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From immunotherapy to mRNA vaccines, the latest science in melanoma treatment explained



Over 16,000 Australians might be diagnosed with melanoma yearly. Most of them might be detected early and may be treated surgically.

However, for patients with advanced melanoma or metastatic melanoma that has spread from the skin to other organs, the outlook was bleak until the advent of targeted therapies (attack specific features of the cancer) and immune therapies (that harness the immune system). Over the past decade, the variety of patients with advanced melanoma using these treatments has increased significantly survive for not less than five years after diagnosis, from lower than 10% in 2011 to roughly 50% in 2021.

While that is great news, there are still many melanoma patients who can’t be treated effectively with current therapies. Scientists have developed two exciting recent therapies which can be being evaluated in clinical trials in patients with advanced melanoma. Both require the use of immunotherapy at different times and in other ways.

The first results of this study are actually being made publicly available, providing insight into the way forward for melanoma treatment.

Immunotherapy before surgery

Immunotherapy works by increasing the strength of the patient’s immune system to help kill cancer cells. One sort of immunotherapy uses so-called “immune checkpoint inhibitors.”

Immune cells carry “immune checkpoint“proteins that control their activity. Cancer cells can interact with these checkpoints, turning off immune cells and hiding from the immune system. Immune checkpoint inhibitors block this interaction and help keep the immune system lively in fighting cancer.

Results from an ongoing Phase 3 trial of immune checkpoint inhibitors were recently published in a journal New England Journal of Medicine.

This study used two forms of immune checkpoint inhibitors: nivolumab, which blocks an immune checkpoint called PD-1, and ipilimumab, which blocks CTLA-4.

More than 16,000 Australians are diagnosed with melanoma every year.
Delovely Pics/Shutterstock

The study enrolled roughly 423 patients (many from Australia) and participants were randomly assigned to certainly one of two groups.

The first group underwent surgery to remove the melanoma after which received immunotherapy (nivolumab) to help kill the remaining cancer cells. Giving systemic (whole body) therapy, equivalent to immunotherapy, after surgery is: standard way melanoma treatment. The second group first received immunotherapy (nivolumab plus ipilimumab) after which underwent surgery. This is a brand new approach to the treatment of those cancers.

Based on previous observationsresearchers predicted that giving immunotherapy to patients while the tumor was still present could be rather more effective at activating the patient’s immune system’s ability to fight the cancer than giving it after the tumor had been removed.

Indeed, 12 months after starting therapy, 83.7% of patients who received immunotherapy preoperatively remained cancer freecompared with 57.2% in the control group who received immunotherapy after surgery.

Based on these results, Australian of the Year Georgina Long – who co-led the study with Christian Blank from the Netherlands Cancer Institute – suggested that this approach to pre-operative immunotherapy needs to be considered a brand new standard of look after high-risk stage 3 melanoma. She also said the same strategy needs to be evaluated for other cancers.

Promising results from this phase 3 trial suggest that this mix treatment could possibly be used in Australian hospitals over the next few years.

mRNA vaccines

Another emerging type of melanoma therapy is the postoperative combination of one other checkpoint inhibitor (pembrolizumab, which blocks PD-1) with a messenger RNA vaccine (mRNA-4157).

Although checkpoint inhibitors equivalent to pembrolizumab have been around for over a decade, mRNA vaccines equivalent to mRNA-4157 are a more moderen phenomenon. However, you could be aware of mRNA vaccines as biotech firms Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have released them Covid vaccines based on mRNA technology.

mRNA-4157 works in essentially the same way – mRNA is injected right into a patient and produces antigens, that are small proteins that train the body’s immune system to attack the disease (in this case cancer, or in the case of Covid-19, the virus).

However, mRNA-4157 is exclusive – literally. This is a sort of personalized medicine in which mRNA is created specifically for the needs of the patient’s cancer. First, the patient’s tumor is genetically sequenced to determine what antigens will best help the immune system recognize the cancer. A patient-specific version of mRNA-4157 is then created to produce these antigens.

The latest results of a three-year Phase II clinical trial combining pembrolizumab and mRNA-4157 have been published announced last week. Overall, 2.5 years after study initiation, 74.8% of patients treated with immunotherapy combined with mRNA-4157 were freed from cancer after surgery compared with 55.6% of patients treated with immunotherapy alone. These were patients affected by high-risk late-stage melanoma they typically perform poorly.

