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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Recent Studies Tap Into AACR Project GENIE Registry

The AACR Project Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange (AACR Project GENIE) is a unique registry that aggregates, harmonizes, and links clinical-grade cancer genomic data with clinical outcomes from tens of thousands of cancer patients. AACR Project GENIE recently released its sixth data set, increasing the database to nearly 70,000 de-identified genomic records. The database now has information spanning more than 80 major cancer types, including data from more than 11,000 patients with lung cancer, over 9,700 patients with breast cancer, and nearly 7,000 patients with colorectal 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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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Leaders Share Highlights and Future Direction

One of the world’s largest cancer research conferences, the AACR Annual Meeting 2019, came to an end with a plenary session titled “AACR Annual Meeting 2019 Highlights: Vision for the Future.” Leaders of the AACR provided an overview of the stellar presentations from the meeting on the topics of prevention, early detection, interception, and the latest breakthroughs in cutting-edge basic, translational, and clinical research.

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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 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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