There is a lot of interest of late in targeting neoantigens in cancer therapeutically. If you missed it do listen to Episode 20 of the Novel Targets Podcast, which features several pioneers in the field.
At the recent European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) meeting, we heard Dr Patrick Ott from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute present the latest clinical data for Neon’s cancer vaccine approach (See: interview with Dr Ott).
If you have an interest in neoantigen based cancer treatments, however, then a company on the horizon that we’re excited about is Achilles Therapeutics.
It’s an early stage private UK company, in what is very much still a developing and emerging field. Founded just over two years ago, it has a strong academic pedigree. The scientific co-founders are Professors Karl Peggs, Mark Lowdell, Charles Swanton and Sergio Quezada.
BSB readers will recall our prior interviews with Prof Charlie Swanton FRS (See: here and here), where he talked about the groundbreaking TRACERx study he’s leading, some of the insights it is generating regarding neoantigens, and their importance in cancer evolution.
Achilles Therapeutics was established to commercialise the intellectual property being generated from the TRACERx program.
While in London en-route to ESMO18, the CEO of Achilles Therapeutics, Dr Iraj Ali kindly spoke to BSB about where the company is, and some of its future plans.
From what we heard, it’s definitely a company we can expect to hear a lot more about in the cancer immunotherapy space. Check it out!
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At the 2018 AACR annual meeting, one of the noteworthy talks given to the 22,000+ attendees in Chicago was a plenary lecture by Charles Swanton from the Francis Crick Institute in London. He’s a Professor of Personalized Cancer Medicine at University College London and chief clinician for Cancer Research UK (CRUK).
Professor Swanton is the leader of a landmark clinical study, TRACERx (TRAcking Cancer Evolution through therapy (Rx)) study, which involves analyzing how cancers and in particular, lung and renal cancers, evolve over time.
There’s a lot of heavy science and jargon inherent in this niche that often frightens off people, but that need not always be the case.
What is fascinating, though, is the very idea that tracking the development of early stage cancers might teach us new insights and lessons about alternative approaches to oncology R&D.
We have all seen the limitations of chemotherapy, targeted therapies and even immune checkpoint blockade, so what other approaches can be considered that link back to the biology of the disease and how it evolves over time?
What we wanted to achieve here was a clear and elegant story about what Prof Swanton and his colleagues are doing, as well as a simple grounding on the basics of disease progression and how that can translate clinically into new therapeutics that might make a real difference to the lives of people with cancer.
It’s a fascinating story and may well be one of the most underappreciated recent developments in cancer research…
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Churchill College, Cambridge: Yesterday heralded the 4th and final day of the EACR Cancer Genomics conference with some invited speakers and proffered papers based on research from several groups and labs.
Churchill College, Cambridge
We got to see through the keyhole on several important areas of research that highlight both challenges and opportunities faced by the field.
The good news is that the opportunities provide insights into how we can learn from ongoing and optimise future clinical trials.
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