Studies of leukemia, endometrial cancer point to new research directions

By Carolyn Y. Johnson  GLOBE STAFF MAY 01, 2013

Two large research teams have produced exhaustive genomic studies that reveal the most detailed catalog yet of the mutations that drive two deadly cancers — endometrial cancer and acute myeloid leukemia. 

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In Treatment for Leukemia, Glimpses of the Future

Genetics researchers at Washington University, one of the world’s leading centers for work on the human genome, were devastated. Dr. Lukas Wartman, a young, talented and beloved colleague, had the very 

cancer he had devoted his career to studying. He was deteriorating fast. No known treatment could save him. And no one, to their knowledge, had ever investigated the complete genetic makeup of a cancer like his.

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The Conspiracy To End Cancer

The hero scientist who defeats cancer will likely never exist.

No exalted individual, no victory celebration, no Marie Curie or Jonas Salk, who in 1955, after he created the first polio vaccine, was asked, So what’s next? Cancer? — as if a doctor finished with one disease could simply shift his attention to another, like a chef turning from the soup to the entrée.

Cancer doesn’t work that way. It’s not just one disease; it’s hundreds, potentially thousands. And not all cancers are caused by just one agent — a virus or bacterium that can be flushed and crushed. Cancer is an intricate and potentially lethal collaboration of genes gone awry, of growth inhibitors gone missing, of hormones and epigenomes changing and rogue cells breaking free. It works as one great armed force, attacking by the equivalent of air and land and sea and stealth, and we think we’re going to take it out with what? A lab-coated sniper?

“This disease is much more complex than we have been treating it,” says MIT’s Phillip Sharp. “And the complexity is stunning.”

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New cancer treatment said to produce remissions

By Denise Grady   NEW YORK TIMES    MARCH 21, 2013

A treatment that genetically alters a patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer has, for the first time, produced remissions in adults with a deadly type of acute leukemia that resisted chemotherapy and left little hope of survival, researchers are reporting.

In one patient who was severely ill, all traces of leukemia vanished in eight days.

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