Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

Posts from the ‘Gastric’ category

Updated data are often presented at conferences and therefore the results can differ from the submitted abstracts, which are sometimes submitted as placeholders based on immature data cutoffs. That was certainly the case in several examples at the ASCO GI conference in San Francisco last weekend.

San Francisco HerculesAfter Monday’s look at new developments in the lower GI tract, we now turn our attention today to the upper GI tract with a focus on oesophageal, gastric (stomach), and gastro-esophageal junction (GEJ) cancers.

Over the last five years we have seen new approvals for targeted therapies such as HER2+ gastric cancer and relapsed refarctory gastric cancers with a VEGF inhibitor. Will that trend continue over the next five years or will we see new approaches such as immunotherapy enter the market and dominate?

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Adenocarcinoma associated with gastric (stomach) cancer is more common in Asian than North America people and tends to occur in men over 40. Risk factors include smoking, H. pylori, and diet. Asian countries also tend to have larger amounts of smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled vegetables in their diet. Nitrates and nitrites are substances commonly found in cured meats and can be converted by bacteria, such as H. pylori, into compounds that have been shown to cause stomach cancer in animals.

According to the NIH cancer statistics, it was estimated that there would be approximately 22,000 new cases in the US in 2014 and 11,000 deaths.

Treatment of advanced gastric cancer typically involves chemotherapy, or in cases where the patient is HER2+, with the monoclonal antibody, trastuzumab (Herceptin).

Numerous trials with EGFR inhibitors and also multi-kinase blockers have unfortunately proven fruitless and largely negative, with the exception of ramucirumab (Cyramza), a VEGF antibody, which was approved earlier this year for the treatment of both gastric and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma by the FDA.

At the recent ESMO conference in Madrid, initial results from several early studies were presented on gastric cancer, with vastly different results. In this post, we take a deeper look at the new data, including the novel checkpoint inhibitors, and where R&D might be heading in this dynamic space.

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The 2014 ASCO Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Symposium takes place in San Francisco from Jan 16-18 and is the second meeting in this year’s oncology conference calendar. GI cancers include oesophageal, gastric, colorectal and pancreatic cancers, as well as hepatocarcinoma or HCC (liver).

You can follow any tweets from ASCO GI using the hashtag #GI14.

This year, the topics that most caught my eye in the program were pancreatic and gastric cancers.

This post provides insights on the key studies that looked interesting to me at this event, based on the schedule available.  The abstracts will be available on January 14th and can be accessed here.

Companies mentioned: Celgene, Lilly, Roche/Genentech, Aduro Biotech
Drugs mentioned:  Abraxane, Gemzar, ramucirumab, Avastin, Herceptin, GVAX

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