Before we move on to the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting later this week, it’s time to wrap up the exciting AACR-NCI-EORTC molecular targets conference, which along with the CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR international cancer immunotherapy conference in Mainz, have been my two favourite oncology meetings of the year so far.
Who would have predicted that back in January?
A scoot around the narrow #Targets17 poster hall…
It would be hard not to close out coverage without a popular Gems from the Poster Halls post.
Typically, we have focused this theme from cancer conferences around the following:
- A new target
- An interesting molecule
- Intriguing basic or translational science of note
- A particular tumour type
- Insightful sentiments from thought leaders
In this latest version, we have examples of each. We also have my favourite quote and discussion from the meeting, which perhaps not surprisingly, comes from a CAR T cell therapy discussion.
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Paris – amazingly it’s now 3 years since we interviewed Cellectis (NASDAQ: $CLLS) CEO André Choulika and CSO Philippe Duchateau (See post: Can Cellectis revolutionise CAR T cell therapy):
Cellectis Senior Management – Drs Duchateau and Choulika
Since then, we’ve followed the company over time, including an interview with one of their leading scientists, Dr Julianne Smith at ASH 2014, followed by the initial results of their first allogeneic CAR T cell therapy UCART19 presented at #ASH15 by Professor Qasim.
It’s hard to believe 3 years have gone by so quickly! As regular readers know what we often do on BSB is follow stories longitudinally, so while in Paris for an Immuno-Oncology Summit we thought it a rather timely opportunity to revisit Cellectis and take stock of where they’re at and ask what the future may hold for them?
With the recent news that Gilead have acquired Kite Pharma, there’s going to be a lot of interest in what companies such as Cellectis are doing to bring allogeneic “off the shelf” CAR T cell therapy to market.
This is the penultimate post in our summer mini-series on gene editing and allogeneic CAR T cell therapy and features a candid interview with Dr Philippe Duchateau, Chief Scientific Officer, at Paris based Cellectis.
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It’s finally time…
US Capitol Building, DC
By popular request from BSB readers, we have a CAR T cell therapy preview of the main abstracts to watch out for, including talks and posters, and what emerging themes to expect are likely to be.
If you are registered on the AACR site and signed in, then clicking on any of the abstracts highlighted in this review will enable you to add any interesting ones you fancy to your conference itinerary.
There’s a surprising amount to cover this year, especially when we consider the incredible work that’s ongoing to address a number of suboptimal aspects in the construct developments. It’s continuing to progress at warp speed, so hold onto your hats and buckle down for our latest rock around the AACR clock.
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In the sixth Preview relating to the annual meeting at #AACR17, we take a closer look at an immuno-oncology topic that we are likely to see and hear more about over the next couple of years.
Indeed, I’ve followed some cancer conferences where it wasn’t even mentioned, much to my surprise. It should be, it’s likely going to be both needed and receive a lot of attention over the next few years.
What we need is a bridge for greater success. What does that look like though and how do we go about achieving it?
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After regularly reporting here at BSB on several readouts in terms of antibodies and CARs since ASH last year, it’s reasonable to conclude now that there has been growing interest in BCMA–APRIL as a target in multiple myeloma (MM). The CAR T cell therapies have generally focused on BCMA or BCMA-TACI as a target, while antibody approaches such as Aduro’s, BION–1301, target APRIL.
T cells attacking a cancer cell
These new therapies have all been either preclinical in nature or preliminary phase 1 studies in a very limited number of patients, meaning that the best we can characterise them is that old reliable chestnut, ‘promising but early’… to do otherwise would be rather extravagant and hopeful at best.
Given the data from several CAR T cell therapy studies were being presented at two meetings on two separate continents only a few days apart, it makes sense to review them as a whole.
It’s therefore time for a detailed update, including a review of the differences in the key studies, a look at where we are now, as well as tips on what to look for going forward.
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The AACR Poster Halls get packed quickly!
It’s time to change direction and take a look at some of the Gems from the Poster Halls at the recent American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting.
One particular abstract that looked interesting related to the Aduro compound, BION–1301, which is a monoclonal antibody targeting the B cell Maturation Antigen and its ligand, A Proliferation Inducing Ligand (BCMA-APRIL) in multiple myeloma.
Increasingly, there has been a lot of clinical interest in the BCMA target, but what about APRIL?
We spoke to one of the scientists involved in the research about this novel agent:
“It is very effective at abrogating the activity of APRIL and, in particular, in our models blocks the growth, survival, drug resistance, migration and adhesion of myeloma cells both in-vitro and in-vivo in our murine models. These models have been predictive for clinical activity of other novel targeted therapies including lenalidomide and bortezomib, and so we think targeting APRIL represents a very promising strategy.”
Sounds pretty good, right?
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This year has been an unprecedented Grand Cru year for the field of multiple myeloma, with no less than four drugs approved by the FDA to date… the fourth one just this morning while writing this preview!
- Panobinostat (Farydak) in relapsed/refractory disease in combination with bortexomib plus dexamethsone after at least 2 prior therapies.
- Daratumumab (Darzalex) received accelerated approval based on phase 2 data and is human CD38-directed monoclonal antibody that is indicated for the treatment of patients who have received at least three prior lines of therapy.
- Ixazomib (Ninlaro) is the first oral proteasome inhibitor and is approved in combination with lenalidomide plus dexamethasone, in people who have received at least one prior treatment.
- Elotuzumab (Empliciti) is a monoclonal antibody against CS–1/SLAMF7 approved today in combination with lenalidomide plus dexamethasone after 1–3 lines of prior therapy.
There are also many promising new agents in development and quite a few that may well not make it to market as a result of newer, better tolerated agents coming through.
To learn more about our insights on multiple myeloma, subscribers can log in to read our latest ASH 2015 Preview.