Dr Mario Sznol at SITC 2015 Patient Forum
“Novel Immunotherapies and Combinations” was the title of the talk by Dr Mario Sznol (Yale) at the recent Immunotherapy Patient Forum co-hosted by Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Organization (GRACE) and the Melanoma Research Alliance at the 2015 SITC annual meeting.
At the forum, Dr Sznol also led a breakout session, where he reviewed what is melanoma, the treatment of primary melanoma and management of advanced disease, as well as answering questions from the patients and patient advocates.
Often at medical meetings you hear the results of a clinical trial that is but one piece of the jigsaw, so it was interesting to hear a more comprehensive overview of the disease.
Dr Sznol kindly spoke with BSB about his vision for the future of cancer immunotherapies. This post includes excerpts from the interview along with additional commentary.
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Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is usually a disease of the elderly and an area of high unmet medical need, especially in those who unfortunately relapse post stem cell transplantation (SCT) or are considered ineligible for a transplant. In some ways, it has languished in the graveyard of R&D with very few new therapies approved by the FDA or EMA over the last decade. In fact, it has been quite the opposite with Pfizer’s gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg), an anti-CD33 antibody drug conjugate (ADC) approved and subsequently withdrawn from the US marketplace following lack of confirmatory phase III data.
The list of agents, targeted and and cytotoxics, that have been evaluated and found wanting in the elderly AML setting is very long. These patients are usually considered ineligible for transplant and rather challenging to treat given the concomittant co-morbidities and often frail performance status often exclude them from drug clinical trials also. A number of phase II trials have also generated promising efficacy data, only to fall short in larger randomised studies.
There are now a new raft of compounds in development, quite a few with data at ASCO or EHA, making it a suitable time for an update of the AML landscape.
Companies mentioned: Karyopharm, Astellas, Ambit, Arog, Sunesis, Celgene, Novartis, Genentech, Agios
Compounds mentioned: selinexor, ASP2215, crenolanib, quizartinib, trebananib, vosaroxin, Vidaza, midostaurin, ABT-199, GDC-0199, AG–221, TIM3.
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