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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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).