Alex Ritter, Jennifer Lippincott Schwartz and Gillian Griffiths, National Institutes of Health

Scientists have identified the genes in cancer cells that are required in order for cancer immunotherapies to work. If clinical studies validate the findings, it could eventually help to tailor more effective treatments for patients based on the genetic profiles of cancer tumors.

What they did: Researchers used CRISPR gene editing to knock out the function of each of a human melanoma cell's 19,000 genes — and then tested whether the modified cancer cells could be destroyed by immune cells. They found about 100 genes in the cancer cells that, when their function was lost, made cells resistant to immunotherapies. Some were previously implicated but others were unknown to have had a role.

How it works: Cancer immunotherapies leverage the body's own immune T cells to destroy tumors. They're used to treat late-stage melanoma, bladder, neck and other cancers — with varying success. Why some tumors are susceptible and others are not is a question of intense interest for doctors and scientists who want to see immunotherapies work in more patients.

Next steps: "If we can truly understand mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy, we might be able to develop new therapeutics," NCI's Nicholas Restifo said in a press release. "In fact, in the future, this knowledge could speed the development of a new category of drugs that can circumvent these escape mechanisms of tumor cells and help patients experience complete responses."

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5 hours ago - World

China-Iran deal envisions massive investments from Beijing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China and Iran have negotiated a deal that would see massive investments flow into Iran, oil flow out, and collaboration increase on defense and intelligence.

Why it matters: If the proposals become reality, Chinese cash, telecom infrastructure, railways and ports could offer new life to Iran’s sanctions-choked economy — or, critics fear, leave it inescapably beholden to Beijing.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 13,048,249 — Total deaths: 571,685 — Total recoveries — 7,215,865Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,353,348— Total deaths: 135,524 — Total recoveries: 1,031,856 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
  4. States: Houston mayor calls for two-week shutdownCalifornia orders sweeping rollback of open businesses — Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Education: Los Angeles schools' move to online learning could be a nationwide tipping point.

House Judiciary Committee releases transcript of Geoffrey Berman testimony

Geoffrey Berman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday released the transcript of its closed-door interview with Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who was forced out by Attorney General Bill Barr last month.

Why it matters: House Democrats have seized on Berman's testimony, in which he claimed the attorney general sought to "entice" him into resigning so that he could be replaced by SEC chairman Jay Clayton, to bolster allegations that the Justice Department has been politicized under Barr.