AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Patients as Partners in the Research Process

In the past couple of decades, progress against cancer has created a new generation of survivors. Today, more than 16.9 million people in the United States are cancer survivors. While their experiences are incredibly diverse, many are living well. They work, they tend to their families, they travel … and many are inspired to play a role in the cancer research community.

The Presidential Select Symposium at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019 addressed these crucial roles in a session titled “Engaging Cancer Patients as Partners in the Research Process.” The session was moderated by outgoing AACR President Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, Deputy Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

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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: 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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Utilizing Patient-reported Outcomes in Cancer Clinical Trials

Assessing new anticancer therapeutics in clinical trials is a vital step in evaluating the toxicity and efficacy of treatment before its approval for widespread use. Throughout these trials, many patients encounter a variety of side effects, ranging from physical ailments such as nausea or rash to psychological symptoms such as depression or anxiety. While it is standard practice to record clinician-reported outcomes to characterize safety, there is no current standard requirement for the use of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in cancer clinical trials.

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Broadening Clinical Trial Participation

Patient enrollment in clinical trials has long been on the minds of oncologists and researchers. In 1990, fewer than 3 percent of patients were enrolled in clinical trials—which spurred then president-elect of the American Cancer Society, Walter Lawrence Jr., MD, to write an editorial calling for more concerted efforts. More than 25 years later, clinical trial participation hovers around 5 percent.

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A Targeted Therapy Next in Line for Biomarker-based Cancer Drug Approval?

recent data suggest that there is another potential contender for a biomarker-based FDA approval: a targeted therapeutic called larotrectinib (LOXO-101), which showed promising results in adults and children with a variety of cancer types, all of which had one thing in common – fusions involving the gene TRK.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2017: Most Merkel Cell Carcinoma Responses to the Newly FDA-Approved Avelumab Expected to Last More than a Year

T cells and antibodies

On March 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the first-ever approval of a treatment for patients with a rare, aggressive form of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma. The treatment, the immunotherapeutic avelumab (Bavencio), was approved based on data from the JAVELIN Merkel 200 phase II clinical trial.

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