This profile focuses on the life and career of Angelika Amon, an inspired cell biologist and investigator at the Ludwig Center at MIT, who died October 29, 2020 from ovarian cancer at age 53.
Ludwig Lausanne’s Klara Soukup and Johanna Joyce discuss a study, published in Cell, in which they and their colleagues reported that gliomas have a very distinct immune landscape compared to brain metastases.
Exact Sciences Corp acquired Thrive Earlier Detection, established by Ludwig Johns Hopkins researchers and their colleagues to develop the CancerSEEK screening test, and Base Genomics, an epigenetics company launched by Ludwig Oxford’s Chunxiao Song working to set a new standard in DNA methylation analysis for diagnostics.
In this C&EN feature, Ludwig San Diego’s Paul Mischel discusses his research into extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) and its role in cancer.
Ludwig Lausanne’s Ping-Chih Ho and team report in Nature Immunology mechanisms by which the tumor’s harsh internal environment sabotages T lymphocytes, leading cellular agents of the anticancer immune response.
In this Nature paper, a Ludwig San Diego team led by Karen Oegema, Arshad Desai and Franz Meitinger details the molecular mechanisms underlying the potential vulnerability of certain cancers to a specific inhibitor of an enzyme, PLK4, that is required for centrosome formation. Their findings show (and explain why) high levels of a second enzyme (TRIM37), which is amplified in breast cancer and neuroblastoma, render cancer cells vulnerable to a PLK4 inhibitor developed by their team and other Ludwig researchers.
Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (ATRT)—rare, fast-growing brain tumors that mostly strike children three years and younger—are linked to inactivation of a gene called SMARCB1. In a study published in Genes & Development, scientists led by Ludwig San Diego’s Frank Furnari describe how SMARCB1 loss disrupts neural development and promotes tumor growth.
In a Nature Genetics study, Ludwig San Diego’s Paul Mischel and colleagues report that the multiplication of cancer genes located on DNA that is not associated with chromosomes drives poor patient outcomes across many cancer types. They found that ecDNA is a common feature of human cancer, occurring at minimum in 14% of human tumors, with far higher frequencies in the most malignant forms of cancer.
Ludwig Johns Hopkins’ Bert Vogelstein was a guest on the FYI Podcast, where he discussed the importance of primary and secondary cancer prevention techniques, the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to cancer treatment and the process of developing the CancerSEEK test, a tool for early cancer detection.
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has identified a new instance in which the simultaneous mutation of two nonessential genes—neither of which is on its own vital to cell survival—can cause cancer cell death. Led by Ludwig San Diego Member Richard Kolodner and published in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study also demonstrates that this deadly synergy, or “synthetic lethality,” can be replicated in mice by a drug-like molecule and could be exploited for cancer therapy.
Oncology biotech iTeos Therapeutics announced its initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to raise $201 million. iTeos is a Ludwig Cancer Research spin out and the company’s lead candidate is being studied in a Phase 1/2 trial as a monotherapy for advanced solid tumors.
This article summarizes three promising COVID-19 treatments in development, including a clinical trial led by Ludwig Johns Hopkins’ Max Konig and Bert Vogelstein to see if alpha blockers, which are widely used to treat enlarged prostates, can also help COVID-19 patients.
Ludwig Harvard researcher Anthony Letai and team report in Science Signaling a technology for screening thousands of drugs in freshly isolated human cancer cells to help identify which are most likely to be effective. They hope the technique, called high-throughput dynamic BH3 profiling, will prove more accurate than traditional drug-screening approaches and help doctors personalize treatments and uncover vulnerabilities in cancer cells.
Some COVID-19 patients have ‘silent hypoxia’—low oxygen levels without being aware of it—which continues to puzzle doctors and contributes to COVID-19 mortality. Ludwig Oxford’s Peter Ratcliffe spoke with the World Economic Forum about hypoxia and what can be done about it, the coronavirus crisis, his advice to young researchers and the importance of curiosity-driven research.
Technology developed in the lab of Ludwig Oxford’s Chunxiao Song that greatly improves the sensitivity, efficiency and ease of sequencing DNA methylation is the basis for the launch of Base Genomics, a new biotechnology company.
