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American Cancer Society Updates Colorectal Cancer Screening Guideline

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has released an updated guideline for colorectal cancer screening. Among the major guideline changes, the new recommendations say screening should begin at age 45 for people at average risk. Previously, the guideline recommended screening begin at age 50 for people at average risk. Recommendations for screening test options are also part of the guideline changes.

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Nut Consumption May Aid Colon Cancer Survival

Charles S. Fuchs, MD, co-leader of the SU2C Colorectal Cancer Dream Team, is also head of a research that recently reported an intriguing finding: people with stage III colon cancer who regularly eat nuts are at significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality than those who don’t. The study followed 826 participants in a clinical trial for a median of 6.5 years after they were treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Those who regularly consumed at least two, one-ounce servings of nuts each week demonstrated a 42% improvement in disease-free survival and a 57% improvement in overall survival, according to a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Earlier research among patients with colon cancer has indicated that patients are more likely to have poor outcomes when lifestyle factors such as obesity, high carbohydrate diet and lack of exercise increases their insulin resistance or raises blood sugar levels. “These studies support the hypothesis that behaviors that make you less insulin resistant, including eating nuts, seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer,” Fuchs said. “However, we don’t know yet what exactly about nuts is beneficial.” Nuts also might play a positive role by satisfying hunger with less intake of carbohydrates or other foods associated with poor outcomes, Fuchs noted. Dr. Fuchs is director of the Yale Cancer Center and physician-in-chief at the Smilow Cancer Hospital.

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SU2C-American Cancer Society Lung Cancer Dream Team Discover New Strategy in Treating Lung Cancer Patients

Dr. Janne and the SU2C-American Cancer Society Lung Cancer Dream Team have been focused on treating lung cancer patients with mutant KRAS. In this new publication, they report that a subgroup of patients with mutant KRAS may benefit from drugs called MEK inhibitors, if these patients do not have as much of the non-mutant KRAS protein. This information is helpful in deciding what treatments can be used for certain patients with mutant KRAS.

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New Funding Opportunity: SU2C-CRUK Pediatric Brain Cancer Dream Team Translational Research Grant

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) invite applications for the SU2C-CRUK Pediatric Brain Cancer Dream Team Translational Research Grant. The Dream Team will address critical problems in pediatric (age range up to 18 years) brain cancer treatment and positively impact patients in the near future. The project will accelerate the development of prevention strategies, diagnostic approaches or treatments for pediatric brain cancers through investigation by a collaborative multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, transatlantic Dream Team. The project must be designed to accelerate therapeutic application to the clinic with patient involvement within 4 years of the grant term. Additionally, the project can address issues around late stage effects of pediatric brain cancer treatment. Proposed ideas should be based on perceived opportunities for success as well as high-priority areas with a critical patient need.

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New Funding Opportunity: Pancreatic Cancer Collective New Therapies Challenge

The Pancreatic Cancer Collective New Therapies Challenge represents a new, focused effort to increase the number of innovative and effective therapies to treat pancreatic cancer by support of pre-clinical and clinical development efforts. The Pancreatic Cancer Collective, a strategic collaboration of the Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer, will support collaborative, multi-disciplinary Teams to investigate novel or repurposed medicines, treatment strategies or technologies that have the potential to significantly impact pancreatic cancer patients in the near term.

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Stand Up To Cancer T-Cell Lymphoma Dream Team Translational Research Grant

The Stand Up To Cancer T-Cell Lymphoma Dream Team Translational Research Grant will fund a translational cancer research project focused on T-cell lymphoma that will address critical problems in patient care, including prevention strategies for those at risk, and deliver near-term patient benefit through investigation by a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, collaborative Dream Team of expert investigators.

