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Released: 12/20/2017

The “mutational burden,” or the number of mutations present in a tumor’s DNA, is a good predictor of whether that cancer type will respond to a class of cancer immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors, a new study led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers shows. The finding, published in the Dec. 21 New England Journal of Medicine, could be used to guide future clinical trials for these drugs.

Released: 12/14/2017

Two Johns Hopkins prostate cancer researchers found significant disparities when they submitted identical patient samples to two different commercial liquid biopsy providers. Liquid biopsy is a new and noninvasive alternative to tumor tissue sequencing, and it is intended to specifically detect and sequence tumor DNA circulating in patients’ blood. The results are used to help guide doctors to tailor the best treatment for patients at each point of their disease.

Released: 12/05/2017

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers demonstrated that mice with ovarian cancer that received drugs to reactivate dormant genes along with other drugs that activate the immune system had a greater reduction of tumor burden and significantly longer survival than those that received any of the drugs alone.

Released: 11/30/2017

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers and colleagues have identified a novel drug combination therapy that could prime nonsmall cell lung cancers to respond better to immunotherapy. These so-called epigenetic therapy drugs, used together, achieved robust anti-tumor responses in human cancer cell lines and mice.

Released: 10/23/2017

Some scientists have suspected that the most common form of ovarian cancer may originate in the fallopian tubes, the thin fibrous tunnels that connect the ovaries to the uterus. Now, results of a study of nine women suggest that the genomic roots of many ovarian tumors may indeed arise in the fallopian tubes, potentially providing insights into the origin of ovarian cancer and suggesting new ways for prevention and intervention of this disease.

Released: 10/12/2017

Working with mice and rats, Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a way to successfully deliver nano-sized, platinum-based chemotherapy drugs to treat a form of bladder cancer called nonmuscle-invasive that is found in the lining of the organ and has not invaded deeper into bladder tissue. The tiny drug-infused particles, they say, potentially offer a less toxic clinical alternative to standard chemotherapy delivered intravenously or through a catheter inserted into the bladder.

Released: 09/25/2017

Below are brief descriptions of research results scheduled for presentation by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), Sept. 24–27, in San Diego.

Released: 09/19/2017
The Johns Hopkins Hospital will join the ranks of more than 200 organizations that have been accredited as CEO Cancer Gold Standard employers by meeting standards of excellence in cancer prevention, early detection and quality care for their employees. The accreditation is given by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit group of CEOs founded by former President George H.W. Bush
Released: 09/11/2017

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have preliminary evidence in laboratory-grown, human airway cells that a condensed form of cigarette smoke triggers so-called “epigenetic” changes in the cells consistent with the earliest steps toward lung cancer development.

Released: 09/04/2017
Johns Hopkins scientists say they have developed a blood test that spots tumor-specific DNA and protein biomarkers for early-stage pancreatic cancer. The combined “liquid biopsy” identified the markers in the blood of 221 patients with the early-stage disease.
Released: 08/16/2017

In a bid to detect cancers early and in a noninvasive way, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood and have used it to accurately identify more than half of 138 people with relatively early-stage colorectal, breast, lung and ovarian cancers. The test, the scientists say, is novel in that it can distinguish between DNA shed from tumors and other altered DNA that can be mistaken for cancer biomarkers.

Released: 08/08/2017

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists report they have discovered a biochemical process that gives prostate cancer cells the almost unnatural ability to change their shape, squeeze into other organs and take root in other parts of the body. The scientists say their cell culture and mouse studies of the process, which involves a cancer-related protein called AIM1, suggest potential ways to intercept or reverse the ability of cancers to metastasize, or spread.

Released: 07/11/2017

Laboratory studies suggest that an experimental drug already in early clinical trials for a variety of adult cancers might enhance radiation and chemotherapy for two childhood brain cancers that currently are virtually always fatal.

Released: 06/28/2017

By comparing variations in protein expression in tumor samples from a single melanoma patient, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center say their findings have the potential to reveal some of the mechanisms underlying response or resistance to immunotherapy drugs. The “proof of concept” findings, published online Feb. 13, 2017, in Clinical Cancer Research, point to distinct variations not in the genetic code of each tumor sample, but in the expression levels of certain proteins encoded by normal genes.

Released: 06/26/2017

The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and WellSpan Health today announced a new clinical collaboration that will benefit patients living with cancer in central Pennsylvania’s Adams, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.

Released: 06/13/2017

Officials at Johns Hopkins Medicine announced today an expansion of its five-year affiliation with Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Highmark, which provide health care services and insurance to people in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware. The newly expanded relationship aims to support the care of patients with rare and complex adult and pediatric cancers and some organ-transplant patients, widen the portfolio of cancer clinical trials available to AHN’s patients, facilitate participation in medical education, and collaborate on genomic sequencing and precision medicine research.

Released: 06/09/2017

Increasing our understanding of bladder cancer pathogenesis, using immune surveillance to eradicate local tumors and micrometastases, and attempting to identify molecular subtypes in bladder cancers to support personalized therapies: These are some of the exciting research initiatives being recognized by the Greenberg Bladder Cancer Institute 2017 Research Grants Awards.

Released: 06/09/2017

In an expanded, three-year clinical trial of 86 patients with colorectal and 11 other kinds of cancer that have so-called ‘mismatch repair’ genetic defects, scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine and its Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy have found that half of the patients respond to an immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab (Keytruda). In a report on the findings, which led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve expanded use of pembrolizumab for patients, the researchers also say they found evidence that the immune responses closely aligned with mutations found in their cancers. The report is published online in the June 8 issue of the journal Science.

