Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Research

First-of-its-kind head and neck cancer immunotherapy clinical trial opens at Massey

Erin Alesi

VCU Massey Cancer Center is recruiting participants for an international phase 2 clinical trial testing the first immune checkpoint inhibitors for head and neck cancer. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are drugs that cause the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells, and they have shown dramatic results in treating certain types of skin and lung cancers.  

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A righteous purpose

“We have a righteous purpose,” says Richard “Rick” Moran, Ph.D., a preeminent scientist at VCU Massey Cancer Center. “I ask my research students to walk through the oncology clinic every day to refresh their memories as to why we are here. The patient is the very real endpoint for research.”

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Massey scientists uncover process that could drive the majority of cancers

The gene p53 has been described as the “guardian of the genome” due to its prominent role in preventing genetic mutations. More than half of all cancers are thought to originate from p53 mutations or loss of function, and now a recent study by VCU Massey Cancer Center scientist Richard Moran, Ph.D., explains why. 

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New drug combination in preclinical laboratory studies effectively kills brain and breast cancer, and inhibits Ebola, influenza and many other viruses and superbug bacteria

Paul Dent for blog

Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have developed a drug combination that kills brain and breast cancer stem cells in preclinical laboratory studies. The breakthrough drug combination also prevents viruses, including Ebola, from replicating and makes “superbug” bacteria vulnerable to common antibiotics. The combination works by targeting a protein known as GRP78, according to a study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

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Pre-clinical study shows potential to increase the effectiveness of leukemia treatments by blocking the production of a nuclear protein that affects chemotherapy response and tumor initiation

Preclinical experiments led by a team of researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center have shown that blocking the production of a protein known as chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 4 (CHD4) may help increase the effectiveness of first-line treatments for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a particularly lethal blood cancer that is increasing in incidence among older adults. 

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