NEWS

Roadmap and related studies provide window into how different cell types interpret and carry out DNA instructions.
March 31

Director during fiscally turbulent times, he revamped grants and sought efficiencies to fund new projects.
March 30

Report suggests that higher age would deter teens and reduce smoking-related disease and mortality.
March 26

Radiolabeled glutamine, unlike glucose, distinguishes gliomas from normal brain tissue.
March 25

Agent to be used as a third-line therapy in combination with two other drugs.
March 23

Proposed plan could lead to more effective treatment for cancer and other diseases.
March 20

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RESEARCH WATCH

Many cancer patients could benefit from drug repurposing and agents in clinical trials.
March 26

Combining dabrafenib and trametinib with immunotherapy is effective in a BRAF-mutant melanoma model.
March 26

An in vivo genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screen in mice identifies genes that control lung metastasis.
March 19

The nonsynonymous mutation burden is associated with pembrolizumab efficacy in NSCLC.
March 19

Perivascular TGFβ generates heterogeneity and confers cisplatin resistance in SCC stem cells.
March 12

Dynamic BH3 profiling predicts therapeutic response and identifies optimal treatments.
March 12

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NOTED THIS WEEK

March 26, 2015

A federal judge denied Amgen’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent Sandoz from launching Zarxio, a version of Amgen’s Neupogen (filgrastim), which is prescribed to help fight infections in patients with cancer. Zarxio received FDA approval earlier this month, making it the first biosimilar to be approved in the United States. Although Sandoz has not yet set a price for Zarxio, biosimilars are expected to cost significantly less than the original brands. 

Merck announced that a phase III trial comparing its PD-1 inhibitor pembro-
lizumab (Keytruda) to the anti–CTLA-4 drug ipilimumab (Yervoy; Bristol-Myers Squibb) in patients with advanced melanoma will be stopped early
based on the recommendation of its data-monitoring committee. Merck said that pembrolizumab demonstrated statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in overall and progression-free survival (PFS) compared with ipilimumab. Data will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA,
April 18–22.

Eli Lilly and Company and Beijing, China’s Innovent Biologics announced that they will collaborate on the devel-
opment and potential commercial-
ization of at least three cancer treat-
ments
over the next decade. Lilly will contribute its cMet monoclonal antibody for possible treatment of non–small cell lung cancer, and Innovent will contribute its monoclonal antibody targeting CD-20 for investigation in hematologic malignancies and a preclinical immuno-oncology molecule. Innovent will receive an up-front payment of $56 million and payments in excess of $400 million for meeting certain development milestones with the preclinical immuno-oncology molecule; other financial terms were not disclosed.

Waltham, MA–based ImmunoGen announced that Takeda has licensed exclusive rights to its antibody–drug conjugate technology to develop and commercialize targeted anticancer therapies for up to two targets. ImmunoGen will receive $20 million up front and could receive milestone payments totaling $210 million for each target.

Cambridge, MA–based Cerulean Pharma announced that a phase Ib/II trial of its lead nanoparticle–drug conjugate CRLX101 in combination with beva-
cizumab (Avastin; Genentech) achieved its primary endpoint
of at least 50% of patients with relapsed renal cell carcinoma experiencing a 4-month PFS. Preliminary, top-line data showed that median PFS was 9.9 months. Data have been submitted for presentation at an upcoming medical meeting.

Two companies announced disap-
pointing clinical trial results.
Nektar Therapeutics said its experimental drug
NKTR-102, a topoisomerase-I inhibitor, yielded a 2.1-month improvement in median overall survival compared with chemotherapy in patients with advanced breast cancer, an effect that was not statistically significant.
MEI Pharma said that the HDAC inhibitor pracinostat, when combined with the standard therapy azacitidine, made no difference in the rate of complete remission in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, compared with azacitidine alone.

An arm of the World Health Organization,
the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled the weed killer glyphosate, a component of Roundup,
as a probable carcinogen.
The main concern appears to be its widespread use in industrial agriculture; limited use of Roundup by home gardeners is not considered risky.

 

RESEARCH WATCH