Massey’s science-driven translational research – moving scientific discoveries from the laboratory into real-world patient applications – is one of the many reasons the National Cancer Institute recently awarded Massey a five-year renewal as one of only two NCI-designated Cancer Centers in Virginia. Often described as “bench-to-bedside” research, translational research involves several stages, including clinical trials, where consenting patients are given drugs, surgical procedures, devices or other interventions to treat cancer and are then closely monitored to determine side effects, effectiveness and other key findings.
Researchers have created the first mouse model demonstrating the role of a cancer promoting gene, Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), in hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer. The mouse model represents a critical step in understanding the molecular mechanisms of liver cancer progression and could lead to novel therapies for the disease.
Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University have developed computer models that can simulate the recovery of the immune system in patients undergoing stem cell transplants. In two recent studies, they reinforce the potential of using DNA sequencing and computer modeling to predict which stem cell transplant recipients might suffer complications such as graft-versus-host-disease, a condition where the donor’s immune system attacks the recipient’s body. The studies build upon prior research by scientists at VCU Massey Cancer Center, the VCU Center for the Study of Biological Complexity and VCU’s Department of Psychiatry and Statistical Genomics that found evidence that the immune system may be modeled as a dynamical system.
A new drug combination featuring the widely-known impotence drug Viagra has been found to improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment while protecting the heart from harm caused by a popular form of chemotherapy. With nearly half of all cancer survivors dying from other conditions than cancer, most notably cardiovascular disease, this new treatment is not only innovative but necessary.
Laboratory experiments conducted by scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center suggest that a novel combination of the drugs ibrutinib and bortezomib could potentially be an effective new therapy for several forms of blood cancer, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).