It is value noting that these results haven’t yet been published in peer-reviewed journals. They can be found as corporate announcements and have also been presented at some oncology conferences in the United States.

Based on the results of this study, pembrolizumab and vaccine combination therapy achieved: phase 3 trial in 2023, with first patients is registered in Australia. However, the final results of this study aren’t expected until 2029.

The hope is that this mRNA-based cancer vaccine will pave the way for vaccines targeting other forms of cancer, not only melanoma, especially when combined with checkpoint inhibitors that may help stimulate the immune system.

Despite continuous progress in the treatment of melanoma, the best way to fight cancer remains to be prevention, which in the case of melanoma means, every time possible, protection against exposure to UV radiation.

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Health and Wellness

Chicago police captain undergoes ‘life-saving’ double lung transplant after lung cancer – diagnosed with Covid-19




Arthur Gillespie double lung transplant

A Chicago police captain looks like he’s been reborn.

Arthur “Art” Gillespie, 56, successfully underwent a double lung transplant on January 6, mandatory on account of damage from lung cancer and a severe case of COVID-19. According to People Magazinethe diagnosis of lung cancer coincided with a critical infection with the Covid-19 virus in March 2020, necessitating this life-saving procedure.

“I lost my dad, uncle and cousin to Covid-19,” Gillespie shared in a press release. “In February 2020, my dad and I went to visit my uncle at the care center and at the beginning of March we were all sick. I was hospitalized for 12 days with high fever and cough. At that time, I had lung X-rays done, which showed stage 1 lung cancer on my right lung. I had no symptoms of lung cancer, so in a sense – thanks to Covid – we were able to catch the cancer early.”

Gillespie underwent chemotherapy and in November 2020, two-thirds of his right lung was removed. Despite day by day physical therapy, he found that he “regressed” over the subsequent three years, which thwarted his plans to return to work as a captain on the University of Chicago Police Department.

“My left lung was damaged by Covid-19 and my right lung was damaged by lung cancer,” said Gillespie, who worked in law enforcement for 30 years.

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In September 2023, Gillespie — who ultimately needed day by day supplemental oxygen and was told he couldn’t be helped — tried his luck at Northwestern Medicine’s Canning Thoracic Institute.

Despite the police captain’s outward strength, Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and director of the Canning Institute of Thoracic Surgery, said Gillespie could barely speak a sentence without losing his breath or walk greater than a number of steps before he had to take a seat down.

Dr. Bharat noted that Gillespie’s “only option for survival was a double-lung transplant” since the pressure in his lungs had also increased to the purpose of causing heart failure. However, on account of his health history, he may not have been a candidate for surgery at one other institution.

“Arthur is a warrior. He had two main problems – lung cancer and Covid-19,” said Bharat: Northwest medicine reported. “Historically, both conditions would have been considered unsuitable for lung transplantation, but we were able to treat both conditions with a double lung transplant procedure.”

Bharat said that although previous doctors had told Gillespie no, he was still on the lookout for answers. “I feel honored that we were able to help him because he spent so many years helping the community as a police captain,” he added.

A month after Bharat underwent Gillespie’s procedure, the police captain watched the Super Bowl with friends and didn’t must use a transportable oxygen concentrator on a regular basis.

“I actually have all the time tried to be optimistic; “glass half full,” Gillespie said, in accordance with People magazine. “And after all there’s the great side: if it weren’t for the coronavirus, there isn’t any telling how long (the cancer would have been undetected) because there have been no symptoms that might indicate that I used to be on this condition. “

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Health and Wellness

Exclusive: Michael B. Jordan shares the one gym behavior that drives him up the wall





Not everyone can afford a gym membership or is situated near studios or perhaps a park, which makes finding opportunities to exercise very difficult. Actor Michael B. Jordan and Propel Fitness Water are working together to ensure these people aren’t forgotten. The actor and the brand are collaborating on an ongoing initiative called Propel Your City Project, which goals to extend fitness accessibility across the country. This project is relevant and timely given the ongoing desire to maintain people energetic and energetic.

