Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. The basketball teams are swimming upstream right now, and the current is strong. We see the destination, we need to just keep stroking. Grab whatever beverage that you need and let’s proceed.
The James/Wexner, Cleveland Clinic
This is “virus” week on Weekend Wonderings. Let’s start with a brief refresher. From Berkeley Wellness article on August 2012:
“One in every six cases of cancer worldwide can be attributed to viruses and other infectious agents, a new study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer has confirmed.”
Which leads us to findings that the HPV virus can damage genes:
“Our sequencing data showed in vivid detail that HPV can damage host-cell genes and chromosomes at sites of viral insertion,” says co-senior author David Symer, MD, PhD, assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics at the OSUCCC – James.
“HPV can act like a tornado hitting the genome, disrupting and rearranging nearby host-cell genes,” Symer explains. “This can lead to overexpression of cancer-causing genes in some cases, or it can disrupt protective tumor-suppressor genes in others. Both kinds of damage likely promote the development of cancer.”
As mentioned last couple of weeks, there is more effort given to MicroRNA in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We’re at it again, with what I think is a great announcement; Ohio State is partnering with Micro Bio, Inc. This partnership licenses nearly 100 issued and pending microRNA patents.
The Ohio State University today announced the signing of an exclusive world-wide agreement with Microlin Bio Inc., licensing a large portfolio of Ohio State’s groundbreaking cancer discoveries. The portfolio includes nearly 100 issued and pending microRNA patents that could lead to entirely new, more effective and more targeted ways to diagnose and treat prostate, ovarian, colon and lung cancers. Additionally, Microlin Bio Inc. has licensed a novel nucleic acid delivery technology to deliver these transformational therapies to cancer cells.
I’m actually glad to see the commercialization of OSU’s research. This arrangement gets the patent information into the hands of an entity that can, hopefully, take this work and “bring it to market” where the OSU results can be use for diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in Buffalo has licensed/spun off various research into commercial endeavors to get their research to market. Ohio State will also have an equity position in Microlin Bio Inc.
“Our goal is to support the researchers at Ohio State in the commercialization process,” says Erin Bender, associate director of Ohio State’s Technology Commercialization Office, whose team worked on the license deal. “We believe that the licensing of these technologies will transform the care of cancer patients in Ohio and throughout the world.”
I think it is interesting that OSU will take an equity position in this venture. I’m speculating, since I don’t know the deal details, but it seems that OSU, in addition to receiving financial licensing benefits, will have a significant say in the development of their work. I like this business model. It’ll be good for OSU and it will be good for the medical community.
Welcome to the latest edition of Weekend Wonderings. Take a minute, grab whatever you drink on a Sunday afternoon and let’s carry on.
As mentioned last week, I’m a big believer/supporter of genetic/molecular diagnosis and treatments of cancer. In concert with Charles’ fine article, here is the latest with OSU medical research regarding lung cancer. This is significant, because lung cancer is a brutal disease. To start, lung cancer is the 2nd most prevalent cancer. Interestingly, there are more cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but with a 70% mortality rate, lung cancer patients aren’t as prevalent. Sadly enough.
Researchers at the (OSUCCC – James) have discovered that levels of the gene microRNA-31 (miR-31) predict the spread of the most common form of lung cancer to nearby lymph nodes.
They found that high levels of miR-31 in primary tumor cells predicted lymph node metastasis and poor survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Low expression levels were associated with the absence of metastases and excellent survival.
“Our findings suggest that microRNA expression in the primary lung tumor can estimate whether the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes and can help direct patients to the most appropriate treatment,” says principal investigator Tim Lautenschlaeger, MD, a researcher in Radiation Oncology and the OSUCCC – James Experimental Therapeutics Program.
This process gives researchers and treatment providers a much clearer picture of the disease, which determines treatment protocols. Once the treatment protocol is determined, the patient has a better chance of recovery, or at least holding the course.