NEWS

Effective in young, lean animals, immunotherapy linked to lethal inflammation in older, heavier ones.
November 13

Altered RNF43 now ranks among the most common mutations in colorectal and endometrial cancers.
November 13

Compound prevents cancer cells from dividing, destroying lung tumors in mice.
November 13

HER2+ breast cancers expressing p95HER2 can be sensitized to the targeted therapy.
November 13

CD103+ cells stimulate tumor-killing CD8+ T cells.
November 10

Discovery of multiple BRAF-mutant subtypes may lead to breakthroughs in targeted treatments.
November 7

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RESEARCH WATCH

Inhibition of CDK7 with THZ1 selectively suppresses the growth of MYCN-amplified tumors.
November 20

FZD2 and WNT5A drive EMT and metastasis via a noncanonical pathway involving FYN and STAT3.
November 20

mTORC1 signaling is required for WNT-driven intestinal proliferation and tumor initiation.
November 20

Genetic and carcinogen-induced lung cancer models are defined by distinct mutational landscapes.
November 13

IKBKE overexpression stimulates protumorigenic cytokine signaling in a subset of immune-driven TNBC.
November 13

First-line dacomitinib led to responses in 76% of NSCLC patients with activating EGFR mutations.
November 13

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NOTED THIS WEEK

November 20, 2014

Pfizer and Merck KGaA signed a deal worth up to $2.85 billion to collaborate on the development and marketing of immunotherapies for cancer. Merck KGaA will receive $850 million upfront and
up to $2 billion in milestone payments for the anti–PD-L1 therapy MSB0010718C and any other immuno-oncology drugs it adds to its pipeline. The companies will also work together to bring Pfizer’s preclinical anti–PD-1 antibody into phase I trials and promote Pfizer’s ALK inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori).

The FDA approved bevacizumab (Avastin) in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of platinum-resistant ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers, Genentech announced. The approval was based on results from the phase III AURELIA study that showed bevacizumab plus chemotherapy reduced the risk of disease worsening or death by 62 percent compared with chemotherapy alone. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 6.8 months for the combination and 3.4 months for chemotherapy alone.

In a phase II trial of neratinib plus paclitaxel versus trastuzumab (Herceptin; Genentech/
Roche) plus paclitaxel in patients with HER2+ breast cancer, neratinib and trastuzumab yielded similar PFS (16.6 months vs. 16.7 months) and objective response rates (ORR; 74.8% vs. 75.1%), according to Puma Biotechnology, neratinib’s manufacturer. However, the incidence of brain metastases was 52.6% lower among patients who received neratinib compared with those who received trastuzumab (7.4% vs. 15.6%).

Seattle, WA–based Juno Therapeutics announced that the FDA granted Orphan Drug designation to JCAR015, a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell product, for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The company
also filed paperwork for a $150 million initial public offering of stock. It plans to start trading on NASDAQ under JUNO.

Threshold Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA granted Fast Track designation to TH-302 for the treatment of certain patients with soft tissue sarcoma. The South San Francisco, CA, company said that the drug is being evaluated in a phase III trial in combination with doxorubicin, compared with doxorubicin alone. The primary endpoint of the trial is overall survival; secondary endpoints include PFS and ORR.

Los Angeles, CA–based CytRx said that the FDA has placed a partial clinical hold on its trials of aldoxorubicin, which is under investigation for the treatment of Kaposi sarcoma, glioblastoma multiforme, and soft tissue sarcoma. Patients currently enrolled in
a clinical trial can continue receiving the drug, or comparator drugs, but no new patients can be enrolled until the clinical hold is lifted. According to CytRx, the hold is due to the death of a patient who received aldoxorubicin under the company’s compassionate use program.

According to data from the 2013 National Youth Tobacco Survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 23% of high school students surveyed had used a tobacco product within the previous 30 days, and 12.6% used two or more tobacco products. In addition, 46% of high school students and 17.7% of middle school students said they had used a tobacco product at least once in their lifetime. Three out of four high school smokers continue smoking into adulthood.

The Guardian, a publication in the UK, reported that “more than 40 drugs being paid for out of the government’s Cancer Drugs Fund are to be reassessed to decide if they are worth the money.” The fund was established in 2010 to help patients pay for drugs not covered by the UK National Health Service because, according to the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, their benefit doesn’t justify the expense. If drugs are dropped from the fund, existing patients could still receive them, but new patients could not.

 

 

RESEARCH WATCH