March 2015 — UPCI Researchers Target Viruses that Cause Cancer
Of the many viruses that infect humans, only seven have been shown to cause cancer to date. Two of these known cancer-causing viruses, Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV), were discovered by Patrick Moore, MD, MPH, and Yuan Chang, MD of the UPCI Cancer Virology Program. The Chang-Moore team developed a new technology for identifying human cancer viruses, called digital transcriptome subtraction, or DTS. Through the discovery of novel cancer viruses, and detailed investigation into their biology and mechanisms of action, the research team aims to develop effective targeted therapies for patients with virus-related cancers.
Watch Drs. Moore and Chang discuss their important work in the video below.
Video courtesy of the Carnegie Science Awards
February 2015 — UPCI's Tumor Microenvironment Center (TMC) Bridges Multiple Disciplines to Study External Influences on Tumors
Tumors do not grow in isolation, but are influenced by many surrounding factors in their environment. The Tumor Microenvironment Center (TMC) is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary effort that brings together preclinical and clinical scientists with the goal of translating basic knowledge of the mechanisms of interaction between cancer cells and their microenvironment, to enhance and accelerate direct patient-oriented interventions. Included in the microenvironment are the immune, inflammatory, and patient-specific factors that regulate cancer development, progression, and response to anti-cancer treatments. Watch TMC Co-Directors Dr. Robert Ferris (Professor of Otolaryngology, Immunology, and Radiation Oncology; Chief of Head and Neck Surgery; UPMC Chair in Advanced Oncologic Head and Neck Surgery; Co-Leader of the UPCI Cancer Immunology Program; UPCI Associate Director for Translational Research) and Dr. Dario Vignali (Vice Chair and Professor of Immunology; Co-Leader of the UPCI Cancer Immunology Program) discuss the TMC and its goal to provide more personalized and effective treatments for cancer patients.
January 2015 — Epigenetic Priming Shows Promise in Elderly Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Seventy percent of elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who were treated with a combination of drugs aimed to make chemotherapy treatments effective and less toxic achieved remission or a slowing of disease progression, in a clinical study led by UPCI's Annie Im, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in Pitt's Division of Hematology/Oncology. The research is important because most elderly patients diagnosed with AML can't tolerate the aggressive chemotherapy needed and tend to have more aggressive disease than younger patients, making prognosis poor.
To learn more, read the press release, and watch Dr. Im discuss the trial below: