Common Cancers May Involve Fused Genes
New research suggests that gene fusion - the coming together of DNA from different parts of the genome - may be an important event in the development of common cancers.
Fused genes and the chromosomal rearrangements that cause them are a hallmark of leukemia, lymphomas, and other blood cancers, but they were not identified in a solid tumor until 2005. In a landmark study, Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan of the University of Michigan Medical School and his colleagues reported that 70 percent of prostate cancers may harbor fused genes. Read more
Trial Breaks New Ground in Collaborative Research
Last month a teenage girl from Indiana became the first patient enrolled in an important early-phase NCI clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of a rare cancer, hereditary medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), this young woman will help determine whether the investigational agent vandetanib may be the first effective nonsurgical treatment in young patients with this cancer.
The trial is significant for another reason. It's the first being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center under the joint leadership of an NIH intramural clinical investigator and an extramural scientist. Dr. Frank Balis, from the Pediatric Oncology Branch in NCI's Center for Cancer Research (CCR), is the principal investigator (PI), while Dr. Samuel Wells, from Washington University in St. Louis and one of the world's foremost MTC experts, is the adjunct PI. Read more