Public Release: 

AACR-NCI-EORTC international conference

Nanoparticles, electro gene therapy, pancreatic cancer vaccine among subjects

American Association for Cancer Research

PHILADELPHIA- Critical innovations and new knowledge are now emerging from the laboratories of universities, medical centers and pharmaceutical companies worldwide, offering the prospect of a new generation of drugs capable of destroying cancer cells with pinpoint accuracy, without damaging adjacent normal cells. Each year, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), jointly with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), brings together scientists and other professionals from around the world seeking to share the latest information in this field, otherwise known as molecular targets of cancer. More than 3,000 scientists and clinicians - including top executives and researchers from hundreds of pharmaceutical and biotech companies - are gathering in Philadelphia next week at the annual AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics to present, discuss and hear about such promising discoveries as:

A novel pancreatic vaccine appears to be nudging survival rates higher for this often-fatal disease. Researchers are reporting a significant bump over historical survival statistics in patients following surgery. The vaccine is designed to boost the patient's immune response to pancreatic cancer cells that may still exist despite surgery and chemo-radiation treatment.

Cancer-fighting nanoparticles are undergoing their first patient tests in a clinical study at Georgetown University Medical Center. The tiny structure - measuring a millionth of an inch across - resembles a virus particle that can penetrate deeply into the tumor and move efficiently into cells. Once inside, the nanoparticle, is delivering a deadly payload - a p53 gene whose protein helps to signal cells to self-destruct. In this case, the "immunolipoplex" is targeting advanced solid cancers.

Attacking the cancer cell's powerhouse represents a potential new way to destroy tumors, by sapping their energy. The new approach is based on the notion that cancer cells are unusually hungry cells, since they require large amounts of energy to duplicate and proliferate. That intense hunger may provide a key to their demise. Interestingly, several drugs already exist that inhibit these pathways, according to a researcher at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.

Electric pulses that can deliver genes to tumor cells may provide a novel approach to the treatment of melanoma. Researchers are about half-way through a clinical trial that uses pulses of electricity to deliver a gene for a powerful immune system stimulant to tumor cells. This patient study is the first to test "electroporation," or electrical stimulation, to deliver to humans a plasmid that contains all the genetic material necessary to tell a cancer cell to produce this immune system stimulant.


Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research is a professional society of more than 24,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical scientists engaged in cancer research in the United States and in more than 60 other countries. AACR's mission is to accelerate the prevention and cure of cancer through research, education, communication, and advocacy. This work is carried out through five major peer-reviewed scientific journals and high-quality scientific programs focusing on the latest developments in all areas of cancer research. The National Cancer Institute, founded in 1971, is the principal United States government agency charged with coordinating the National Cancer Program. It facilitates international cooperation in clinical trials involving U.S. and foreign collaborating institutions.

The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer was organized in 1962 to conduct, develop, coordinate and stimulate laboratory and clinical research in Europe, and to improve the management of cancer and related problems by increasing the survival and quality of life for patients.

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