From the “this is really cool” department comes a research study where scientists discovered immune cells called Natural Killer cells. These cells accumulate in tumors and release chemicals that attract specialized dendritic cells (cDC1)—white blood cells known for triggering anti-cancer immune responses—to the tumor. Researchers are hoping these molecular ‘magnets’ can improve cancer immunotherapy. Know what they’re not hoping for? To run into these two at a local diner. According to the authors, “Genes associated with Natural Killer cells and cDC1 correlated with cancer patient survival in a dataset of over 2,500 patients with skin, breast, neck and lung cancers. A similar correlation was seen in an independent group of breast cancer patients, with a particularly positive outcome for women with triple negative breast cancer, which typically has a poor prognosis.” BTW, AstraZeneca has a pretty good site for learning more about immunotherapy.
The answer is Beau. How do we know? Because the Cancer Moonshot has been renamed the “Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot” in honor of the VP’s late son who died from brain cancer. Armed with $1.8B in funding, VP Biden recently gave an update on the project. One highlight is how the National Cancer Institute created the Genomic Data Commons, which archives cancer patient data using Amazon’s cloud computing software. Researchers have accessed this information about 80 million times, so that is a lot. In another initiative, companies like AZ, Novartis, Pfizer, and Celgene, just to name a few, are contributing to the Blood Profiling Atlas in Cancer (BloodPAC) consortium. Go team.