Portrait of Mickey Williams

The Molecular Characterization Laboratory at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research lies at the heart of an ambitious new approach for testing cancer drugs that will use the newest tools of precision medicine to select the best treatment for individual patients based on the genetic makeup of their tumors.

The structural details of the amyloid-beta(1-42) fibril reveal for the first time a characteristic S-shape, compared with the U-shape of the previously characterized amyloid-beta(1-40) fibril. Images courtesy of Buyong Ma, Laboratory of Experimental Immunology.

Researchers at the Frederick National Lab (FNL) have collaborated in solving the three-dimensional structure of a key protein in Alzheimer’s disease, providing new insight into the basic mechanisms that give rise to the devastating illness.

The protein—amyloid-beta(1-42)—is the initial and most common protein that builds up layer by layer in spaces between nerve cells of the brain in patients with Alzheimer’s. This buildup contributes to a progressive loss of brain function that is ultimately fatal.

The optical expression pattern of the transgene in glowing head (GH) mice, as visualized by bioluminescence imaging. Reporter activity was detected in the anterior pituitary gland of both genders and the testes of male mice. Image adapted from PLOS ONE.

A new breed of lab animals, dubbed “glowing head mice,” may do a better job than conventional mice in predicting the success of experimental cancer drugs—while also helping to meet an urgent need for more realistic preclinical animal models.

The optical expression pattern of the transgene in glowing head (GH) mice, as visualized by bioluminescence imaging. Reporter activity was detected in the anterior pituitary gland of both genders and the testes of male mice. Image adapted from PLOS ONE.

The Biopharmaceutical Development Program filled, stoppered, capped, and sealed the ch14.18 antibody prior to its labeling and distribution to the NCI Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved dinutuximab (ch14.18) as an immunotherapy for neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer that offers poor prognosis for about half of the children who are affected. 

The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Biopharmaceutical Development Program (BDP) at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research produced ch14.18 for the NCI-sponsored clinical trials that proved the drug’s effectiveness against the disease.

From left to right: Weidong Li, principal investigator, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing; Nancy Colburn, Ph.D., scientist emeritus, Basic Research Laboratory, NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR); and Matthew Young, Ph.D., formerly of the Basic Research Laboratory, NCI CCR.

An herbal extract used for centuries to prevent heart disease has now been shown to be effective against colorectal cancer when tested in laboratory cell cultures.

From left to right: Weidong Li, principal investigator, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing; Nancy Colburn, Ph.D., scientist emeritus, Basic Research Laboratory, NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR); and Matthew Young, Ph.D., formerly of the Basic Research Laboratory, NCI CCR.

MRI of transgenic mouse lungs with EGFR-driven lung adenocarcinoma, before and after treatment with CO-1686

A first-of-its-kind drug is showing early promise in attacking certain lung cancers that are hard to treat because they build up resistance to conventional chemotherapy.

The drug, CO-1686, performed well in a preclinical study involving xenograft and transgenic mice, as reported in the journal Cancer Discovery. It is now being evaluated for safety and efficacy in Phase I and II clinical trials.

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).

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).

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 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.

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