Research Leader Discusses FDA-Funded Immunotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer

 Source: www.onclive.comAuthor: Gina Columbus  Brett Miles, MD, DDS   The investigational immunotherapy axalimogene filolisbac (ADXS11-001) has emerged as a potentially practice-changing agent in the treatment of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. Shown to generate T cells directed against a cancer antigen and neutralize suppressor regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells that protect the tumor microenvironment from an immunologic attack and contribute to tumor growth, ADXS11-001 is the first of its kind—a therapeutic vaccine for the disease. The agent is being examined in an ongoing phase II trial, which was reported as one of 18 recipients of research grants recently awarded by the FDA’s Office of Orphan Product Development. The grants, given to sites for product development in rare diseases, total more than $19 million. The ADXS11-001 grant provides collaborating researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai with more than $1.1 million over 3 years. Eligible patients for the phase II study are newly diagnosed with stage II to IV HPV16-positive oropharynx squamous cell carcinoma who are scheduled to receive ablative transoral robotic surgery. In an interview with OncLive, the study’s surgical principal investigator, Brett Miles, MD, DDS, associate professor of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, co-chief, Division of Head and Neck Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, discusses the potential of ADXS11-001 in HPV-associated head and neck cancer and other emerging therapies and treatment strategies. OncLive: Congratulations on your study being awarded a research grant from the FDA. How does it [...]

2015-09-29T11:26:02-07:00September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Patient Support in Oral Cancer: From Sydney to New York to London, survivors and patients interact through an important portal to get through difficult times

Source: www.prnewswire.comAuthor: Press Release NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Sept. 28, 2015 -- The word "cancer" will incite fear in anyone. When that word comes at the end of a sentence that began with your name, the impact can be life changing. "I had a great job, a beautiful house and a happy family life," recalls oral cancer survivor and Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) Director of Patient Support Services, Christine Brader. "All that changed once I got sick." Those affected by oral cancer, like Christine, are saddled not only with the physical challenges of treating and surviving the disease, but they must also live with the emotional uncertainty and anxiety that accompanies a diagnosis. OCF's Patient Support Forum ( was created specifically to provide patients with the information, guidance, and support they need to face a cancer diagnosis. Now in its 15th year, it has helped tens of thousands navigate a difficult path. It was nearly 16 years ago that oral cancer survivor and OCF founder Brian Hill began his search for answers. "When I was first diagnosed," Hill recalls, "I was scrambling for the right information. Once inside the treatment world I was faced with decisions about which treatment path was right for me, uncertainties of what would lay ahead, the arrival of complications unexpected, pain, and ultimately a sense of the loss of control and a resulting fear." While hospital support groups and some online chat rooms existed at the time, they fell short of providing the insights, guidance and accessibility necessary [...]

2015-09-29T10:04:16-07:00September, 2015|OCF In The News, Oral Cancer News|

“They don’t care:” Hamilton senior left five months without a voice

Source: Author: Joanna Frketich Donna Thombs has not uttered a word in five long months. The east Hamilton senior is desperate to get her voice back, but has so far faced a waiting list with no room for compassion at St. Joseph's hospital. "It's terrible," mouths Thombs. "They don't care." The only sound is wheezing as she attempts to talk with gestures along with slowly mouthing out words using exaggerated movements. It takes multiple attempts to get across even the simplest words. Often, she shakes her head and just gives up. Credit: Hamilton Spectator Donna Thombs has been living in silence for five months as she awaits an operation to restore her voice following surgery for throat cancer. "Try not talking for one day," she mouths. "I've done it for months. Now, it's really starting to get to me." Thombs says the surgical procedure essential to giving her a voice takes roughly 20 minutes. She came achingly close when it was scheduled for Aug. 26, only to have it cancelled. As of Friday, Thombs had been given no information by the office of head and neck surgeon Dr. Michael Gupta on how much longer she'd have to wait. She'd been told her case was a low priority despite the safety concerns of a woman in her 80s living alone with no voice to call for help. Her relatives phone to check on her but her only way to communicate with them is to knock once to let [...]

