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Roche's Tecentriq/Avastin combo smashes endpoints at Phase 3 in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma

New Phase 3 data has emerged demonstrating the efficacy of Roche’s Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in combination with Avastin (bevacizumab) in the treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients who have not received prior systemic therapy.

The results, drawn from a trial of 501 unresectable HCC patients, showed that the pair of drugs met the trial’s co-primary endpoints, generating “statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements” in both overall survival and progression-free survival compared to Nexavar (sorafenib), the current standard of care.

BMS unveils strong five-year efficacy data for Opdivo in lung cancer

Bristol-Myers Squibb has unveiled pooled five-year efficacy and safety results for its blockbuster immunotherapy Opdivo (nivolumab) drawn from two Phase 3 studies in the treatment of previously treated advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

BMS’ immunotherapy demonstrated overall survival rates of 13.4% across all patient subgroups after five years of treatment, compared to just 2.6% with docetaxel.

Celgene signs $1.5bn partnership with Immatics to fight cancer with engineered T-cell therapies

Celgene and biopharma firm Immatics Biotechnologies have announced that they have entered a partnership valued at a potential $1.5 billion to pursue the development of T-cell receptor-engineered T-cell therapies (TCR-T) for a range of cancer types.

The pair will leverage Immatics’ XPRESIDENT technology and XCEPTOR TCR discovery and engineering platform to develop immunotherapies based on the method of engineering T-cells of patients to express a specific receptor.

Scientists use duoCAR-T therapy to fight HIV

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, working with the biotech Lentigen, have found that an advanced form of CAR-T therapy is effective against HIV in human mouse models.

According to a paper published in the journal Science Translation Medicine, the scientists were able to use ‘duoCAR-T cells’, which use two CAR molecules, to supress HIV.  

Roche's Tecentriq meets primary endpoint in Phase 3 bladder cancer trial

Roche has said its immunotherapy drug Tecentriq (Atezolizumab), when used in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy, significantly reduced the risk of disease worsening and death in a Phase 3 trial of patients with bladder cancer.

Roche’s immunotherapy, in combination with chemotherapy, met its primary endpoint in the IMvigor130 Phase 3 trial after significantly reducing the chance of disease worsening or death in people with previously untreated, locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) compared with chemotherapy alone.

Pfizer immune-oncology leader joins Aduro Biotech as new CMO

Pfizer’s vice president and head of immune-oncology clinical development has joined Aduro Biotech as the company’s new Chief Medical Officer, just three months after the firm laid of more than a third of its workforce, as it refocused its efforts on developing treatments for cancer.

Bowel cancers adjust themselves to hide from immunotherapies

Bowel cancers can avoid being caught by immunotherapy by ‘switching off’ a molecule on the surface of cells that is otherwise recognised by treatment.

A team of researchers found that many mini bowel cancers grown in a lab were able to hide from immunotherapies by reducing levels of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) molecule which immunotherapies use to latch onto in order to attack tumours.

GSK buys Merck KGaA's cancer immunotherapy for $4.2 billion

British multinational GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay up to €3.7 billion ($4.2 billion) for the rights to Merck KGaA’s next generation cancer immunotherapy.

GSK will pay an initial sum of €300 million for the rights to the experimental drug known as M7824, or bintrafusp alfa. Merck will also be eligible to receive payments of up to €500 million dependent on developmental milestones in lung cancer.

Tumours with large number of mutations respond better to immunotherapies, study shows

Tumours with a large number of DNA mutations are more likely to respond to immunotherapies than cancers with fewer mutations, according to new research published in the journal Nature Genetics.

While previous studies have made the link, the recent study was the first to find improved survival rates in such a wide range of cancers and also in a population that had received a variety of previous treatments.

The data also showed that the number of mutations indicating the likelihood of a response to immunotherapy varied from one cancer to another.

Nobel Prize awarded to immuno-oncology innovators

Image Credit: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, UofT

The Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine has been awarded to both Professor James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo for the discoveries they have made in the area of immuno-oncology.

Honjo, a professor at Kyoto University, and Allison, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in the United States, were credited for the advancements they have made in using the immune system to combat cancer.

The researcher’s discoveries eventually led to the development of blockbuster immunotherapy cancer drug Opdivo.

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