Dr. Keen's Blog

Combination cancer therapy

There is so much talk about immunotherapy these days. Sidney Kimmel and Michael Bloomberg just donated money to establish the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Johns Hopkins University. The Institute of Medicine discussed what policies should be considered with this new emerging treatment paradigm. New ideas about how to combine immunotherapy with other cancer therapies are emerging almost daily. After many years of intense research into how the immune... Read More

Cancer therapy will be combination therapy

Immunotherapy (IT) has changed — and will continue to change — cancer treatment. Although only about 25% of patients who receive IT have a response, when patients do respond to treatment, the response is nothing short of amazing. Patients who just 5 years ago had a 10% chance of survival of over 5 years are now 10 years cancer free with no indication of recurrence. I personally know two people... Read More

Education about immunotherapy needed

It seems you can’t read the health section without finding a story about immunotherapy for cancer treatment. After 30+ years of research, immunotherapy is the latest successful cancer treatment. The success is remarkable. Immunotherapy is changing lives and providing options for a group of people who didn’t have options before. Immunotherapy treatment for cancer was the topic of the Institute of Medicine policy forum held this last week in Downtown... Read More

World Cancer Day 2016: collaborative research key for treatment

Today is World Cancer Day (#WorldCancerDay). This year, the focus is that together we can conquer cancer – #WeCanICan. It is the idea that by sharing stories, information, and data, together we can understand more about cancer biology, cancer detection, cancer prevention, and cancer treatment. Everyone has a role to play and by sharing ideas, we can move the field forward. Such an understanding can significantly reduce the pain and... Read More

Cervical cancer: identifying factors that cause cells to become cancer

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month. Vaccination to prevent human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in both women and men has led to a decrease in the development and incidence of cervical cancer in women, as well as oral, anal, vaginal, and penile cancers. Cervical cancer, however, still remains the number three cancer related killer of women worldwide. The development of cervical cancer is linked to persistent, chronic infection with HPV,... Read More

Study in mice shows metastasis path of breast cancer to lung

Identifying how cancer cells migrate or metastasize throughout the body has been a central question in cancer research. In a paper published in Plos Biology on December 30, 2015 by Dr Gallego-Ortega and colleagues provides one route that cancer cells may take when moving from the breast to the lung. It seems, though, that this particular route happens in a small subset of breast cancers called Luminal A cells. Their... Read More

How to find a career with a science degree

I have been asked many times over the past year about how to find a job outside of the lab or how to make the next step to find a rewarding science career by graduate students and postdocs. It is not an obvious path. It is a very personal path and one that can be extraordinarily rewarding. Then again, it is your science career and what you want to do... Read More

Gut bacteria can alter responses to cancer immunotherapy

The bacterial content in your gut (or also called the gut microbiome) may influence how you respond to therapy. This is the conclusion of two separate research papers published in the November 27 issue of Science Magazine. What did these papers actually show? Before getting to the data, it must be noted that this work was all done in a mouse model of cancer. The first lab tested if responses... Read More

Type 2 polio eradicated: closer to the eradication of all strains

As reported in Science Magazine, on September 20 the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (GCC) announced the eradication of type 2 polio. This is a great step forward for the complete eradication of the disease worldwide. There are three strains of poliomyelitis, types 1 – 3. Now that type 2 has been declared eradicated, this means only 1 and 3 are still remaining. Type 3, however, has... Read More

What isn’t transferred from breast milk?

We all know that breast milk contains vital nutrients and immunity for the newborn, but can other proteins and gene regulators, like microRNAs, also be passed along to newborns? If so, are these absorbed by the infant? Do these potentially alter gene expression in the child? Dr. Alexandra Title and colleagues published an interesting paper last week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry that looks at these questions. Specifically, the... Read More

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