Early Trial of Cabozantinib and Abiraterone Shows Promise in Prostate Cancer

“A phase I trial that combined the investigational therapy cabozantinib with the already approved abiraterone acetate in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients shows that the two agents are tolerable, with the potential for improved efficacy.

“Christopher Sweeney, MBBS, medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, presented the results (abstract #5027) at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, held May 30–June 3 in Chicago.”

Editor’s note: A clinical trial to test a new treatment on volunteer patients found that a combination of the drugs cabozantinib and abiraterone acetate may be beneficial for treating metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), but further testing is needed.


Prolonged Fasting 'Re-Boots' Immune System

“Results of a new study on mice and a phase 1 trial of humans suggest that prolonged cycles of fasting – for 2-4 days at a time – not only protect against toxic effects of chemotherapy, but also trigger stem cell regeneration of new immune cells and clearing out of old, damaged cells.

“The study, by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, and published in the journalCell Stem Cell, is the first to show that a natural intervention can trigger regeneration of an organ or system through stem cells.

“The team believes the findings could benefit people with immune system damage, for example if they have received chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It could also benefit the elderly whose immune systems are weakened through aging, making them more susceptible to disease.”


Prolonged Fasting 'Re-Boots' Immune System

“Results of a new study on mice and a phase 1 trial of humans suggest that prolonged cycles of fasting – for 2-4 days at a time – not only protect against toxic effects of chemotherapy, but also trigger stem cell regeneration of new immune cells and clearing out of old, damaged cells.

“The study, by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, and published in the journalCell Stem Cell, is the first to show that a natural intervention can trigger regeneration of an organ or system through stem cells.

“The team believes the findings could benefit people with immune system damage, for example if they have received chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It could also benefit the elderly whose immune systems are weakened through aging, making them more susceptible to disease.”


Prolonged Fasting 'Re-Boots' Immune System

“Results of a new study on mice and a phase 1 trial of humans suggest that prolonged cycles of fasting – for 2-4 days at a time – not only protect against toxic effects of chemotherapy, but also trigger stem cell regeneration of new immune cells and clearing out of old, damaged cells.

“The study, by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, and published in the journalCell Stem Cell, is the first to show that a natural intervention can trigger regeneration of an organ or system through stem cells.

“The team believes the findings could benefit people with immune system damage, for example if they have received chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It could also benefit the elderly whose immune systems are weakened through aging, making them more susceptible to disease.”


Xcovery Presents Interim Phase 1 Results of X-396 in ALK positive NSCLC at the American Society for Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting

“Xcovery , a developer of next-generation targeted therapeutics for cancer, today presented preliminary results at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) from a phase 1 study of X-396, a potent small molecule anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor, that showed X-396 is well tolerated and has antitumor activity in patients with ALK positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).”

Editor’s note: Scientists have developed a new targeted drug called X-396. The drug is meant to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have mutations in the ALK gene, as detected by molecular testing. A clinical trial to test the drug in volunteer patients found promising results for X-396. It appeared to benefit patients whether or not they had previously taken and grown resistant to crizotinib, another ALK-targeted drug.


Aduro Announces ASCO Presentation of Promising Results from Phase 1b Clinical trial of its Novel Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Mesothelioma

“Aduro BioTech, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company, today announced the presentation of safety and efficacy data from a Phase 1b clinical trial of its novel immunotherapy CRS-207 in combination with standard chemotherapy in patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Of the 16 evaluable patients, 69% (11/16) had confirmed durable partial responses (PR) with 25% (4/16) experiencing stable disease (SD) after CRS-207 and chemotherapy. The results were presented by Raffit Hassan, M.D., co-chief of the Thoracic and GI Oncology Branch at the National Cancer Institute, in a poster presentation at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting (ASCO) held in Chicago.”

Editor’s note: Scientists have developed a new drug called CRS-207 for treating mesothelioma. CRS-207 is an immunotherapy, meaning that it boosts a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. A clinical trial testing CRS-207 in volunteer patients found promising results for the drug.


Two Array-Invented MEK Inhibitors Showcased At ASCO

“Two Array BioPharma-invented MEK inhibitors, binimetinib (MEK162) and selumetinib, were showcased at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).  At the meeting, preliminary data for the combination of binimetinib and CDK4/6 inhibitor LEE011 (discovered by Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in collaboration with Astex Pharmaceuticals) from a Phase 1b/2 dose-escalation study conducted by Novartis in NRAS-mutant melanoma indicates the combination demonstrated an acceptable safety profile for most patients with promising preliminary antitumor activity.  Additionally, preliminary data for selumetinib showed favorable clinical activity in pediatric patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and plexiform neurofibromas (PNs).”

Editor’s note: This article discusses a melanoma treatment that combines two durgs: binimetinib (aka MEK162) and selumetinib. A clinical trial recently found that the combo shows promise for melanoma patients whose tumors have mutations in the NRAS gene, as detected by molecular testing. Binimetinib is also being tested as a potential treatment for patients whose tumors have mutations in the BRAF gene.


Celldex Therapeutics' Varlilumab Continues to Demonstrate Very Favorable Profile

“Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:CLDX) today reported data from its ongoing Phase 1 study of the fully human monoclonal antibody varlilumab (CDX-1127) in cancer. Varlilumab is an immunotherapy designed to enhance the body’s natural immune response by directly activating T cells that can specifically recognize and kill cancer cells. Preclinical data support the broad study of varlilumab in combination with a number of other anti-cancer agents including but not limited to checkpoint inhibitors, chemotherapies, targeted therapies and vaccines. Varlilumab will enter at least four combination studies in the second half of 2014.”

Editor’s note: As mentioned above, varlilumab is an immunotherapy that works by boosting a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. In a clinical trial testing the drug in volunteer patients, it shown promise for treating several different types of cancer, including metastatic melanoma.


MK3475 Induced High Rates of Durable Responses in Advanced Melanoma

“A majority of patients with advanced melanoma who had and had not received previous ipilimumab demonstrated durable responses with the PD-1 targeted antibody MK-3475, according to study results presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.

“ ‘This is the largest phase 1 clinical trial ever conducted in this disease, and together with a lung cancer cohort, this is the largest phase 1 trial ever done in oncology,’ study investigator Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, said during a press conference. ‘These are early data, but they tell us we are on to something really important.’ ”

Editor’s note: The cancer drug MK-3475 is an immunotherapy, meaning that it boosts a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. This story describes a clinical trial that tested MK-3475 on volunteer patients with advanced melanoma, and found good results for a majority of the patients. Some of the patients had previously been treated with the drug ipilimumab (Yervoy) and some had not; both kinds of patients benefited from MK-3475 in the trial.