NEWS

Drug-filled fucoidan nanoparticles naturally bind to P-selectin in tumor vasculature, show antitumor efficacy in mice.

July 19

The Oncology Center of Excellence puts approvals of drugs, biologics, and devices under one roof.

July 14

Small-molecule adaptors that bridge CAR T cells and tumors trigger immunotherapeutic activity.

July 13

Better models needed to test checkpoint blockers and other immune therapies for use in patients.

July 12

ALK inhibitor overcomes known resistance mutations, is effective against brain metastases.

July 8

Complete remissions seen in ALL and AML with two investigational therapies.

July 7

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RESEARCH WATCH

Activity of the proapoptotic BAX protein is regulated by formation of inactive cytosolic dimers.

July 22

CTLA4 blockade may be feasible in patients who relapse after HSCT, despite immune-mediated toxicity.

July 22

The tumor microenvironment may promote differentiation into immunostimulatory APC-like neutrophils.

July 15

TM4SF1 induces noncanonical DDR1 signaling to reactivate disseminated breast cancer cells.

July 15

Tumors with elevated neoantigen-specific TILs lose expression of T cell–specific neoantigens.

July 8

Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMT) harbor mutations in nonsense-mediated RNA decay gene UPF1.

July 8

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NOTED THIS WEEK

July 22, 2016

New U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May moved George Freeman from his post as minister for life sciences to chair of her policy board in the wake of the Brexit vote. That change leaves the government’s life sciences sector without a leader. Fierce Biotech reported that little will change on the life sciences front, at least for now, and that “the Accelerated Access Review, which is assessing ways to cut the time it takes for drugs to pass through development and into the healthcare system, will continue.”

Princeton, NJ–based Advaxis announced that the FDA granted Fast Track status to the immunotherapy drug axalimogene filolisbac for the treatment of high-risk, locally advanced cervical cancer. The drug attacks human papillomavirus–associated cancers by altering a live strain of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria to generate cancer-fighting T cells. In addition to cervical cancer, the drug is in development for the treatment of head and neck cancer and anal cancer.

A phase III trial assessing osimertinib (Tagrisso) as a second-line treatment of non–small cell lung cancer prolonged progression-free survival compared with standard chemotherapy in patients with EGFR T790 mutation–positive disease that progressed following EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy, AstraZeneca announced. In addition, patients achieved a higher objective response rate and duration of response compared with chemotherapy. Full data will be reported at a future medical conference.

Amgen and Allergan said that their biosimilar (ABP 980) of Roche’s trastuzumab (Herceptin) was as effective as trastuzumab in a late-state study, with no clinically meaningful differences. Trastuzumab is a biologic drug, which is more complex than standard drugs and cannot be precisely copied. As with generic drugs, biosimilars can be sold following the expiration of patents on the original product.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer compared with other fertility treatments after a median follow-up of 21 years. Because IVF procedures temporarily cause decreased estradiol and progesterone levels, as well as highly elevated hormone levels, it had been thought that IVF might influence breast cancer risk. However, in this study of 25,108 women, there was no significant difference in breast cancer incidence, which was 3% for the IVF group and 2.9% for the non-IVF group.

Authors of a Focus article in Science Translational Medicine suggested that behavioral economics might be a powerful tool to nudge patients to enroll in clinical trials. For example, telling patients how many others have enrolled in the trial could leverage a “safety-in-numbers” mentality. Another idea: automatically enroll patients in low-risk trials, such as a smoking-cessation study, which would then require them to opt out.

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RESEARCH WATCH