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Read short, plain-language summaries of significant research papers that CCR scientists and their collaborators have contributed to the oncology research community. Go

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Vol. 8, No. 1, 2014 - RNA Rules: The Many Faces and Functions of Ribonucleic Acid.. Long overshadowed by its more famous DNA cousin, RNA is enjoying a molecular renaissance. RNA serves as a middleman between DNA templates and protein machinery. Go

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View the media coverage that results from seminal discoveries made by CCR's translational research teams. Go

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Cancer has eluded us for centuries, but the researchers at NCI's Center for Cancer Research (CCR) remain undaunted. They are bringing real hope, real progress. Our camera will bring you into their labs and clinics to see this progress for yourself. Go

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    RNA Rules: The Many Faces and Functions of Ribonucleic Acid
    Long overshadowed by its more famous DNA cousin, RNA is enjoying a molecular renaissance. RNA serves as a middleman between DNA templates and protein machinery. However, RNA molecules have catalytic activity of their own (a discovery for which Thomas Cech, Ph.D., and Sidney Altman, Ph.D., won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989). And small segments of RNA can silence the gene expression of their brethren (a discovery for which Craig Mello and Andrew Fire won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2006). Researchers are even learning how to create entirely new types of RNA molecules. Today, CCR investigators are exploring and reinventing the roles of RNA in health and disease.

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    Adopting Bodily Defenses to Cure Cancer
    Steven Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of CCR’s Surgery Branch since 1974, is a genuine pioneer in the development of immunotherapies for cancer. In 1985, he was the first to demonstrate that an immunotherapy—specifically, the administration of interleukin-2 (IL-2)—could cure certain patients with metastatic disease. A few years later, he opened the doors to cell-based immunotherapies by showing that tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes (TILs) could be isolated from melanomas, stimulated to proliferate, and reintroduced into patients to promote cancer regression. Since that time, Rosenberg and his colleagues have discovered and developed innovative ways to improve upon cell transfer therapies.

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    Precision in Targeting with Anti-Mesothelin Therapies
    For two decades, Raffit Hassan, M.D., Co-Chief of CCR’s Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Oncology Branch, and Ira Pastan, M.D., Co-Chief of CCR’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) have been systematically plotting a new era of targeted cancer therapeutics. Building on Pastan’s discovery of mesothelin, a protein that is expressed almost exclusively by cancer cells in the adult, Hassan has led efforts to capitalize on this rare selectivity by exploiting mesothelin-directed "smart bombs" developed in the Pastan lab to attack solid tumors, while sparing healthy tissue.

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