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Scientists Map Genomes of Brain Tumors in Search of Targets for Drug Treatment

Ependymomas are a type of brain tumor that is notoriously difficult to treat. Scientists with the SU2C-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team mapped out the genetic landscape of selected ependymomas to find targets for treatment and reported encouraging preliminary data on the identification of drugs that could have an impact on the tumors. Their report, with Michael D. Taylor, MD, PhD, a principal investigator with the Dream Team, as a senior author, is published in Nature, the highest-ranked journal of general and multidisciplinary science in the world. Our colleagues at the American Association for Cancer Research have prepared the attached Science Update on the paper, discussing its importance in the quest to find treatments for these tumors that occur most often in infants and children. 

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Emily Whitehead is Named One of the “10 People Who Mattered This Year” by Nature

Emily Whitehead, the little girl who was first person ever to receive the CAR-T treatment for leukemia, has been named one of the “ten people who mattered this year” by Nature, the world’s most influential journal of multidisciplinary science, marking FDA approval of the treatment, supported by SU2C research. “A young girl’s battle against leukemia inspired a new generation of cancer therapy,” Nature noted. Crystal Mackall, MD, co-leader of the SU2C-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, says the treatment is a “watershed.” Emily’s story is also told in this video from the 2014 SU2C telecast. 

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Bernstein Featured Amongst Three Women Breaking New Ground in Research

Kara Bernstein, PhD, recipient of a 2016 Innovative Research Grant (IRG) from SU2C, is featured in a story on “Meet Three Women Breaking New Ground in Research” in the Media Planet supplement to USA TODAY on Education and Career News. Dr. Bernstein is at the University of Pittsburgh. She is using her IRG to study factors affecting predisposition to cancer.

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SU2C-St. Baldrick Pediatric Team Finds New Target in Neuroblastoma

Scientists supported by the Stand Up To Cancer-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team have identified a promising new target for possible treatment of neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in infants. “We have built a strong foundation for developing a completely new and hopefully much less toxic treatment for neuroblastoma,” said John M. Maris, MD, a pediatric oncologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) who is leader of the Dream Team and supervised a study published in Cancer Cell, a prestigious scientific journal. Crystal Mackall, MD, associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute and co-leader of the Dream Team, is also a co-author of the paper. Maris, Mackall,and colleagues identified a protein that occurs on the surface of the tumor cells and then developed a combination of an antibody that zeroes in on the protein and a chemotherapy drug that attacks the DNA in the tumors while sparing healthy tissue. 

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SU2C Dream Team Scientist Featured in Science Magazine for work on Organoids

Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, leader of the SU2C-Dutch Cancer Society Tumor Organoids Dream Team, is featured in Science Magazine for his pioneering work on organoids, which are grown in the lab from small samples of cells taken from tumor tissue. They can be used to study patients’ tumors and to test new drugs. The Dream Team is focusing on colon cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

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Scientists Develop Blood Test That Spots Tumor-Derived DNA in People With Early-Stage Cancers

Scientists supported by Stand Up To Cancer have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood, allowing them to identify people with early-stage colorectal, breast, lung, and ovarian cancers. “This study shows that identifying cancer early using DNA changes in the blood is feasible and that our high accuracy sequencing method is a promising approach to achieve this goal,” says Victor Velculescu, MD, PhD, professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and co-leader of the SU2C-Dutch Cancer Society Dream Team on Molecular Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer (MEDOCC). A report on the research, performed on blood and tumor tissue samples from 200 people with all stages of cancer in the U.S., Denmark and the Netherlands, appears as the cover story in the Aug. 16, 2017, issue of Science Translational Medicine, a major scientific journal.

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SU2C Advisor Talks Skin Cancer Prevention Tips

Jeffrey E. Gershenwald, MD, a surgical oncologist from MD Anderson Cancer Center and a member of the SU2C-MRA Dream Team JSAC, published an op-ed in Newsweek highlighting that skin cancers (including melanoma, a more aggressive form of skin cancer) are on the rise – and are readily prevented with proper sun safety practices. In the article, Dr. Gershenwald discusses the need to increase use of sunscreen, protective clothing, limiting exposure and public policy to allow children access to over-the-counter sun screen use while at school, and to restrict minor’s access to indoor tanning beds.

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