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Jul 2, 2015

J&J vaccine completely prevented HIV in half of monkeys in trial

CHICAGO (Reuters) – An experimental Johnson & Johnson vaccine completely prevented HIV infection in half of monkeys that got the shot and then were exposed to high doses of an aggressive virus, results that spurred the company to test the vaccine in people, academic and company researchers said on Thursday.

The international trial is underway in 400 healthy volunteers in the United States, East Africa, South Africa and Thailand. It is the first time since Merck’s failed 2007 trial that a major pharmaceutical company has sponsored clinical development of an HIV vaccine, said Dr. Dan Barouch, a vaccine researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hosptial, MIT and Harvard.

Jun 18, 2015

Ancient ‘Kennewick Man’ skeleton was Native American: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The much-anticipated results of a study of DNA taken from the hand bone of the so-called Kennewick Man, a 8,500-year-old skeleton discovered in Washington state in 1996, suggest the man was most closely related to Native American populations, a team of international researchers said on Thursday.

The DNA findings, published online in the journal Nature, contradict a 2014 study based on anatomical data that suggested the skeleton was most closely related to Polynesian or indigenous Japanese populations.

Jun 2, 2015

Insight – Transition to gene-based cancer treatment may not be simple

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The medical view of cancer is in transition, as cancer doctors increasingly focus on the defective genes that are driving the disease rather than the organ in which it takes root.

Oncologists hope that by understanding the genetic underpinnings of cancer rather than focusing on whether it originated in the breast or the liver, they will be able to give patients better, more personalized and more effective treatments.

Jun 2, 2015

Transition to gene-based cancer treatment may not be simple

CHICAGO, June 2 (Reuters) – The medical view of cancer is in
transition, as cancer doctors increasingly focus on the
defective genes that are driving the disease rather than the
organ in which it takes root.

Oncologists hope that by understanding the genetic
underpinnings of cancer rather than focusing on whether it
originated in the breast or the liver, they will be able to give
patients better, more personalized and more effective
treatments.

Jun 1, 2015

Large U.S. cancer trial to match genetic glitches to targeted drugs

CHICAGO, June 1 (Reuters) – The National Cancer Institute in
July will start enrolling patients in a clinical trial seeking
to match the underlying genetic defect driving a person’s tumor
with one or more of 20 approved or experimental drugs targeting
that gene.

The announcement, made at the American Society for Clinical
Oncology meeting on Monday, is meant to use approved or
experimental drugs to develop insights that will ultimately
enable doctors to prescribe drugs based on the molecular cause
of the cancer, rather than the organ in which it was originally
discovered.

May 29, 2015

Genetic glitch can predict response to new class of cancer drugs

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Patients with colon and other cancers who have a specific defect in genes needed for DNA repair are far more likely to respond to a new class of drugs such as Merck & Co’s Keytruda, which enlist the immune system to attack tumors, a new study has shown.

The small study, financed not by Big Pharma but by swimmers who raised charitable donations, tested Keytruda in patients with advanced colon and rectal cancers and found 92 percent of patients with the genetic defect had their disease controlled compared with 16 percent who did not carry the defect.

May 27, 2015

Researchers oppose unvalidated gene panel tests for cancer links

CHICAGO, May 27 (Reuters) – A group of international
researchers is making the case that genetic tests that look for
multiple hereditary genes suspected of being linked to breast
cancer should not be offered until they are proven to be valid
and useful in clinical practice.

Such tests, made by several companies including Myriad
Genetics Inc, Ambry Genetics, Invitae and
Illumina Inc, cover up to 100 inherited cancer genes,
including more than 20 for breast cancer.

May 14, 2015

Cleveland Clinic partners with Venter’s firm for sequencing study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Genome pioneer J. Craig Venter’s company has signed a broad collaboration agreement with the Cleveland Clinic to sequence and analyze de-identified blood samples from the health system’s patients, the two parties said on Thursday.

The two organizations will apply whole genome, cancer and microbiome sequencing with the goal of discovering new disease genes and disease pathways associated with heart disease.

May 14, 2015

U.S. report shows mixed progress on curbing foodborne pathogens

CHICAGO, May 14 (Reuters) – U.S. cases of two deadly types
of foodborne pathogens have fallen sharply since 2008, but rates
of other key types of foodborne bugs have increased, according
to the latest report on nine pathogens tracked by health
officials.

“The picture is mixed,” said Dr. Patricia Griffin of the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of
foodborne diseases, adding, “Most of it is not good news.”

May 13, 2015

Personalized approach helped cure more children with kidney cancer

CHICAGO, May 13 (Reuters) – A personalized treatment
targeting a patient’s individual genetic makeup helped cure more
children with a rare form of kidney cancer, researchers said on
Wednesday.

The findings, based on two studies led by Dr. David Dix of
the British Columbia Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, were
released ahead of the American College of Clinical Oncology
meeting later this month.

    • About Julie

      "Julie Steenhuysen has been covering health and science topics for Reuters for the past decade, first as a medical device correspondent, then as team leader for the equities team covering U.S. pharmaceuticals and healthcare companies. For the past 4 years, Julie has worked as U.S. health and science correspondent, focusing on coverage for a general news audience."
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