“Instructing the immune system to recognize and kill tumours, an approach termed cancer immunotherapy, has transformed the clinical treatment of certain types of malignancy. Prominent among these therapies are immune-checkpoint inhibitors, which block the action of proteins that dampen immune-cell responses against tumours. For example, antibodies can be used to interfere with the inhibitory protein PD-1, which is present on T cells, a type of immune cell that attacks tumours. Immune-checkpoint inhibitors have been most successfully used to treat cancers, such as melanomas, that are well infiltrated by T cells and have a large number of genetic mutations. A subset of these mutations might generate neoantigens — altered protein sequences that are uniquely produced in cancer cells and are recognized as foreign by the immune system.”
“In a new study by Yale Cancer Center, scientists suggest that as the number of clinical trials in cancer immunotherapy grows exponentially, some caution should be exercised as we continue to better understand the biology of these new therapeutic targets. The findings are published today in the journal Cell.
“Researchers around the world have been racing to create therapies that unleash the power of our immune systems against cancer. The most successful of these immunotherapies, which target a molecular pathway known as PD-1/PD-L1, have brightened the landscape for many people suffering with lung cancer and other types of tumors.”
“ASCO and Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) applaud the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) recent revision of its clinical trial protocol template to broaden eligibility criteria for cancer clinical trials. The protocol template was expanded to help increase the opportunity for participation in NCI-funded clinical trials for patients with certain health-care conditions, as well as to provide an opportunity for patients younger than age 18 to participate in adult clinical trials in certain circumstances.”
“The current guidelines for genetic testing of breast cancer patients limit the number of women who can get tested. Because of these restrictions, these tests miss as many patients with hereditary cancers as they find, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
” ‘Unfortunately, insurance companies pay attention to these guidelines,’ said Dr. Peter Beitsch, co-author of the study and a cancer surgeon practicing in Texas. Insurance companies and other payers reimburse genetic testing — or not — based on the guidelines.”
“Roche’s Kadcyla was significantly better than Herceptin at reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence in certain patients with residual disease after surgery, according to new study findings presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
“Data from the Phase III KATHERINE study show that Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) as a single agent significantly reduced the risk of disease recurrence or death by 50% compared to Herceptin (trastuzumab) as an adjuvant (after surgery) treatment in people with HER2-positive early breast cancer (eBC) who have residual disease following neoadjuvant therapy.”
“Swiss group Roche Holding AG said on Wednesday its Tecentriq immunotherapy mixed with chemotherapy won priority review from the U.S. regulator for treating a type of lung cancer, a potential boost to the drug that has been trailing rivals’ revenues.
“The announcement comes after Roche in September said patients with untreated extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) lived a median 12.3 months after getting the Tecentriq cocktail, compared to 10.3 months for those getting chemotherapy alone.
“Winning the speedy review from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sets up possible U.S. approval for Tecentriq in this indication by March 18, the drugmaker said in a statement.”
“Cancer has an insidious talent for evading the natural defenses that should destroy it. What if we could find ways to help the immune system fight back?
“It has begun to happen. The growing field of immunotherapy is profoundly changing cancer treatment and has rescued many people with advanced malignancies that not long ago would have been a death sentence.”
“In recent years, many Americans have embraced vitamin D and fish oil pills, their enthusiasm fueled by a steady trickle of suggestive research studies linking higher levels of vitamin D with lower rates of cancer and other ills, and fish consumption with reduced heart disease.
“Now a large and rigorous government-funded randomized trial — the only such study of omega-3 fish oils ever carried out in healthy adults, and the largest trial ever done of high-dose vitamin D — has found the supplements do not lower cancer rates in healthy adults. Nor do they reduce the rate of major cardiovascular events, a composite of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from cardiovascular disease. The trial is of the kind considered the gold standard in medicine.”
“On November 2, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to lorlatinib (LORBRENA, Pfizer, Inc.) for patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has progressed on crizotinib and at least one other ALK inhibitor for metastatic disease or whose disease has progressed on alectinib or ceritinib as the first ALK inhibitor therapy for metastatic disease.
“Approval was based on a subgroup of 215 patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC, previously treated with one or more ALK kinase inhibitors, enrolled in a non‑randomized, dose-ranging and activity-estimating, multi‑cohort, multicenter study (Study B7461001; NCT01970865). The major efficacy measures were overall response rate (ORR) and intracranial ORR, according to RECIST 1.1, as assessed by an independent central review committee.”