Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Conference Moves Targeting KRAS to the Fore

After three decades of failed efforts to target the elusive KRAS and its family members NRAS and HRAS, proto-oncogenes altered in about a third of cancers, encouraging data emerging from clinical trials and preclinical studies suggest KRAS could finally be dethroned from the “undruggable” category.

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Ovarian Cancer: Examining the Microenvironment and Mutational Landscapes to Tailor Treatments

The AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, held this year at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston Oct. 26-30, has once again brought together members of academia, pharmaceutical industry, federal regulatory agencies, and all other stakeholders in the cancer drug development space from across the globe to discuss the most up-to-date advances.

A couple of studies presented at the conference set out to address an important question in cancer research – why is ovarian cancer so hard to treat?

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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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AACR Grants Program Funds Diverse Range of Cancer Research

Since its inception in 1993, the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Grants Program, in partnership with other nonprofit organizations, foundations, and pharmaceutical companies, has funded groundbreaking basic, translational, and clinical cancer research. In 2019 alone, the AACR awarded more than $12.5 million in grants to support innovative and impactful cancer research projects.

The AACR Grants Program supports researchers at all career levels by awarding fellowships, career development awards, independent investigator awards, team science awards, and its flagship NextGen Grants for Transformative Cancer Research.

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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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AACR Welcomes First Science Policy Fellow

Policy plays a critical role in the fight against cancer, influencing the funding of cancer research and driving the approval of safe and effective anticancer therapies. With the increasing complexity of cancer-related policy issues, the need for active engagement of cancer researchers and physician-scientists in the policymaking process has never been greater.

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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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July Editors’ Picks from AACR Journals

As a monthly staple on this blog, we feature the editors’ picks from the 10 journal issues published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). This month, selections include two articles detailing laboratory culture methods to model human cancers, as well as results from two clinical trials, among other studies. Per usual, articles summarized here are freely available for a limited time.

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Let’s End HPV-related Cancers: A Congressional Briefing

Every two minutes, a woman somewhere in the world dies of cervical cancer.

That harrowing statistic, shared by Anna R. Giuliano, PhD, founding director of the Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, reflects a great frustration in public health. There is a vaccine that prevents infection with the virus that can cause cervical cancer and several other cancer types, yet worldwide, not enough people are taking advantage of it.

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