“Array BioPharma (ARRY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for review its New Drug Applications (NDAs) to support use of the combination of binimetinib 45 mg twice daily and encorafenib 450 mg once daily (COMBO450) for the treatment of patients with BRAF-mutant advanced, unresectable or metastatic melanoma. The FDA set a target action date under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) of June 30, 2018 for both applications. In addition, the FDA informed Array that based on their preliminary review of the applications they have not identified any potential review issues, and that they are not currently planning to hold an advisory committee meeting to discuss these NDAs. Array completed its NDA submissions at the end of June 2017based on findings from the pivotal Phase 3 COLUMBUS trial.”
“A majority of patients with advanced melanoma responded to the combination of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and the investigational IDO1 inhibitor epacadostat, as reported at the European Society of Medical Oncology congress in Madrid.
“In phase I/II results from the ECHO-202/KEYNOTE-037 trial, the combination induced objective responses in 29 of 53 (55%) efficacy-evaluable untreated patients, including seven complete responses. Twenty-two of 38 evaluable patients (58%) responded to the recommended phase II dose of epacadostat (100 mg).”
“Swiss drugmaker Novartis notched a trial win for its drug cocktail against skin cancer on Monday, while a rival treatment from Roche with slipping sales failed in a separate study with a similar patient group.
“All the medicines were tested in melanoma patients who had undergone surgery to cut out tumors and had a genetic mutation called BRAF, making them likely to respond to the targeted cancer pills. Patients with BRAF mutations constitute around half of the melanoma population.”
“In a head-to-head comparison of two immunotherapy drugs used to prevent relapse in certain patients with advanced melanoma, one treatment was the clear winner — and it’s not the one that most people get.
“The international study, released Sunday, involved 900 patients whose tumors were removed by surgery but who remained at high risk of recurrence of melanoma, an often aggressive form of skin cancer.”
“Scientists are stepping up the hunt for better diagnostic tests to predict if cancer patients will benefit from costly modern immunotherapy drugs, which are transforming cancer care but remain a hit-and-miss affair.
“Research presented at Europe’s biggest oncology congress in Madrid adds to evidence that patients with an above average number of genetic mutations in their tumors have a better chance of responding to the new treatments, and drugmakers are racing to confirm the idea.”
“Adding the IDO inhibitor indoximod to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) led to an overall response rate (ORR) of 61% in patients with advanced melanoma, according to updated phase II data scheduled to be presented at the Third International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference in Frankfurt/Mainz, Germany.
“The updated data include a higher complete response (CR) rate of 20% compared with the 12% CR rate previously reported at the 2017 AACR Annual Meeting.1 The median progression-free survival (PFS) with the combination was 12.9 months, with a 1-year PFS rate of 56%.”
“Immunotherapy is a promising approach in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, an aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer; but for most patients, immunotherapy drugs so far have failed to live up to their promise and provide little or no benefit. In a phase 1b clinical trial with 21 patients, researchers tested the safety and efficacy of combining the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab with an oncolytic virus called T-VEC. The results suggest that this combination treatment, which had a 62% response rate, may work better than using either therapy on its own. The study appears September 7 in the journal Cell.”
“Yesterday’s historic FDA approval of the first engineered T-cell treatment for cancer, Novartis’ Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), was accompanied by inevitable questions about how the product would be priced. In the end, Novartis set the price at $475,000, which was lower than many analysts had predicted, considering the treatment is designed to cure some forms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)—and in clinical trials it did just that for most patients.”
“As the summer draws to a close, it’s time to start putting away flip-flops, bathing suits and beach bags. But as the seasonal supplies disappear into the back of the closet, sunscreen should stay within arm’s reach for year-round protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
“Because exposure to those harmful UV rays can increase one’s risk of skin cancer — and people spend a lot of time in the sun during the summer — the end of the season is also a good time to perform a skin self-exam. While it’s important to look for any suspicious spots on the skin, research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology indicates that it’s vital to check for new growths in order to detect melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.”