‘Vaccine for cancer’ trial begins in Liverpool and this is how it works

Source: www.liverpoolecho.co.uk Author: Jonathan Humphries, Public Interest Reporter The first human trials for a groundbreaking 'vaccine for cancer' have begun in Liverpool with the first patients recruited. A team of cancer researchers from Liverpool Head & Neck Centre, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool University Hospitals and the University of Liverpool are trialling new vaccines that aim to harness a patients own immune system to fight cancer. Head and neck cancers, which include mouth, throat, tongue and sinus cancers, are particularly difficult to treat and carry a high risk of returning even after successful treatment. The first UK patient has now been recruited in Liverpool and vaccine production has begun at the Transgene laboratory in France. More patients will be recruited in coming months, with the aim of administering the first vaccine in a few months, when the usual treatment has been completed. The Transgene trial will involve around 30 people who have just completed treatment for advanced, but still operable, HPV-negative (not linked to human papilloma virus) squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). How does the vaccine work? Head and neck cancer can involve many different kinds of gene mutations resulting in the production of new proteins, called ‘neoantigens’, that vary widely between patients. The Transgene trial aims to produce individualised ‘therapeutic vaccines’, designed to trigger an immune response to the new antigen produced by a particular gene mutation linked to each patient’s own head and neck cancer. Chief Investigator for the UK trial, Professor Christian Ottensmeier, [...]

Cancer survivors’ tongues less sensitive to tastes than those of healthy peers

Source: www.eurekalert.org Author: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau Most survivors of squamous cell head and neck cancers report that their sense of taste is dulled, changed or lost during radiation treatment, causing them to lose interest in eating and diminishing their quality of life. In a study of taste and smell dysfunction with 40 cancer survivors, scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found that the tips of these individuals' tongues were significantly less sensitive to bitter, salty or sweet tastes than peers in the control group who had never been diagnosed with cancer. In a paper published in the journal Chemical Senses, the U. of I. team said this diminished taste sensitivity suggested that the taste buds on the front two-thirds of the cancer survivors' tongues or a branch of the chorda tympani facial nerve, which carries signals from the tip of the tongue to the brain, may have been damaged during radiation therapy. "While most studies suggest that patients' ability to taste recovers within a few months of treatment, patients report that they continue to experience taste dysfunction for years after treatment ends," said M. Yanina Pepino, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the U. of I. "Our primary goal in this study was to test the hypothesis that radiation therapy is associated with long-term alterations in patients' senses of smell and taste." While undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy, head and neck cancer patients may lose taste buds, triggering a transient reduction in their [...]

‘On the rise:’ Immunotherapy options for head and neck cancer

Source: www.curetoday.com Author: Kristie L. Kahl On behalf of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, Dr. Michael Moore spoke with CURE® about emerging therapies that potentially offer exciting new options for the future. Although rates of head and neck cancer have risen, in part because of the human papillomavirus (HPV), emerging therapies such as targeted agents and immunotherapies are paving the way for future treatment of the disease, according to Dr. Michael Moore. “I would say (immunotherapy) is probably one of the more exciting parts of what we’ve learned about head and neck cancer in recent years,” he told CURE® as a part of its “Speaking Out” video series. On behalf of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, CURE® spoke with Moore, associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and chief of head and neck surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, about targeted therapies, immunotherapy and how clinical trials are leading the way for future treatments. How have genomics and targeted therapies played a role in head and neck cancer treatment? Well, I would say it’s an emerging role. And it’s not used as commonly in head-neck cancer as it is in some other areas. So molecular testing or targeted therapies essentially are looking at a very specific part of the tumor to see if we can develop a specific drug that will target just that; (the goal is to) weaken the cancer’s defense — that is one way to say it — and try to very [...]

