COVID-19 patient waiting for plasma that could help with treatment

COVID-19 patient waiting for plasma that could help with treatment

  • July 27, 2020

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, according to the American Red Cross, one of the most important things you can do is donate your plasma, as it contains antibodies that might help others battling the virus. 

Geraldine Washington, a 73-year-old COVID-19 patient at Wesley, knows just how important donating plasma is.

“If you had it and beat it, go and donate your plasma,” said Washington. “It will help someone else.”

Washington has been hospitalized since Tuesday. While she’s started to recover, she said her doctors are waiting on getting her a plasma transfusion before dismissing her.

 “They want to start me on the plasma before they let me out so I have more protection,” she said. 

According to the American Red Cross, people who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies that can attack the virus. Giving their plasma to an individual at high risk, who’s fighting COVID-19, may help boost their immune system.  However, the blood types of those giving plasma and those receiving must match. 

“I have to wait until the right blood type comes in before I get the plasma,” said Washington. “I have the B negative which is rare.” 

According to the American Red Cross, about four percent of the population in America has a B negative blood type. Plus, the person had to have been infected with the virus. 

“We’ve been waiting and waiting,” said Washington. “Every time we think we got one, we don’t.” 

She urges all who have recovered from COVID-19 in Wichita to donate their plasma, regardless of their blood type. 

“You can probably help save someone’s life and then someone could probably help save your life as well,” said Washington.

If you have a verified COVID-19 diagnosis, are fully recovered and symptom free, you can sign up to donate plasma with the American Red Cross here.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

How your food choices can help with cancer prevention, treatment

How your food choices can help with cancer prevention, treatment

  • July 25, 2020

Something has been eating at us: how few folks understand that their food choices have a huge impact on their risk of various cancers — head and neck, esophageal, colon, stomach, lung, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers — and the impact that foods can have on cancer treatment’s effectiveness. Did you know:

– Studies on the effects of food on your health indicate that various phytochemicals in fruits, vegetables and grains nurture your good-for-you gut microbes, which in turn decrease your cancer risk. They do it by boosting or protecting your cellular metabolism, immune system and the function of every organ in your body. How you feed your gut bacteria may also have far-reaching effects on the outcome of chemotherapy and cancer drugs by affecting everything from insulin levels to cancer-promoting amino acids, according to several lab studies.

– Folks who eat a variety of foods and drinks that are rich in the 6,000 different anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting phytonutrients called flavonoids slash their cancer risk.

– Women who eat the least red meat have a 23% lower risk of developing invasive breast cancer than women who eat the most red meat.

– Not eating enough whole grains and eating processed meats are two major causes of cancer in America.

That’s pretty riveting info. So let’s take a deeper dive into how you can take a bite out of cancer every time you take a bite of food and a gulp of a beverage. Here are the phytonutrients and foods you want on your menu:

Flavonoids: They’re found in many vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, and green and black tea. You want to take in a wide variety of at least 500 milligrams of flavonoids daily, the level that provides the best protection against cancer, according to a 23-years-long study published in Nature Communications. You can do that by enjoying one cup of tea, one apple, one orange, 3 ounces of blueberries, and 3 ounces of broccoli.

You want a variety because a major review published in the journal Antioxidants found that different types of flavonoids are associated with a decreased of the risk of different types of cancer:

– Catechin found in berries, apples and apricots and flavonols in onions, leeks, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, tea, berries, beans and apples for prostate cancer.

– Epicatechin in green tea, grapes and cocoa for breast cancer.

– Proanthocyanidins in grape skin, cranberry and green tea for lung cancer.

– Flavones in celery, parsley, various herbs and hot peppers for colorectal cancer.

– And total flavonoids for gastric cancer.

Fiber: Digestible and nondigestible fiber found in 100% whole grains, fruits and vegetables feeds your good gut bacteria and protects your gastrointestinal tract, and it’s instrumental in the fight against colorectal and breast cancer. If you enjoy seven to nine servings daily of fruits and veggies, and eat two servings of whole grains a day you will be getting the fiber you need.

Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, collard greens, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, arugula, horseradish, radish, watercress and kale are tasty examples. Certain ones have been associated with a reduced risk of breast, head and neck, esophageal and stomach cancers and with boosting resistance to lung and colorectal cancers. You can aim to eat at least two servings a day — say, an arugula salad (around 2 cups in a serving) and a side of roasted turnips (1 cup per serving).

