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New approach to treat drug-resistant HER2–positive breast cancer

The discovery, published in the journal CELL Reports, provides the experimental evidence for the potential development of a novel combination therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer. The combination includes the FDA approved drug lapatinib and a new experimental drug called a BET bromodomain inhibitor, which works by disrupting the expression of specific genes…

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Cancer’s ability to ‘hijack’ regulatory mechanism increases metastasis

Scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) have found that one component of this human scaffolding called collagen “cross-links” can determine a tumor’s ability to grow and spread. These cross-links of protein complexes enable connective tissue cells known as “stroma” to stiffen, stimulating tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Study results were published in today’s online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation…

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Hidden subpopulation of melanoma cells discovered

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, provides evidence for how these particular melanoma cells help tumors resist drugs designed to block blood vessel formation. “For a long time the hope has been that anti-angiogenic therapies would starve tumors of the nutrients they need to thrive, but these drugs haven’t worked as well as we all had hoped,” said Andrew C…

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Popular cancer drug target implicated in cardiovascular defects

The study, published September 8 in the journal Developmental Cell, reveals that CXCR7 binds to the ligand adrenomedullin. The UNC research suggests that this relationship is important because CXCR7 has become a popular candidate for cancer-drug developers. The UNC paper also provides a novel and unexpected role for CXCR7 in lymphatic vessels, which are largely understudied, but play critical roles in inflammation, edema, and tumor metastasis. “Our results suggest that inhibiting CXCR7 with a drug is also likely to influence the adrenomedullin peptide and may unexpectedly and negatively affect lymphatic vessels,” said senior study author Kathleen M. …

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Common diabetes drug not linked to short-term risk of pancreatic cancer

“Our research shows that short-term use of DPP-4 inhibitors in older diabetes patients does not increase their risk for pancreatic cancer,” said John Buse, MD, PhD, director of the Diabetes Care Center at UNC and co-author of the paper in the current issue of the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. “However, we just cannot address the long-term safety, yet. There are just not enough people who have taken the drug for many years.” DPP-4 inhibitors came on the market in 2006. Since then, these drugs have become some of the most commonly prescribed diabetes medications, primarily because they often cause fewer side effects compared to other diabetes treatments…

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Why don’t genetically identical cells behave identically? Cellular noise

Dohlman, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the UNC School of Medicine, is like a mechanic for cells. He takes them apart to see how they function. He can tell you what part is like a gas pedal — a protein that pushes a brain chemical into action, for instance. And he can tell you which part is like the brakes — a protein that counteracts the effect of the gas pedal…

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