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What I learnt at the recent AACR annual meeting in New Orleans is that cancer immunotherapy studies are requiring industry to think differently about clinical trial design.
As we move into combination trials of novel/novel combinations, how do we efficiently work out not only that each drug is safe, but in what patients they are likely to be most effective?
Readers who listened to the recent Novel Targets Podcast, “Of Mice and Men” will hear about some of the challenges associated with mouse models and how decisions are made moving into the clinic.
What I learnt from the podcast (and I hope you did too) is that if you are doing an immunotherapy trial in patients, the type of mouse model can really matter when it comes to interpretation of the preclinical data.
In response to a subscriber request, today’s post is about some of the statistical challenges in designing combination immunotherapy trials. To many, statistics is like voodoo, so this post does not go into any maths!
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One of the interesting questions raised by the recently announced and much-discussed Juno/Celgene collaboration is whether you really need a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapy in your portfolio to succeed as a global cancer immunotherapy company?
One leading cancer immunotherapy company that believes you don’t is Roche. At ASCO 2015 I had the privilege to talk about this with a leading cancer scientist, William Pao, MD PhD (pictured below). Dr Pao formerly worked with Nobel Prize-winning scientist Harold Varmus at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and subsequently led the Hematology-Oncology Division at Vanderbilt. He joined Roche in July 2014 to lead their early development of innovative oncology new products (see press release).
I particularly enjoyed Dr Pao’s discussion of the T-cell centric strategic framework around which the Roche/Genentech cancer immunotherapy portfolio strategy is based.
If you haven’t done so already, do listen to Episode 3 of the Novel Targets podcast (ASCO Lung Cancer Show) in which you can hear an excerpt from my interview with Dr Pao.
This is the first in a series of interviews with scientific leaders at companies at the forefront of cancer research.
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