Lycopene: It’s a carotenoid (a building block of vitamin A) that’s found in tomatoes and is especially bioavailable when tomatoes are cooked. It is also found in pink grapefruit, watermelon and apricots. Lycopene is associated with reduced risk of aggressive prostate and gastrointestinal cancers as well as reducing the activity of lung cancer cells in the lab. Studies indicate that 8-21 mg daily may offer the most benefit — that’s about 3 ounces of watermelon (4.5 mg), 1.5 ounces of tomato puree (11 mg) and 3 ounces of guava (5.3 mg).

 

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit sharecare.com.

 

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

What’s New in Sarcoma Treatment? MSK Researchers Are Leading Many Innovative Clinical Trials

What’s New in Sarcoma Treatment? MSK Researchers Are Leading Many Innovative Clinical Trials

  • July 22, 2020
Coronavirus treatment reduces number of intensive care patients in clinical trial, biotech firm says

Coronavirus treatment reduces number of intensive care patients in clinical trial, biotech firm says

  • July 20, 2020

Alex Trebek is emotionally opening up, and sharing some more good news with fans, as he continues to fight pancreatic cancer.

The Jeopardy! host, who in 2019 was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, spoke with Good Morning America on Monday about the “good days” and “bad days” he has experienced while undergoing treatment, describing recently feeling “like I want to die” and worrying that he’s a burden to his wife, Jean.

“I feel like I’m a terrible burden to her, and that bothers me tremendously,” Trebek said.

Trebek went on to choke up while discussing the support he’s received from his wife throughout his cancer battle, explaining that she has told him he’s not a burden and that she’s been a “saint.”

“She has so much goodness in her that she is always giving out, always putting out to help me get over difficult moments, and there have been some difficult moments,” Trebek said. “And I’m just in awe of the way she handles it.”

Trebek says that, should the current treatment he’s undergoing not succeed, he won’t go to any “extraordinary measures to ensure my survival,” as “if the quality of life is not there, it’s hard sometimes to push” and keep going. But after recently sharing with viewers that his treatment is “paying off,” Trebek told GMA that “I expect to be around” in February to mark two years since he was diagnosed, and his results show that he’s “going in the right direction.” Brendan Morrow


New therapy extends breast cancer survival rate, prevents reoccurrence

Fox Chase and Ben-Gurion University receive cancer treatment study grant

  • July 17, 2020

PHILADELPHIA (July 17, 2020) – Scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have received a new grant from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) that will fund continuing research on an antibody developed as part of a longstanding collaboration between the two organizations.

The research focus is to test the effectiveness of an immune-stimulating antibody developed by BGU researcher Angel Porgador, PhD, to attack multiple myeloma, a blood cell tumor localized in the bone marrow. The antibody helps the immune system kill multiple myeloma tumor cells. Since it may work on many different types of tumors, future research will explore its use as a wide-ranging treatment option for patients with cancer.

“Our collaboration with Fox Chase encompasses many different cancer research studies and enables our students to pursue their degree research in Fox Chase Labs,” said Porgador, a professor in BGU’s Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “I look forward to further development of this project to help cancer patients around the world.”

When tumor cells develop, they can be detected by receptors on the human body’s natural killer (NK) cells, which are part of the innate immune system. These NK cells can either target tumor cells for destruction or release immune-boosting molecules called cytokines.

“Different receptors on the surface of NK cells scan molecules and structures on the surface of other cells as they travel throughout the body, and these receptors can activate a response to structures on tumors but inhibit responses toward molecules on normal cells,” said grant co-recipient Kerry S. Campbell, PhD, director of the Cell Culture Facility and co-director of the Immune Monitoring Facility at Fox Chase.

To protect itself, a tumor cell can express a molecule called PCNA on its surface that can bind to an NK cell receptor known as NKp44. Previous work by Campbell and Porgador, who is also the deputy vice president for research and development at BGU, led to the discovery that PCNA could bind to NKp44 and thereby prevent NK cells from functioning effectively. This interaction can serve as an “immune checkpoint” to shut down NK-mediated attack.

