Pictured, from left: Delaney; Dave Heimbrook, Ph.D., Laboratory Director, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, and President, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.; M.K. Holohan, NCI Legislative Office; Dr. Shyam Sharan, Deputy Director, Mouse Genetics Program; Craig Reynolds, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Operations, NCI at Frederick, and Associate Director, National Cancer Institute; Steve Davis, Chief, Management Operations Support Branch, NCI at Frederick; and Blair Feldman, NCI Legislative Off

U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) got an overview of the NCI at Frederick, heard about the latest advances in the genetics of breast cancer, and toured the Small Animal Imaging Facility during an Oct. 21 visit to the NCI Campus at Frederick.

Delaney was especially interested in the breast cancer presentation by Shyam Sharan, Ph.D., Deputy Program Director, Mouse Cancer Genetics Program, National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Ligia Pinto

Scientists have identified 11 inflammation markers in the bloodstream that are associated with an increased risk of lung cancer.

Previous studies of inflammation markers have been on a smaller scale or involved fewer markers. The current study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, examined 68 markers associated with various aspects of immunity and inflammation.

The chikungunya virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, causes high fever, severe joint pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. An experimental vaccine manufactured at the Pilot Plant appears to offer protection against the virus, according to results from first-in-human clinical trials. Feature image by A2-33 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons.

An experimental vaccine for mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, which spread to the U.S. this year, appears to be safe and well-tolerated while offering protection against the virus, according to the results of a first-in-human clinical trial.

The vaccine—made from non-infectious virus-like particles (VLPs)—was manufactured at the Pilot Plant (formerly known as the Vaccine Pilot Plant), which is operated by the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The chromosomes of an individual with the Ser270Asn-3 amino acid change have longer and more fragile telomeres than those of a healthy control (C2) group. Longer and more fragile telomeres point to a possible defect in telomere maintenance, which may be involved in melanoma development, according to this study.

Researchers, including staff of the Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory (CGR), Leidos Biomedical Research, have recently discovered POT1 as a major susceptibility gene for familial melanoma.

Allograft models were developed by transplanting tumor fragments into the ovaries of recipient mice. Tumor fragments were obtained from genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models that developed ovarian tumors after the induction of genetic alterations similar to those observed in human patients. These genetic events, within several months, lead to ovarian tumor development similar to what is seen in human serous epithelial ovarian cancer (SEOC). Using murine allograft models of SEOC results in faster tumor g

A new genetically engineered mouse model appears promising as an effective tool for preclinical testing of novel therapies for ovarian cancer, which tends to be diagnosed in late stage. There are few effective treatments for the disease.

Part of the challenge in developing new therapies for ovarian cancer is the lack of an accurate animal model to aid in preclinical testing of candidate drugs. Some genetically engineered mouse models do exist; however, these mice have not been optimized for preclinical studies, leading to high failure rates during subsequent human trials.

The figure shows the serial passage of minimally charged HIV into a series of pigtail macaques to adapt the virus, which became capable of causing AIDS in the monkeys, beginning after the third animal-to-animal passage (

In a research milestone reported in the June 20 issue of the journal Science, scientists have developed a minimally modified version of HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS in infected humans, that is capable of causing progressive infection and AIDS in monkeys. The advance should help create more authentic animal models of the disease and provide a potentially invaluable approach for faster and better preclinical evaluation of new drugs and vaccines.

Evolutionary tree of mouse gut bacteria, with larger circles indicating greater abundance of bacteria.

Humans play host to trillions of microorganisms that help our bodies perform basic functions, like digestion, growth, and fighting disease. In fact, bacterial cells outnumber the human cells in our bodies by 10 to 1.1

The tens of trillions of microorganisms thriving in our intestines are known as gut microbiota, and those that are not harmful to us are referred to as commensal microbiota. In a recent paper in Science, NCI scientists described their discovery that, in mice, the presence of commensal microbiota is needed for successful response to cancer therapy.

From left, Darren Benedick and Mark Slatcoff set up the 80-L bioreactor for rhIL-15 production.

Cancer immunotherapy is a type of treatment in which the body’s own immune system is used to attack and kill cancer cells or keep them from spreading. To date, the immunotherapy agent interleukin-2 (IL-2) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating certain types of melanoma and kidney cancer.1

A single dose of the cancer-fighting human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Cervarix™ appears to induce an immune response that remains stable in the blood four years after vaccination. This may be enough to protect women from two strains of HPV and, ultimately, from cervical cancer.

Terry Van Dyke, Ph.D. Director, NCI Center for Advanced Preclinical Research

Scientists at NCI and Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) are partnering with the Lustgarten Foundation to test whether a vitamin D derivative will make a difference when combined with a conventional anticancer drug in treating tumors of the pancreas.