Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Massey scientists contribute to research involving the latest FDA-approved cancer therapies

VCU Massey Cancer Center doctors and scientists are making important discoveries involving cancer-fighting drugs recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Between August 2013 and July 2014, the FDA approved six new anticancer therapeutics, five of which target the unique molecular and genetic characteristics of an individual’s cancer.

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Massey researchers co-lead global breast cancer trials

Massey researchers are part of two international leadership teams recruiting subjects for phase 3 clinical trials testing novel breast cancer therapies. The first trial, known as KATHERINE, will test the efficacy and safety of a new antibody-drug conjugate, trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1), in comparison to the standard FDA-approved drug Herceptin as post-operative, or “adjuvant”, therapy for early stage Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer patients.  The second trial, OlympiA, will test the efficacy of the drug olaparib as adjuvant therapy for high risk, triple negative breast cancer patients with inherited loss of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 cancer suppressor genes.

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New target identified for potential brain cancer therapies

Paul Fisher at his desk.

Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Institute for Molecular Medicine (VIMM) have identified a new protein-protein interaction that could serve as a target for future therapies for the most common form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). 

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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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