Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘hepatocellular carcinoma’

Finding patterns in the mosaic of cancer biology

In our fifth AACR preview of the annual meeting of 2018, we switch directions from a tumour type to explore a novel and emerging pathway of interest.

Each year we pick a different target to explore; this year it’s the turn of TGFβ.

There’s a lot going on here, both preclinically and clinically that should interest BSB readers who are keen to see new developments in the IO landscape.

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San Francisco

The first cancer conference of 2018 is now upon us and after enjoying last year’s event in San Francisco, I wanted to take some time to explore some key abstracts of interest at the ASCO GI meeting, which begins tomorrow.

This conference covers various updates on new developments in oesophageal, gastric, colon, pancreatic and colorectal cancers.

Are there any trials or new developments to get excited about at this year’s GI18 meeting?

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In our ESMO 2017 Preview series so far we covered our Top 5 immuno-oncology and targeted therapy abstracts to watch out for (the latter has been updated since it first posted so do check it out).

Now it’s time to turn to something completely different.

Castle Manzanares el Real, Madrid

Here we look at hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), including Blueprint Medicines FGFR4 molecule, BLU–554.

We first covered Blueprint back in February this year with a particular focus on GIST.  Quite a bit has changed since then, so it’s a good time for an update, especially in HCC now that they have data in Madrid.

In the context of the HCC landscape, what’s changing in this niche, what should our expectations be, and how is this market evolving since our last update?

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At the recent Triple (EORTC-NCI-AACR) and ASH meetings, Blueprint Medicines (Cambridge, MA) presented data on some of their targeted compounds in early clinical development including data in KIT, PDGFα and FGFR4 driven cancers.

While many observers attention is currently distracted on cancer immunotherapies, let’s not take our eye off the ball and forget that when we do find driver oncogenes in rare tumours, the activity of TKIs can still be superior in these situations and offer exquisite sensitivity, leading to exceptional responses.

Here, we take stock with a look what Blueprint are doing, where they’re going and also offer some perspectives from senior company executives, whom we interviewed last month.

Which reminds me, someone recently asked why we do so many interviews, “You do a prodigious amount of interviews on BSB, why is that?”

The answer is very simple – to learn faster and share that knowledge with other like minded souls. Charlie Ambler, author of Daily Zen, sums it up well in an essay about Talk Less:

“In Zen tradition, I’d like the kill the Buddha that is Lao Tzu and revise his ancient saying. It’s not that those who talk don’t know and those who know don’t talk— it’s that talking often inhibits us from knowing.”

Thus, the corollary here is that if you undertake interviews with scientists and researchers regularly then you have the pleasure of talking less – the person in the hotseat naturally talks more – and you learn faster.

What’s not to like? We all learn different things depending on our perspective and knowledge base. Sometimes, I even find re-reading old interviews a year or so later while preparing for a new one a related topic teaches me something new I didn’t see or realise before, simply because my own understanding has improved. Hopefully that is also true for subscribers!

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