Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Research

Targeted treatment Herceptin found to greatly improve long-term survival of HER2-positive breast cancer patients

Charles Geyer, M.D., F.A.C.P.

VCU Massey Cancer Center physician-researcher Charles E. Geyer, Jr., M.D., was the National Protocol Officer for one component of a large national study involving two National Cancer Institute (NCI)-supported clinical trials which demonstrated that trastuzumab significantly improves the long-term survival of HER-2 positive breast cancer patients.  The combined study was designed to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of the drug trastuzumab, which is commonly known as Herceptin and is primarily used alongside chemotherapy to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. The study focused on both the overall survival rates of patients up to ten years post-treatment as well as the known and potentially harmful side effects to the cardiac system.

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Scientists define important gene interaction that drives aggressive brain cancer

Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., and Luni Emdad, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.

Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center and VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) have identified a novel interaction between a microRNA and a gene that could lead to new therapies for the most common and deadly form of brain tumor, malignant glioma. 

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Massey scientists seek to improve stem cell transplant outcomes through computer modeling of next generation sequencing data

Scientists at VCU Massey Cancer Center’s award-winning Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program recently published several studies that support the possibility of using next-generation DNA sequencing and mathematical modeling to not only understand the variability observed in clinical outcomes of stem cell transplantation, but also to provide a theoretical framework to make transplantation a possibility for more patients who do not have a related donor.  

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Innovative approach to treating pancreatic cancer combines chemo- and immuno-therapy

VCU Massey Cancer Center and VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) researchers discovered a unique approach to treating pancreatic cancer that may be potentially safe and effective. The treatment method involves immunochemotherapy – a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, which uses the patient’s own immune system to help fight against disease. This pre-clinical study, led by Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., and Luni Emdad, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., found that the delivery of [pIC]PEI – a combination of the already-established immune-modulating molecule, polyinosine-polycytidylic acid (pIC), with delivery molecule polyethlenimine (PEI), a polymer often used in detergents, adhesives and cosmetics –  inside pancreatic cancer cells triggers cancer cell death without harming normal pancreatic cells.

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Chat on precision medicine in lung cancer

Last week, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) hosted a Twitter chat on precision medicine in lung cancer. Danielle Shafer, D.O., hematologist-oncologist, member of the Developmental Therapeutics research program at Massey Cancer Center and assistant professor in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care at the VCU School of Medicine, provided expert commentary as Dr. Shakun Malik, head of thoracic oncology therapeutics for the NCI’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, posed a series of questions and discussion topics.  

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