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Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADC) is a type of anticancer drug that links a drug to cancer-targeting antibodies. The antibody detects tumor-specific proteins expressed on cancer cells and directs the cytotoxic anticancer drug towards the cancer cell. Compared to alternative cancer treatments, for example, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, and stem cell therapy, ADC combines chemotherapy and immunotherapy and allows selective delivery of anticancer drugs and reduces systemic exposure and toxicity of anticancer drugs. Components of ADC One of the key requirements of ADC is the ability of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) to recognize tumor markers. These are unique antigenic markers highly expressed on cancer cells but are not found or in a low level of expression on normal, healthy cells. For example, the HER2 (human epidermal growth receptor 2) receptor is expressed in cancer cells 100-fold higher than normal cells. Moreover, ... Continue reading →
Case reports of younger COVID-19 patients developing Parkinson’s disease within weeks of contracting the virus led researchers to investigate a possible link between the two conditions. Scientists recently demonstrated that, in the test tube, the SARS-CoV-2 N-protein interacts with a neuronal protein known as α-synuclein and boosts the development of amyloid fibrils—the pathological protein bundles characteristic of Parkinson’s disease. Along with causing respiratory symptoms, SARS-CoV-2 can induce neurological problems, like headaches, loss of smell, and “brain fog.” However, it is still controversial if these symptoms are caused by the virus penetrating the brain, or if the symptoms are due to chemical signals released in the brain by the immune system as a response to the virus. In Parkinson’s disease, a protein known as α-synuclein develops abnormal amyloid fibrils, which leads to the death ... Continue reading →
A unique antibody drug conjugate (ADC), which delivers a high dose of a cancer-killing drug to tumor cells through a targeted antibody, has been found in a global phase 3 clinical study to nearly double the survival time of patients with refractory metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. The study of the ADC drug sacituzumab govitecan (SG), for which Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) was a lead clinical research site after serving as the lead site for the pivotal phase 1/2 trial, reported superior outcomes compared to single-agent chemotherapy, the standard for treating metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. The phase 3 results of the study, known as ASCENT, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Metastatic triple-negative breast cancer is the most aggressive type of breast cancer with a poor prognosis. Chemotherapy has remained the only standard treatment option, but it is associated with low response rates and short progression-free survival. SG, which was ... Continue reading →
A new study by UBC researchers is set to change international treatment recommendations for people who are newly diagnosed with HIV — an update that could affect nearly two million people per year worldwide. The study found that dolutegravir is the optimal medication for first-line treatment for people newly diagnosed with HIV, a choice that has not been clear over the past several years. Dolutegravir (DTG), sold under the brand name Tivicay, is an antiretroviral medication used, together with other medication, to treat HIV/AIDS. It may also be used, as part of post exposure prophylaxis, to prevent HIV infection following potential exposure. The risk of adverse reaction meant that, although dolutegravir was found to be favorable compared to other options, it was only recommended as an alternative, with an antiretroviral called efavirenz recommended as the primary treatment. The study team completed a network meta-analysis of research stemming from 68 available antiretroviral ... Continue reading →
The coronavirus pandemic has made vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna and the mRNA technology that they use into household names. These types of jabs are new but researchers have been working for decades to try to figure out how to use messenger RNA for other vaccinations and to treat illnesses from AIDS to cancer. How does it work? Messenger RNA’s job in the body is to help deliver specific instructions from DNA to cells. In the case of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs, lab-generated mRNA tells human cells to create antigens — proteins that are similar to ones found in the COVID-19 virus. Thanks to those antigens, a person’s immune system learns how to fight the virus and neutralise COVID if it enters the body. After the cells create these proteins, the body breaks down the mRNA instructions and gets rid of them. Such direct communication with cells is revolutionary — classic vaccines aimed to provoke an immune response by injecting a neutralised ... Continue reading →
Almost three in ten people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) in Scotland were prescribed antidepressants before they were diagnosed with diabetes, according to new research being presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) conference, held online this year. The study, from Ms Charlotte Greene, Professor Sarah Wild and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, UK, also found that just over one in ten people were prescribed antipsychotics prior to diagnosis of T2D. The aim was to provide information about patterns of antidepressant and antipsychotic drug prescribing prior to the diagnosis of diabetes. This is part of a broader piece of research, which aims to look at whether prescribing patterns of these drugs in people with diabetes have changed over time and whether these drugs affect the risk of complications in people with diabetes. The study used the Scottish Care Information-Diabetes Collaboration (SCI-Diabetes) dataset, which contains information on almost ... Continue reading →
Physician-scientists in the Cancer Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have developed a preclinical, potent therapy attached to an antibody that targets a surface protein expressed in most childhood neuroblastomas, effectively killing cancer cells. The researchers published their findings today in Science Translational Medicine. In 2008, researchers discovered mutations in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene as the major cause of the inherited form of neuroblastoma and showed that these same mutations are present in about 14 percent of neuroblastoma tumors from patients with the most aggressive form of this disease. This established ALK as a druggable target in neuroblastoma and provided the rationale for the clinical development of ALK inhibition therapy. It was found that native ALK (in the absence of a mutation) is present on most neuroblastoma tumors, providing us with an exciting opportunity to target ALK in the majority of patients. ... Continue reading →
New research from Trinity College and University of Edinburgh has examined the association between vitamin D and COVID-19, and found that ambient ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation (which is key for vitamin D production in the skin) at an individual's place of residence in the weeks before COVID-19 infection, was strongly protective against severe disease and death. Previous studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with an increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial respiratory infections. Similarly, several observational studies found a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19, but it could be that these effects are confounded and in fact a result of other factors, such as obesity, older age or chronic illness which are also linked with low vitamin D. To overcome this, researchers were able to calculate "genetically-predicted" vitamin D level, that is not confounded by other demographic, health and lifestyle factors, ... Continue reading →
On Aug, 15, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, specifically, solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss further clinical recommendations regarding immunocompromised individuals. Today’s action does not apply to people who are not immunocompromised. “The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease. After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable ... Continue reading →
The body's immune system can recognize and attack cancer cells, but when those are able to overcome this assault, malignant tumors develop in patients. New research led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) uncovers some of the key factors that are needed for survival of immune cells in the battle against cancer. The findings, published in Cell, point to potential therapeutic targets to tip the scales so that the immune system can effectively defeat aggressive cancers. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are the cells that recognize and destroy cancer cells, and they're first activated in tumor-draining lymph nodes. From there, they enter the bloodstream to reach tumors and battle malignant cells. Tumors are very hostile environments for CTLs, however. When researchers used imaging techniques to examine what goes on there, they found that to survive in tumors, CTLs must spend time in regions adjacent to blood vessels in the tissue surrounding cancer cells. ... Continue reading →
A team of scientists led by the Institute of Biomaterials and Bioengineering at Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) has created a new molecule that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) particles from attacking immune cells. This is achieved by injecting compounds that mimic the proteins normally used by viruses to enter cells. This work may lead to new HIV treatments that may be more effective in preventing the proliferation of the virus with fewer side effects. HIV is a very dangerous pathogen because it attacks the immune cells that the body needs to fight back, including T helper cells. HIV particles first enter the T helper cells by attaching to the CD4 protein on their surface. Once inside, the reproduction mechanism of T helper cells will be hijacked to replicate HIV and ultimately kill the host cell. Many treatments, such as antiretroviral drugs, try to prevent this reproduction process, but it would be better to find a way to prevent HIV from attaching first. ... Continue reading →
China is a large country with hundreds of millions of people infected with hepatitis B. About 40% of chronic hepatitis B patients will progress to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Therefore, for hepatitis B patients, the most worrying question is whether they will get liver cancer and go down the road of no return: hepatitis B - cirrhosis - liver cancer. Factors that accelerate the progression of chronic hepatitis B Age The older you are, the more likely you are to have hepatitis B progression. Age and etiology are factors that influence the progression of liver disease to cirrhosis. Gender Men are more likely to develop than women. Family history of liver cancer People with a family history of liver cancer are more likely to progress; in Asia many patients have a family history of liver cancer and therefore Asians are more likely to develop cirrhosis. Bad lifestyle Smoking, alcohol abuse, staying up late, overworking, etc. Environmental factors Poor living environment in some ... Continue reading →
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