First we start with a "blogging on peer review" post over at OMICS OMICS! In it, Dr. Robinson looks at a recent paper in nature which suggest a common target in multiple myeloma: IRF4. IRF4 is a transcription factor which regulates amongst other things the powerful oncogene MYC and has been known to be translocated in some myelomas. The author notes:
"An interesting further bit of work targeted various identified IRF4 targets and showed these knockdowns to be lethal to myeloma cell lines. Hence it is suggested that IRF4 ablation in myeloma would lead to tumor cell death by many routes. Mice heterozygous for IRF4 deletion are viable, suggesting that IRF4 could be targeted safely."
While this is an exiting new finding in the field, Dr Robinson astutely points out that transcription factors are generally poor therapeutic targets...
Our next story comes from Cancer and Your Genes and examines how genomics can predict prostate cancer survival. As tools become more readily available and cheaper, the dream of personalised medicine is to use personal gene profile and compare it against large epidemiological databases to extract useful information for treatment. The paper discussed by Dr. Mealiffe appeared in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and paves the way by looking at 600 father-son pairs afflicted with prostate cancer:
"they were able to show that sons of fathers with shorter survival from prostate cancer tended to survive for a shorter period as well. Likewise, sons of fathers who survived for a longer period of time after the diagnosis tended to survive for a longer period of time as well."
Next we learn about neurofibromatosis, a type of famillial cancer which affects nervous tissues, often in young patients. Highlight in Health discusses some of the mutations underlying the disease in the NF1 and NF2 tumour suppressors and other topics covered at a recent conference in Florida.
"The conference was attended by over 200 researchers from around the world This year’s theme — Genes to Complications to Treatments — highlighted the progress being made in NF research and clinical care, as well as the research programs of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Last year’s NF Conference focused on models, mechanisms and therapeutic targets. "
A great blog post on peer-reviewed research over at Hematopoiesis explains what systemic instigation is, and what are the roles of hematopoietic stem cells, and osteopontin in this process:
"To summarize - some tumors can do kind of magic (on systemic level, - through release some factors into the blood) with bone marrow, progenitor populations in particular; this magic is called “instigation”; functionally perturbed bone marrow cells leave their niches and are mobilized into stroma of tumor-responder, that causes its growth and metastases."
Rob also wants to plug his paper which has to do with engineering viruses to kill cancer cells or something like that. Congratulations Rob, I guess we should develop an icon for blogging on self-reviewed research :