“In this case, the expression of PCNA by a tumor hijacks the inhibitory receptor, NKp44, thereby putting the brakes on NK-mediated attack. On the other hand, the unique antibody binds PCNA and blocks its detection by NKp44, thereby releasing the brakes, so NK cells can again attack the tumor,” said Campbell.

The $320,000 BSF grant is the fourth consecutive awarded for this team. Campbell is among several Fox Chase faculty members who have received joint grants with BGU through the BSF.

Campbell and Porgador’s 16-year partnership began when they were encouraged by Alton Sutnick, MD. Sutnick founded the American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) Health Sciences and Academic Affiliations Committee, based in Philadelphia. Sutnick was once director of clinical development at the American Oncologic Hospital, a precursor to Fox Chase Cancer Center.

The two researchers exchanged data and began collaborating, leading to their first grant proposal in 2008. Since then, the team has jointly published 14 academic papers and trained graduate students at BGU, where Campbell is also an adjunct professor.

“We appreciate the support of the BSF to expand BGU’s longstanding and successful collaboration with Fox Chase,” says AABGU Chief Executive Officer Doug Seserman. “And we are grateful to Dr. Al Sutnick for making this extraordinary collaboration on cancer treatment possible.”

###

About Fox Chase Cancer Center

The hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center and its affiliates (collectively “Fox Chase Cancer Center”), a member of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence five consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment. For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Celebrating the 50th birthday of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) this year, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. AABGU, headquartered in Manhattan, has regional offices throughout the United States. For more information visit http://www.aabgu.org.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Healthtech VC aMoon drops $6M on Nectin Therapeutics's immunotherapy treatment

Healthtech VC aMoon drops $6M on Nectin Therapeutics’s immunotherapy treatment

  • July 16, 2020

aMoon‘s early-stage healthtech and life sciences fund, aMoon Velocity, recently announced an initial $6 million financing round (expected to reach $15M) in Israeli Biomed startup Nectin Therapeutics, which develops next-gen immuno oncology biotherapy treatments. The funding round also saw contribution from existing investor Integra Holdings, an investment firm from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem that focuses funding on life sciences technology.

Eradicate cancer cells

Nectin Therapeutics develops novel monoclonal antibodies that inhibit the activity of the recently discovered Nectin-family proteins, which enable many cancers to go undetected while also evading the immune system’s “eradicate cancer cells” protocol. The antibodies boost the immune system so it can better fight the cancers found in solid tissue or the bloodstream.

Based on early models and expression data available from patient samples relating to the antibody targets, Nectin’s therapies will be relevant to most “solid” malignancies, including, but not limited to breast, lung, ovarian and colon cancers

Our immune system is usually pretty capable of handling different kinds of tumors on its own, however, many types of cancer often deploy various defensive mechanisms, essentially evading the immune system’s attempts to suppress the cancer cells and fight back. By utilizing the innovative antibodies to block immune checkpoints (regulators that prevent the immune system from indiscriminately attacking cells), clinical use has shown the treatments positive effect, thus offering patients with new hope.

“We believe that new immune checkpoint inhibitors will significantly enrich the toolbox of immunotherapy treatments and enable a more effective fight against cancer, whether as an independent treatment or in combination with existing approved drugs,” explains Dorit Sokolov, Managing Director at aMoon Velocity. “Immune checkpoint inhibitors have already been approved for use in the treatment of various cancerous tumors, but they are effective in a relatively small percentage of patients. We see great value in this investment to help Nectin advance and improve the potential of novel immuno-oncology antibodies.”

Cancer over COVID

Nectin Therapeutics noted that the company intends to use the funds to further advance the pipeline of its lead program and previous ones towards an FDA’s IND (Investigational New Drug)  submission.

