HERSHEY, PA–A compound that stimulates the production of a tumor-fighting protein may improve the usefulness of the protein in cancer therapy, according to a team of researchers.
TRAIL is a natural antitumor protein that suppresses tumor development during immune surveillance, the immune system’s process of patrolling the body for cancer cells. This process is lost during cancer progression, which leads to uncontrolled growth and spread of tumors.
The ability of TRAIL to initiate cell death selectively in cancer cells has led to ongoing clinical trials with artificially-created TRAIL or antibody proteins that mimic its action. Use of the TRAIL protein as a drug has shown that it is safe, but there have been some issues, including stability of the protein, cost of the drug, and the ability of the drug to distribute throughout the body and get into tumors, especially in the brain.
“The TRAIL pathway is a powerful way to suppress tumors but current approaches have limitations that we have been trying to overcome to unleash an effective and selective cancer therapy,” said Dr. Wafik El-Deiry, professor of medicine and chief of the hematology/oncology division, Penn State College of Medicine. “The TRAIL biochemical cell death pathway naturally lends itself as a drug target to restore anti-tumor immunity.”
Researchers have identified a compound called TRAIL-inducing Compound 10 (TIC10) as a potential solution. TIC10 stimulates the tumor suppression capabilities of TRAIL in both normal and tumor tissues, including in the brain, and induces tumor cell death in mice. They report their findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
TIC10 is a small molecule. This organic compound binds to a protein and alters what the protein does.
Stimulation of TRAIL protein is sustained in both tumor and normal cells, with the normal cells contributing to the TIC10-induced cancer cell death through a bystander effect. It is effective in cancer cell samples and cell lines resistant to conventional therapies.
“I was surprised and impressed that we were able to do this,” El-Deiry said. “Using a small molecule to significantly boost and overcome limitations of the TRAIL pathway appears to be a promising way to address difficult to treat cancers using a safe mechanism already used in those with a normal effective immune system. This candidate new drug, a first-in-its-class, shows activity against a broad range of tumor types in mice and appears safe at this stage.”
New treatments are needed for advanced cancer, as more than half a million people in the United States will die of cancer in 2013.
“We have enough preclinical information to support the rationale for testing this new drug in the clinic,” El-Deiry said.
TIC10 seems to be nontoxic to normal cells or mice even at doses 10 times higher that an observed therapeutic dose, however more research needs to be completed to satisfy FDA requirements prior to initiation of clinical testing.
Other researchers are Joshua E. Allen, David T. Dicker, Akshal S. Patel, Nathan G. Dolloff, Kimberly A. Scata, Wenge Wang, all of Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute; Gabriel Krigsfeld, Patrick A. Mayes, Luv Patel, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Evangelos Messaris, Department of Surgery, Penn State College Medicine; Jun-Ying Zhou and Gen Sheng Wu, Wayne State University School of Medicine.
This study was funded by the American Cancer Society, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.
Located on the campus of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., Penn State College of Medicine boasts a portfolio of more than $106 million in funded research. Projects range from the development of artificial organs and advanced diagnostics to groundbreaking cancer treatments and understanding the fundamental causes of disease. Enrolling its first students in 1967, the College of Medicine has more than 1,600 students and trainees in medicine, nursing, the health professions and biomedical research on its campus.
(Lancaster) -- Many times, the first thing a person does when experiencing some unusual medical symptoms is head to the Internet.
But using a search engine may not always be the best way to diagnose an ailment or health-related issue.
witf's Megan Lello spoke with Dr. Paul Conslato, medical director for Lancaster General Medical Group, about how to responsibly read through diagnoses online. Dr. Conslato says that some independent learning on symptoms that they are experiencing is usually a good idea.
Listen to their conversation:
Dr. Conslato says, “The reality is, a more informed patient usually leads to a more productive engagement where the physician is acting as a partner in finding a solution to a person’s healthcare needs,” he explains.
But, with every potential innovation in healthcare there are some downsides. What he sees on an infrequent basis is a heightened concern about symptoms.
“An e-Patient is someone that is empowered, engaged, equipped, and enabled,” says Christine Amy from Aligning Forces for Quality --- South Central Pennsylvania. Amy works to help people become better so-called “e-Patients” by using technology to stay informed about their health.
Amy highlights some of the characteristics of an engaged patient in this video.
The healthcare industry is just starting to incorporate electronic medical records, patient portals, and apps into their practices. And, although it is just the beginning, Dr. Karen Jones, an Internist & Medical Director for Quality and Innovation at WellSpan Health, says that the future is not too far out in changing how care is delivered and received. Watch the video here.
“For me, the most exciting part of the Digital Age in health care is the potential we have to help people understand and have more control of their health care,” says Dr. Jones.
And, check out this video to learn more about how medical apps are streamlining care and are helping patients become more engaged in their care.
Where do you turn for information about a diagnosis or symptoms you're experiencing? Do you feel that doing some research before a visit with your doctor makes it a more meaningful interaction? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.
“As we move to a Digital Age for healthcare technology, specifically for medical records and health information exchange, it requires a different workforce,” explains Martin Ciccocioppo, Vice President of Research with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.
(Philadelphia) -- New breast cancer research finds no increased risk of heart problems after certain types of breast cancer therapy. Smaller studies have previously raised concerns about heart damage when women with cancer opt for radiation treatments.
(Hershey) -- The upcoming opening of the new Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital building has one former patient and her family reflecting on the role of the facility in the community.
“An e-Patient is someone that is empowered, engaged, equipped, and enabled,” says Christine Amy from Aligning Forces for Quality --- South Central Pennsylvania.
Telemedicine is a new option to improve efficiency and outcomes for services when time or availability to reach a patient is important. It is a system that works between two computers to allow a physician and patient to see and talk to each other without being in the same location, much like video chat.
“When I think about the ways that doctors are accessing medical applications and patient data now, I think of keywords like value and convenience,” says Dr. Michael Ripchinski, Chief Medical Information Officer and Family Physician at Lancaster General Health. “It is valuable for them to have access to record electronically so they can can continue to deliver care for patient even in the off hours. And, it is convenient that they don’t have to travel back to office to initiate or continue care for their patients.”
Since April 2011, witf has worked with three health systems in presenting a broad-based, multimedia exploration of cancer called Facing Cancer Together. With the support and counsel of nonprofits, PinnacleHealth, WellSpan Health and Lancaster General Health, Facing Cancer Together produced 419 media pieces, plus live events and social media posts.
Now witf and its Facing Cancer Together partners have agreed to continue the project with a new focus. Now called Transforming Health, the new effort will launch on Nov. 12 and be followed with a Transforming Health Community Forum on “Smart Talk TV” at 8 p.m. Nov. 15.
Cancer is the epidemic of modern times. Unlike other diseases that have plagued people throughout history like tuberculosis and polio, we haven’t yet discovered a vaccine against it. One of the most common manifestations of this disease is breast cancer, which affects not only one in eight women, but also thousands of men in the United States.