Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘TGFβ’

Can we break through the barriers of a hostile tumour microenvironment?

Who would have thought that after 30 years of no new therapies that urothelial carcinomas would suddenly be almost constantly in the spotlight with enticing words like cancer immunotherapy, biomarkers, tumour microenvironment, translational immunology etc?

And yet it has happened – with a lot more to come in this highly competitive niche too.

Prior to AACR in Chicago, we highlighted TGFβ in our Preview series as an important emerging target that is gathering attention and may be relevant in tumour types, such as urothelial carcinoma and ovarian cancer.

After the meeting, Dr Paul Rennert (CSO, Aleta Biotherapeutics) noted:

I don’t disagree with either of these sentiments – there was a reason we interviewed a lot of NK cell enthusiasts recently and we have since been rolling out our thought leader mini-series focused on TGFβ. Yesterday, we kicked off with perspectives from an academic researcher active in this field and tomorrow will showcase some practical clinical perspectives.

On deck today, we have a interview with a research scientist who has conducted both basic and translational work for a discussion about how he sees the learnings that have arisen from bench to bedside and back again.

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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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After the snow flurry in Atlanta that induced much panic and minor frustration in equal measure after the trials and tribulations of a tiring travel day with delays and cancellations galore. Then you see attendees waking up to a veritable winter wonderland in the south:

Meanwhile, things soon settled down somewhat and life got back to normal at the American Society of Hematology (ASH), as this quick time lapse that 3NT recorded showed down the main thoroughfare :

It’s time for our annual meeting daily highlights and lowlights because after all, oncology R&D is not a rose tinted garden and thus not every session or compound you highlight pre-conference will turn out as expected and sometimes, there are pleasant surprises that few see coming so you could end up at sixes and sevens if you don’t watch out…

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Dr James Gulley is Chief of the Genito-Urinary malignancies branch and Director of the Medical Oncology service at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the National Institutes of Health. He’s a world-leading GU cancer expert and at the forefront of pioneering research to make cancer immunotherapy work in prostate cancer.

We last spoke to him at ASCO 2015 (See post: The future of prostate cancer immunotherapy). You can listen to excerpts from this interview on Episode 4 of the Novel Targets podcast (See: The non-inflamed tumour show).

Almost two years on, and new research by Dr Gulley and colleagues from the NCI shows that the STING pathway may have an important role to play in prostate cancer immunotherapy. Activation of this pathway through a novel mechanism could turn a cold non-inflamed tumor into a more inflamed or hotter one in men with advanced prostate cancer. How cool is that?!

At the 2017 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) that was recently held in Washington DC, Dr Gulley graciously spoke to BSB about some of the novel trials that are underway at the NCI, with the aim of making cancer immunotherapy work in men with advanced prostate cancer.

Dr Jim Gulley, NCI at AACR17

This is the seventh expert interviews in our series from AACR17 where we explore the conundrum:

How does Dr Gulley plan to light the immune camp fire in prostate cancer?

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