Hello and welcome to the first edition of our Oncology/Haematology newsletter for 2015. We know oncologists and haematologists everywhere will be looking forward to the many upcoming spring conferences, and this newsletter will provide up-to-date information for prospective participants. We have included descriptions of some of the key conference dates over the next few months, such as the EACR meeting on precision medicine for cancer and the British Society for Haematology Annual Scientific Meeting. There are also reports on some of the most important news, including the very encouraging results of a recent drug trial for the treatment of breast cancer and a computer model that could potentially speed up the search for new leukaemia drugs. We hope that you will enjoy reading the newsletter and that you are looking forward to what is sure to be an exciting time in the fields of oncology and haematology!
 

 

Articles
 
N Karachaliou, R Rosell
The rapidly expanding catalogue of human oncogenic mutations, coupled with difficulties in identifying the cellular targets of active compounds in phenotypic screens, has refocused drug discovery efforts on inhibitors of specific cellular proteins. This new ‘target-based’ approach has enjoyed some spectacular successes in several types of tumours, including non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations occur in 17% of NSCLC patients, with notable response to single agent therapy. Unfortunately, all patients eventually develop acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), while complete remission rate to EGFR TKIs monotherapy is low. Priming BIM, a proapoptotic signalling BH3-only protein, induces sensitivity to erlotinib [Tarceva®] in EGFR-mutant cell lines. Synthetic lethal approaches and pre-emptive therapies based on the initial expression of BIM may significantly improve treatment outcomes. EGFR mutations result in transient pro-death imbalance of survival and apoptotic signalling in response to EGFR inhibition. Src homology 2 domain-containing phosphatase 2 is essential to the balance between extracellular signal-regulated kinase, phosphoinositide- 3-kinase/protein kinase B and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 activity. Furthermore, stromal hepatocyte growth factor confers EGFR TKI resistance and induces inter-receptor crosstalk with Ephrin Type-A receptor 2, CDCP1, AXL, and JAK1. A better understanding of the complex cancer molecular biology of EGFR mutant lung cancer is crucial for development of effective treatment and design of successful future clinical studies.
 
VM Popov et al. 
Patients diagnosed with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) often develop thrombotic events as an onset of symptoms or in evolution. The pathogenesis of thrombosis in patients with MPN is multifactorial. There are multiple prognostic score systems, but the presence of JAK2V617F (JAK2) mutation is an independent and strong thrombosis risk factor. Patients with MPN and JAK mutational status usually associate thrombocytosis, increased immature circulating platelets, and leukocytosis, with increased expression of CD62P and CD14, increased levels of circulating microparticles and leuko-platelet microaggregates, and altered endothelial function. This review aims to discuss different factors contributing to the increased thrombotic risk in association with JAK2 mutational status. Also, recent reports incriminate this mutation to have a possible role in spontaneous loss of pregnancy.
 
In preclinical model systems, the fundamental principles underlying a successful and durable anti-tumour immune response are well demonstrated. In clinical practice, significant successes in Phase III trials have been few over the last decades, but the field has gained tremendous interest following recent advances showing the activity of checkpoint blockade inhibitors. Still, at this time we do not fully understand why some people respond while others do not; nor do we completely understand which clinical and immunological monitoring tools we need to put in place to make immunotherapy a more controlled medical science. Reviewing recent evidence suggests that for a successful and controlled immunotherapy, we may need to juggle with several conditions at the same time; there is a need for the endogenous or exogenous addition of tumour antigens for a favourable tumour microenvironment, and for an immune system which remains actionable towards T cell (effector) activity by checkpoint blockade inhibitors.
 
News Updates

 

Anti-cancer transformers: the next generation self-assembling arsenal

“By tuning the surface properties and pore size of the mesoporous silica rods, and therefore controlling the introduction and release of various proteins and drugs, we can manipulate the immune system to treat multiple diseases.”

 

Virtual blood could be the key to more effective treatments for blood cancers

“This is yet another endorsement of how computer programs empower us to gain better understanding of remarkably complicated processes. What is ground-breaking about the current work is that we show how we can automate the process of building such programs based on raw experimental data. It provides us with a blueprint to develop computer models relevant to other human diseases including common cancers such as breast and colon cancer.”

 

Combination therapy trial for breast cancer

 
“This study demonstrates that a combination of lower-intensity chemotherapy and trastuzumab - which is associated with fewer side-effects than traditional chemotherapy regimens - is an appealing standard of care for this group of patients.”
 
What’s Happening in EMJ?
 
Our first EMJ Oncology eJournal of 2015 will be published in early spring and preparations are nearing the final stages. We cannot wait for you to explore the wealth of reviews covering both oncology and haematology that will feature, and we hope that this hybrid journal will serve as a capable appetiser to the two main conferences, the European Hematology Association Annual Congress and the European Cancer Congress, both taking place in Vienna later this year. Expect extensive analysis of some of the hottest topics, including screening for second primary oesophageal cancer in cancer survivors, definitive radiotherapy for prostate cancer, and alloimmune thrombocytopaenic disorders. Be sure to subscribe via our website to be at the front of the queue when EMJ Oncology 3.1 is published next month.
 

 

 
 
 

EMJ Oncology 2014

Inside Review of ESMO 2014 Madrid, Spain

 

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7th-9th May 2015 
Brussels, Belgium
 

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EMJ Hematology 2014

Inside Review 

of EHA 2014 

Milan, Italy

 

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EMJ Oncology vol 3.1

Available March 2015

 
 
 
 

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European Medical Journal 

 

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