AACR Annual Meeting 2019: New Approaches to Treating Drug-resistant Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

About 80 percent of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC), and about 15 to 20 percent of NSCLCs harbor epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-activating mutations.
Treatment for EGFR-mutant NSCLC improved dramatically with the introduction of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Several TKIs targeting this receptor have been developed, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved first-generation EGFR TKIs gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva); second-generation EGFR TKIs, such as the FDA-approved afatinib (Gilotrif) and dacomitinib (Vizimpro), and the investigational therapeutic neratinib; and third-generation EGFR TKIs, including the FDA-approved osimertinib (Tagrisso), and the investigational therapeutics olmutinib and nazartinib.

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AACR and Bayer Grants Support Innovative Research

The AACR-Bayer Innovation and Discovery Grants program supports researchers who are seeking to develop new treatment options for cancers with high unmet medical need. The program aims to encourage innovation and translation of ideas from basic research into novel drugs, and to foster collaborations between academic groups and the pharmaceutical industry.

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NIH-AACR Conference Explores Intersection of Cancer, Autoimmunity, and Immunology

Although checkpoint inhibitors and other immunotherapies are remarkably effective for patients with some cancers, demonstrating durable antitumor activity and/or high response rates, they are not risk-free. Reports of immune-related adverse events (therapy-dependent toxicities caused by non-specific activation of the immune system) surfaced early in development for ipilimumab and accompany all approved immunotherapies.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will join the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to convene the NIH-AACR Cancer, Autoimmunity, and Immunology Conference on April 15-16, 2019, in the Masur Auditorium on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: PD-1 Pandemonium

“Do you want to have fun?” Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Oncology Center of Excellence, asked the audience as he opened the “PD-1 Pandemonium: FDA Speaks with Industry on the Past, Present, and Future of PD-1 Drugs” regulatory science and policy session at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2019 on Monday, April 1.

Pazdur explained that he and AACR staff in the Science Policy and Government Affairs Office thought that it would be informative to convene representatives from all the companies who have an FDA-approved PD-1– or PD-L1–targeted immunotherapeutic for a heart-to-heart conversation about the past, present, and future of this group of revolutionary cancer treatments.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Optimizing PD-1/PD-L1 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have become part of the standard of care for more than 14 different cancer types, including melanoma, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, bladder cancer, cervical cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, and to treat patients with any type of solid tumor that is microsatellite instability–high or mismatch repair–deficient. In a clinical trial plenary session held April 1 at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019, titled “Optimizing PD-1/PD-L1 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy: Dedicated to the Memory of Waun Ki Hong,” cancer researchers updated attendees on the latest advances in the utility of this class of immunotherapeutics, either as monotherapy or in combination with other treatment modalities.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Manipulating the Immune System in Cancer Therapy

Cancer immunotherapy research has exploded in recent years. This treatment utilizes a patient’s own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. While many successful immunotherapeutic regimens have relied on checkpoint inhibition, other immunotherapeutic approaches, such as adoptive cellular therapies (ACT), the use of bispecific antibodies, and targeting components of the tumor microenvironment, are showing promise in a variety of cancer types.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Promising Data from CAR T-cell Clinical Trials for Advanced Solid Tumors

A pair of studies presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019 demonstrated encouraging clinical outcomes with two different chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for patients with advanced solid tumors.

CAR T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy in which T cells are removed from a patient’s body and genetically modified so that they can recognize the patient’s cancer cells. The modified T cells, when reintroduced into the patient’s body, multiply and attack cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two CAR T-cell therapies for blood cancers so far: tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) for treating certain patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), and axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) for treating certain adults with NHL.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Recent Progress For Patients With Hard-to-treat and Rare Cancers

Recent advances in cancer research has led to enormous progress against many cancer types. From 1991 to 2015, we witnessed a 26 percent reduction in the U.S. cancer death rate, representing over 2 million lives saved. Deaths from several common cancers, including breast, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers, have declined in recent years, which is attributed to smoking cessation, advances in early detection, and treatment improvements.

Progress against many other cancers, however, has been much slower. Death rates for some types of cancer, such as esophageal cancer, have increased in certain populations, and pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality by 2030.  

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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Plenary Examines Global Issues in Cancer

The AACR Annual Meeting 2019 features the theme “Integrative Cancer Science • Global Impact • Individualized Patient Care.” That theme provided the structure for Monday’s plenary session, when cancer researchers representing three continents, four cancer types, and diverse areas of interest took the stage.

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