Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘tumour mutation burden’

One of the ongoing challenges with cancer immunotherapy is monitoring response to treatment.

Even if you are one of the minority of people who do respond to cancer immunotherapy, many responders go on to develop acquired resistance or experience immune escape resulting in a loss of response to therapy, which means we need to be able to detect what is happening in the immune system of a cancer patient in order then identify the next treatment option.

Dr Whiteside in the poster hall at #AACR18

Could the proteins and nucleic acids carried by virus sized microvesicles called exosomes – present in their billions in blood plasma – provide insights into biomarkers of response to therapy and what is happening in the tumour?

Some people think they can, while others remain skeptical.

We think it’s cool area of research, worthy of consideration and following as we continue to explore various biopsy and blood/plasma approaches.

One person at the forefront of exosome research is Dr Theresa Whiteside from the University of Pittsburgh, where she’s a Professor of Pathology, Immunology and Otolaryngology.

At the recent 2018 annual meeting at AACR, she kindly spoke about her innovative work over the past year in what is now an exploding field of research…

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Chicago Loop Train

In this latest ASCO 2018 Preview, we take a look at tissue and blood based biomarkers to see what we can learn and whether they look useful or not for predicting which patients should receive a therapy or not.

There’s quite a lot we can learn from the latest data from the initial abstracts ahead of the meeting in order to be better prepared about what to expect in Chicago.

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What we wanted to accomplish in our latest thought leader interview was to peek under the hood with someone active in this field who is an experienced participant in phase 2 and 3 trials, as well as being a solid translational researcher capable of thinking outside the box critically.

Stacking up the evidence from IO trials

Today we cover a global KOL’s perspectives on cancers of the lung, renal, bladder, and even melanoma, in a wide ranging discussion about immunotherapy trials and some of the pitfalls and opportunities to watch out for.

It makes for an intriguing read as there are likely a few issues that many have not thought about in great depth.

This is an important discussion in the context of not just data that was recently presented at several conferences including AACR, but also with the upcoming monotherapy and chemo combination trials (including squamous and non-squamous lung cancer) expected at ASCO in a few weeks time.

We discuss quite a few of the key challenges and opportunities relating to the broader picture and highlight some of the important issues to watch out for…

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Chicago!

One of the key topics arising out of probably the hottest session (lung cancer clinical trials plenary) at AACR last week was tumour mutation burden (TMB).

An important question to be addressed was whether or not the nivolumab plus ipilimumab combination from the CheckMate–227 study will be useful in previously untreated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with a high TMB?

There are a number of questions that occurred to us that need careful consideration:

  • Is TMB ready for prime time?
  • What are the challenges and issues involved?
  • How useful are the data from CheckMate–227 and CheckMate–568?
  • Where are we going next?

To find out more, we had some fascination discussions at AACR with two up and coming young researchers from industry (Dr David Fabrizio of Foundation Medicine) and academia (Dr Nicky McGranahan from UCL in London), who are both experts intimately involved in measuring TMB.

What did they had to say and what does it all mean?

Their candid answers may well surprise a few people…

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