It’s that time of year when we look to what the coming year and future holds and it’s hard to imagine that targeting natural killer (NK) cells won’t have an important role to play in cancer immunotherapy.
When it comes to NK cells, there’s definitely a lot of new product development activity that we look forward to hearing about in 2021, and the commercial interest is palpable, as evidenced by Sanofi’s November 2020 offer of €308M to acquire Kiadis for their NK cell technology platform.
Like old friends, there are many thought leaders BSB enjoys catching up with every few years, and one of them is Dr Todd Fehniger. Dr Fehniger is a Professor of Medicine at Washington University in St Louis and a leading translational researcher in the NK field.
Long time readers may recall our first interview with him back in 2016 where he discussed a paper from his lab published in Science Translational Medicine on “Cytokine-induced memory-like natural killer cells exhibit enhanced responses against myeloid leukemia.”
At ASH20, Dr Fehniger kindly shared with BSB his views on some of the NK cell therapy data presented at the meeting, as well as commentary on where the NK field is at, where it is going and the questions that remain unanswered.
This post is the first of a two part interview with Dr Fehniger providing fresh insights and analysis into the future of NK cell therapy. There was a lot of enthusiasm of late around various developments in this niche, including the Gamida Cell and other key clinical data, but how did an independent expert react to the findings? Were they as enthusiastic as investors or not?
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It occurred to me after several such events this year that virtual meetings create a very different pattern for spectators from live events where we all dash from one hall to another trying to optimise the viewing experience and catch as many key talks as we can.
Instead of the annual rugby scrum in the ASCO poster halls, we can imagine ourselves in an entirely different world with social distancing virtually
Many people will no doubt be eager to listen to the various oral presentations of phase 3 data come Friday morning, while the poor posters may well languish until some undetermined time later, so why not take a step back and highlight some of the early work in developmental therapeutics ahead of time?
In the final part of our ASCO Preview series, we offer our independent take and candid commentary on ten abstracts in developmental therapeutics to watch out for.
A word of warning – we don’t take a particular perspective through the lens of rose tinted glasses, so not all the analyses are positive and there are some firm words against some of the selections regarding continued development or the researchers conclusions/recommendations.
Some of these are agents in early development, some are biomarkers or even emerging trends, but all are intriguing in their own unique fashion.
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No ASH pre-conference coverage would be the same without a shout out to Dr John Leonard (Weill Cornell). For 10 days prior to the annual meeting he counts down each day with a lymphoma study that caught his attention and tags it #LeonardList. The first one went up yesterday:
Do follow Dr Leonard and his lymphoma selections on Twitter – there are usually surprising ones in the middle that are quirky or interesting that makes you stop and think more carefully. He also appeared on the #ASH16 Novel Targets podcast in Season 2 explaining his choices and why they mattered if you want to get a flavour.
Our #ASH17 series we have already covered aggressive lymphomas and also developmental therapeutics.
Atlantic Olympic Sculpture
Up next in our third ASH17 Preview, we take a broad look at the wealth of abstracts available and highlight ten key presentations, irrespective of tumour type, which readers should be watching out for.
Some of these ‘Champions’ may not be immediately obvious and include interesting preclinical findings, intriguing new products in development, as well as eagerly awaited mature data from recently approved therapies. It’s an eclectic mix, to be sure.
There are definitely some early trends and interesting new molecules emerging from company R&D pipelines that are worthy of further consideration in this year’s batch of abstracts.
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Coney Island Roller Coaster
In the roller coaster of life that is oncology R&D, molecules come and molecules go… a rare few reach blockbuster heights while many others are quietly packed off to dog drug heaven, never to be seen or heard of again.
This is also very true of targets as well…
What about the in-between space?
Unfortunately, that’s where most molecules and cancer targets end up – into a deep black nothingness where we seek the high affinity targets with low grade side effects – and fall short in some way. It’s a frustrating place to be, to be sure.
One of these conundrums is compounds against CD123 (IL3Rα), which have been in the spotlight on and off this year and are turning out to be a rather mixed bag.
After our recent update on Cellectis and their CD123 direct CAR T cell therapy (UCART123), I wasn’t expecting to write any more on this until ASH in mid December. How wrong that prediction turned out to be!
Today we have quite a few things to discuss on this topic, so if interested in CD123 in hematologic malignancies and going beyond that to find better targets in AML then this is the poster for you…
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Yesterday sudden and unexpected news from Seattle Genetics caused quite a stir…
“Seattle Genetics Announces Clinical Hold on Several Phase 1 Trials of Vadastuximab Talirine (SGN-CD33A).”
Part of the Seattle Genetics exhibit booth at #ASH16, taken with permission
In short, over 300 patients have been treated with the ADC and six experienced hepatotoxicity, including several cases of veno-occlusive disease, with four fatalities.
We’ve written about AML several times recently and also received a number of reader questions on this latest development, so it’s time to explore the issue in more depth and look at the implications. We also include some expert commentary from a leukemia specialist for their take on the issue.
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Post 2016 US Election, we move on and get back to business with an in-depth review of some new science and clinical data.
Yes, it’s time for another Bushidō – “Way of the Warrior” – guide to the key ASH abstracts!
Here we focus on acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a difficult and challenging disease to treat with a high unmet medical need for new effective therapies.
In this Preview we look at key companies in the AML space, as well as a look at what’s happening in classic targets and also some new ones that are receiving notable attention, both preclinically and also in the clinic.
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The abstracts (apart from the late-breakers) for the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (Twitter #ASH16) went live at 9am ET today. Link to 2016 ASH Abstracts.
ASH16 takes place in San Diego from December 3-6.
In this initial post, I’m sharing my first impressions of what may be some hotly contested trials at ASH16 in San Diego, as well as a few intriguing abstracts with combination data that caught my attention.
With over 3,000 oral and poster presentations, all typically of a high quality, this by post by definition, is a highly subjective one.
After we’ve had more time to process the data, further ASH16 Previews will roll out over the next few weeks highlighting more key abstracts to watch out for by tumour type or treatment modality.
In-depth commentary and analysis will follow after we’ve heard or seen the data presented at the meeting.
I’ll be flying to ASH from the EORTC-NCI-AACR Molecular Targets meeting. Do say “hello” if you have plans to be in Munich or San Diego.
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One of the most important challenges in cancer immunotherapy is overcoming immune resistance. For example, even with the high response rates seen in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with CAR – T cell therapy, a significant number of patients relapse after an initial response.
Chinatown, Honolulu 2016
Could immune resistance be reversed or prevented by the addition of appropriate checkpoint blockade? Which ones matter though, that is the critical question? Rather than randomly picking ones to try, we need scientific evidence regarding these choices.
This post explores some of the latest data presented at the BMT Tandem meeting on the role of T cell immunoglobulin mucin–3 (TIM–3) and PD–1 upregulation in causing resistance.
If you’re not already a sub and want to read our coverage of ASH, BMT Tandem and the forthcoming AACR 2016 annual meeting, you can purchase individual access below. This week only – inspired by the story of Eddie Aikau in Hawaii – we have a special offer that we’ve never done before (and may never do again) of $75 off a quarterly subscription. The deal ends tomorrow Friday March 4th at 12 noon HST. Check it out!
Subscribers can login to read more about the latest data on how alternative checkpoint inhibitors may have a role to play in cancer treatment. Welcome to the new folks who signed up this week, good to see y’all!