Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products

Do ESR1 mutations drive endocrine resistance during the progression of ER+ breast cancer?

Today brings the launch of our series on the AACR annual meeting Previews.  A variety of different topics will be covered over the next two weeks, not just by tumour type and pathway, but also to highlight some novel research that is emerging on various driver mutations that not only can cause resistance to occur, but may also be viable targets for therapeutic intervention.

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Update on overcoming resistance in metastatic melanoma

Every year at AACR meetings there seems to be a new update on how researchers are doing with their work on overcoming resistance in metastatic melanoma. We’ve seen some stunning photos where targeting the BRAF V600E mutation with a specific kinase inhibitor such as vemurafenib (Zelboraf) or dabrafenib (Tafinlar) results in dramatic reduction, and sometimes even complete disappearance of the lesions, only for resistance to set in and the melanoma sadly comes back with a vengeance. Adding a MEK inhibitor such as trametinib (Mekinist) was originally thought to be a rather promising strategy, until it became clear that this only gave a few extra months with exactly the same result.

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Will CAR T cells give new therapies for NHL and CLL a run for their money?

During the recent American Society of Hematology meeting, much of the focus in immuno-oncology was squarely on the pediatric and adult data using the chimerica antigen receptor T cell product being developed by Novartis, CTL019, in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP, not to be confused with the chemotherapy regimen!) and U Penn, respectively. We wrote about that data earlier this year.

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ASH 2013: Is carfilzomib associated with increased cardiovascular events?

In today’s post, we discuss multiple myeloma and the proteasome inhibitors (bortezomib, carfilzomib and ixazomib), in particular. One of the ongoing debates concerns the toxicities and how the drugs in this class might differ. Whereas melphalan and the immunomodulatory drugs or IMiDs (lenalidomide, pomalidomide and thalidomide) have both been associated with secondary primary malignancies including AML and MDS, especially in combination, cardiotoxicity has been the main focus of debate for the proteasome inhibitors.

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