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Today's Geriatric Medicine
E-Newsletter    March 2023
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Editor's E-Note

Investigators from the Mass General Cancer Center, a member of Mass General Brigham, studied 37 patients with BRAF V600 mutations, found in roughly 10% of all people with colorectal cancer. The proof-of-concept, single-arm phase 2 clinical trial is the first clinical trial combining immunotherapy and targeted therapy in individuals with BRAF V600 mutations.

The study, published in Nature Medicine, revealed a dramatic increase in response to treatment as well as what the researchers called “unprecedented durability.” They believe the research has implications for other types of cancers.

In addition to reading our e-newsletter, be sure to visit Today’s Geriatric Medicine’s website at www.TodaysGeriatricMedicine.com, where you’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at TGMeditor@gvpub.com. Follow Today’s Geriatric Medicine on Facebook and Twitter, too.

— Kate Jackson, editor
In This E-Newsletter

E-News Exclusive
Promising Outcomes for Colorectal Cancer Patients

A new study that used insights from the lab to drive a clinical trial for patients with a difficult-to-treat form of colorectal cancer improved patients’ response to treatment and has yielded key insights with broad relevance to other forms of cancer.

Led by investigators from the Mass General Cancer Center, a member of Mass General Brigham, the proof-of-concept, single-arm phase 2 clinical trial included 37 patients with BRAF V600 mutations, which are found in about 10% of colorectal cancers.

The work represents the first clinical trial combining immunotherapy and targeted therapy for this patient population. In a paper published in Nature Medicine, the team reports a long-lasting response among patients who responded to the combined treatment and reveals how a targeted therapy may cooperate with an immunotherapy for better results.

“Immunotherapy and targeted therapy represent two of the biggest breakthroughs in cancer treatment in the last decade,” says cocorresponding author Ryan Corcoran, MD, PhD, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center Program and physician-investigator in the Mass General Cancer Center.

Other Geriatric News

Reassuring News About the Duration of Long COVID
A new study, published in the BMJ, looking at patient records of more than 2 million nonhospitalized COVID-19 patients in Israel has found that persistent COVID-19 symptoms generally subside after about a year, according to a report in STAT.

Catching Alzheimer’s a Decade Before Symptoms Emerge
Science Daily reports on a new study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet on an inherited form of the disease. It identifies a potential biomarker, GFAP, which may indicate the presence of very early-stage disease. Published in Brain, the study findings may advance early detection.

The Difference a Year Makes
A new analysis of more than 500,000 patient records indicates that for early-stage, higher-risk breast cancer patients who were diagnosed at age 70, radiation was twice as likely not to be recommended as for those diagnosed at 69. The study, published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics, found no similar gaps in other year-over-year age groups. The researchers urge a more nuanced approach to treatment decisions.

Is Good Cholesterol Really Good?
According to an article in ScienceNews, HDL cholesterol may not always be good. Research has questioned the longstanding assumptions about good cholesterol, and a new study indicates that low levels of HDL cholesterol were linked to a higher risk of heart disease in white study participants, but not in Black participants, while high levels of HDL did not protect against heart disease in either population.
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Caring for Patients With Dementia
The role of providing dementia care is expanding to include earlier diagnosis from primary care providers, as well as knowledge of emerging drugs and new technology for cognitive testing.

Deprescribing at the End of Life
Polypharmacy, the use of five or more medications, is particularly detrimental to older patients with limited life expectancy. Geriatricians need to address the issue to improve patients’ well-being.

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