“We have developed a series of breakthrough products with revolutionary cancer treatment potential,” tells Dr. Pini Tsukerman, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at Nectin Therapeutics. “Our expertise combines in-depth understanding of the evasion mechanisms of cancerous tumors from identification by the immune system together with extensive immunological knowledge. This comprehensive understanding allowed us to select unique molecules as a target for the antibodies we develop. We are currently in advanced development stages of a number of antibodies that can improve therapeutic offerings for cancer patients.”

aMoon and Nectin teams, from R-L: Dr. Pini Tsukerman, Co-Founder and CSO at Nectin Therapeutics; Dr. Guy Cinamon, VP R&D at Nectin Therapeutics; Dr. Liana Patt, CEO at Integra Holdings; Lior Buchman, CFO at Integra Holdings; and Dorit Sokolov, Managing Director at aMoon Velocity source: aMoon Fund

aMoon, which was founded by former Check Point co-founder Marius Nacht and serial entrepreneur Dr. Yair Schindel MD, disclosed with Geektime that although we find ourselves in the midst of global pandemic, that the fight against cancer never ends and that the financing decisions were concluded months before the Coronavirus outbreak, therefore not affecting the funding round at all.

Nectin Therapeutics was founded in 2017 by Dr. Pini Tsukerman, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist; Prof. Ofer Mandelboim from the Immunology & Cancer Research Center at the Hebrew University; and Prof. Stipan Jonjic from the Department of Histology and Embryology/Center for Proteomics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka.

UC San Diego To Join National Efforts To Assess Plasma Treatment For COVID-19

UC San Diego To Join National Efforts To Assess Plasma Treatment For COVID-19

  • July 9, 2020
The UCSD School of Medicine campus is shown here on May 1, 2019.

Photo by Brandon Quester / inewsource

Above: The UCSD School of Medicine campus is shown here on May 1, 2019.

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Health announced Thursday they will begin a clinical trial Monday to assess the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma treatment to prevent COVID-19.

The plasma therapy involves infusing patients with antibodies extracted from the blood of donors who have successfully recovered from COVID- 19, with the hope that the resulting boost to their immune systems will shorten the length and reduce the severity of the disease.

The UC San Diego trial is part of a larger, national effort approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The goal is to create a network of hospitals and blood banks collecting, isolating, processing and testing whether plasma from COVID-19 survivors has therapeutic preventive value. The national trial is being coordinated by Johns Hopkins University and sponsored by the National Insitute of Health through the Department of Defense.

“With convalescent plasma therapy, we want to act prophylactically, using a product with known high-titers (concentrations) of neutralizing antibodies,” said Dr. Edward Cachay, an infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego Health and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We want to learn how we can prevent sickness, how we can prevent COVID patients from needed mechanical ventilation and how we can prevent them from dying from the disease.”

RELATED: If You’ve Recovered From Coronavirus, The Blood Bank Wants Your Plasma

Before the emergence of antibiotics, plasma was used to prevent and treat a host of bacterial and viral infections, including diphtheria, scarlet fever and pertussis and was used during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

In general, plasma treatment has proven safe, but its effectiveness has varied with disease and among individuals. Studies of plasma therapies for SARS, MERS and the 2009 H1N1 influenza showed measurable reductions of mortality, but efforts to treat Ebola virus infections during the 2014-16 outbreak in West Africa were inconclusive.

In cases of infection by the novel coronavirus, it appears the human immune system begins producing antibodies to the disease five to 10 days after the initial infection. The antibodies bind to the targeted coronavirus, stopping it from latching onto new cells and beginning the production of more viral particles. Over the course of two or so weeks, the body clears out the virus, but antibodies to it remain. The depth and length of subsequent immunity have not been determined.

Plasma is the liquid portion of blood that carries blood components throughout the body, such as red and white blood cells, platelets, salts and enzymes. It also contains proteins and antibodies produced by the body’s immune system to fend off invasive pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 — the virus which causes coronavirus.

To qualify as a plasma donor for COVID-19 patients, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19 but are now symptom-free and fully recovered.

The UC San Diego Health clinical trial will recruit 487 qualifying participants for the study.

For information about participating in the trial, contact Donna Brusch, senior study research coordinator, at dbrusch@health.ucsd.edu or call 760-505-6649. Interested persons can also go to he study website at covid- plasmastudies.com/, which includes an online screening process.

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Canadian trail tests immune stimulating treatment in cancer patients

Canadian trail tests immune stimulating treatment in cancer patients

  • July 9, 2020


A new Canadian clinical trial is the first in the world to test an immune-stimulating treatment to prevent severe cases of respiratory illness like COVID-19 in cancer patients.

The trial is testing whether an immune-stimulating treatment, called IMM-101, can reduce the incidence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms in people who are actively undergoing cancer treatment.

