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Live Conference Coverage AACR 2020 in Real Time: Monday June 22, 2020 Late Day Sessions

 

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

 

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#AACR20

@pharma_BI

@AACR

 

Register for FREE at https://www.aacr.org/

 

AACR VIRTUAL ANNUAL MEETING II

 

June 22-24: Free Registration for AACR Members, the Cancer Community, and the Public
This virtual meeting will feature more than 120 sessions and 4,000 e-posters, including sessions on cancer health disparities and the impact of COVID-19 on clinical trials

 

This Virtual Meeting is Part II of the AACR Annual Meeting.  Part I was held online in April and was centered only on clinical findings.  This Part II of the virtual meeting will contain all the Sessions and Abstracts pertaining to basic and translational cancer research as well as clinical trial findings.

 

REGISTER NOW

 

 

 

Virtual Educational Session

Prevention Research, Science Policy, Epidemiology, Survivorship

Carcinogens at Home: Science and Pathways to Prevention

Chemicals known to cause cancer are used and released to the environment in large volumes, exposing people where they live, work, play, and go to school. The science establishing an important role for such exposures in the development of cancers continues to strengthen, yet cancer prevention researchers are largely unfamiliar with the data drawn upon in identifying carcinogens and making decisions about their use. Characterizing and reducing harmful exposures and accelerating the devel

Julia Brody, Kathryn Z. Guyton, Polly J. Hoppin, Bill Walsh, Mary H. Ward

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Tumor Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology/Genetics, Clinical Research Excluding Trials

EMT Still Matters: Let’s Explore! – Dedicated to the Memory of Isaiah J. Fidler

During carcinoma progression, initially benign epithelial cells acquire the ability to invade locally and disseminate to distant tissues by activating epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT is a cellular process during which epithelial cells lose their epithelial features and acquire mesenchymal phenotypes and behavior. Growing evidence supports the notion that EMT programs during tumor progression are usually activated to various extents and often partial and reversible, thus pr

Jean-Paul Thiery, Heide L Ford, Jing Yang, Geert Berx

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Tumor Biology, Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics, Molecular and Cellular Biology/Genetics

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other: The Many Faces of Senescence in Cancer

Cellular senescence is a stable cell growth arrest that is broadly recognized to act as a barrier against tumorigenesis. Senescent cells acquire a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), a transcriptional response involving the secretion of inflammatory cytokines, immune modulators, and proteases that can shape the tumor microenvironment. The SASP can initially stimulate tumor immune surveillance and reinforce growth arrest. However, if senescent cells are not removed by the

Clemens A Schmitt, Andrea Alimonti, René Bernards

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Clinical Research Excluding Trials, Molecular and Cellular Biology/Genetics

Recent Advances in Applications of Cell-Free DNA

The focus of this educational session will be on recent developments in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) analysis that have the potential to impact the care of cancer patients. Tumors continually shed DNA into the circulation, where it can be detected as circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Analysis of ctDNA has become a routine part of care for a subset of patients with advanced malignancies. However, there are a number of exciting potential applications that have promising preliminary data but that h

Michael R Speicher, Maximilian Diehn, Aparna Parikh

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

Virtual Methods Workshop

Clinical Research Excluding Trials, Clinical Trials, Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics, Molecular and Cellular Biology/Genetics

Translating Genetics and Genomics to the Clinic and Population

This session will describe how advances in understanding cancer genomes and in genetic testing technologies are being translated to the clinic. The speakers will illustrate the clinical impact of genomic discoveries for diagnostics and treatment of common tumor types in adults and in children. Cutting-edge technologies for characterization of patient and tumor genomes will be described. New insights into the importance of patient factors for cancer risk and outcome, including predispos

Heather L. Hampel, Gordana Raca, Jaclyn Biegel, Jeffrey M Trent

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

1:30 PM – 3:22 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Regulatory Science and Policy, Drug Development, Epidemiology

Under-representation in Clinical Trials and the Implications for Drug Development

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration relies on data from clinical trials to determine whether medical products are safe and effective. Ideally, patients enrolled in those trials are representative of the population in which the product will be used if approved, including people of different ages, races, ethnic groups, and genders. Unfortunately, with few patients enrolling in clinical trials, many groups are not well-represented in clinical trials. This session will explore challenges

