Helsinki, Jan 12 (UiTV/IANS) – A new genetic test developed at the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital helps identify ovarian cancer patients who benefit from PARP inhibitors, a type of targeted drug that could be effective against ovarian cancer, the University of Helsinki said in a statement.
In recent years, PARP inhibitors have achieved excellent results as a maintenance treatment after surgery and cytostatic therapy of newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients.
Since the therapy with PARP inhibitors is associated with potentially serious side effects, it is important to be able to target it to the patients that benefit the most from it, the university added on Wednesday.
“The genetic test helps to identify patients who do not benefit from the drug, thus avoiding unnecessary treatment and the adverse effects associated with the drug,” Anniina Farkkila from Helsinki University Hospital was quoted as saying in the statement.
The new genetic test has been developed with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and statistics, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Roughly half of ovarian cancers have a deficiency in a specific DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) repair pathway. Cancer cells with this deficiency are unable to accurately repair breaks in the DNA double-strand, which causes the accumulation of DNA lesions,” doctoral researcher Fernando Perez-Villatoro from the University of Helsinki said.
The study results show that each cancer type is associated with different characteristics of the genetic lesions related to homologous recombination DNA-repair deficiency (HRD), which is a common driver of genomic instability. Therefore, developing a test optimised for ovarian cancer was important for advancing the precision of therapies for the cancer type, the University of Helsinki noted.
The study results were published in the latest issue of npj Precision Oncology.
US researchers eye developing mucosal vaccines for respiratory viruses
US researchers are exploring the challenges and outlining approaches to develop mucosal vaccines for respiratory viruses, according to a statement of the US National Institute of Health (NIH).
Vaccines that provide long-lasting protection against influenza, coronaviruses and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have proved exceptionally difficult to develop, said the NIH on Wednesday.
Flu, RSV, SARS-CoV-2 and “common cold” coronaviruses share several characteristics that enable them to cause repeated re-infections, including very short incubation periods, rapid host-to-host transmission and replication in the nasal mucosa rather than throughout the body, Xinhua news agency reported.
A next generation of improved vaccines for mucosa-replicating viruses will require advances in understanding on several fronts, according to NIH researchers. More must be learned about interactions between flu viruses, coronaviruses and RSV and the components of the immune response that operate largely or exclusively in the upper respiratory system.
Over time, these interactions have evolved and led to “immune tolerance,” wherein the human host tolerates transient, limited infections by viruses that are generally non-lethal to avoid the destructive consequences of an all-out immune system attack, according to the researchers.
Mucosal immunisation appears to be an optimal route of vaccination for the viruses of interest, according to the NIH.
However, to develop useful mucosal vaccines, significant knowledge gaps must be filled, including finding ideal vaccine formulations; determining dosage size, frequency and timing; and developing techniques for overcoming immune tolerance.