It’s being conducted by the Canadian Cancer Society-funded Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG).

Cancer is considered an underlying medical condition that can put people at higher risk of more serious outcomes of COVID-19. In addition, some cancer treatments can weaken the immune system, making individuals more vulnerable to infections.

“We know the immune systems of cancer patients are compromised, both by their disease and the treatments they receive, placing them at much higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19,” says Dr Chris O’Callaghan, a senior investigator at CCTG who will be overseeing the national trial. “These patients are unable to practice social isolation due to the need to regularly attend the hospital to receive critically important cancer treatment.”

The IMM-101 has been under development for the last several years as an anti-cancer therapy and has shown that it can help to turn on certain immune cells and boost the immune system’s ability to kill cancer cells. Led by Dr Rebecca Auer, researchers from The Ottawa Hospital came up with the idea to test if the treatment could be repurposed to help cancer patients’ immune systems fight off coronavirus infections. They worked with Dr O’Callaghan and CCTG to design and run the trial in 8 cancer centres across the country.

CCTG was founded by CCS and remains one of its national research programs, with CCS providing critical core operational funding for CCTG to conduct clinical trials nationwide. In addition to CCS’s funding, this $2.8 million trial is being supported by BioCanRx, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, The Ottawa Hospital Academic Medical Organization, ATGen Canada/NKMax, and Immodulon Therapeutics, the manufacturer of IMM-101.

“COVID-19 has led to a quickly changing environment. Just as many businesses and organizations have had to adapt, some cancer researchers are also pivoting their work to address the unique challenges brought on by this pandemic,” says Andrea Seale, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). “Thanks to the quick-thinking and innovation of Drs Auer and O’Callaghan and the support of CCS donors, we are now able to conduct the world’s first clinical trial to prevent severe COVID-19 infections in people with cancer and help them live longer healthier lives.”

The researchers will follow the participants to collect information on whether they become infected with COVID-19, their symptoms, and the impact on their cancer treatment plan. Results are expected within 9 months.

“An effective vaccine that provides specific protection against COVID-19 could take another year or more to develop, test and implement,” says Dr. Auer, study lead and Director of Cancer Research at The Ottawa Hospital and associate professor at the University of Ottawa. “In the meantime, there is an urgent need to protect people with cancer from severe COVID-19 infection, and we think this study will prove a viable safeguard.”

If successful, IMM-101 could also offer benefits to people with other chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems who are similarly at a heightened risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19. It could also help protect people with cancer from other respiratory infections like the seasonal flu.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

New clinical trial will test treatment for mitigating COVID-19 infections in people with cancer

  • July 9, 2020

With support from the Canadian Cancer Society, trial aims to boost immune response against coronavirus infection in people undergoing cancer treatment

TORONTO, July 8, 2020 /CNW/ – A new clinical trial conducted by the Canadian Cancer Society-funded Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) is the first in the world to test an immune-stimulating treatment to reduce symptoms and prevent severe cases of COVID-19 and other serious respiratory infections specifically in people with cancer.

Cancer is considered an underlying medical condition that can put people at higher risk of more serious outcomes of COVID-19. In addition, some cancer treatments can weaken the immune system, making individuals more vulnerable to infections.

“We know the immune systems of cancer patients are compromised, both by their disease and the treatments they receive, placing them at much higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19,” says Dr Chris O’Callaghan, a senior investigator at CCTG who will be overseeing the national trial. “These patients are unable to practice social isolation due to the need to regularly attend the hospital to receive critically important cancer treatment.”

The trial is testing whether an immune-stimulating treatment, called IMM-101, can reduce the incidence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms in people who are actively undergoing cancer treatment. IMM-101 has been under development for the last several years as an anti-cancer therapy and has shown that it can help to turn on certain immune cells and boost the immune system’s ability to kill cancer cells. Led by Dr Rebecca Auer, researchers from The Ottawa Hospital came up with the idea to test if the treatment could be repurposed to help cancer patients’ immune systems fight off coronavirus infections. They worked with Dr O’Callaghan and CCTG to design and run the trial in 8 cancer centres across the country.