Ajay K. Nooka, Nicole J. Gormley, Kenneth C Anderson, Ruben A. Mesa, Daniel J. George, Yelak Biru, RADM Richardae Araojo, Lola A. Fashoyin-Aje

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Cancer Chemistry

Targeted Protein Degradation: Target Validation Tools and Therapeutic Opportunity

This educational session will cover the exciting emerging field of targeted protein degradation. Key learning topics will include: 1. an introduction to the technology and its relevance to oncology; 2. PROTACS, degraders, and CELMoDs; 3. enzymology and protein-protein interactions in targeted protein degraders; 4. examples of differentiated biology due to degradation vs. inhibition; 5. how to address questions of specificity; and 6. how the field is approaching challenges in optimizing therapies

George Burslem, Mary Matyskiela, Lyn H. Jones, Stewart L Fisher, Andrew J Phillips

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics, Drug Development, Molecular and Cellular Biology/Genetics

Obstacles and opportunities for protein degradation drug discovery

Lyn H. Jones
  • PROTACs ubiquitin mediated by E3 ligases;  first discovered by DeShaies and targeted to specific proteins
  • PROTACs used in drug discovery against a host of types of targets including kinases and membrane receptors
  • PROTACs can be modular but lack molecular structural activity relationships
  • can use chemical probes for target validation
  • four requirements: candidate exposure at site of action (for example lipophilicity for candidates needed to cross membranes and accumulate in lysosomes), target engagement (ternary occupancy as measured by FRET), functional pharmacology, relevant phenotype
  • PROTACs hijack the proteosomal degradation system

Proteolysis-targeting chimeras as therapeutics and tools for biological discovery

George Burslem
  • first PROTAC developed to coopt the VHL ubiquitin ligase system which degrades HIF1alpha but now modified for EREalpha
  • in screen for potential PROTACS there were compounds which bound high affinity but no degradation so phenotypic screening very important
  • when look at molecular dynamics can see where PROTAC can add additional protein protein interaction, verifed by site directed mutagenesis
  • able to target bcr-Abl
  • he says this is a rapidly expanding field because of all the new E3 ligase targets being discovered

Expanding the horizons of cereblon modulators

Mary Matyskiela

Translating cellular targeted protein degradation to in vivo models using an enzymology framework

Stewart L Fisher
  • new targeting compounds have an E3 ligase binding domain, a target binding domain and a linker domain
  • in vivo these compounds are very effective; BRD4 degraders good invitro and in vivo with little effect on body weight
  • degraders are essential activators of E3 ligases as these degraders bring targets in close proximity so activates a catalytic cycle of a multistep process (has now high turnover number)
  • in enzymatic pathway the degraders make a productive complex so instead of a kcat think of measuring a kprod or productivity of degraders linked up an E3 ligase
  • the degraders are also affecting the rebound protein synthesis; so Emax never to zero and see a small rebound of protein synthesis

 

Data-Driven Approaches for Choosing Combinatorial Therapies

Drug combinations remain the gold standard for treating cancer, as they significantly outperform single agents. However, due to the enormous size of drug combination space, it is virtually impossible to interrogate all possible combinations. This session will discuss approaches to identify novel combinations using both experimental and computational approaches. Speakers will discuss i) approaches to drug screening in cell lines, the impact of the microenvironment, and attempts to more

Bence Szalai, James E Korkola, Lisa Tucker-Kellogg, Jeffrey W Tyner

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:21 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Tumor Biology

Cancer Stem Cells and Therapeutic Resistance

Cancer stem cells are a subpopulation of cells with a high capacity for self-renewal, differentiation and resistance to therapy. In this session, we will define cancer stem cells, discuss cellular plasticity, interactions between cancer stem cells and the tumor microenvironment, and mechanisms that contribute to therapeutic resistance.

