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A new immunotherapy can greatly extend the lives of a proportion of people with advanced head and neck cancer, with some living for three years or more, a major new clinical trial reports.

Overall, the drug pembrolizumab had significant benefits for patients, with 37 per cent of patients who received it surviving for a year or more, compared with only 26.5 per cent of those on standard care.

A randomized clinical trial involving 97 medical centers in 20 countries, including Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, found that treating patients who have chemotherapy-resistant head and neck cancer with the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab is more effective and less toxic than standard chemotherapy, reports an international team of researchers in the November 30 online issue of The Lancet.

The 60th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology will feature research from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on topics ranging from the genomic basis and vulnerabilities of leukemia to an update on gene therapy for hemophilia B to advances in sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Preclinical experiments by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers suggest the cancer drugs vorinostat, belinostat and panobinostat might be repurposed to treat infections caused by human papillomaviruses, or HPVs.

Despite an uptick in anti-vaccine legislation proposed by state lawmakers in recent years, pro-vaccine bills were more likely to be enacted into law, according to a new study by researchers at Drexel University. The results were published this week in the American Journal of Public Health.

FINDINGS

Opioid use in Mexico has been low, but national and international factors are converging and a threat of increased drug and addiction rates exists. Many of these factors may have originated in the U.S., making this a potential joint U.S.-Mexico epidemic.

BACKGROUND

Adoptive cell transfer (ACT) is a promising cancer immunotherapy that involves isolating T cells from cancer patients that are capable of targeting their tumor, selecting the more active T cells and expanding those in the lab, and then transfusing them back into patients. ACT is already available in the clinic for some diseases -- CAR T therapy, a form of ACT, was approved by the FDA in 2017 for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and adults with advanced lymphomas -- and many clinical trials of another form of ACT are under way in melanoma.

Highlight

Concerning adherence to certain recommended measures of kidney disease care for veterans with diabetes within the Veterans Affairs Health Care System, there is modest facility-level variation for some measures and larger facility-level variation for others.

WHAT:
A new commentary from National Institutes of Health scientists asserts that engaging men in HIV prevention and care is essential to the goal of ending the HIV pandemic. The article by Adeola Adeyeye, M.D., M.P.A., and David Burns, M.D., M.P.H., of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Michael Stirratt, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) also discusses potential solutions.