NEWS

Details of when and how data will be shared should be part of clinical trial process, committee says.
January 23

Drug is first ovarian cancer therapy aimed at specific genomic alterations.
January 23

Adding ramucirumab to standard therapy prolongs survival in patients with advanced disease.
January 23

Tumor-promoting inflammation could be dictated in part by interactions between TLRs and bacterial colonies.
January 21

Ongoing phase 1b trials show high response rate in patients taking investigational monoclonal antibodies.
January 16

Two studies identify early somatic mutations concentrated in three genetic drivers of blood cancer.
January 9

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RESEARCH WATCH

Combined use of Cy/GVAX and CRS-207 safely increased survival compared with Cy/GVAX alone.
January 22

Inactivation of Cdkn2a and Lbk1 in BrafV600E melanocytic nevi drives progression to melanoma.
January 22

PAXX is a member of the XRCC4 superfamily that regulates DNA double-strand break repair via NHEJ.
January 15

Ibrutinib achieves durable remissions in TP53-aberrant CLL in both first- and second-line therapy.
January 15

Tumor neoantigen–specific CD4+ T-cell reactivity was observed in four of five patients with melanoma.
January 8

 Inhibition of only p110α or p110β is insufficient due to PI3K reactivation by the uninhibited p110 isoform.
January 8

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NOTED THIS WEEK

January 22, 2015

Ewing, NJ–based Celator Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA granted Fast Track designation to CPX-351, a liposomal formulation of cytarabine and daunorubicin, for the treatment of elderly patients with secondary acute myeloid leukemia. The designation helps facilitate the development and review of drugs intended to treat serious or life-threatening conditions and that may address unmet medical needs.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for the first time named its Advance of the Year: the transformation of treatment for adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Thanks to the recent approvals of two immunotherapies—obinutuzumab and ofatumumab—and two molecularly targeted drugs—ibrutinib and idelalisib—the outlook for patients has improved dramatically. The Advance of the Year was announced as part of the release of Clinical Cancer Advances 2015: ASCO’s Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer.

CytRx announced that the FDA has lifted a partial hold on its late-stage cancer drug, aldoxorubicin. The Los Angeles, CA–based company had been ordered to stop enrollment in clinical trials of aldoxorubicin in November after a patient died while taking the drug under compassionate-use rules. With modified study protocols to minimize risks, CytRx will continue its studies in patients with soft-tissue sarcoma, glioblastoma, Kaposi sarcoma, and small cell lung cancer, among others.

Having already joined forces to develop immunotherapies for cancer, two companies have agreed to license a novel chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for $100 million in stock. In addition, the companies—Ziopharm of Boston, MA, and Intrexon, of Germantown, MD—will contribute $15 million to $20 million a year for 3 years for researching and developing related technologies.

Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI) announced a multiyear agreement with Genentech to conduct whole-genome sequencing on tens of thousands of deidentified tissue samples. Based in La Jolla, CA, HLI will sequence the genomes to 30x coverage and analyze the data. HLI aims to build the world’s most comprehensive, integrated human genotype and phenotype database.

Boehringer Ingelheim established a multiyear research alliance with Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) to research and develop small molecule inhibitors of oncogenic Ras. Financial considerations and other details were not disclosed. Found in 20% to 30% of all human cancers, mutations in the Ras family have proven especially difficult to target.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal at the annual JP Morgan health care conference in San Francisco, CA, NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, noted that the agency used to fund one in three applications for research funding. Because NIH now funds just one in six applications, talented researchers could move to other countries, such as China, that are increasing spending on science. “That’s the thing that wakes me up at night,” Collins told the publication.

 

 

RESEARCH WATCH