Robert S Kerbel, Dolores Hambardzumyan, Jennifer S. Yu

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Drug Development, Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics

Molecular Imaging in Cancer Research

This session will cover the fundamentals as well as the major advances made in the field of molecular imaging. Topics covered will include the basics for optical, nuclear, and ultrasound imaging; the pros and cons of each modality; and the recent translational advancements. Learning objectives include the fundamentals of each imaging modality, recent advances in the technology, the processes involved to translate an imaging agent from bench to bedside, and how molecular imaging can gui

Julie Sutcliffe, Summer L Gibbs, Mark D Pagel, Katherine W Ferrara

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Tumor Biology, Immunology, Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics, Drug Development

Tumor Endothelium: The Gatekeepers of Tumor Immune Surveillance

Tumor-associated endothelium is a gatekeeper that coordinates the entry and egress of innate and adaptive immune cells within the tumor microenvironment. This is achieved, in part, via the coordinated expression of chemokines and cell adhesion molecules on the endothelial cell surface that attract and retain circulating leukocytes. Crosstalk between adaptive immune cells and the tumor endothelium is therefore essential for tumor immune surveillance and the success of immune-based thera

Dai Fukumura, Maria M Steele, Wen Jiang, Andrew C Dudley

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Immunology, Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics

Novel Strategies in Cancer Immunotherapy: The Next Generation of Targets for Anticancer Immunotherapy

T-cell immunotherapy in the form of immune checkpoint blockade or cellular T-cell therapies has been tremendously successful in some types of cancer. This success has opened the door to consider what other modalities or types of immune cells can be harnessed for exert antitumor functions. In this session, experts in their respective fields will discuss topics including novel approaches in immunotherapy, including NK cells, macrophage, and viral oncotherapies.

Evanthia Galanis, Kerry S Campbell, Milan G Chheda, Jennifer L Guerriero

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Tumor Biology, Drug Development, Immunology, Clinical Research Excluding Trials

Benign Cells as Drivers of Cancer Progression: Fat and Beyond

Carcinomas develop metastases and resistance to therapy as a result of interaction with tumor microenvironment, composed of various nonmalignant cell types. Understanding the complexity and origins of tumor stromal cells is a prerequisite for development of effective treatments. The link between obesity and cancer progression has revealed the engagement of adipose stromal cells (ASC) and adipocytes from adjacent fat tissue. However, the molecular mechanisms through which they stimulate

Guojun Wu, Matteo Ligorio, Mikhail Kolonin, Maria T Diaz-Meco

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Clinical Research Excluding Trials, Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics, Tumor Biology

Dharma Master Jiantai Symposium on Lung Cancer: Know Thy Organ – Lessons Learned from Lung and Pancreatic Cancer Research

The term “cancer” encompasses hundreds of distinct disease entities involving almost every possible site in the human body. Effectively interrogating cancer, either in animals models or human specimens, requires a deep understanding of the involved organ. This includes both the normal cellular constituents of the affected tissue as well as unique aspects of tissue-specific tumorigenesis. It is critical to “Know Thy Organ” when studying cancer. This session will focus on two of the most

Trudy G Oliver, Hossein Borghaei, Laura Delong Wood, Howard C Crawford

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM EDT

Virtual Methods Workshop

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial Design: Part 1: Novel Approaches and Methods in Clinical Trial Design

Good clinical trial design has always had to balance the competing interests of effectively and convincingly answering the question with the limitations imposed by scarce resources, complex logistics, and risks and potential benefits to participants. New targeted therapies, immuno-oncology, and novel combination treatments add new challenges on top of the old ones. This session will introduce these concerns and 1) suggest ways to consider what outcomes are relevant, 2) how we can best

Mary W. Redman, Nolan A. Wages, Susan G Hilsenbeck, Karyn A. Goodman

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM EDT

Virtual Methods Workshop

Tumor Biology, Drug Development

High-Throughput Screens for Drivers of Progression and Resistance

The sequencing of human cancers now provides a landscape of the genetic alterations that occur in human cancer, and increasingly knowledge of somatic genetic alterations is becoming part of the evaluation of cancer patients. In some cases, this information leads directly to the selection of particular therapeutic approaches; however, we still lack the ability to decipher the significance of genetic alterations in many cancers. This session will focus on recent developments that permit the identification of molecular targets in specific cancers. This information, coupled with genomic characterization of cancer, will facilitate the development of new therapeutic agents and provide a path to implement precision cancer medicine to all patients.

