New study identifies essential genes for cancer immunotherapy

Aug 7, 2017

Nicholas Restifo, M.D., Senior Investigator in CCR’s Surgery Branch, published a new study in Nature on August 7, 2017, and was featured in an NCI Press Release. This new study identifies genes that are necessary in cancer cells for immunotherapy to work, addressing the problem of why some tumors don’t respond to immunotherapy or respond initially but then stop as tumor cells develop resistance to immunotherapy.

Dr. Restifo said in the press release, “There is a great deal of interest in cancer immunotherapy, especially for patients who have metastatic cancer. The response to immunotherapy can be fantastic, but understanding why some patients don’t respond will help us improve treatments for more patients.”

New study identifies essential genes for cancer immunotherapy
neuroblastoma cells

A protein in neuroblastoma could be a target of immunotoxins or immunotherapy

Jul 27, 2017

A cell surface protein, glycoprotein glypican-2 (GPC2), has been found to be an effective therapeutic target in cell cultures and mouse models that mimic childhood neuroblastoma.  The CCR scientists who made this discovery, reported July 24, 2017, in PNAS, have also produced immunotoxins and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, a type of immunotherapy, that have shown promise against this solid tumor. Read more...

Dysregulated RNA-binding proteins may skew tumor cells’ RNA levels and spur their growth

Jul 24, 2017

A new analysis of liver cancers has found widespread disruptions in RNA-binding proteins and tied one such protein to cancer progression. Learn more...

Study characterizes long non-coding RNA’s response to DNA damage in colon cancer cells

Jul 18, 2017

Researchers led by Ashish Lal, Ph.D., Investigator in the Genetics Branch, have shown that when the DNA in human colon cancer cells is damaged, a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) regulates the expression of genes that halt growth, which allows the cells to repair the damage and promote survival. Their findings suggest an important pro-survival function of a lncRNA in cancer cells.  Read more...

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus)

Bacterial communities living on the skin of eczema patients vary with disease severity

Jul 5, 2017

A new study published in Science Translational Medicine reveals that strains of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) can dominate the skin of patients with eczema. This discovery could bring clinicians one step closer to understanding possible targets for treatment. Learn more...

Molecular profiles suggest two types of liver cancer should be treated as one

Jun 26, 2017

A comprehensive molecular analysis of two types of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), has identified common molecular subtypes that can be found among patients with either disease. Although HCC and ICC are considered separate diseases, the finding suggests that a unified clinical approach could benefit patients with both types of liver cancer.  Read more...

Researchers unmask secret to long-lasting effects of botulinum neurotoxin A in motor neurons

Jun 16, 2017

A team of scientists led by the Center for Cancer Research's Allan M. Weissman, M.D., and Yien Che Tsai, Ph.D., has discovered a molecular mechanism that explains the extreme toxicity of botulinum neurotoxin A (BoNT/A), the most potent BoNT strain. The discovery, published June 5 in PNAS, also identifies a molecular target that the researchers hope will eventually lead to improved therapies to treat exposure and severely undermine the potential use of BoNTs as bioweapons.  Read more...


Melanoma cells capture a cytokine called IFNγ (green) on their surfaces.

A slow “catch and release” process prolongs immune attack on cancer cells

Jun 14, 2017

Center for Cancer Research investigators have discovered that some cancer cells catch immune signaling molecules called cytokines on their surfaces then slowly release the molecules. The results suggest that the immune system may exploit this weak spot to mount a prolonged attack on the tumor. Read more...

Researchers identify potential therapeutic targets for a rare childhood cancer

May 11, 2017

CCR researchers have identified the mechanism behind a rare but extremely aggressive childhood cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) and have pinpointed a potential drug target for its treatment. Learn more...

Clinical trial shows safety and effectiveness of new combination immunotherapy for advanced liver cancer

May 8, 2017

A recently completed phase I clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, demonstrates that a combination of two immunotherapy drugs to target hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was well-tolerated and shrunk tumors in a larger percentage of patients than the standard monotherapy.  Read more...