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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ICYMI: A Summary of Annual Meeting 2019 Blog Posts

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2019 drew more than 21,000 attendees, providing a robust forum to present and discuss the latest breakthroughs in cutting-edge basic, translational, and clinical cancer research. As always, the meeting attracted some of the best minds in research and medicine, representing many facets of cancer care. Researchers, physician-scientists, policymakers, advocates, and industry representatives all played important roles in exchanging information over the course of a dynamic Annual Meeting program.

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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: 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: The Biden Cancer Initiative

Like many Americans, Dr. Jill Biden has been personally affected by cancer. Friends, her parents, and her son Beau have all died of the disease, fueling her desire to fight for better treatments.

She and her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden, established the Biden Cancer Initiative to build upon the work begun as part of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative in 2016. Dr. Biden attended the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2019 on Sunday to share some of the progress that has been made, and to discuss how collaboration will be important in securing future progress.

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FDA Approves First Immunotherapeutic for Breast Cancer

Last Friday, March 8, 2019, marked another milestone in immuno-oncology: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the first approval of an immunotherapeutic for use in the treatment of breast cancer.

The immunotherapeutic in question is atezolizumab (Tecentriq). It was approved for use in combination with a cytotoxic chemotherapeutic called nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) for treating adults who have unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer that expresses the protein PD-L1.

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Supporting the Vital Role of Women in Science

February 11 marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a United Nations initiative to encourage full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. Women have been responsible for countless scientific breakthroughs, yet they are underrepresented in the highest ranks of the scientific community. In many countries, women and girls do not have adequate access to scientific education, making it difficult to even contemplate careers in science.

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Experts Forecast Cancer Research and Treatment Advances in 2019

In 2018, we witnessed significant momentum in several hot areas of cancer research, including immunotherapy and precision medicine. Researchers have amassed exponential amounts of knowledge in these areas of scientific inquiry in recent years, and 2018 saw many of these gains culminate into innovative treatments for cancer patients.

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