It’s the dog days of summer and time for some meaty controversy to read!
For the longest time there have been several cancer types which have been incredibly difficult to treat therapeutically.
Metastatic melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) both used to be in this category, as did glioblastoma and advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
We have made great strides in changing the face (and more importantly outcomes!) for people with both metastatic melanoma and lung cancer, so what’s happening on the pancreatic cancer front?
The last two years gave certainly thrown up a series of disappointing clinical trial readouts such as RESOLVE, HALO–301, CanStemIIIP, and SEQUIOA, for example, where in each and every case the findings favoured the control arm of gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel over the experimental arm in terms of improving survival. Not one of them was able to raise the bar and show a significant improvement over standard therapy, which is pretty disappointing.
So what can be done to change the face of PDAC?
If we want to improve further then we need to go back to basics and enhance not only our understanding of the funadamental biological mechansisms and processes, but also the models we use to interrogate the systems involved.
In this post, we look at six key new areas of research in PDAC and explain what we’ve learned and why they matter if we are to see new therapeutic developments arise from the ashes of the past…
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National Harbor, MD
With the abstract drop from the 2019 Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting now available, what can we learn from some of the research slated for formal oral presentation this year?
Here in part one (posters will be reviewed tomorrow) we take a look at a mix of preclinical and early clinical studies that grabbed our initial interest from the oral presentations – they include the good, bad, and intriguing – to see exactly what can be learned from this year’s mix of abstracts?
The short answer is quite a lot.
Every year the what to watch out for preview is a popular one. This year there are some surprises in store as well as some particularly important findings that BSB readers may well be keen to find out more about ahead of the conference later this week in order to maximise their thinking and avoid the inevitable brain-fry and fatigue that sets in on Saturday afternoon…
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MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas – Advanced pancreatic cancer is a very tough disease to treat, so it is not surprising that by 2030 it will be the No. 2 cancer killer in the United States, according to one of the speakers at the recent 1st Annual Symposium on Pancreatic Cancer held at the MD Anderson Cancer Center earlier this week.
There’s also high unmet medical need for new effective therapies for pancreatic cancer, which is why events that promote collaboration and cross-fertilization among leading experts are important.
I found out about the event from Twitter thanks to tweets by Dr Anirban Maitra (@aiims1742) who shares a lot of information. Do follow him if you don’t already.
Thank you to everyone at MD Anderson for putting on a panel of excellent speakers. The meeting was well worth attending and I hope it will become an annual event.
In this post I’ve captured some of the key take-homes that I took from the symposium.
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At the recent ASCO 2018 Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium (GI18), Steven. D Leach MD (Dartmouth) gave an excellent Keynote Lecture on “Mapping the Immune Landscape in Pancreatic Cancer.”
Pancreatic cancer has very poor outcomes, with a one-year relative survival rate (across all stages of the disease of 20%) and five-survival rate of 7% according to the American Cancer Society. In addition, stage IV exocrine pancreatic cancer has a 5 year survival of about 1%, which is utterly dismal to say the least.
When it comes to cancer immunotherapy, so far we’ve not seen the success in pancreatic cancer that we’ve seen in other tumours, there are no FDA approved cancer immunotherapies for this disease.
Which raises a critical question of what is happening in the immune landscape of pancreatic cancer patients, and how will cancer immunotherapy be effective?
In this post, we discuss some of the key points that Dr Leach made in excellent presentation and look at some new developments on the horizon in PDAC.
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Miami Beach Lifeguard Tower
This week I’ve been at an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference in Miami on “Targeting the Vulnerabilities of Cancer,” part of their Precision Medicine Series (Twitter #AACRpm16).
What’s interesting about AACR small specialist meetings is as well as listening to high quality talks, they create a relaxed atmosphere for networking and catching up with experts informally. The conference this week was relevant to anyone with an interest in cancer drug discovery.
Although cancer immunotherapy remains the hottest topic in cancer drug development, we shouldn’t forget that there are other therapeutic targets worth exploring; several potential new opportunities were highlighted in Miami.
As readers know we don’t share unpublished data on the blog, so what I’ve done is provide a top-line summary of some of the strategic themes and key take homes I took from several of the presentations.
As an aside, If you haven’t already done so, do listen to the latest episode of the Novel Targets podcast – Of Mice and Men – it features excerpts of interviews recorded at the recent AACR annual meeting in New Orleans. I was surprised by some of what I heard!
For more information on forthcoming AACR meetings and workshops, check out the events calendar on the AACR website.
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