CCTG was founded by CCS and remains one of its national research programs, with CCS providing critical core operational funding for CCTG to conduct clinical trials nationwide. In addition to CCS’s funding, this $2.8 million trial is being supported by BioCanRx, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, The Ottawa Hospital Academic Medical Organization, ATGen Canada/NKMax, and Immodulon Therapeutics, the manufacturer of IMM-101.

“COVID-19 has led to a quickly changing environment. Just as many businesses and organizations have had to adapt, some cancer researchers are also pivoting their work to address the unique challenges brought on by this pandemic,” says Andrea Seale, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). “Thanks to the quick-thinking and innovation of Drs Auer and O’Callaghan and the support of CCS donors, we are now able to conduct the world’s first clinical trial to prevent severe COVID-19 infections in people with cancer and help them live longer, healthier lives.”

The researchers will follow the participants to collect information on whether they become infected with COVID-19, their symptoms and the impact on their cancer treatment plan. Results are expected within 9 months.

“An effective vaccine that provides specific protection against COVID-19 could take another year or more to develop, test and implement,” says Dr Auer, study lead and Director of Cancer Research at The Ottawa Hospital and associate professor at the University of Ottawa. “In the meantime, there is an urgent need to protect people with cancer from severe COVID-19 infection, and we think this study will prove a viable safeguard.”

If successful, IMM-101 could also offer benefits to people with other chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems who are similarly at a heightened risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19. It could also help protect people with cancer from other respiratory infections like the seasonal flu.

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is the only national charity that supports Canadians with all cancers in communities across the country. No other organization does what we do; we are the voice for Canadians who care about cancer. We fund groundbreaking research, provide a support system for all those affected by cancer and shape health policies to prevent cancer and support those living with the disease.

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit cancer.ca today.

About the Canadian Cancer Trials Group
Celebrating its 40th year, the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) is a cancer clinical trials research cooperative that runs phase I-III trials to test anti-cancer and supportive therapies in over 80 institutions across Canada and Internationally. From their operations centre at Queen’s University, they have participated in over 500 trials in over 40 countries aimed at improving survival and quality of life for all people with cancer. CCTG is a national program of the Canadian Cancer Society who provide core funding for the group.

SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)

Cision View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/July2020/09/c8090.html

Doctors say experimental treatment may have rid man of HIV – Examiner Online

Doctors say experimental treatment may have rid man of HIV – Examiner Online

  • July 8, 2020

A Brazilian man infected with the AIDS virus has shown no sign of it for more than a year since he stopped HIV medicines after an intense experimental drug therapy aimed at purging hidden, dormant virus from his body, doctors reported Tuesday.

This mage made from video shows the hands of a Brazilian man who was infected with the AIDS virus and has shown no sign of it for more than a year since he stopped HIV medicines after an intense experimental drug therapy aimed at purging hidden, dormant virus from his body, doctors reported Tuesday, July 7, 2020. “I’m very moved because it’s something that millions of people want,” said the 35-year-old man, whose spoke to The Associated Press on condition that his name not be published. (Federica Narancio/Zoom via AP)

The case needs independent verification and it’s way too soon to speculate about a possible cure, scientists cautioned.

“These are exciting findings but they’re very preliminary,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an AIDS specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. “This has happened to one person, and one person only,” and it didn’t succeed in four others given the same treatment, she said.

Another UCSF specialist, Dr. Steven Deeks, said: “This is not a cure,” just an interesting case that merits more study.

The case was described at an AIDS conference where researchers also disclosed an important prevention advance: A shot of an experimental medicine every two months worked better than daily Truvada pills to help keep uninfected gay men from catching HIV from an infected sex partner. Hundreds of thousands of people take these “pre-exposure prevention” pills now and the shot could give a new option, almost like a temporary vaccine.

If the Brazil man’s case is confirmed, it would be the first time HIV has been eliminated in an adult without a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Independent experts want to see whether his remission lasts and for the intense drug combination that he received to undergo more testing.

“I’m very moved because it’s something that millions of people want,” said the 35-year-old man, whose spoke to The Associated Press on condition that his name not be published. “It’s a gift of life, a second chance to live.”

Transplants are how two other men, nicknamed the Berlin and London patients for where they were treated, were cured previously.

