NEWS

Inhibiting EZH2, a histone-modifying enzyme, may enhance the sensitivity of two disease subsets to etoposide.
February 27

Phase III trial suggests drug should be first-line option for advanced refractory disease.
February 26

Palbociclib earns accelerated FDA approval to treat certain breast cancers.
February 23

Checkpoint inhibitors hold promise, but more work is needed to determine who may benefit.
February 20

A new nanoparticle design detects cancer without targeting molecular markers of tumors.
February 19

The endolysosomal oncoprotein LAPTM4B may confound treatment efforts.
February 13

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RESEARCH WATCH

14-3-3ζ switches TGFβ from a tumor suppressor to a metastasis driver by altering SMAD binding partners.
February 26

IFNα/β enhances the cytotoxicity of MEK inhibition in melanoma cells with low basal STAT1 activity.
February 26

RAS-induced tumor growth requires dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1)–driven mitochondrial fission.
February 19

Inhibition of IRAK1/4 suppresses T-ALL progression and increases sensitivity to chemotherapy.
February 19

DNA polymerase θ (Polθ) inhibits homologous recombination (HR) and promotes alternative NHEJ.
February 12

TERT promoter mutations correlate with high TERT and telomerase reactivation in urothelial cancer.
February 12

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NOTED THIS WEEK

February 26, 2015

Celldex Therapeutics announced that the
FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to rindopepimut (Rintega) for the treatment of adults with EGFRvIII-positive glioblastoma.
The Hampton, NJ, company said that the decision was based on data from phase II trials involving patients with recurrent and newly diagnosed disease. Rindopepimut is an investigational immunotherapy that targets
the tumor-specific oncogene EGFRvIII.

Eisai Inc. announced that treatment with eribulin (Halaven) led to a statistically significant improvement in overall survival in patients with advanced soft-tissue sarcomas compared with dacarbazine in a phase III trial, meeting the primary endpoint. Approved for metastatic breast cancer in 2010, eribulin triggers apoptosis of cancer cells following prolonged mitotic blockade. Data from the trial will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting, the company said.

Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer both announced that they will trim staff in the United States. According to FierceBiotech, Boehringer Ingelheim will cut about 5% of the 2,700 employees at its U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield, CT, possibly reassigning some to other positions. The Boston Globe reported that Pfizer would make “select headcount reductions in certain areas of R&D” at its research center in Cambridge, MA, but declined to specify how many. Some employees, Pfizer said, would be transferred and new employees hired in growing areas such as immuno-oncology.

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced two deals that will expand its oncology pipeline. The company will acquire San Carlos, CA–based Flexus Biosciences, a privately held biotech business developing
IDO and TDO inhibitors, in a deal worth up to $1.25 billion. Rigel Pharmaceuticals of South San Francisco, CA, announced that it will develop its portfolio of small-molecule TGFβ receptor kinase inhibitors in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb for use in cancer, which could net Rigel more than $339 million.

In an ironic twist, a drop in smoking rates could lead to an increase in deaths from lung cancer, a study suggested. The re-
searchers blame current screening guidelines, which recommend annual low-dose CT screening for adults ages 55 to 80 who have smoked for 30 pack-years (a pack a day for 30 years), and who currently smoke or stopped smoking within the last 15 years. With the passage of time, former smokers will become ineligible for screening, meaning that patients who are eventually diagnosed with lung cancer will be diagnosed at a later stage, when treatment may no longer be effective.

The Federal Trade Commission fined the makers of two smartphone apps—Mole Detective and MelApp—that claimed they could detect melanoma and calculate melanoma risk by analyzing a photo of a mole. Although the apps recommended that users see a physician, advertisements gave buyers the impression that the apps could be used as diagnostic tools. The apps sold for $4.99 or less and were on the market in 2011 and 2012, according to The Washington Post.

 

 

RESEARCH WATCH