Expanding the network: new connections for an old driver in kidney cancer

Tamara Vital By now you’re probably noticing a running theme at OncoBites: cancer is complicated. Cancers have many moving parts, and despite our best efforts it can be difficult to know what factors drive them. Even when we have identified causal mutations in genes, it can be difficult to figure out how these mutations contribute …

From worms to cures

Emily B. Harrison, Ph.D Last month I attended the first RNA Therapeutics Conference held at University of Massachusetts Medical School. While I have attended several national conferences, this one beautifully encapsulated how basic science can lead to new drugs in only two decades. This conference inspired me to share with you the story of RNA …

Immune cells work together to enable successful cancer therapy

Morgan McSweeney A group of researchers from the University of California - San Francisco recently found that the presence of a certain group of immune cells in tumors (“stimulatory dendritic cells,” or SDCs) can predict better cancer outcomes, at least in melanoma patients. For example, in patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors (drugs that work by …

Stumbling before the beast: Not all cancer clinical trials end in drug approval

Manisit Das Since the beginning of OncoBites, we’ve talked a lot about immunotherapy: using our own immune cells to destroy the cancer cells? We can’t get enough of it! In one post, we highlighted a revolutionary approach recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) using genetically modified immune cells to fight cancer, …

Where you live and how much money you make affects your likelihood of surviving cancer

Elizabeth Wayne, Ph.D. When we talk about cancer research we are probably just thinking about scientists in lab coats, gloves, and safety goggles looking at test tubes full of cancer cells. While this is true, cancer research doesn’t just happen in a test tube or broadly, in a laboratory. The practice of studying cancer from …