NEWS

Reactivating a gene commonly mutated in colorectal cancer leads to tumor regression and restoration of normal cell function.
July 2

Checkpoint inhibitors and other immuno-
therapeutic approaches are generating tremendous interest among big pharma
and biotechs.
July 1

Data support improved brain tumor diagnosis based on molecular markers.
July 1

The 21st Century Cures Act also includes funding for the FDA and introduces measures to speed drug approval.
June 26

T cells direct chemotherapy to lymphoma tumors in vivo.
June 25

IBM’s cognitive computing program speeds analysis of patients’ DNA and recommends targeted treatment options.
June 16

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RESEARCH WATCH

Primary breast cancer exhibits variable spatial and temporal patterns of subclonal diversification.
July 2

The DNA receptor AIM2 protects against colorectal cancer by suppressing stem cell proliferation.
July 2

Negative feedback regulation of ERK is required for oncogenic transformation in pre-B ALL.
June 25

XBP1 promotes ovarian cancer progression via dysregulation of tumor-associated dendritic cells (tDC).
June 25

Histone variant H2A.Z.2 promotes melanoma cell proliferation via induction of E2F target genes.
June 18

Dual PI3K and BET inhibition prevents PI3K reactivation and inhibits the growth of multiple tumor types.
June 18

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NOTED THIS WEEK

July 2, 2015

The Summit, NJ–based biotech company Celgene announced that it will pay about $1 billion to collaborate with Juno Therapeutics of Seattle, WA, on the develop-
ment of treatments for patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases, with an initial focus on chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies. Under the terms of the 10-year collaboration, Celgene has the option to be
the commercialization partner for some of Juno’s immunotherapy candidates, including its CD19- and CD22- directed CAR-T products.

Thanks to a fundraising frenzy, the Oregon Health and Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute will receive $1 billion for cancer research. In 2013, Phil Knight, the CEO and cofounder of Nike, pledged to give $500 million to the center on the condition that the organization raise $500 million more within 2 years. Knight and Brian Druker, MD, the cancer institute’s director, made the announcement on Good Morning America.

After being cancelled at the end of 2014 due to serious design flaws, $1 billion in expenses, and trouble recruiting 100,000 pregnant women whose babies would be followed until age 21, the NIH National Children’s Study (NCS) may be resurrected, although in a different form. Appropriations committees in both the U.S. House and Senate approved spending bills for the 2016 fiscal year that include $165 million to form the National Children’s Study Alternative. A report accompanying the House version of the bill directs the NIH “to work with pediatric groups to develop a series of alternative research activities that build on NCS data … to address the developmental origins of health and disease.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that it will open a new state-of-the-art research facility in Cambridge, MA, in 2018. Re-
searchers there will focus on the company’s ongoing discovery efforts in genetically defined disease and molecular discovery techniques. The company’s Waltham, MA, site will close and employees there will move to Cambridge; additional scientists in the Cambridge area will be recruited.

According to statistics from Cancer Research UK, the number of cases of lung cancer in women has risen to 20,000 a year in the United Kingdom for the first time. Despite falling smoking rates, lung cancer rates have increased by 22%, from about 14,200 cases two decades ago, the organization said.

The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended that two cancer drugs receive approval from the European Commission. Roche said the committee recommended the use of pertuzu-
mab (Perjeta) in combination in trastuzumab (Herceptin; Genentech) and chemotherapy in women with HER2-positive, locally advanced, inflammatory, or early-stage breast cancer at high risk of recurrence. Novartis said that the committee also recommended approval of panobinostat (Farydak), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, for the treatment of adults with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency approved nivolumab (Opdivo) for the treatment
of locally advanced or metastatic squa-
mous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
after prior chemotherapy. The PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor was approved under the UK’s Early Access to Medicine Scheme, de-
signed to speed patients’ access to life-saving drugs. The CHMP recommended approval of nivolumab for second-line treatment of NSCLC in May, but it has not yet given final approval.

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RESEARCH WATCH