NEWS

LOXO-101 and entrectinib induced tumor regression in a variety of malignancies, including those with ROS1 and ALK rearrangements.

April 27

BCL2 inhibitor receives FDA nod for patients with chromosome 17p deletion.

April 25

Vice president tells AACR audience he aspires to “a decade’s worth of progress in 5 years” against cancer.

April 22

PD-1 blocking immunotherapy drug shows promise in phase II study of patients with advanced disease.

April 20

Genomic assay identifies women with early-stage disease who can forego adjuvant chemotherapy.

April 19

T-DM1 plus pertuzumab better than standard chemotherapy in women with HER2-positive breast cancer.

April 19

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RESEARCH WATCH

Adaptation to anchorage-independent growth requires IDH1-mediated changes in citrate metabolism.

April 28

KIR3DL1 and HLA-B allele combinations predict response to anti-GD2 mAb in neuroblastoma.

April 28

The circadian rhythm transcription factors CLOCK and BMAL1 are essential for AML cell growth.

April 21

In BRAF-like colorectal cancer cells, RANBP2 loss induces mitotic abnormalities and cell death.

April 21

Fusion-circular RNAs (f-circRNA) can result from tumor-associated chromosomal translocations.

April 14

HER2 or ERBB3 alterations are predictive of afatinib response in refractory urothelial carcinomas.

April 14

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NOTED THIS WEEK

April 22, 2016

At the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2016 in New Orleans, LA, Vice President Joe Biden received a standing ovation for his speech about the National Cancer Moonshot and some of the steps that need to be taken to speed cancer research, from expediting grant decisions, to funding riskier research projects, to encouraging greater sharing of data. “I believe together we can redesign a new system  —  or adjust to a new system that better supports your efforts and save lives sooner than otherwise would have been. Because I really do believe we’re on the cusp of breakthroughs that will save lives, benefit all of humanity,” Biden told attendees. “We have to work together. We have to give you the ability to take chances. We have to help you do what you want to do and  —  why you got involved: Put patients first.”

Many in the audience for Biden’s talk turned to Twitter to share their thoughts and some of their favorite lines from the VP’s speech. One that seemed to generate universal approval among cancer researchers:  “Measure progress by improving patient outcomes — not just publications.”

Even before Biden took the stage, the National Cancer Moonshot became a topic of conversation during at least one panel discussion at the AACR meeting, thanks to an informal and decidedly unscientific poll. Based on a show of hands, slightly more than half agreed that “moonshot” is the best word to describe the initiative. Some naysayers noted that the original moonshot, conceived to send humans to the moon, had a detailed plan of action from start to finish, which seems impossible to create when it comes to curing cancer and sets up unrealistic expectations.

Several meeting speakers and attendees called upon the research community for greater access to research findings and patient data stripped of identifying details. Even so, “data has been no more democratic than it is now,” Nancy Davidson, MD, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and AACR’s new president, told early career scientists. “Take advantage of it to propel your own science.”

Based on “unprecedented registration” rates in the first few months, NCI-MATCH trial researchers have decided to increase the number of patients they hope to accrue from 3,000 to 5,000, said Peter O’Dwyer, MD, director of the developmental therapeutics program at the Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA. NCI-MATCH participants have their tumors analyzed for genetic abnormalities that could be targeted by a drug being studied in the trial and, if so, they are assigned treatment based on the abnormality. Researchers seek to determine whether treating cancers according to their molecular abnormalities will show evidence of effectiveness.

Last year, NYU Langone Medical Center (New York, NY) and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Haifa, Israel) established a new partnership to advance global collaboration in cancer research and therapeutics. This week, the institutions announced the receipt of $9 million in philanthropic support from NYU Langone Trustees Linda and Isaac Perlmutter. The first joint research projects to be funded with the gift will focus on drug-carrying “nanoghosts” that battle melanoma and new treatments for malignant mesothelioma.

The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company argenx has agreed to a deal with AbbVie that could be worth up to $685 million to develop and commercialize ARGX-115, a preclinical human antibody targeting GARP. This protein is believed to contribute to the immunosuppressive effects of T cells. Under the terms of the agreement, argenx will receive an up-front payment of $40 million and stands to earn up to $645 million more for meeting various milestones in the development of ARGX-115.

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RESEARCH WATCH