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).

Scientists from the Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory and colleagues have pinpointed 23 new genetic markers associated with increased risk of prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in American men.

Knowing who is at high risk for the disease can help doctors identify individuals who are more likely to require aggressive screening and follow-up.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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