthi acknowledges that routine mammography screening is a controversial issue with no current consensus among groups within the medical community, “The American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommend that we continue screening women in their 40s yearly,” Dr. Pruthi says. “The United States Preventive Services Task Force has published data recommending routine screening beginning at age 50.”
Dr. Pruthi recommends that women take an individualized approach where they talk to their doctors and weigh the risks and benefits of screening taking into account their health, family history and their personal preferences.
Journalists Sound bites with Dr. Pruthi and b-roll of patient having mammogram are available in the downloads.
A clinical trial co-led by researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Wake Forest School of Medicine has found that adding chemotherapy following radiation treatment improves survival for adults with low-grade gliomas by approximately five-and- a-half years. Results of the clinical trial were made public today by the National Cancer Institute. Gliomas are tumors that begin in the brain or spinal cord. They are the most common form of primary brain tumor.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Buckner are available in the downloads.
“The results of this study are practice-changing,” says co-lead investigator Jan Buckner, M.D., chair of oncology at Mayo Clinic. “Additionally, ongoing analysis of patient [...]
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that a molecule called Cul4 helps to deposit DNA-packaging histone proteins onto DNA, an integral step in cramming yards of genetic code into compact coils that can fit into each cell. When DNA isn't packaged correctly, it can lead to the genomic instability characteristic of many forms of cancer.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Images are available on the Mayo Clinic News Network.
The research is published in the Nov. 7 issue of the journal Cell. The results explain on a molecular level how Cul4 enables the handoff of histones from the proteins escorting them from their birthplace in the cell to their workplace on the DNA, where they can begin wrapping DNA up into tidy units called nucleosomes.
"We suggest that cancer cells may have evolved a mechanism to disrupt proper nucleosome assembly by altering Cul4 and other factors, which in turn could affect the stability of the genome and promote the formation of tumors," says senior study author Zhiguo Zhang, Ph.D., a molecular biologist at Mayo Clinic.
To protect the integrity of the genome, DNA is packaged tightly, first around spools of histone to form nucleosomes, then stacked on top of each other to form chromatin and finally looped and coiled to form chromosomes. Depending on whether and how histones interact with a given genetic sequence, the DNA is either closed up tightly within this package or lies open so that the underlying genes can be read and become active.
Researchers have long known that special proteins — called histone chaperones — escort histones around the cell, but how they finally let go of the histones to deposit them onto DNA was unclear.
Dr. Zhang wondered if Cul4, which is altered in a number of human cancers, including breast cancer, squamous cell carcinomas, adrenocortical carcinomas, and malignant mesotheliomas, might be involved. So he and his colleagues developed a series of cellular assays in yeast and in human cells to investigate the role of Cul4 in nucleosome assembly.
They found that Cul4 modifies the chemical entities on the surface of the histones, weakening the interaction between them and the histone chaperones charged with their care. They noticed that the same observations held true in the yeast indicating that the role of Cul4 in nucleosome assembly and genome stability is likely conserved between yeast and human cells.
"We uncovered a novel molecular mechanism whereby Cul4 regulates nucleosome assembly," says Dr. Zhang. "Our finding underscores the fact that proper regulation of the nucleosome assembly pathway is a key step in maintaining genome stability and epigenetic information."
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Most patients whose breast cancer has spread to their lymph nodes have most of the lymph nodes in their armpit area removed after chemotherapy to determine if any cancer remains. A study conducted through the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group and led by Judy Boughey, M.D., a breast surgeon at Mayo Clinic, shows that a less-invasive procedure known as sentinel lymph node surgery successfully identified whether cancer remained in lymph nodes in 91 percent of patients with node-positive breast cancer who received chemotherapy before their surgery. In sentinel lymph node surgery, only a few lymph nodes, the ones most likely to contain cancer, are removed. The findings are published online in the Journal of American Medical Association.
"Since treatment with chemotherapy before surgery can eliminate cancer in the lymph nodes in some patients, we were interested in evaluating whether sentinel lymph node surgery could successfully identify whether cancer remained in the lymph nodes after chemotherapy," says Dr. Boughey. Removing only a few lymph nodes reduces the risk of surgical complications such as numbness and arm swelling, she says.
Researchers studied 756 women with node-positive breast cancer who received chemotherapy as an initial treatment. Of study participants, 637 patients had both sentinel lymph node and axillary lymph node surgery. Sentinel lymph node surgery correctly identified whether cancer lingered in 91 percent of patients, including 255 patients with node-negative breast cancer and 382 patients with continuing node-positive disease.
Researchers also found that 40 percent of the patients had complete eradication of the cancer from the lymph nodes. The study had a false-negative rate of 12.6 percent, and the false negative rate was significantly lower with the use of dual tracers (blue dye and radiolabeled colloid) to identify the sentinel lymph nodes. Also, when more than two sentinel nodes were removed, the false-negative rate was less than 10 percent. Dr. Boughey says that technical factors in surgery are important to help ensure correct staging, especially in the setting of patients who have received chemotherapy prior to surgery.
She anticipates that with appropriate patient selection, less extensive axillary surgery can be used for women who have the disease in their lymph nodes successfully eradicated by chemotherapy.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video and audio are available for download on the Mayo Clinic News Network.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States, with more than 238,000 new diagnoses estimated this year. While breast cancer is predominantly found in women, about 1 percent of all breast cancers are diagnosed in men. As with all cancers, patients should be aware of the importance of prevention and early detection in order to give themselves the best opportunity to be treated if cancer is found.