William C Hahn, Mark A Dawson, Mariella Filbin, Michael Bassik

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:15 PM EDT

Defining a cancer dependency map

William C Hahn

Introduction

William C Hahn

Genome-scale CRISPR screens in 3D spheroids identify cancer vulnerabilities

Michael Bassik

Utilizing single-cell RNAseq and CRISPR screens to target cancer stem cells in pediatric brain tumors

Mariella Filbin
  • many gliomas are defined by discreet mutational spectra that also discriminates based on age and site as well (for example many cortical tumors have mainly V600E Braf mutations while thalamus will be FGFR1
  • they did single cell RNAseq on needle biopsy from 7 gliomas which gave about 3500 high quality single cells; obtained full length RNA
  • tumors clustered mainly where the patient it came from but had stromal cell contamination probably so did a deconvolution?  Copy number variation showed which were tumor cells and did principle component analysis
  • it seems they used a human glioma model as training set
  • identified a stem cell like glioma cell so concentrated on the genes altered in these for translational studies
  • developed multiple PDX models from patients
  • PDX transcriptome closest to patient transcriptome but organoid grown in serum free very close while organoids grown in serum very distinct transcriptome
  • developed a CRISPR barcoded library to determine genes for survival genes
  • pulled out BMI1  and EZH2 (polycomb complex proteins) as good targets

Virtual Methods Workshop

Prevention Research, Survivorship, Clinical Research Excluding Trials, Epidemiology

Implementation Science Methods for Cancer Prevention and Control in Diverse Populations: Integration of Implementation Science Methods in Care Settings

Through this Education Session we will use examples from ongoing research to provide an overview of implementation science approaches to cancer prevention and control research. We draw on examples to highlight study design approaches, research methods, and real-world solutions when applying implementation science to achieve health equity. Approaches to defining change in the care setting and measuring sustained changes are also emphasized. Using real examples of patient navigation prog

Graham A Colditz, Sanja Percac-Lima, Nathalie Huguet

DETAILS

Monday, June 22

3:45 PM – 5:30 PM EDT

Virtual Educational Session

Regulatory Science and Policy, Epidemiology

COVID-19 and Cancer: Guidance for Clinical Trial Conduct and Considerations for RWE

This session will consider the use of real-world evidence in the context of oncology clinical trials affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Key aspects of the FDA’s recent “Guidance on Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products of Medical Products during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” will be discussed, including telemedicine, accounting for missing data, obtaining laboratory tests and images locally, using remote informed consent procedures, and additional considerations for contin

Wendy Rubinstein, Paul G. Kluetz, Amy P. Abernethy, Jonathan Hirsch, C.K. Wang

 

 

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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 28, 2020 Symposium: New Drugs on the Horizon Part 3 12:30-1:25 PM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

New Drugs on the Horizon: Part 3
Introduction

Andrew J. Phillips, C4 Therapeutics

  • symposium brought by AACR CICR and had about 30 proposals for talks and chose three talks
  • unfortunately the networking event is not possible but hope to see you soon in good health

ABBV-184: A novel survivin specific T cell receptor/CD3 bispecific therapeutic that targets both solid tumor and hematological malignancies

Edward B Reilly
AbbVie Inc. @abbvie

  • T-cell receptors (TCR) can recognize the intracellular targets whereas antibodies only recognize the 25% of potential extracellular targets
  • survivin is expressed in multiple cancers and correlates with poor survival and prognosis
  • CD3 bispecific TCR to survivn (Ab to CD3 on T- cells and TCR to survivin on cancer cells presented in MHC Class A3)
  • ABBV184  effective in vivo in lung cancer models as single agent;
  • in humanized mouse tumor models CD3/survivin bispecific can recruit T cells into solid tumors; multiple immune cells CD4 and CD8 positive T cells were found to infiltrate into tumor
  • therapeutic window as measured by cytokine release assays in tumor vs. normal cells very wide (>25 fold)
  • ABBV184 does not bind platelets and has good in vivo safety profile
  • First- in human dose determination trial: used in vitro cancer cell assays to determine 1st human dose
  • looking at AML and lung cancer indications
  • phase 1 trial is underway for safety and efficacy and determine phase 2 dose
  • survivin has very few mutations so they are not worried about a changing epitope of their target TCR peptide of choice

