Over the last few days, we’ve covered data from the leading checkpoint inhibitors from BMS, Merck and Roche, but what about other agents in development in immuno-oncology? One of the companies that burst on the scene in Chicago at ASCO 2014 with solid data was AstraZeneca with their anti-PD-L1, MEDI4736.
To put progress in context, last year Merck had one single abstract for MK–3475 (pembrolizumab), whereas this year MEDI4736 debuted with 7 abstracts, including several Trials in Progress posters in combination with their anti-CTLA4, tremelimumab, plus some important oral presentations too.
The last morning of the final day of the ASCO conference has not exactly been well attended in past years, especially in Developmental Therapeutics. This year was different – the large hall was jam packed and it was standing room only. I was lucky to get one of the last seats in the front row a good 15–20 mins early!
As we were waiting for the proceedings to start, the Japanese doctor sitting next to me turned and said:
“What do you think of this compound? I’m not expecting much, and they are behind the others already!”
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Chicago – it’s day 4 of the ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) annual meeting. Sunday at ASCO can be a bit hit or miss depending on whether the plenary selection committee makes a good choice in which studies to give the “glory” and how interesting they are. It’s certainly been a busy meeting, although I have to say going round the poster halls has been a horrible experience.
For the first time this year, they doubled up the trials in progress posters, which makes it like a rugby scrum to reach the QR code to get a copy, and all it means is that people use smaller text to cram the same material into a smaller area. People do want to talk people about what’s going on, the rational for trials and it must be a miserable experience for presenters to be faced with such cramped conditions. Memo to ASCO – it was not a good idea and the new poster numbering layout is really hard to follow. It’s not as if there is a shortage of space.
Yesterday afternoon was an afternoon of plenary data. It was interesting to see leading breast cancer physician and influential ASCO member Robert Miller (@RSM2800) question the choice on Twitter:
While I completely agree with the need to publish negative data so that researchers in the field can better understand what happened and learn how to design trials better or differently, that is after all what science is about, I do question whether EVERYONE at ASCO needs to know that. An oral presentation of the ALTTO trial data in a breast cancer session would have been sufficient to achieve that goal. I personally thought the PREVAIL trial data from enzalatumide in advanced prostate cancer prior to chemotherapy was more worthy of plenary recognition than a negative data breast cancer trial. The PREVAIL data was published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday.
There were other data worthy of plenary recognition and we’ll be writing them up on the blog. So what’s on the agenda for today? Subscribers can login below to read more.