In this episode, Ludwig San Diego’s Bing Ren discusses his work on identifying functional elements in the genome and higher order genome structure, the path he took in his scientific career, his role in the ENCODE Project and Roadmap Epigenome Consortium, and the discovery of topologically associating domains (TADs).
Clinical study data showed that DETECT-A, Thrive Earlier Detection’s blood test for multiple cancers developed by Ludwig Johns Hopkins researchers, detected ten different cancer types and more than doubled the number of cases detected when combined with traditional screening methods. It also detected several cancers for which there are no standard screening methods.
Ludwig Lausanne’s Klara Soukup suggests that cancer researchers explore new research topics and problems, learn new skills, and reconnect with people and activities they enjoyed in the past while their research is on hold due to the pandemic.
This article, which covers work done in the laboratory of Ludwig Harvard investigator Brad Bernstein, discusses scientists’ growing recognition of the high complexity of many types of tumors.
n a Nature study, a team led by Ludwig MSK Director Alexander Rudensky discovered a novel means by which bacterial colonies in the small intestine support the generation of regulatory T cells—immune cells that suppress autoimmune reactions and inflammation. These “peripheral” regulatory T cells (Tregs) help dampen chronic intestinal inflammation, a major driver of colorectal cancers.
A multidisciplinary team at the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins aims to prevent complications of COVID-19 using a widely available and inexpensive class of drugs called ⍺-1 adrenergic receptor antagonists (alpha blockers). Building on insights in preventing other cytokine storm syndromes in mice, the team is developing clinical for patients with COVID-19.
A team led by Sanjiv “Sam” Gambhir, the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research at Stanford University School of Medicine, has developed a smart toilet that is fitted with technology that can detect a range of disease markers in stool and urine, including those of some cancers, such as colorectal or urologic cancers.
A team led by Ludwig MIT researcher Sangeeta Bhatia has devised a new approach for the early diagnosis of lung cancer: a noninvasive, nanotechnology-based urine test that can detect the presence of proteins linked to the disease.
Ludwig spinoff iTeos Therapeutics SA, a biotechnology company developing novel cancer immunotherapies, announced the closing of an oversubscribed Series B2 financing that raised a total of $125 million. The financing will support the clinical development of its two lead product candidates, EOS-850, a best-in-class adenosine A2A receptor antagonist and EOS-448, an ADCC-enabled anti-TIGIT antibody.
Ludwig Chicago’s Ralph Weichselbaum and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Yan-Xin Fu discovered that Bifidobacteria, a bacterium that usually lives in the gut, can accumulate in tumors and improve patient response to CD47 immunotherapy, a potentially wide-ranging anti-cancer treatment.
Gilead announced that it has struck a deal to buy Forty Seven for $4.9 billion. Forty Seven, a biotechnology company, was created in 2015 to build on evidence of the role of CD47 in immune evasion that Ludwig Stanford’s Irv Weissman and his colleagues generated.
To design more broadly effective immunotherapies, researchers have been looking for additional immune cell types beyond T cells to mobilize against cancer. In a new Nature study, Ludwig MSK’s Taha Merghoub and his MSK colleague Vinod Balachandran report the discovery of just such a candidate: Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s).
Ludwig Lausanne’s Ping-Chih Ho and colleagues have identified a mechanism by which regulatory T cells adapt their metabolism to thrive in the harsh microenvironment of the tumor. They report in Nature Immunology that the mechanism is exclusively engaged by regulatory T cells (Tregs) that reside in tumors and that its disruption boosts the effects of cancer immunotherapy in a mouse model of melanoma.
Michel Detheux co-founded iTeos Therapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing cancer immunotherapy treatments, in 2012 with Ludwig’s Benoit Van den Eynde. During this interview, Detheux discusses, among other things, iTeos’ partnership with Ludwig and how the research Ludwig funded became the foundation of iTeos.
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has devised a new type of chimeric antigen-receptor (CAR) T cell that can be switched on and off on demand. The study, led by Melita Irving of the Lausanne Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, George Coukos, director of the Branch, and their colleague Bruno Correia of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), addresses a central conundrum of CAR-T therapies: their tendency to provoke potentially deadly runaway immune responses against healthy tissues in patients.
Vaccitech Oncology Limited (VOLT), a strategic collaboration of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the biotech Vaccitech, has entered into a clinical partnership with Cancer Research UK to develop VOLT’s VTP-600 immunotherapy as a treatment option for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).