The discovery of TNO155: A first in class SHP2 inhibitor

Matthew J. LaMarche
Novartis @Novartis

  • SHP2 is an intracellular phosphatase that is upstream of MEK ERK pathway; has an SH2 domain and PTP domain
  • knockdown of SHP2 inhibits tumor growth and colony formation in soft agar
  • 55 TKIs there are very little phosphatase inhibitors; difficult to target the active catalytic site; inhibitors can be oxidized at the active site; so they tried to target the two domains and developed an allosteric inhibitor at binding site where three domains come together and stabilize it
  • they produced a number of chemical scaffolds that would bind and stabilize this allosteric site
  • block the redox reaction by blocking the cysteine in the binding site
  • lead compound had phototoxicity; used SAR analysis to improve affinity and reduce phototox effects
  • was very difficult to balance efficacy, binding properties, and tox by adjusting stuctures
  • TNO155 is their lead into trials
  • SHP2 expressed in T cells and they find good combo with I/O with uptick of CD8 cells
  • TNO155 is very selective no SHP1 inhibition; SHP2 can autoinhibit itself when three domains come together and stabilize; no cross reactivity with other phosphatases
  • they screened 1.5 million compounds and got low hit rate so that is why they needed to chemically engineer and improve on the classes they found as near hits

Closing Remarks

 

Xiaojing Wang
Genentech, Inc. @genentech

Follow on Twitter at:

@pharma_BI

@AACR

@CureCancerNow

@pharmanews

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@HopkinsMedicine

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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 28, 2020 Session on COVID-19 and Cancer 9:00 AM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

 

COVID-19 and Cancer

Introduction

Antoni Ribas
UCLA Medical Center

  • Almost 60,000 viewed the AACR 2020 Virtual meeting for the April 27 session
  • The following speakers were the first cancer researchers treating patients at the epicenters of the pandemic even though nothing was known about the virus

 

The experience of treating patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic in China
Li Zhang, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

  • reporting a retrospective study from three hospitals from Wuhan
  • 2.2% of Wuhan cancer patients were COVID positive; most were lung cancers and most male; 35% were stage four
  • most have hospital transmission of secondary infection; had severe events when admitted
  • 74% were prescribed antivirals like ganciclovir and others; iv IgG was given to some
  • mortailtiy rate of 26%; by April 4 54% were cured and discharged; median time of infection to severe event was 7 days; clinical presentation SARS sepsis, and shock
  • by day 10 in lung cancer patients, see lung path but after supportive therapy improved
  • cancer patients at stage four who did not receive therapy were at higher risk
  • cancer patients who had received chemo in last 14 days had higher risk of infection
  • they followed up with cancer patients on I/O inhibitors;  it seemed there was only one patient that contracted COVID19 so there may not be as much risk with immune checkpoint inhibitors

 

TERAVOLT (Thoracic cancERs international coVid 19 cOLlaboraTion): First results of a global collaboration to address the impact of COVID-19 in patients with thoracic malignancies

Marina Chiara Garassino

@marinagarassino
Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori

Dr Marina Chiara Garassino is the Chief of the Thoracic Oncology Unit at Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy. She leads the strategy for clinical and translational research in advanced and locally advanced NSCLC, SCLC, mesothelioma and thymic malignancies. Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan is the most important comprehensive cancer in Italy and one of the most important in Europe. As a medical oncologist, she has done research in precision medicine and in immuno-oncology. Her main research interests have been mainly development of new drugs and therapeutical strategies and biomarkers. She has contributed to over 150 peer-reviewed publications, including publications as first or last author in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Annals of Oncology. She has delivered many presentations at international congresses,  including  AACR, ASCO, ECCO, ESMO, WCLC. Her education includes a degree and further specialization in Medical Oncology at Università degli Studi in Milan. She achieved a Master Degree in Oncology management at University of Economics “Luigi Bocconi”. She completed her training with an ESMO Clinical fellowship in 2009 at Christie’s Hospital in Manchester (UK). She was a member of the EMA SAG (Scientific Advisory Group). She is serving as ESMO Council member as the Chair of the National Societies Committee. She was the ESMO National Representative for Italy for 5 years (2011-2017). She is serving on several ESMO Committees (Public Policy extended Committee, Press Committee, Women for Oncology Committee, Lung Cancer faculty, Membership Committee).She used to be an active member of the Young Oncologist Committee. She’s serving on both ESMO, WCLC and ASCO annual congress Lung Cancer Track (2019, and 2020), Chair of ESMO National Societies, from 2019. She is the founder and president of Women for Oncology Italy.