Personalized 3D-printed shields protect healthy tissue during radiotherapy

Source: physicsworld.com Author: Jigar Dubal Personalized 3D-printed devices for radioprotection of anatomical sites at high risk of radiation toxicity: intra-oral device (A), oesophageal device (B) and rectal device (C) generated from patient CT images. The area for protection is highlighted in red. (Courtesy: CC BY 4.0/Adv. Sci. 10.1002/advs.202100510) One of the primary goals of radiation therapy is to deliver a large radiation dose to cancer cells whilst minimizing normal tissue toxicity. However, most cancer patients undergoing such treatments are likely to experience some side effects caused by irradiation of healthy tissue. The extent of this damage is dependent on the treatment location, with the most common toxicities involving the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract. Materials with a high atomic number (Z), often known as radiation-attenuating materials, can be used to shield normal tissue from radiation. However, integrating such materials into current patient treatment protocols has proven difficult due to the inability to rapidly create personalized shielding devices. James Byrne and colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT have addressed this need. The team has developed 3D-printed radiation shields, based on patient CT scans, incorporating radiation-attenuating materials to reduce the toxicity to healthy tissue. Producing personalized 3D-printed shielding Before a patient undergoes radiotherapy, they undergo CT scans to provide anatomical information that is used to plan their treatment. Byrne and his colleagues utilize these CT images to design personalized radio-protective devices, which they produce through 3D printing. To determine the most appropriate [...]

Five reasons boys and young men need the HPV vaccine, too

Source: www.mskcc.org Author: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, News and Information Rich Delgrosso found the lump while shaving. It was on the left side of his neck and it seemed to grow bigger by the day. He made an appointment with his ear, nose, and throat doctor. “He said the odds were 50/50 that it was an infection,” recalls the 56-year-old father of two from Pleasantville, New York. “I asked, ‘What’s the other 50?’” It was a possibility no one wanted to hear: Cancer. Rich underwent a biopsy and learned he had squamous cell carcinoma that had originated on the base of his tongue. His cancer, the doctor told him, was caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Rich was shocked. “I knew HPV could cause cancer,” he says, “but I thought it was only cervical cancer in women.” It’s true that HPV, a sexually transmitted virus, does cause the majority of cervical cancer cases in women. But it can also cause a variety of cancers in men, too, some of which are on the rise. HPV led to a five-fold increase of head and neck cancers in young men from 2001 to 2017, according to data released at the 2021 American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting. Memorial Sloan Kettering’s David Pfister, a medical oncologist who cares for people with head and neck cancer, says these cancer cases are just now emerging in people infected with the virus many years ago. “Once the association between HPV infection and throat cancers [...]

Study finds major anti-inflammatory immune activity that favors oral cancer tumors

Source: medicalxpress.com Author: MELISA Institute A collaborative research led by immunologist Estefania Nova-Lamperti from the Universidad de Concepción (Chile), with a branch of researchers from MELISA Institute and other international academic centers, made progress in the understanding of molecular mechanisms preventing an effective antitumor immune response in oral cancer; The latter due to the production of chemical mediators that induce an anti-inflammatory regulatory response that favors tumor development through the vitamin D signaling pathway. The study was published in Frontiers in Immunology on May 7, 2021. Oral cancer, 90% of which corresponds to the squamous cell type, is a neoplasm with a high mortality and morbidity rate, mainly because the diagnosis is made in late stages when metastases already exist, and where treatment produces serious physical and functional sequel among survivors. It is well known that the immune system plays a key role in the development of cancer, either by stimulating pathways that play an anti-tumor role or, conversely, by generating an anti-inflammatory environment that allows the tumor to grow and be spread. The main biological agents of the immune system are lymphocytes or T cells, which have different functions or phenotypes. In cancer, the presence of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and helper T cells type 2 (Th2) are associated with a worse prognosis, whereas the responses of helper T cells type 1 (Th1) within tumors, in general, show a better prognosis. Dr. Nova-Lamperti points out that a key question in oral cancer is how an anti-inflammatory microenvironment is induced, [...]

More women being diagnosed with mouth cancer, researchers say

Source: www.9news.com.au Author: Gabriella Rogers, Health Reporter Head and neck surgeons say more women are being diagnosed with mouth cancer and research is underway to help unravel what's fuelling the alarming trend. "These mouth cancers historically occur in older men, particularly smokers and drinkers," said Associate Professor Carsten Palme, Director of Head and Neck Surgery at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse. But surgeons here and overseas have identified a rise in the number of women being diagnosed with cases increasing about 5 per cent each year. Those women are not presenting with traditional risk factors and their diagnosis usually "comes out of the blue". "A lot of research at the moment at our institutions is being done to try and identify exactly what is happening and why," Dr Palme said. Dr Palme said his youngest patient had just finished her HSC. "She was 18 she presented with an ulcer at the right side of her tongue which was initially thought to be a benign traumatic ulcer and she ended up having a stage three tongue cancer," he said. "We are commonly seeing women between the ages of 20 and 40 present to our clinics, pretty well on a weekly basis," he said. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than 5,000 Australians are diagnosed with head and neck cancers each year. Doctors at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse are now routinely using innovative approaches to remove and rebuild a patient's jaw to help cure their cancer. Tara Flannery, aged 49, was [...]

