Immuno-oncology is one of the hottest topics, if not, the hottest in cancer drug development at the moment, and every conference seems to advance the field forward. The pace of progress is breathtaking as thought leaders and pharma & biotech seek to maximize how to leverage the body’s immune system in the fight against cancer. It’s exciting times!
Coming up next on the calendar are two cancer conferences, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) held in Maryland later this week, followed swiftly by the EORTC-AACR-NCI Molecular Targets conference (often referred to as the Triple meeting by industry insiders) in Barcelona just before Thanksgiving.
Whoa, that’s a lot of data yet to come, and then in December we have the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).
Back home in the Blighty, November is often referred to as the ‘month of the drowned dog’ because it rains a lot… at this rate it’s more like raining data – let’s hope not too many agents are headed for dog drug heaven! The good news for subscribers is there’s a lot of conference coverage to come!
So here we are, after nearly two dozen posts, it’s time to close out the 2014 ESMO coverage with a final review of the immuno-oncology posters that piqued our interest.
There were 16 in all that fitted that category. Normally, we highlight three or four gems from the poster halls, so more than a baker’s dozen is quite a feast.
To learn more about what caught our attention, you can sign in or sign up below.
Madrid – it’s Day 3 of ESMO 2014 (#ESMO14), the annual Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology, and the last day when we will be publishing a live blog from the meeting.
As predicted in our plenary preview, the highlight of the Congress is the overall survival data for the CLEOPATRA trial in HER2+ metastatic breast cancer where the addition of pertuzumab (Perjeta) to trastuzumab (Herceptin) and docetaxel chemotherapy resulted in an additional survival benefit of almost 16 months.
As Dr Sandra Swain noted in her presentation of the data in yesterday’s Presidential Symposium: “the 56.5 month median OS is unprecedented in this indication.”
Note that says MONTHS (almost 5 years) not weeks – it represents the new standard of care that all women with metastatic HER2+ breast cancer should now receive.
The prolonged applause at yesterday’s packed plenary session at ESMO 2014 summed up the feelings felt at hearing this practice changing data; the audience of medical oncologists live for moments like this! It’s truly the sort of stuff that makes you smile and go “Wow.” We will be writing more about the commercial implications of the CLEOPATRA results and the breast cancer treatment landscape in our post-meeting coverage.
One thing that did capture my attention in the poster area at this year’s ESMO meeting was the bank of digital screens (the size of flat screen TVs) on which attendees could view digital copies of posters. What was even more bizarre was to see people taking pictures of an e-poster.
It will be interesting to see whether paper posters survive, or if they are now one of the last vestiges of the pre-digital era, destined to be phased out like paper cheques. I could see them becoming obsolete at scientific meetings in the not too distant future.
Instead we could have posters published online, with investigators interacting via chat or social media to answer questions from around the world during a dedicated interactive “poster viewing session.” I’ll let the social media gurus ponder that thought, but paperless and digital is the inexorable direction we appear to be going in.
My fervent wish is for conference organizers to ditch Flash-based apps that run on a USB key – these are pretty useless with a tablet – why not have a website with simple digital downloads for the PDFs? Thankfully, quite a few of the posters achieved this via QR codes on their posters, making them more accessible and easier to read on the go while sparing trees.
So what’s happening today at ESMO 2014? Subscribers can login to read which sessions we’ll be at and, wifi permitting, read our thoughts as to what catches our attention during the day. Do follow @MaverickNY on Twitter if you don’t already.
Madrid – we’re here in Spain for the 2014 Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). It’s proven to be a challenging and frustrating meeting on multiple levels so far, but hopefully it will redeem itself over the weekend as new data that changes the standard of care for cancer patients is presented.
At the end of the day it’s all about the data and making a difference to the lives of cancer patients.
The highlight of the meeting so far was yesterday’s Roche media briefing and the presentation by Dan Chen MD PhD on how the company is making advances in immunotherapy. We’ll be writing up the data he mentioned as it’s presented at the Congress. The quote he showed from Ira Mellman, PhD about the promise of Immunotherapy is one that resonates with us:
At prior ECCO/ESMO’s we’ve written about the industry satellite symposia that take place, many of which feature world-class experts talking about new drugs in development or the treatment landscape. It’s a big disappointment to be excluded from these events for the first time at #ESMO14, especially as many are educational in content or even organized by Continuing Medical Education (CME) companies.
That said, by dint of the fact ESMO can accept data several months after the ASCO abstracts have closed there is new data to talk about at this meeting and we have a very full schedule of sessions to attend today at the Congress.
If you would like to read more about which sessions we’ll be in and our initial impressions of data during the day, do sign-in if you’re a subscriber or sign up to keep abreast as the data rolls out.
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.
Here at these sessions, top thought leaders in the space debate and lecture on key issues of the day. They’re usually packed with information and are well worth attending, even in a hectic schedule.
Interestingly, immuno-oncology has a dominant focus on the program for the first time since I’ve been attending ECCO/ESMO events over the last dozen years or so, demonstrating how quickly it is being assimilated into the scientific and clinical consciousness. Years ago, I attended a session on autologous cell therapies (ACT) and there were maybe a handful of us in the room. In Madrid, I doubt if there will be 12 empty seats in the theatre and it will probably be what Pharmaland calls SRO – standing room only.
So what can we learn from the announced sessions this year?
To learn more about our insights and thoughts, you can sign in or sign up below to read this review.
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.
For reference, you can find the ESMO 2014 poster and poster discussion abstracts can be found here.
In addition, there appears to be some pretty cool presentations in the Special Symposia, which are rather like ASCO scientific symposia and contain a lot of useful information and often strategic ideas about where thought leaders see hot topics going in the future. This can be very helpful in learning about possibilities for new clinical trials ahead of time. As we focus on the poster highlights today, do check back tomorrow for a detailed look at the scientific symposia.
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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.
Based on a detailed look at the online program, some abstracts are clearly a re-hash of the ASCO data for a European audience, yet there are clearly some new topics and data being presented too.
As companies begin to ramp up development with data emerging from phase I to III trials across a gamut of different tumour types, things start to get very interesting indeed. Let’s not also forget the importance of science and translational work, particularly in understanding the tumour microenvironment and how the immune system can impact that in many ways.
Companies mentioned: BMS, Merck, Roche/Genentech, Biothera
Drugs mentioned: ipilimumab, nivolumab, pembrolizumab, MPDL3280A, Imprime PGG
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