  • 2 million confirmed cases but half of patients are asymptomatic and not tested; pooled prevalance of COVID in cancer patients in Italy was 2%; must take them as high risk patients
  • they were not prepared for pandemic lasting for months instead of days; March 15 in middle of outbreak they started TERAVOLT registry; by March 26 had IRB approval; they are accruing 17 new patients per week; Ontario also joined in and has become worldwide (21 countries involved);  in registry they also included radiologic exams and COVID testing result
  • most patients were males and many smokers; 75% had SCLC; 83% of cases had one comorbility like hypertension and one third had at least one comorbility; 73.9% of patients were on treatment (they see this in their clinic: 30% on chemo or TKI alone; other patients were just on folowup
  • most of symptoms overlap with symptoms of lung cancer like pneumonia and pneumonitits and multi organ failure; most were hospitalized
  • unexpected high mortality among lung cancer patients with COVID19; this mortality seems due to COVID and not to cancer;
  • study had some limitations like short followup and some surgical cases so some bias may be present
  • she stresses don’t go it alone and make your own registry JOIN A REGISTRY

 

Outcome of cancer patients infected with COVID-19, including toxicity of cancer treatments
Fabrice Barlesi @barlesi
Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus

Professor Fabrice Barlesi
 As a specialist in lung cancer, precision medicine and cancer immunology, Prof. Fabrice Barlesi is a major contributor to research in the field of novel oncological therapies. He was apppointed General Director of Gustave Roussy in January 2020.
Fabrice Barlesi is Professor of Medicine at the University of Aix-Marseille. He has been head of the Multidisciplinary Oncology and Innovative Therapies Department of the Nord Hospital in Marseille (Marseille Public Hospitals) and the Marseille Centre for Early Trials in Oncology (CLIP2) which were established by him. He holds a doctorate in Sciences and Management with methods of analysis of health care systems, together with an ESSEC (international business school) master’s degree in general hospital management.
Professor Barlesi was also a co-founder of the Marseille Immunopôle French Immunology network, which aims to coordinate immunological expertise in the Aix-Marseille metropolitan area. In this context, he has organised PIONeeR (Investment in the future RHU 2017), the major international Hospital-University research project whose objective is to improve understanding of resistance to immunotherapy – anti-PD1(L1) – in lung cancer and help to prevent and overcome it. He was also vice-chair of the PACA (Provence, Alps and Côte d’Azur) Region Cancer Research Directorate.
Professor Barlesi is the author and co-author of some 300 articles in international journals and specialist publications. In 2018, the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) awarded him the prestigious Heine H. Hansen prize. He appears in the 2019 world list of most influential researchers (Highly cited researchers, Web of Science Group).
  • March 14 started protective measures and at peak had increased commited beds at highest rate
  • 12% of cancer patients tested positive for COVID; (by RTPCR); they curated data across different chemo regimens used
  • they retrospectively collected data; primary endpoint was clinical worsening; median of disease 13 days;
  • they actually had more breast cancer patients and other solid malignancies; 23% of covid cases no symptoms; 83% finally did have the symptoms after followup; diarhea actually in 10% of cases so clinics are seeing this as a symptom
  • CT scan showed 66% cases had pneumonitits like display; 25% patients were managed as outpatient
  • 24% patients worsened during treatment but 75% were able to go home (treated at home or well)
  • I/O did not have negative outcome and you can use these drugs without increasing risk to COVID
  • although many clinical trials have been hindered they are actively recruiting for COVID-cancer studies
  • outcomes with respect to death and symptoms are comparable to worldwide stats

Adapting oncologic practice to COVID19 outbreak: From outpatient triage to risk assessment for specific treatment in Madrid, Spain
Carlos Gomez-Martin
Octubre University Hospital