2015-09-23T07:40:20-07:00September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

No definite symptom index for recurrence in head and neck cancer, small study suggests

Source: Author: In patients treated for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), there was no definite index of symptoms that indicated local recurrence or second primary malignancy in a small Taiwanese study published online ahead of print in Head & Neck.1 In head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, there was no definite index of symptoms to indicate recurrence or second malignancy. Pei-Hsuan Lin, MD, and fellow researchers from the National Taiwan University examined 136 patients with HNSCC who were diagnosed between January 2010 and June 2014, 32 of whom had local recurrence and 14 of whom had second primary malignancy. “The purposes of this study were to identify an index of symptoms and signs of swallowing disorders that indicate the occurrence of local recurrence or second primary malignancy,” the authors noted. They found that common swallowing disorders and objective transnasal esophagoscopy findings were similar between patients with and without local recurrence or second primary malignancy. “Routine transnasal esophagoscopy examination of patients treated for HNSCC with swallowing disorders is strongly recommended,” the authors concluded. Reference: Lin P-H, Wang C-P, Lou P-J, et al. Evaluation of swallowing disorders by use of transnasal esophagoscopy in patients treated for head and neck cancer. [published online ahead of print September 2, 2015]. Head Neck. doi: 10.1002/hed.24174.

2015-09-23T07:32:26-07:00September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Vaccine law should cover HPV cancers

Source: Author: Brandon Brown Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. Gov. Jerry Brown rightly signed a law that requires, starting July 1, 2016, that all children enrolled in public or private schools or day care be vaccinated against whooping cough, measles, polio and other diseases, regardless of parents’ religious or personal beliefs. But frustratingly, the California mandate does not include the vaccine to protect against cervical, anal and oral cancers, and genital warts. HPV vaccines have been around for 10 years. Three types exist, with the newest providing the highest protection against chronic infection and precancerous conditions among boys and girls. Despite the recommendations of major health groups, national data show only 57 percent of adolescent females and 35 percent of males received at least one dose of the three-dose HPV vaccine series in 2013. HPV vaccine has the lowest completion rate of any vaccine in the United States. There may be several explanations for this. One is the short time that providers have available to stress the need for early vaccination during a normal medical visit, much less to address parents’ concerns about implicitly sanctioning sexual activity. But the vaccine is linked to age rather than sexual activity, and postponing it until after boys and girls start having sex decreases its effectiveness. Another reason for low vaccination rates is that it requires tremendous work, including training health care providers on how to promote HPV vaccine as a cancer-prevention tool similar to hepatitis B vaccine, [...]

2015-09-23T07:26:41-07:00September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Spreading awareness and saving lives — Oral Cancer Foundation’s Walk for Awareness may be coming to a city near you!

Source: Author: press release Oral cancer has historically existed outside the awareness of much of the public, yet in the U.S. it claims one life every hour of every day of the year. This year alone, approximately 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer. This number is on the rise and The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) needs help spreading awareness about this devastating disease. OCF is working in communities across the country to bring "Walk for Awareness" events to the public, and with them the opportunity to engage in a conversation that too few people are having. These events raise awareness of a disease that far too many Americans have never even heard of. Most events also incorporate free to the public oral cancer screenings, providing the opportunity to educate attendees about the early signs and symptoms of oral cancer while also instilling the importance of early detection and need for annual oral cancer screenings. To see if an OCF Walk for Awareness is taking place near you, visit and click support to view an interactive map of the organization's upcoming events. OCF has been raising awareness and providing support in communities for 16 years in cities scattered across the US. Here are a just a few of the remaining Fall 2015 events: The 5th Annual Oral Cancer Foundation Walk/Fun Run for Awareness - Twin Cities, Minnesota, will take place this Sunday, September 27, 2015 at City of Eagan Community Center. For more details, to register and [...]

Vaccine clears some precancerous cervical lesions in clinical trial

Source: www.sciencedaily.comAuthor: Mark L Bagarazzi, MD et al. Scientists have used a genetically engineered vaccine to successfully eradicate high-grade precancerous cervical lesions in nearly one-half of women who received the vaccine in a clinical trial. The goal, say the scientists, was to find nonsurgical ways to treat precancerous lesions caused by HPV. "Every standard therapeutic option for women with these lesions destroys part of the cervix, which is particularly relevant for women of childbearing age, who may then be at risk for preterm birth due to a weakened cervix," says Cornelia Trimble, M.D., professor of gynecology and obstetrics, oncology, and pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and first author of the new report, which appears online Sept. 17 in The Lancet. "A vaccine able to cure precancerous lesions could eventually be one way women can avoid surgery that is invasive and can also harm their fertility." High-grade cervical lesions, termed CIN2/3, occur most often in women 40 or younger, according to Trimble, a member of Johns Hopkins' Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service and Kimmel Cancer Center. Because the lesions can progress to cancer, they are usually removed by surgery, freezing or laser. The procedures are successful in removing the precancerous areas in approximately 80 percent of women, says Trimble. Less troublesome lesions, called low-grade dysplasia, are usually monitored by physicians rather than immediately removed because they pose less of a risk for cancer and usually regress on their own. For the study, the scientists used a vaccine, originally developed [...]