“I’m the living proof it’s possible to be cured,” Adam Castillejo, the London patient, said in a news conference at the AIDS meeting, which is being held online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He and the Berlin patient, Timothy Ray Brown, had donors with a gene that confers natural immunity to HIV infection. Such transplants are too medically risky and impractical to attempt on a large scale, so doctors have been trying other approaches.

FILE – This March 4, 2019, file photo shows Timothy Ray Brown, nicknamed the Berlin patient, posed in Seattle. A Brazilian man who was infected with the AIDS virus has shown no sign of it for more than a year since he stopped HIV medicines after an intense drug therapy aimed at purging hidden, dormant virus from his body, doctors are reporting. If confirmed, this would be the first time HIV has been eliminated without a bone marrow or stem cell transplant like the ones that have cured two other men, nicknamed the Berlin and London patients for where they were treated. (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes, File)

It’s hard to eliminate HIV because it establishes an early “reservoir” of blood cells where it lies dormant and can’t be attacked by medicines or the immune system. Infections can be controlled with drugs, but as soon as patients stop taking them, the dormant virus activates and renews the disease.

Dr. Ricardo Diaz of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil led a study testing strong and new drug combinations to try to purge this reservoir.

“We are trying to wake up the virus” and boost the immune system’s ability to eliminate it once it’s flushed out of hiding, Diaz explained. The Brazil man had been taking a standard three-drug combo to suppress his virus. In September 2015, Diaz added two newer ones to intensify his treatment — dolutegravir and maraviroc — plus nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that may help expose dormant virus.

In this image made from video, Dr. Ricardo Diaz of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, speaks during an interview Monday, July 6, 2020. It’s hard to eliminate HIV because it establishes an early “reservoir” of blood cells where it lies dormant and can’t be attacked by medicines or the immune system. Diaz led a study testing various ways to try to purge the “reservoir.” (Federica Narancio/Zoom via AP)

After nearly a year, the patient went back to the standard three drugs for two more years, then stopped all HIV medicines in March 2019. The virus has been undetectable in many blood and tissue samples since then.

“We can’t search the entire body, but by the best evidence, we do not have infected cells,” Diaz said.

The most convincing evidence: Tests show the man has lost nearly all HIV antibodies — substances the immune system makes when fighting the virus.

Eager for independent verification, the patient said he went to a counseling center for an anonymous HIV test in February. It was negative.

“He made a picture of the results” and sent a photo of them, Diaz said.

The antibody results are “the most fascinating part of this story,” said Deeks. “These are solid scientists” and “the team may have come up with something that helps,” but it’s going to take verification of these results and much more testing to know, he said.

In particular, doctors will want to see proof from blood tests that the patient truly had stopped his HIV medicines. Diaz said all HIV patients in Brazil get their medicines from a government health program and that he verified the man had stopped.

“I think it’s very promising. This patient might be cured,” but it will take more time to know, Diaz said.

The treatment did not succeed in four others treated the same way, or in any of the others in the 30-person study testing related approaches.

Diaz said he has approval for a new study in 60 patients, sponsored by government grants in Brazil and by ViiV Healthcare, the British company that makes maraviroc.

Dr. Anton Pozniak, head of the AIDS conference and an HIV specialist at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, said more time is needed to see if the virus rebounds.

“I’m waiting. I’m a skeptic about all of this … until a couple of years go by,” he said.

The separate study on prevention involved nearly 4,600 people in North and South America, Asia, and Africa. It tested shots of ViiV’s experimental drug cabotegravir against daily pills of Truvada, the Gilead Sciences drug already approved for preventing HIV infection.

The study was stopped early, in May, when the shot seemed at least as effective as the pills. Final results now show the shot works better — there were 13 new infections among those who got it versus 39 among those taking Truvada, said the study leader, Dr. Raphael Landovitz of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“People can stay protected without having taken a pill every day,” he said. “You get a shot and you don’t have to do anything for two months. That’s incredibly powerful.”

The results “could revolutionize prevention for HIV worldwide” and give a new option for people who don’t want to take a daily pill, Gandhi said.

ViiV has said it will seek U.S. approval for cabotegravir; its eventual price is unknown. Truvada costs $1,600 to $1,800 a month, but what patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance and other factors. With either drug, people are still urged to use condoms to prevent other sexually spread diseases.

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Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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