At the ASCO GU meeting in January, Dr Thomas Beer presented the initial data for the PREVAIL trial, which explored enzalutamide (Xtandi) in castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) prior to chemotherapy. Reactions to the data were mixed with many analysts, perhaps naively, focusing on the significant temporal survival benefit (2 months) rather than the 29% hazard ratio, which demonstrates the magnitude in the reduction in the risk of death over the control arm.
Over the last few years we have seen new therapies emerge for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer from immunotherapy to chemotherapy and second generation hormone therapies. Each of these has increased survival and outcomes. Along the way though, a host of other agents have fallen by the wayside with a raft of negative phase III trials that did not live up to their phase II promise. These include atrensentan, dasatinib, ipilimumab, lenalidomide and more recently, custirsen.
The ASCO 2014 season kicks off with the release of the embargo on main abstracts (other than the late breakers and plenary sessions) yesterday evening. Over the next week, I’m planning to cover some of the highlights (positive and negative) that I found interesting or worthwhile discussing. While there was nothing particularly earth shattering or new in the press briefing at lunch time yesterday, that’s not to say there aren’t some important data this year buried amongst the 5000+ abstracts.
At the annual AACR meeting last year, I wrote about an awesome piece of research from Meghna Das (NIBR) who looked at intermittent dosing of vemurafenib in animal models of BRAF driven melanoma and found that such an approach reduced resistance and improved outcomes.
“Nothing lasts forever, because nothing ever has.”
James Shelley, The Caesura Letters
Today I thought it would be a good idea to answer a question sent in by a premium subscriber. He asked,
Healthcare innovation can take many forms. It can be a breakthrough in our understanding of the biology of cancer, or a disease that allows new drugs to target it in an effective way, for example. We also see it with advances in medical technology such as implants that can help restore vision or imaging techniques that may allow faster and more accurate diagnoses.
Dementia care is a “quiet crisis” that already touches many families and will touch many more as we live longer in our old age and the huge baby boomer population reaches retirement age.
We hope that everyone had a relaxing holiday break and now it’s time to get back to work. Tomorrow I will review some more of my thoughts in the immuno-oncology space, since that area had a tremendous amount of progress in San Diego with lots of new ideas to process and summarise.
I have previously written about my visits to cities that have biotech clusters or aspire to have them, so thought it would be of interest to look at Liverpool, in the north west region of the UK.