It’s all too easy to focus on the here, the now, and what’s hot in the moment, but let’s also remember that while immunotherapy and KRAS might be the hottest topics out there in oncology R&D at the moment, we still need to induce durable and lasting tumour cell killing or the cancer won’t be penned in.
Resistance mechanisms or immune escape will induce relapse, disease recurrence, and off we go again with tumour proliferation, sometimes at a more aggressive rate than before.
Back in the 1970s and earlier all we really had was a bunch of rather nasty and ineffective chemotherapies, often given in sequence, although improvements in dosing, scheduling, and also experimenting with different combinations eventually helped a great deal.
What if we were to look at modern methods of inducing cell death without the nihilistic side effects of old?
After a few false starts and quite a lot of agents condemned to dog drug heaven, we saw the emergence of the CDK4/6 inhibitors in HR+ breast cancer. Since then a number of other targets have started showing up, not just as small molecules but also in quite different modalities.
Is this truly going to be a new revolution to think about or yet another raft of promising agents consigned to the dustbin of screening libraries? The good news is there are some hopeful signs finally peeping out…
To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on the latest insights and commentary, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.
Time for some reflections from ASCO
Many eyes at ASCO this weekend will be eagerly turned towards the plenary session on Sunday and the stunning osimertinib data in the ADAURA (adjuvant osimertinib therapy for EGFR positive disease) where 69% were stage II/IIIA and for those patients, DFS HR was 0.17 with a 2 year DFS rate of 90% (only 44% with placebo).
There is no doubt this is the data of the meeting for me – when was the last time we saw a hazard ratio of 0.17?! More on this development after the data has been presented.
Beyond the plenary there are plenty of interesting studies to discuss and ponder at various stages of development. Over the next couple of days a number of other stories and interviews will be also posted.
Here, we provide an update on one of the early drug development stories we’ve been following longitudinally over the last five years from preclinical through to the clinic and offer some reflections on progress to date.
A KOL interview and commentary are included as well…
To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging from the ASCO meeting, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.
Padstow, Cornwall – It’s May Day or ‘Obby ‘Oss, as it’s known locally in this little corner of south west England. The quaint festival means that it’s the biggest day of the year as over 30,000 people crowd into the tiny fishing village.
Obby Oss Blue
Centuries old traditions are still alive and well in this part of the country and the big question of the day (are you red and white or blue and white?) is a far cry from the complex high tech world of cancer research.
Still, with all the time and attention focused on immunotherapy and targeted therapies of late, it is all too easy to forget what’s happening on the epigenetics front, which is quite a bit in practice.
We often see random allcomer approaches to clinical trials, which are find for phase 1 studies where you want to gather data on responders and non-responders in order to conduct PK/PD and immune profiling, as well as biomarker and signature development, but a potential recipe for disaster in phase 3 if you have no idea exactly what’s driving the efficacy since you can all too easily end up with unbalanced arms that you didn’t control for and thus skew your survival curves in a way you didn’t anticipate.
Why on earth would you use a targeted therapy in an untargeted fashion? Hmmm obvious question and yet, many companies still do this all the time.
There are some biotechs out there, I’m pleased to say, who do conduct extensive translational and biomarker research. Obviously finding those markers is a lot more tricky than choosing red or blue.
One biotech company we have been keenly following for a while is Syros.
We first wrote about them in Spring 2014 and now, five years on, I thought it would be a nice idea to catch up with one of their founders and learn more about the science underpinning what they’ve done and where they’re going with future projects. Not only do they invest in smart medicinal chemists, profiling and translational research, but they also seek to identify rational reasons why people respond to their compounds.
The answers were rather interesting and there’s quite a bit that readers might be curious to learn more about…
To learn more from our latest thought leader interview, conference coverage, and oncology insights, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.