Over the last year or two, we have covered a number of different pathways that are involved with the immune system including CD19 and 20, CTLA–4, PD–1 and PD-L1, IDO1, CD40, OX40, TIGIT, ICOS and others.
Today, it’s the turn of an oncoprotein called NY-ESO–1 that has been garnering quite a bit of attention of late and will also be highly relevant to some upcoming posts and thought leader interviews we have scheduled here on Biotech Strategy Blog. It’s always a good idea to cover the basics first, before exploring the more advanced concepts.
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After yesterdays post on Gems from the Poster Halls at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Philadelphia where we took a look at new developments in targeted therapies, several subscribers asked for a repeat, but with a focus on immuno-oncology.
There are a number of elements that many people are interested in, especially given the Merck and BMS clinical data at AACR, where we clearly saw that:
- Anti-PD–1 therapy with pembrolizumab is superior to anti-CTLA4 with ipilimumab in metastatic melanoma (expect nivolumab to show the same thing at ASCO)
- Combined PD–1 plus CTLA4 blockade (with nivolumab plus ipilimumab) was superior to anti-CTLA4 alone, but with higher grade 3/4 toxicities, also in advanced melanoma
Sadly though, we still see that 70-80% of patients don’t respond to these therapies.
- How can we improve on that?
- What happens when we explore other factors, tumour types and different aspects of the immune system?
- What can we learn about novel sequencing or combination approaches?
- Which ones look interesting?
Endless questions can be asked – to which we still have too few answers – although there were some encouraging signs and hints of possibilities at AACR.
The 2015 AACR program was particularly challenging this year with lots of really good symposia and general sessions, making it tough to whizz round the vast poster hall spread out around the exhibits as well. To give you an idea of scale, it was pretty typical to cover 17K to 18K steps a day, approximately 7 to 8 miles. For many people, fitting in a quick lunch and the posters was certainly a challenging feat, depending where you were in the complex. With a morning session ending at 12.30pm, the afternoon session starting at 1pm and 2,000 steps between the Grand and Terrace Ballrooms, you sure had to get your skates on, Beep Beep!
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Yesterday, the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) released the abstracts to the poster and poster discussion sessions. This preview will be quite long by nature of it being the first time we get a look at the topline details behind some of the key sessions and their abstracts for both immunotherapies (especially checkpoint inhibitors) and targeted therapies. This includes posters and their discussion sessions, plus poster late breaking poster titles.
For reference, you can find the ESMO 2014 poster and poster discussion abstracts can be found here.
In addition, there appears to be some pretty cool presentations in the Special Symposia, which are rather like ASCO scientific symposia and contain a lot of useful information and often strategic ideas about where thought leaders see hot topics going in the future. This can be very helpful in learning about possibilities for new clinical trials ahead of time. As we focus on the poster highlights today, do check back tomorrow for a detailed look at the scientific symposia.
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Our latest European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2014 conference preview takes a look at some of the key immunotherapy sessions and presentations that look interesting in Madrid.
Based on a detailed look at the online program, some abstracts are clearly a re-hash of the ASCO data for a European audience, yet there are clearly some new topics and data being presented too.
As companies begin to ramp up development with data emerging from phase I to III trials across a gamut of different tumour types, things start to get very interesting indeed. Let’s not also forget the importance of science and translational work, particularly in understanding the tumour microenvironment and how the immune system can impact that in many ways.
Companies mentioned: BMS, Merck, Roche/Genentech, Biothera
Drugs mentioned: ipilimumab, nivolumab, pembrolizumab, MPDL3280A, Imprime PGG
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