Released: 06/07/2017

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have created a nanoparticle that carries two different antibodies capable of simultaneously switching off cancer cells’ defensive properties while switching on a robust anticancer immune response in mice. Experiments with the tiny, double-duty “immunoswitch” found it able to dramatically slow the growth of mouse melanoma and colon cancer and even eradicate tumors in test animals, the researchers report.

Released: 06/01/2017

Combining two checkpoint inhibitors, drugs that remove inhibitory signals and restore the immune system’s ability to fight cancer, may be effective in shrinking melanoma tumors or preventing their growth in some patients who previously received standard therapy, according to new research results from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute. (ASCO Abstract 9520).

Released: 05/23/2017

Today, for the first time, a drug has been FDA-approved for cancer based on disease genetics rather than type. Developed from 30 years of basic research at Johns Hopkins and its Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute, pembroluzimab now can be used for colon, pancreatic, stomach, ovarian and other cancers if genetic testing reveals defects in so-called mismatch repair genes.

Released: 05/10/2017

Using gene sequencing tools, scientists from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of British Columbia have found a set of genetic mutations in samples from 24 women with benign endometriosis, a painful disorder marked by the growth of uterine tissue outside of the womb. The findings, described in the May 11 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, may eventually help scientists develop molecular tests to distinguish between aggressive and clinically “indolent,” or non-aggressive, types of endometriosis.

Released: 05/08/2017

In experiments with human colon cancer cells and mice, a team led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have evidence that cancer arises when a normal part of cells’ machinery generally used to repair DNA damage is diverted from its usual task. The findings, if further studies confirm them, could lead to the identification of novel molecular targets for anticancer drugs or tests for cancer recurrence, the investigators say.

Released: 04/11/2017

At the annual “Research Matters” conference on Wednesday, April 12, scientists at Maryland’s two academic cancer centers will meet to discuss how scientists are using advanced imaging methods to develop better ways pinpoint and track cancer cells — down to the microscopic level — and precisely target each cell with anti-cancer drugs.

Released: 04/07/2017

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers received the following honors and awards at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 1-5 in Washington, D.C.

Released: 04/04/2017

See below for brief descriptions of research scheduled for presentation by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy scientists at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 1 – 5 in Washington, D.C.

Released: 04/03/2017

More than seven years after the start of one of the first clinical trials of the immunotherapy drug nivolumab, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report that the five-year survival estimate for a limited subset of people with advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer taking the drug is 16 percent, compared with a historical survival rate for that group of 1 to 4 percent.

Released: 03/23/2017

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists report data from a new study providing evidence that random, unpredictable DNA copying “mistakes” account for nearly two-thirds of the mutations that cause cancer. Their research is grounded on a novel mathematical model based on DNA sequencing and epidemiologic data from around the world.

Released: 03/06/2017

Johns Hopkins inHealth, an initiative of Johns Hopkins aimed at moving the field of individualized health forward, will kick off a brand-new event series called On the Road to Precision Medicine Health Care Leader Series. The series will address some of the challenges and obstacles faced in the field of precision medicine. The inaugural event taking place March 8 at the National Press Club will focus on the future of immunotherapy. Leading experts will gather to discuss topics such as cost, communication, research and health care delivery

Released: 02/28/2017

In a rigorous study of tumor tissue collected from 125 patients with aggressive brain cancers, researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have found no evidence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and conclude that a link between the two diseases, as claimed by earlier reports, likely does not exist.

Released: 02/14/2017

Lung cancer specialist Benjamin Levy, M.D., has been named the new clinical director of medical oncology and medical director of thoracic oncology for the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital in northwest Washington, D.C.

Released: 02/07/2017

Physicians at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have successfully treated 16 patients with a rare and lethal form of bone marrow failure called severe aplastic anemia using partially matched bone marrow transplants followed by two high doses of a common chemotherapy drug. In a report on the new transplant-chemo regimen, published online Dec. 22, 2016, in Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the Johns Hopkins team says that more than a year after their transplants, all of the patients have stopped taking immunosuppressive drugs commonly used to treat the disorder and have no evidence of the disease.

Released: 01/31/2017

Results of a multicenter study of 129 women with advanced breast cancer show that a blood test that spots cancer-linked DNA correctly predicted that most of those patients with higher levels of the tumor markers died significantly earlier than those with lower levels.

Released: 01/26/2017

When a cell is dividing, two identical structures, called centrosomes, move to opposite sides of the cell to help separate its chromosomes into the new cells. More than 100 years ago, scientists observed that cancer cells often have more than two centrosomes, but they couldn’t untangle whether the extra structures were a result of the cancer — or part of its cause. Now, biologists at Johns Hopkins have solved that conundrum, finding that extra centrosomes can single-handedly promote tumor formation in mice.

Released: 01/17/2017

Albert H. Owens Jr., M.D., a Johns Hopkins oncologist who played a leadership role in developing oncology as a scientific discipline and clinical specialty — and who also served as president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital — died Jan. 13 at the age of 90.

Released: 01/12/2017

Young scientists interested in bladder cancer research can compete for up to two awards totaling $100,000 from a joint effort between the Johns Hopkins Greenberg Bladder Cancer Institute and the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN).

Released: 01/05/2017

Results of an initial study of tumors from patients with lung cancer or head and neck cancer suggest that the widespread acquired resistance to immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors may be due to the elimination of certain genetic mutations needed to enable the immune system to recognize and attack malignant cells. The study, conducted by researchers on the cells of five of their patients treated at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, is described online Dec. 28 in Cancer Discovery.