  • MOST slides were DO NOT POST so as requested data will not be shown; this study will be published soon
  • Summary is that Spain is seeing statistics like other European countries and similar results
  • Tocilizumab, the IL6 antagonists had been suggested as a treatment for cytokine storm and they are involved in a trial with this agent; results will be published

Experience in using oncology drugs in patients with COVID-19

Paolo A. Ascierto
Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione Pascale

  • giving surgery only for patients at highest risk of cancer mortality so using neoadjuvant therapy more often
  • telemedicine is a viable strategy for patient consult
  • for metastatic melanoma they are given highest priority for treatment
  • they are conducting a tocilizumab clinical trial and have accrued over 300 patients
  • results are in press so please look for publication soon
  • also can use TNF inhibitor, JAK inhibitor, IL1 inhibitor to treat cytokine storm

COVID-19 and cancer: Flattening the curve but widening disparities
Louis P. Voigt
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

  • Sloan has performed about 5000 COVID tests;  78 patients needed hospitilization; 15 died; 40% still in ICU
  • they do see many African American patients
  • mortality rates in US (published) have been around 50-60 % for cancer patients with COVID; Sloan prelim results are lower but still accruing data

Patients with cancer appear more vulnerable to SARS-COV-2: A multi-center study during the COVID-19 outbreak
Hongbing Cai
Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University

  • metastatic cancer showed much higher risk than non cancer but non metastatic showed increased risk too
  • main criteria of outcome was ICU admission
  • patients need to be isolated and personalized treatment plans need to be made
  • many comparisons were between non cancer and cancer which was clearest significance; had not looked at cancer types or stage grade or treatment
  • it appears that there are more questions right now than answers so data collection is a priority

Follow on Twitter at:

@pharma_BI

@AACR

@CureCancerNow

@pharmanews

@BiotechWorld

@HopkinsMedicine

#AACR20

For other Articles on the Online Open Access Journal on COVID19 and Cancer please see

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/coronavirus-portal/

Opinion Articles from the Lancet: COVID-19 and Cancer Care in China and Africa

Actemra, immunosuppressive which was designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis but also approved in 2017 to treat cytokine storms in cancer patients SAVED the sickest of all COVID-19 patients

The Second in a Series of Virtual Town Halls with Leading Oncologist on Cancer Patient Care during COVID-19 Pandemic: What you need to know

Responses to the COVID-19 outbreak from Oncologists, Cancer Societies and the NCI: Important information for cancer patients

 

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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 27, 2020 Opening Remarks and Clinical Session 11:45am-1:15pm Advances in Cancer Drug Discovery

SESSION VMS.CH01.01 – Advances in Cancer Drug Design and Discovery

April 27, 2020, 11:45 AM – 1:15 PM
Virtual Meeting: All Session Times Are U.S. EDT
DESCRIPTIONAll session times are U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Session Type
Virtual Minisymposium
Track(s)
Cancer Chemistry
14 Presentations
11:45 AM – 11:45 AM
– ChairpersonZoran Rankovic. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

11:45 AM – 11:45 AM
– ChairpersonChristopher G. Nasveschuk. C4 Therapeutics, Watertown, MA

11:45 AM – 11:50 AM
– IntroductionZoran Rankovic. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

11:50 AM – 12:00 PM
1036 – Discovery of a highly potent, efficacious and orally active small-molecule inhibitor of embryonic ectoderm development (EED)Changwei Wang, Rohan Kalyan Rej, Jianfeng Lu, Mi Wang, Kaitlin P. Harvey, Chao-Yie Yang, Ester Fernandez-Salas, Jeanne Stuckey, Elyse Petrunak, Caroline Foster, Yunlong Zhou, Rubin Zhou, Guozhi Tang, Jianyong Chen, Shaomeng Wang. Rogel Cancer Center and Departments of Internal Medicine, Pharmacology, and Medicinal Chemistry, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Ascentage Pharma Group, Taizhou, Jiangsu, China

