Karen Honey, PhD

As senior managing editor, science communications, Karen Honey, PhD, helps the AACR communicate scientific information to the public and educate the public about the importance of lifesaving cancer research. Before joining the AACR, Honey spent eight years working as an editor for two peer-reviewed scientific journals, first Nature Reviews Immunology and then The Journal of Clinical Investigation. During this time, she focused on communicating scientific discoveries to readers with all levels of knowledge, from the lay reader to the scientific expert. Before entering the world of science communication, Honey was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of world-renowned immunologist Alexander Rudensky. She was born in the United Kingdom and received her doctorate in transplantation immunology from the University of Oxford. Honey currently lives in the Philadelphia suburbs.

AACR’s Latest Journal, Blood Cancer Discovery, Publishes First Paper

The first paper to be accepted by the AACR’s latest journal, Blood Cancer Discovery, was published online last week. The paper, which is freely available on the journal website, describes the landscape of mutations present in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and how this landscape changes during treatment, leading to relapse.

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FDA Approves New Treatment for HER2-positive Breast Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new molecularly targeted therapeutic called fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki (Enhertu) for treating certain patients with breast cancer on Dec. 20, 2019. Specifically, it was approved for treating adults who have unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer that has progressed despite treatment with two or more other HER2-targeted treatment regimens after the diagnosis of metastatic disease.

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FDA Rounded out 2019 by Approving a New Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

In the final days of 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved expanding the use of a previously approved molecularly targeted therapeutic called olaparib (Lynparza) to include treating certain patients diagnosed with one of the deadliest types of cancer—pancreatic cancer.

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FDA Approves New Treatments for Three Cancer Types 

In the past few weeks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced three approvals for new treatments for several types of cancer. On December 18, the FDA approved the new molecularly targeted therapeutic enfortumab vedotin-ejfv (Padcev) to treat certain patients who have bladder cancer; on November 21, the agency expanded the use of the molecularly targeted therapeutic acalabrutinib (Calquence) to include treating adults who have chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL); and on November 14, it approved the new molecularly targeted therapeutic zanubrutinib (Brukinsa) to treat certain patients who have mantle cell lymphoma.  

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FDA Approves Ovarian Cancer Treatment Based on New Biomarker

On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the use of the molecularly targeted therapeutic niraparib (Zejula) to include an additional group of patients with ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal cancer: those whose cancer has progressed despite treatment with at least three different cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens and tests positive for a new biomarker called homologous recombination deficiency (HRD).

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Use of Pembrolizumab Expanded to 13th Type of Cancer in Five Years

The use of immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer has dramatically increased in the five years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the groundbreaking immunotherapeutic pembrolizumab (Keytruda). Since that September 2014 approval, for melanoma, pembrolizumab has been approved for use in the treatment of another 12 types of cancer, most recently endometrial cancer, and the treatment of any type of solid tumor that tests positive for either of two specific biomarkers, microsatellite instability–high or mismatch repair–deficient.

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Second Targeted Therapeutic Approved for Use Based on Tumor Biomarker, Not Tumor Origin

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the second of a new wave of molecularly targeted therapeutics that can be used to treat patients with any type of cancer provided their tumor tests positive for a specific biomarker.

The therapeutic in question, entrectinib (Rozlytrek), was approved for treating adults and adolescents age 12 and older whose cancers have an NTRK gene fusion and who have no other effective treatment options.

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FDA Approvals Provide Advances for a Range of Cancer Types

During late spring and early summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved four new molecularly targeted therapeutics—alpelisib (Piqray), polatuzumab vedotin-piiq (Polivy), selinexor (Xpovio), and darolutamide (Nubeqa)—for treating certain patients with a wide array of cancer types. Molecularly targeted therapeutics are the cornerstone of precision oncology. So, this flurry of approvals highlights that progress in this important area of cancer care is continuing unabated.

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FDA Approvals Provide New Advances Against Bladder, Lung, and Kidney Cancer

During late March and early April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made several decisions that have increased the number of treatment options for certain patients with bladder, lung, and kidney cancer. On March 18, 2019, the agency approved the immunotherapeutic atezolizumab (Tecentriq) for treating certain patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). On April 12, 2019, it approved a new molecularly targeted therapeutic—erdafitinib (Balversa)—for treating certain patients with bladder cancer. Then, on April 19, 2019, it approved the immunotherapeutic pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for treating certain patients with kidney cancer.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Past, Present, and Future of CDK4/6-targeted Therapeutics

Therapeutics that target two proteins called cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and CDK6 have revolutionized treatment for breast cancer, Richard S. Finn, MD, told attendees of the Making Science Count for Patients: CDK4/6 special session during the recent AACR Annual Meeting 2019. This session was designed to review the progress made with this class of anticancer therapeutics, starting from basic science through preclinical and clinical development, and to look to what we might expect from these agents in the future.

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