Hematology & Oncology Highlights: New, “Safer” CAR T-Cell Therapy, Tap Water and Cancer Risk, and more

Here are the top stories covered by DocWire News this week in the Hematology & Oncology section. This week researchers developed a “safer” chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, a study found that tanning beds are associated with a specific melanoma mutation, and a report found that California drinking water may be linked to more than 15,000 cancer cases.

Researchers have developed a novel CAR T-cell therapy that reduces toxicities commonly associated with the treatment—cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurotoxicity—without compromising efficacy, according to the study published in Nature Medicine. In this phase I preclinical trial, researchers generated a new anti-CD19 CAR molecule that resulted in no neurological toxicity or CRS grade ≥1 in the 25 patients who received this treatment.

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that indoor tanning bed exposure may trigger a specific genetic mutation, BRAF V600E, associated with melanoma and contribute to younger age at diagnosis. A total of 105 melanomas were observed during the study, 36% of which were BRAF-mutant, and most were BRAF V600E mutations.

A study published in Environmental Health found that drinking California tap water over a lifetime increases the risk of cancer. Specifically, between 2011 and 2015, contaminants found in California public water systems could contribute to approximately 15,500 cancer cases over the course of a lifetime. The researchers noted that despite the findings, the majority of California water systems meet the legal standards for water contaminants.

Optimism among patients with terminal cancer is a psychological state that can become contagious and have a negative influence over their physicians’ prognostic judgements, according to researchers from Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont who published their findings in Psycho-Oncology. Researchers found an association between patient optimism and clinical overestimation of their survival prognosis, with clinicians approximately three times more likely to overestimate the survival duration of a patient exhibiting both high traits of optimism and a high optimistic rating of their survival when juxtaposed to patients who displayed neither.