Researchers Discover Protein Complex That Promotes Cancer Growth

A discovery by a team of researchers, led by a Geisinger professor, could yield a potential new treatment for breast cancer.

In a study published this month in Cell Reports, the team used small molecules known as peptides to disrupt a complex of two proteins, RBM39 and MLL1, that is found in breast cancer cells but not in normal cells.

The research team discovered that the abnormal interaction between RBM39 and MLL1 is required for breast cancer cells to multiply and survive. The team developed non-toxic peptides that prevent these proteins from interacting in breast cancer cells, disrupting their growth and survival.
“Because these proteins do not interact in normal cells, the peptides we developed are not harmful to them,” said Anne M. Moon, M.D., Ph.D., professor at Geisinger’s Department of Molecular and Functional Genomics and senior author of the study. “This offers promise for future non-toxic cancer treatment.”

Further laboratory tests are needed before the treatment could be trialed in humans, Moon said.

Geisinger’s cancer research also includes the MyCode Community Health Initiative, which returns clinically relevant results to participants at increased genetic risk for cancer, including breast, ovarian and colon cancers. The National Cancer Institute recently awarded Geisinger a 5-year, $3.6 million contract to study the role of genetic variation in cancer through the MyCode initiative.

Geisinger has an exciting research environment with more than 50 full-time research faculty and more than 30 clinician scientists. Areas of expertise include precision health, genomics, informatics, data science, implementation science, outcomes research, health services research, bioethics and clinical trials.

Geisinger Launches Innovative, Non-Invasive Treatment Option for Patients With Knee Pain

Geisinger, in partnership with AposHealth, today announced that a new non-invasive, drug-free treatment for patients suffering knee pain from osteoarthritis will be available to Geisinger Health Plan’s commercial members in Pennsylvania starting on April 1.  AposHealth treatment is available exclusively at Geisinger in Central and Northeast Pennsylvania.

Developed by experts in orthopedics and sports medicine, the AposHealth device is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help temporarily reduce knee pain and improve lower extremity function.

The AposHealth program is a year-long, at-home treatment that requires patients to wear a personalized device for approximately one hour a day during normal daily activities.  Supported by more than 60 clinical studies, including recent research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), patients using the AposHealth system have experienced significant improvements in temporary pain relief, function and gait patterns.

“Providing personalized treatments for individual conditions is a tenet of Geisinger’s approach to musculoskeletal care,” said Michael Suk, MD, JD, Chief Physician Officer, System Services and Chair of the Musculoskeletal Institute at Geisinger. “AposHealth’s at-home treatment is perfectly aligned with our way of thinking of managing total health. Embracing new technologies and treatments allows us to reimagine the care pathway for knee osteoarthritis.”

“We are excited to be part of the innovative approach to treating knee pain taken by Geisinger, a Center of Excellence for Knee Replacements. This partnership brings a convenient, clinically proven knee osteoarthritis treatment option to patients and provides clinicians with an alternative non-invasive option,” added Cliff Bleustein, MD President and CEO of AposHealth®.

The AposHealthtreatment is currently available to Geisinger Health Plan’s commercial members in selected Geisinger locations in Danville, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Throughout 2021 Geisinger will be exploring opportunities to make this treatment available to more Geisinger patients across the it’s footprint in Central Pennsylvania. Please call 800-275-6401 to schedule an appointment.