Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

VCU scientists work to bring about a new treatment for rare childhood cancer

Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that develops in very early forms of nerve cells in the embryo or fetus, and it accounts for the most pediatric deaths for any tumor outside of the brain. The most lethal form of this tumor is often associated with amplification of the gene MYCN, and now scientists at VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Philips Institute for Oral Health Research may have developed a combination therapy that uses this gene to kill the cancer, instead of making it grow.

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First-of-its-kind head and neck cancer immunotherapy clinical trial opens at Massey

Erin Alesi

VCU Massey Cancer Center is recruiting participants for an international phase 2 clinical trial testing the first immune checkpoint inhibitors for head and neck cancer. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are drugs that cause the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells, and they have shown dramatic results in treating certain types of skin and lung cancers.  

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A righteous purpose

“We have a righteous purpose,” says Richard “Rick” Moran, Ph.D., a preeminent scientist at VCU Massey Cancer Center. “I ask my research students to walk through the oncology clinic every day to refresh their memories as to why we are here. The patient is the very real endpoint for research.”

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Massey scientists uncover process that could drive the majority of cancers

The gene p53 has been described as the “guardian of the genome” due to its prominent role in preventing genetic mutations. More than half of all cancers are thought to originate from p53 mutations or loss of function, and now a recent study by VCU Massey Cancer Center scientist Richard Moran, Ph.D., explains why. 

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New drug combination in preclinical laboratory studies effectively kills brain and breast cancer, and inhibits Ebola, influenza and many other viruses and superbug bacteria

Paul Dent for blog

Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have developed a drug combination that kills brain and breast cancer stem cells in preclinical laboratory studies. The breakthrough drug combination also prevents viruses, including Ebola, from replicating and makes “superbug” bacteria vulnerable to common antibiotics. The combination works by targeting a protein known as GRP78, according to a study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

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