Trending News: Radiation Compared to Chemotherapy, CRISPR Strategies for Rice Blast Fungus

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

The FDA has approved the NovoTTF-100L System in combination with pemetrexed plus platinum-based chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma, according to Business Wire. The non-invasive antimitotic cancer treatment is the first of its kind in 15 years and delivers Tumor Treating Fields, wherein electric fields are tuned to specific frequencies in order to disrupt solid tumor cancer cell division. The combination therapy is classified as a Humanitarian Use Device (HUD), which was created to encourage companies to innovate in rare diseases with underserved patient populations.

Investigators at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have conducted the largest review of its kind in order to evaluate whether or not patients undergoing radiation therapy at the same time as chemotherapy experienced adverse events within 90 days, according to Penn Medicine News. Approximately 1,483 cancer patients were evaluated, 391 of whom received proton therapy and 1,092 who underwent photon treatment. They found that the risk of a severe toxicity was approximately 60% lower for proton patients compared to photon patients, meaning that proton therapy treatment option than traditional chemotherapy.

Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science have recently established a series of novel strategies to increase the efficiency of targeted gene disruption and new gene introduction using the CRISPR/Cas9 in the rice blast fungus Pyricularia (Magnaporthe) oryzae, according to Scientific Reports. The investigators devised simple and quick techniques for gene editing, including target gene disruption, sequence substitution, and re-introduction of desired genes. According to the authors, this process will enable more flexible genome editing, which has been difficult in previous studies on similar fungi.