Spotlight

 

It turns out, they like us, or so they say. Biomedical researchers should take note that for the second year in a row, U.S. Senate appropriators have declared funding the National Institutes of Health a...

 

When presenting to the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus (CBRC), you want to best represent the work...

CBRC Briefings

PARP Inhibitors: a Breakthrough in Cancer Therapy?

Daniel Silver
June 9, 2010

Watch Dr. Daniel Silver from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, brief the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus on PARP Inhibitors: A Breakthrough in Cancer Therapy. Dr. Daniel Silver as he discusses the exciting potential of PARP inhibitors. Clinical trials have already shown remarkable cancer-fighting activity of PARP inhibitors alone and also in conjunction with conventional chemotherapy. The PARP inhibitors are relatively free of side effects compared with conventional chemotherapy, and many are orally administered drugs, making them attractive as cancer therapeutics.

Cancer Cells and Their Neighborhoods

Mina J. Bissell
May 27, 2010

Dr. Mina Bissell of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in California presents to the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus on Cancer Cells and Their Neighborhoods. Dr. Bissell explains her ground-breaking research. For years her research was ignored, and worse, dismissed. Now it is universally accepted as a revolutionary way of understanding and treating cancer. Her research is still ongoing as she continues to test the basic idea that cancer cells cannot turn into a lethal tumor without the cooperation of other cells nearby.

Dr. Bissell and her lab wanted to learn how cancer cells interact with surrounding tissue. They looked at how an organ such as the mammary gland “knows” to be normal, and what goes wrong when it develops into breast cancer. She has found that cancer can be kept in check through treating the microenvironment, and has also shed light on why or how tumor cells become dormant. Dr. Bissell has also researched what can “awaken” them to become malignant again and become metastatic. The experimental strategies used in this research program will address how different cell types of a tissue interact to maintain the integrity of the organ. This information may be used for the prevention, prognosis, and treatment of breast cancer.

 

Germs We Cannot Always Kill: Methicillin-resista...

Henry Chambers
May 12, 2010

Dr. Henry Chambers from the University of California, San Francisco briefs the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus on “Germs We Cannot Always Kill: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).” MRSA is a potentially dangerous type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause skin and other infections. Staphylococcus aureus or S. aureus, a pathogenic species, can be present on a third of all individuals, the vast majority of whom will not become infected. S. aureus bacterial infections can range in severity from relatively trivial skin infections to highly invasive and lethal bloodstream infections, both in community and healthcare settings.

Watch as Dr. Chambers discusses how gene transfers play a central role in S.aureus' emergence from a harmless bacterium to a virulent, antibiotic-resistant strain. He’ll discuss how S. aureus has acquired numerous factors that enable it to evade, circumvent, or disrupt host immune responses. Similarly, under the pressure of antibiotics, it inevitably has acquired resistance. This resistance has had a profound impact on therapy as clinicians are being forced to use less effective and more toxic agents instead of antibiotics, the mainstay of therapy for half a century.