NEWS

Nanoparticle-based imaging may help improve tumor detection and drug delivery.
November 26

Delivering T cells to tumor’s neighborhood boosts their potency.
November 26

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

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RESEARCH WATCH

The H3K27 demethylase inhibitor GSKJ4 suppresses H3.3 K27M–mutant pediatric brainstem glioma growth.
November 26

The RNAi therapeutic Atu027 is well tolerated and active in patients with advanced solid tumors.
November 26

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

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NOTED THIS WEEK

November 26, 2014

Amgen announced the termination of
its clinical studies of rilotumumab in advanced gastric cancer.
The decision was based on a safety review by an independent data-monitoring committee that found an increase in the number of deaths in the rilotumumab-plus-chemotherapy arm when compared with the chemotherapy-only arm. The company noted that futility criteria would likely have been met at the planned interim analysis in March 2015.

Cambridge, MA–based Merrimack Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA granted Fast Track designation to MM-398 for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas who have been previously treated with gemcitabine-based therapy. MM-398 is a nanoliposomal encapsulation of the chemo-therapeutic irinotecan. The designation expedites the development and review of drugs that treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need.

The FDA recommended that makers of laparoscopic power morcellators include a boxed warning that the use of the devices may spread unsuspected cancer in women being treated for uterine fibroids and decrease their long-term survival. The agency also said that product labeling should note that the devices are contraindicated for the removal of fibroids in peri- and postmenopausal women and in women who undergo hysterectomy or myomectomy, as well as in cases where the tissue is suspected to be cancerous. Younger women who want to keep their uterus intact may opt for the procedure after being fully informed of the risks.

To help ensure transparency around NIH-supported research, the agency proposed expanding the scope of clinical trials required to submit summary results to include trials of unapproved, unli-censed, and uncleared products. “If the clinical research community fails to share what is learned,” wrote NIH director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, and Kathy Hudson, PhD, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “… researchers are reneging on the promise to clinical trial participants, are wasting time and resources, and are jeopardizing public trust.” A summary of the proposed changes is available at www.nih.gov/news/health/nov2014/od-19_summary.htm.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology announced plans to launch a study of molecularly targeted cancer drugs used off-label for the treatment of patients with advanced solid tumors with a known genomic variant. Called the Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) study, the project will be the first clinical trial ever led by the society. The goal of TAPUR is to describe the antitumor activity and toxicity of the therapies and to help patients who no longer benefit from standard treatment to obtain commercially available therapies for off-label use.

Maryland’s Baltimore Business Journal reported that “AstraZeneca will expand its biologics manufacturing center in Frederick and add hundreds of jobs to its operations there.” The company is expected to “spend more than $200 million to increase production capacity.” The expansion is slated to begin next month and last more than 2 years.

Early next month, Christie’s auction house in New York, NY, will sell James Watson’s Nobel Prize at auction, along with some of his notes for his acceptance speech and a manuscript of his Nobel address, according to Reuters. Proceeds from the sale, which could total more than $3.5 million, will be donated to charity and scientific research.

RESEARCH WATCH