The twin effects of rapid development and increasing complexity in cancer research can be seen as both a good and a bad thing because while both negative and positive results might be a helpful window into where current research might be (or should be currently headed), it also means that for industry project teams, clinical development plans are much more challenging to put together.
Rising or setting of key targets and molecules?
This is also a reflection of the current state of research in immuno-oncology – things are much more complicated than many people realised even just a decade ago – as we slowly peel off the layers of the onion to reveal yet more layers and unknowns.
In short, we still don’t know what we don’t know on many key issues, never mind how various cells might interact and communicate in both health and disease.
With this in mind, I wanted to take a moment and offer a top-line review of six key areas to watch out for as we head towards the Fall conference season…
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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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