2015-09-21T17:41:30-07:00September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Imaging method has potential to stratify head and neck cancer patients

Source: Author: press release Manchester researchers have identified a potential new way to predict which patients with head and neck cancer may benefit most from chemotherapy. These patients commonly receive pre-treatment induction chemotherapy, before either surgery or radiotherapy, to reduce the risk of disease spread. However the effectiveness of such treatment is reduced in tumours with poor blood flow. Previous studies have shown that CT scans can be used to assess tumour blood flow. Now researchers at The University of Manchester and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust - both part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre - have explored the use of MRI scans in predicting which patients would benefit from induction chemotherapy. Professor Catharine West, who led the study, said: "It's also important to identify those patients who are unlikely to respond to induction therapy so that we can skip ahead in the treatment pathway and offer them potentially more effective treatments and hopefully improve their outcome." The team used an imaging technique known as dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI), where a contrast agent tracer is injected into a patient's vein whilst they have a series of MRI scans taken. This allows scientists and doctors to investigate the blood flow and vessel structure of a patient's tumour. They found that the blood flow of a patient's tumour before they received induction therapy could predict response to treatment. In a paper recently published in the journal Oral Oncology, the group report that those with high tumour blood flow were more [...]

2015-09-19T08:39:53-07:00September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

FDA Grant Forwards Listeria-Based Throat Cancer Vaccine

Source: www.targetedonc.comAuthor: Sandra Kear An experimental immunotherapy for human papillomavirus-, or HPV-, related throat cancers, which is driven by the Listeria bacteria (that wreaks havoc when ingested), may now move forward due to a $1.1 million dollar grant from the FDA to researchers at Baylor College of Medicine.   “Immunotherapy, such as axalimogene filolisbac, which targets HPV proteins expressed in cancer cells is a great example of using a cancer’s own unique biology against it.” said principal investigator Andrew Sikora, MD, PhD, leader of the head and neck cancer program in the NCI Comprehensive Designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center and an associate professor of otolaryngology at Baylor College, in an interview with Targeted Oncology.   "This is hopefully the first step toward development of more targeted treatment approaches that reduce side effects and cancer treatment-related morbidity by uniquely targeting only virus-infected cells.” 
The Listeria-based HPV immunotherapy, axalimogene filolisbac (ADXS11-001), is developed by Advaxis, and functions by stimulating an immune response against HPV proteins, thus killing infected cells.   The drug is currently being evaluated in phase I-II study3 alone or in combination with MedImmune’s durvalumab, in patients with cervical or HPV-positive head and neck cancer. The study has three arms: axalimogene filolisbac alone, durvalumab alone, and the two drugs combined. Primary outcomes established for the study are: number of subjects with adverse events (AEs) in each dose level, number of subjects with AEs in the combination dose, and progression-free survival.   Patients must have measurable disease by RECIST criteria, as well [...]

2015-09-17T09:22:55-07:00September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Smokeless tobacco use on the rise among high school athletes

Source: Author: Jeron Rennie A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows a trend they don’t want to see. A Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) shows that from 2001-2013, smokeless tobacco use increased significantly among high school athletes, but not with non-athletes. The report also found there was lower use of combustible tobacco products among athletes than non-athletes. The CDC said that could be due, in part, to an awareness of the negative consequences on athletic performance. However, they say the use of smokeless tobacco suggests they find those products as being harmless. “When you see it in the media and you see all those athletes that you’re looking up to as a younger student and trying to reach some of the goals that they’ve reached,” said Freeborn County Drug-Free Coalition Prevention Coordinator Lana Howe. “It definitely plays a large impact on you as a youth.” The CDC said using smokeless tobacco can, however, adversely impact athletic performance and lead to disease and early death since they contain nicotine, toxins and carcinogens. Several athletes with a history of smokeless tobacco use have been diagnosed with, or died from, oral cancer.

2015-09-13T15:20:13-07:00September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|
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