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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.

Antibody therapy supresses HIV for months after treatment, study shows

Researchers from the New York City based Rockefeller University have developed a novel immunotherapy, which is capable of suppressing HIV for months at a time.

Data from clinical trials suggests that the therapy, which combines two separate anti-HIV antibodies, is safer and more effective than previously tested antibody therapies. The results were published in the journals Nature and Nature Medicine.

Roche's Tecentriq/chemo combo smashes both co-primary endpoints at Phase 3

Roche has lifted the curtain on new Phase 3 data for its anti-PD-L1 cancer immunotherapy Tecentriq (atezolizumab), showing that the drug met its co-primary endpoints when used in combination with carboplatin and Abraxane chemotherapy in the first-line treatment of metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NCSLC).

Lilly hires new leader of immuno-oncology

IMAGE: NYU Langone

Immuno-oncology has become a huge area of the oncology market, led by the wave of PD-1/L1 drugs that are reaping massive annual sales.

MSD’s Keytruda managed $3.8 billion in sales through 2017 while BMS’ Opdivo brought in $4.9 billion – it’s an area with huge revenue growth and one that, apparently, Eli Lilly has an increasing interest in breaking into.

With this in mind, the company has appointed Leena Gandhi has been appointed to oversee the Lilly Oncology immunotherapy portfolio.

AZ's MedImmune signs $200m immuno-oncology partnership with Compugen

AstraZeneca’s biologic R&D unit MedImmune is set to enter a partnership with Israeli drug firm Compugen to develop bi-specific and multi-specific immuno-oncology antibody products, it has emerged.

InSight Innovations to buy CureTech in $550m deal

Israeli drug firm CureTech is be sold for the third time in four years, this time to InSight Innovations in a deal with a potential worth of $550 million which includes the former’s in-development cancer immunotherapy drug.

NICE recommends Keytruda via CDF as first and only urothelial carcinoma immunotherapy

UK drugs watchdog NICE has published its finance guidance recommending the use of MSD’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) on the NHS through the Cancer Drugs Fund for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma in adults who have had platinum-containing chemotherapy. The decision makes the drug the first and only immunotherapy to be approved for use on the health service by the agency.

Adaxis-AZ immunotherapy combo hit by clinical hold after death

Adaxis and AstraZeneca announced that they had agreed a combination program for axalimogene filolisbac and Imfinzi, respectively, back in 2014 to explore the possibility of treating HPV-associated cervical cancer and HPV-associated head and neck cancer.

The news on that front had gone quiet until now, with Adaxis announcing that a patient death in trials had led to a clinical hold being imposed by the FDA.

The death was announced as being due to respiratory failure following a sixth dosing with the combination treatment in a Phase 1/2 trial.

Roche unveils strong combination treatment data in lung cancer

Roche has unveiled new Phase 3 efficacy data which showed strong findings for its immunotherapy Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in combination with Avastin and chemotherapy in the treatment of lung cancer.

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