This 12 months Drive your city’s design begins in the star’s hometown of Newark, New Jersey, with the launch of fitness centers where local organizations working to support communities and take away fitness barriers can run programs. Since it is a multi-city initiative, the program will expand beyond Newark and lightweight the fire for wellness in other cities as well. Over the past 12 months, the initiative has made impressive progress, providing over 160 free fitness classes and community-building initiatives in 4 different cities. The free classes began on June 8, and participants could have access to free classes Propel products containing electrolyte water because of Gatorade Water and Propel Fitness Water.

The actor matches into this partnership considering his ongoing reference to fitness, which is clear from his toned physique. The 37-year-old also has a sports background (he was a basketball player in highschool) and has played many film roles over the years in motion movies requiring lots of physical activity, from to .

ESSENCE spoke with Jordan to learn more about the program and see his wellness routine.

BEING: Tell me about the Propel Your City project and why you were forced to participate in it again.

Well, that is the second 12 months of Propel Your City and it’s an evolution of what we have done in Los Angeles with WalkGood LA. We partnered with WalkGood Los Angeles and created this space for them to operate and function a house for his or her fitness community. We wanted to search out a solution to scale this phenomenon and evolve it. So in the second 12 months we created a central space and this 12 months we’re working with up to 16 organizations.

This shall be a revolving space that other organizations can use. So, going from one to 16, which I believed was really, really necessary to scale and enable other groups, whether or not they’re mountaineering, cycling, yoga, or some other area of interest fitness program, you may make the most of this functions to make use of. Fitness is one of those things where I feel you is perhaps intimidated by trying out solo, but once you surround yourself with like-minded people and create a fitness community, you are more more likely to stick it out and achieve your fitness goals.

We’re actually going back to my hometown in Newark, New Jersey next weekend. We are joining forces with this rowing team. I didn’t even know there was a rowing team in Newark, but we found the Brick City rowing team and we’re constructing a dock for them on the Passaic River, which runs through my city.

I feel what’s necessary to me with the brands that I decide to work with and work with is how can we give back to the communities that ultimately support us? Propel has at all times said simply and truthfully that it has the same goal. We’re just trying to search out a solution to reconnect with the city, with the community.

Let’s talk somewhat about your fitness journey. From the outside it could seem that for you as an actor, physical fitness sometimes becomes a job. Since you could have to coach for roles like movies, how has that affected your relationship with fitness?

Sometimes it becomes work. But there’s also motivation there. You’re going to be on movie posters, so you could have to get an A and go to the gym and stop acting. This lights a further fire under you. But I also think the reality is that this [that] We only have one body and you could have to maintain it while you could have it, and it doesn’t get any easier the older you get.

Eating healthy, attempting to breathe and meditate once you feel overwhelmed or continually rushing, taking time for yourself for peace and quiet, I feel can also be incredibly necessary. And then it is also incredibly necessary to push your body, sweat, get your heart rate up and recuperate. Just cool off, stretch, ice bath, sauna, get in the pool, whatever it’s.

I feel all of this became a priority for me once I began training and taking my fitness a bit more seriously [and] I evolved from a child playing and competing in sports to a baby actor and as the roles and my athleticism began to meld together, my work life and training life became one. And now I can create opportunities for other kids who is probably not skilled athletes or skilled actors or whatever, but just wish to maintain themselves and their bodies. So it is a nice moment where we come full circle.

What wellness activities are you currently engaging in that keep you grounded?

I’m going to Shadowbox. I feel boxing has been a giant a part of my life for the last decade. This is my default setting because I understand how much cardio training takes and it is a discipline that keeps me focused. Besides, it is a solo sport. It’s something I do not need a full team for. I can go, placed on gloves, hit the bag and move through the shadow field. Sometimes it is a you-versus-you sport.

I like water. So anytime I can get right into a pool, ocean, hot tub, or some other form of water, I’m all for it. This is one other thing that helps with respiratory, stretching and mobility, in addition to cardio. These are the two things I often at all times come back to.

What is your favorite solution to go to the gym that you do not like or that turns you off once you go there?

I actually do not like running. I hate the treadmill. I just do not like running. I did this once I was a baby [and] I just didn’t prefer it anymore. But I feel the gym is crap as of late and it’s definitely a generational thing, but everyone seems to be on their phones and recording themselves and everybody just likes recording themselves understanding greater than they’re understanding. It’s something that keeps me isolated, if that is sensible.

Maybe it is a generational thing. I’d sound like an old guy, but whatever. It’s my business.

And what’s the one thing you like that makes you desire to return to the gym?

