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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Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by conservatives to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening storm surge and strong winds," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.