The 2014 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress starts this weekend in Madrid, and it finally feels like it is starting to take off with the release today at lunch-time in Europe of the oral abstracts (with the exception of late breakers) to be presented at the meeting.
One of my favourite sessions at any cancer conference is the science symposia, although they go under many different guises and names. At the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) they are known as Special Symposia and conceptually are very similar to Clinical Science Symposia at ASCO.
Yesterday, the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) released the abstracts to the poster and poster discussion sessions. This preview will be quite long by nature of it being the first time we get a look at the topline details behind some of the key sessions and their abstracts for both immunotherapies (especially checkpoint inhibitors) and targeted therapies. This includes posters and their discussion sessions, plus poster late breaking poster titles.
Our latest European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2014 conference preview takes a look at some of the key immunotherapy sessions and presentations that look interesting in Madrid.
This last week saw the ASCO Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco, although very little caught my attention from a drug development point of view. Much of the attention seemed to be focused on surgery, genetic counselling and screening.
Yesterday’s biotech and pharmaceutical industry news was dominated by the FDA approval of PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) from Merck for the treatment of advanced or unresectable melanoma in patients who no longer respond to other drugs (FDA announcement). Approval was widely expected after the compelling data presented at ASCO 2014 for both pembrolizumab, and another PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab (Opdivo), which was was approved in July in Japan for sale by Ono Pharmaceuticals, a partner of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS).
The big news yesterday evening was that Amgen’s phase III FOCUS trial in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma failed to meet its primary endpoint of overall survival (HR=0.975).
This week Amgen announced that their second generation proteasome inhibitor, carfilzomib (Kyprolis), had met the primary endpoint of progression free survival (PFS) in the phase III ASPIRE trial. This study compared the triple combination of Kyprolis plus Revlimid and low dose dexamethasone (KRd) to the doublet of Revlimid plus low dose dexamethasone (Rd) in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. The overall survival (OS) is not yet mature and statistical significance was not been reached at the interim analysis. We will have to see how that data is looking in a few months time at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in December.
One of the things I most enjoy in cancer research is hearing wonderful patient stories from oncologists who are at the coal face of clinical trials. They get to deal with death and dying every day and like those in Pharma R&D, also live for the successes, the drugs that make it through pipeline despite great odds against them and make a meaningful impact on the daily lives of ordinary people.
Today’s post focuses on another question from a reader, who asked: “How will we decide which therapies to give patients with metastatic melanoma once the new immunotherapies are available?”