I feel it’s community. I feel it’s being around other individuals who have goals and can strive to realize them. You’re walking next to someone doing a set they usually’re struggling and you desire to notice them or vice versa. If you’re struggling and attempting to beat your personal best, or your form or something could also be off, they are going to stop and provide you with a clue as to where they are going to attempt to correct you. There’s only a social element. I’m a lone wolf, but I may run in a pack. So it’s pretty cool.

If you needed to sum it up in one sentence, what social impact do you hope this project could have?

I hope this initiative will attract the attention of people that want to realize their fitness goals and need to do it in a social setting. I feel that can be my opinion, period. But to expand on this, I feel overall that is an incredibly necessary topic. This is something we’ve got missed for a very long time. I feel now that fitness is a standard conversation, finding ways to exercise and the way you desire to show up and exercise, it’s really necessary. So we wish to open it up to numerous other ways of exercising. This isn’t just one solution to get in shape. Therefore, it can be crucial to have the ability to create and support several types of fitness groups, no matter where they need support.

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Health and Wellness

Women with epilepsy struggle with hormonal fluctuations and epileptic seizures. But we treat them like men




ABOUT 50 million people suffers from epilepsy everywhere in the world. Half of them are women.

So far, treatment for girls and men has been an identical. However, men and women experience epilepsy otherwise.

For women, fluctuating hormones – from reproductive years through pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause – can affect frequency attacks at many stages of their life.

As we describe in our recent articlewe must take this under consideration and adapt therapies for girls accordingly.

What is epilepsy?

In people without epilepsy, the general electrical activity of the brain is stable. Signals acting on neurons (brain cells) enable a balance between excitation (increased electrical activity of the brain) and inhibition (reduced electrical activity of the brain).

However, in epilepsy this balance is disturbed. When there may be a burst of uncontrolled electrical activity, some or the entire neurons are momentarily over-excited or operating in an “overdrive” mode. This results in a seizure (or seizure).

This disruption can occur unpredictably, a bit like an earthquake by which a seizure occurs unexpectedly and then normally ends abruptly.

Epilepsy can seriously affect people quality of life. The risk of epilepsy can also be increased in people with epilepsy premature death not only on account of epilepsy itself, but additionally other complications of seizures and suicide.

What role do hormones play?

The hormones estrogen and progesterone are produced within the ovaries and brain. Regardless of whether a lady has epilepsy or not, the degrees of those hormones change throughout her life. However, epilepsy can affect the production of estrogen and progesterone.

Estrogen signals generally greater electrical activity and progesterone signals less. The ratio of those two hormones is significant for the right balance of electrical activity within the brain.

However, an unfavorable relationship disturbs the balance, resulting in an avalanche of symptoms.

Some specific one anticonvulsants it will probably also change this ratio by reducing estrogen and progesterone levels.

Let’s take the instance of “catamenic epilepsy,” which one study reports about half women with epilepsy.

With such a epilepsy, women may experience more seizures at certain times during their menstrual cycle. This happens most frequently just periods when progesterone levels drop and the estrogen to progesterone ratio changes. In other words, progesterone appears to guard against seizures.

Perimenopause is one other time of hormonal changes. If a lady suffers from catamenic epilepsy, this could lead to a rise within the variety of attacks during perimenopause, when the degrees of each hormones grow to be irregular and periods grow to be more irregular. However, during menopause, when each hormone levels are consistently low, a decrease within the variety of seizures is observed.

Scientists do long known concerning the cyclical nature of fluctuations in reproductive hormones in women and their impact on epilepsy. However, this has not yet translated into the way in which we treat women.

What should we do?

We urgently need to research how hormonal fluctuations at different stages of a lady’s life affect her epilepsy and quality of life.

We need to raised understand whether we can reduce the frequency of seizures progesterones at certain times of the menstrual cycle. We also need to raised understand whether estrogens (menopausal substitute therapy, also referred to as hormone substitute therapy or HRT) may worsen seizures later in life.

If we don’t investigate the impact of hormonal fluctuations on epilepsy, we risk not treating the particular trigger that causes epileptic seizures in many ladies.

About 30% women with epilepsy don’t reply to pharmacological treatment. We don’t know the way much of that is on account of hormonal aspects.

However, we know that seizures play an enormous role in increasing the burden of this disease. And this weight will be improved by higher treatment of seizures.

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