Increased epigenetic age acceleration observed among patients with head and neck cancer

Source: www.healio.com Author: Ryan Lawrence Patients with head and neck cancer experienced an increase in epigenetic age acceleration, especially directly after treatment, which appeared associated with greater fatigue and inflammation, according to a study in Cancer. “Our findings add to the body of evidence suggesting that long-term toxicity and possibly increased mortality incurred from anticancer treatments for patients with head and neck cancer may be related to increased epigenetic age acceleration and its association with inflammation,” Canhua Xiao, PhD, RN, FAAN, acting associate professor at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University, said in a press release. Because fatigue is prominent among patients with head and neck cancer and has been linked to poorer quality of life and survival, as well as symptoms that significantly impact diet and physical activity, Xiao and colleagues hypothesized that cancer-related and treatment-related adverse events or morbidities may represent accelerated aging trajectories. Their prospective, longitudinal analysis included 133 patients (mean age, 59.19 ± 10.16 years; 72% men; 82% white) with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, no distant metastasis and no uncontrolled major organ disease. Most of the patients (54%) had been diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer, and 90% of those cancers were HPV related. The majority of patients (80%) underwent concurrent chemoradiotherapy, and 71% of those who underwent chemotherapy received cisplatin. Researchers assessed all patients at baseline (approximately 1 week before radiotherapy), immediately after completing radiotherapy, and at 6 months and 12 months after radiotherapy. They collected demographic and clinical variables [...]

NIH supports a new strategy to reduce side effects of head and neck cancer treatment

Source: www.news-medical.net Author: Rice University, reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc A new strategy to reduce the side effects suffered by patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancers now has the support of the National Institutes of Health. Andrew Schaefer, the Noah Harding Chair and a professor of computational and applied mathematics and computer science at Rice's Brown School of Engineering, won a prestigious four-year R01 grant for $1.2 million to develop a personalized approach to adaptive radiation therapy (ART) for head and neck cancers. The goal of the study is a tool to personalize chemo- and radiation-based therapies that both reduce risks to patients and make the process more efficient for providers. Schaefer is working with co-investigators Clifton Fuller, an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Rice colleagues Mallesh Pai, an associate professor of economics, and Joey Huchette, an assistant professor of computational and applied mathematics. Head and neck cancers account for nearly 3% of cancers in the United States and most commonly affect people over 50, mostly men. Of primary concern is unwanted damage from radiation to structures adjacent to tumors, including glands, bone and muscle related to speech, eating and swallowing. The grant, which is administered by the National Cancer Institute, will allow Schaefer and his team to develop a mathematical model that helps providers optimize both individual treatment strategies for patients and health care providers' policies for the implementation of new technology. ART will [...]

Naveris’ new saliva test detects head and neck cancer

Source: www.biospace.com/ Author: staff A new clinically-validated saliva test has been shown to detect HPV-associated head and neck cancer with high accuracy, a first-of-its-kind study result. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis used the Naveris, Inc. test to analyze saliva for sequences of the human papilloma virus (HPV) genome that are specific for HPV DNA released from malignant tumors. The test successfully distinguishes this tumor-tissue modified virus from non-cancerous sources of HPV DNA and precisely measures the number of tumor-tissue modified viral HPV (TTMV-HPV) DNA strands present in a saliva sample. The study results point to the potential for a significant improvement in early detection of the most common type of head and neck cancer, HPV-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. “Naveris’ patient-friendly saliva test has the potential to radically advance early detection of HPV-positive head and neck cancer, which has been growing rapidly among men in the United States. Early detection of these cancers would make a dramatic difference in patient outcomes,” said Piyush Gupta, PhD, CEO of Naveris. The study quantified participants’ tumor-tissue modified viral HPV DNA in saliva samples and compared it to the levels found in their blood by utilizing Naveris’ NavDx® test. The results showed that TTMV-HPV DNA was commonly found in the saliva of HPV-associated head and neck cancer patients (44/46 cases), and at 18 times higher levels in the saliva samples than in the blood samples. One sample had undetectable TTMV-HPV and one was indeterminate for HPV DNA. Washington University [...]

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