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World Immunotherapy Congress 2017

Immune system influences immunotherapy effectiveness, research shows

Image Credit: Piotrus

Preliminary research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) has discovered a link between levels of certain immune cells in the body and the effectiveness of immunotherapy in patients.

The findings are based on results from the Checkmate 141 Phase 3 trial where Opdivo (nivolumab) proved itself to significant improve survival rates with fewer side effects in recurrent head and neck cancer patients. Despite the drug’s overall efficacy, it proved less effective in some patients than others.

Immunotherapy: The three major treatments that are changing cancer prognoses

Published on 13/03/17 at 11:56am

The promise of Immunotherapy as a game-changer for cancer treatment has been evident since its advent in the space. However, 2016 was the year where it really came to the fore. We examine the leading immunotherapies in the market and their development as we move further into 2017.

From the moment of the first indication for a first-line treatment, immunotherapy became the go-to treatment for a select group of patients, and the results it demonstrated were more than encouraging – even if they were only available to specific candidates for treatment.

Promising anti-cocaine treatment aims for human trials within a year

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have developed a monocloncal antibody designed to treat cocaine addiction; its successful showing thus far has raised hopes that it could be tested in humans within a year.

The March 2017 issue of Pharmafocus is now live!

The latest edition of Pharmafocus is available to read online now! From breakthroughs in antibiotic resistance R&D to gene editing in precision medicine, its a packed issue.

FDA clears Opdivo to treat most common form of bladder cancer

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo has acquired another indication – being given the go-ahead for treatment of patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma. The drug will be administered through intravenous injection for 60 minutes every two weeks.

The treatment will be offered to patients who have experienced disease progression during or following platinum-coated chemotherapy or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

New immunotherapy-based cancer research limits cancer spread by 75%

Research conducted by the Sanger Institute in Cambridge has discovered 23 new genes associated with cancer cell’s spread through the body, identifying one that reduced the spread of tumours by 75%. The study was conducted in mice that had been genetically engineered to be missing certain specified genes and were then injected with melanomas to examine the difference in cancer spread.

MSD looks to jump the gun with combination immunotherapy application

MSD, known as Merck in North America, has launched a bold move by filing Keytruda, and being accepted, for Priority Review as combination treatment alongside chemotherapy. The move has taken the industry by surprise, as MSD had not been expected to apply so quickly and, if approved, would have a head start on competitors also working on their own combination therapies.

Amgen and Immatics enter $1bn immuno-oncology partnership

Amgen has announced it is to join forces with cancer immunotherapy biotech Immatics Biotechnologies in a partnership potentially worth over $1 billion to develop and commercialise T-cell engaging bispecific cancer immunotherapies.

AstraZeneca’s head and neck cancer treatment clinical trials put on hold

AstraZeneca, the Cambridge-based British company, had recruitment for its final stage Phase III trials placed on partial hold. The drug in question is durvalumab, which is being tested for treatment of Head and Neck cancer. The FDA has put a partial clinical hold on the recruitment of new patients to their two clinical trials due to bleeding.

The news comes as a blow to AstraZeneca, causing investors to worry that the issues may be indicative of wider issues for the drug. AstraZeneca’s shares fell more than 4% on the release of the news.

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