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Mayo Clinic Symposium on Regenerative Medicine & Surgery 2021 recap

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The future of regenerative medicine is bright," declared Julie Allickson, Ph.D., the Michael S. and Mary Sue Shannon Director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine, as she delivered the opening keynote address of the Mayo Clinic Symposium on Regenerative Medicine & Surgery 2021. Dr. Allickson is the Otto Bremer Trust Director, Biomanufacturing and Product Development, Center for Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Allickson highlighted ways regenerative medicine is on the threshold of delivering new therapeutic options to patients. She pointed to the first in-vivo gene editing clinical trial in the U.S. using the CRISPR Cas-9 editing technology and the potential of expanding chimeric antigen receptor-T cell therapy (CAR-T cell therapy) beyond leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. From advancements in bioengineered organ research to the latest innovations in tissue engineering and 3D printing, regenerative medicine is on the cusp of transforming health care.

Throughout the four-day symposium, experts at Mayo Clinic and around the world shared regenerative medicine applications to aging, musculoskeletal conditions, lung diseases, organ transplantation and cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Model Finds Out-of-Tune T Cells

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When it comes to the immune system, attention seems to focus on its protection. But equally important is how the unleashed immune response becomes a threat. In two recent Nature Immunology papers, scientists provide insight into how colorectal cancer rewires regulatory T cells, or Treg cells, to promote tumor growth. In that setting, Treg cells switch from suppressing to promoting inflammation, fueling tumor growth. Simultaneously, they protect tumors from attack by T cells. Regulatory T cells in the colon interact with microbiota and immune cells to produce a healthy level of inflammation that protects against infection. These Treg cells are "tuned" to suppress the immune response by the protein FOXP3, and "fine-tuned" by the proteins ROR-gamma-T, beta-catenin and TCF-1. But colon tumors secrete biological mediators that alter the gut microbiota and properties of Treg cells. Tumor growth causes elevated expression of beta-catenin and lower expression of TCF-1 in Treg cells. In turn, while this makes Treg cells unable to control inflammation, they are better at suppressing T-cells. Image created with BioRender.

Khashayarsha Khazaie, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic scientist; Fotini Gounari, Ph.D., a scientist at The University of Chicago; and Majid Kazemian, Ph.D., a Purdue University researcher, identified key molecules that direct these changes in regulatory T cell functions in colorectal cancer. This knowledge opens a new window to understand how cancer compromises immunity to its advantage, paving the path to better-targeted cancer prevention and treatment.Out-of-Tune Immune Cells

"The general notion is that the job of Treg cells is to suppress immune responses. But they actually have many different functions and can use these in various combinations under different circumstances in the body," says Dr. Khazaie. "And one such exact circumstance for me is cancer. A single protein called FOXP3 broadly dictates Treg suppressive functions, while others, including ROR-gamma-T, beta-catenin and TCF-1, fine-tune them."

It is a win-win situation for colon cancer

Groundbreaking Early Cancer Detection Test Studied at Mayo Clinic Introduced Nationally

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Mayo Clinic today recognized the debut of a groundbreaking multi-cancer early cancer detection (MCED) test called Galleri™ that can detect more than 50 types of cancers[1] through a simple blood draw. The Galleri test is intended to complement U.S. guideline-recommended cancer screenings.

Mayo Clinic Oncologist Minetta Liu, M.D. was involved in the development of the new test.

“Today, many cancers are found too late, leading to poor outcomes,” says Dr. Liu. “The ability to detect cancer early is critical to successful treatment.”

Cancer is expected to become the leading cause of death in the U.S. this year. Currently recommended cancer screening tests only cover five cancer types and screen for a single cancer at a time. In fact, there are no recommended early detection screening tests for other cancers, which account for 71% of cancer deaths.

Researchers used the Galleri test in the Circulating Cell-free Genome Atlas (CCGA) Study, a prospective, observational, longitudinal study designed to characterize the landscape of genomic cancer signals in the blood of people with and without cancer. In the study, the Galleri test demonstrated the ability to detect more than 50 types of cancers — over 45 of which have no recommended screening tests today — with a low false-positive rate of less than 1%.

According to Dr. Liu, when a cancer signal is detected, the Galleri test can identify where in the body the cancer is located with high accuracy — a critical component to help enable health care providers to direct diagnostic next steps and care.

Combining for a Cure

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Valerie Lee is investigating a new treat­ment approach that may make currently incurable pancreatic cancers curable.

Hope For the Most Advanced Pancreatic Cancers

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The Skip Viragh Center for Pancreas Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care attracts the most accomplished young investigators interested in pursuing a career in pancreatic cancer research and treatment. By training with established investigators, Skip Viragh Center fellows are helping advance the science and bringing much-needed new therapies to patients.

Innovative Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Saves Nancy's Life

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Innovative Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Saves Nancy's Life
Nancy Amato had surgery to remove a tumor in her pancreas, then began an innovative program developed at the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreatic Cancer at Johns Hopkins to activate her immune system to prevent the cancer from recurring.

Ludwig Johns Hopkins researchers devise new strategy for cancer immunotherapy

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MARCH 1, 2021, NEW YORK – Researchers at the Ludwig Center and Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a new strategy for immunotherapy that targets specific genetic alterations commonly associated with cancer to generate a therapeutic immune response. Evaluated in preclinical studies, the strategy employs an antibody technology to target commonly seen alterations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene and cancer-driving RAS gene to stimulate an immune attack on tumors. The studies behind the development of the strategy, led by Ludwig Johns Hopkins investigator Shibin Zhou, its Co-director Bert Vogelstein and their Johns Hopkins colleagues Suman Paul and Sandra Gabelli, are reported in three papers in the current issues of Science Immunology, Science, and Science Translational Medicine.

Pan-Cancer Project

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What is the Pan-Cancer project?
The ICGC/TCGA Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes project, known as the Pan-Cancer project, is an international collaboration with the aim of identifying common patterns of mutation in more than 2600 whole cancer genomes from the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). It builds upon the previous work of those initiatives, which focused primarily on the regions of the genome that code for proteins.

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