12:00 PM – 12:05 PM
– Discussion

12:05 PM – 12:15 PM
1037 – Orally available small molecule CD73 inhibitor reverses immunosuppression through blocking of adenosine productionXiaohui Du, Brian Blank, Brenda Chan, Xi Chen, Yuping Chen, Frank Duong, Lori Friedman, Tom Huang, Melissa R. Junttila, Wayne Kong, Todd Metzger, Jared Moore, Daqing Sun, Jessica Sun, Dena Sutimantanapi, Natalie Yuen, Tatiana Zavorotinskaya. ORIC Pharmaceuticals, South San Francisco, CA, ORIC Pharmaceuticals, South San Francisco, CA, ORIC Pharmaceuticals, South San Francisco, CA, ORIC Pharmaceuticals, South San Francisco, CA

12:15 PM – 12:20 PM
– Discussion

12:20 PM – 12:30 PM
1038 – A potent and selective PARP14 inhibitor decreases pro-tumor macrophage function and elicits inflammatory responses in tumor explantsLaurie Schenkel, Jennifer Molina, Kerren Swinger, Ryan Abo, Danielle Blackwell, Anne Cheung, William Church, Kristy Kuplast-Barr, Alvin Lu, Elena Minissale, Mario Niepel, Melissa Vasbinder, Tim Wigle, Victoria Richon, Heike Keilhack, Kevin Kuntz. Ribon Therapeutics, Cambridge, MA

12:30 PM – 12:35 PM
– Discussion

12:35 PM – 12:45 PM
1039 – Fragment-based drug discovery to identify small molecule allosteric inhibitors of SHP2. Philip J. Day, Valerio Berdini, Juan Castro, Gianni Chessari, Thomas G. Davies, James E. H. Day, Satoshi Fukaya, Chris Hamlett, Keisha Hearn, Steve Hiscock, Rhian Holvey, Satoru Ito, Yasuo Kodama, Kenichi Matsuo, Yoko Nakatsuru, Nick Palmer, Amanda Price, Tadashi Shimamura, Jeffrey D. St. Denis, Nicola G. Wallis, Glyn Williams, Christopher N. Johnson. Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cambridge, United Kingdom, Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, Tsukuba, Japan

Abstract: The ubiquitously expressed protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 is required for signalling downstream of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and plays a role in regulating many cellular processes. Recent advances have shown that genetic knockdown and pharmacological inhibition of SHP2 suppresses RAS/MAPK signalling and inhibits proliferation of RTK-driven cancer cell lines. SHP2 is now understood to act upstream of RAS and plays a role in KRAS-driven cancers, an area of research which is rapidly growing. Considering that RTK deregulation often leads to a wide range of cancers and the newly appreciated role of SHP2 in KRAS-driven cancers, SHP2 inhibitors are therefore a promising therapeutic approach.
SHP2 contains two N-terminal tandem SH2 domains (N-SH2, C-SH2), a catalytic phosphatase domain and a C-terminal tail. SHP2 switches between “open” active and “closed” inactive forms due to autoinhibitory interactions between the N-SH2 domain and the phosphatase domain. Historically, phosphatases were deemed undruggable as there had been no advancements with active site inhibitors. We hypothesised that fragment screening would be highly applicable and amenable to this target to enable alternative means of inhibition through identification of allosteric binding sites. Here we describe the first reported fragment screen against SHP2.
Using our fragment-based PyramidTM approach, screening was carried out on two constructs of SHP2; a closed autoinhibited C-terminal truncated form (phosphatase and both SH2 domains), as well as the phosphatase-only domain. A combination of screening methods such as X-ray crystallography and NMR were employed to identify fragment hits at multiple sites on SHP2, including the tunnel-like allosteric site reported by Chen et al, 2016. Initial fragment hits had affinities for SHP2 in the range of 1mM as measured by ITC. Binding of these hits was improved using structure-guided design to generate compounds which inhibit SHP2 phosphatase activity and are promising starting points for further optimization.

  • anti estrogen receptor therapy: ER degraders is one class
  • AZ9833 enhances degradation of ER alpha
  • worked in preclinical mouse model (however very specific)
  • PK parameters were good for orally available in rodents;  also in vitro and in vivo correlation correlated in rats but not in dogs so they were not sure if good to go in humans
  • they were below Km in rats but already at saturated in dogs, dogs were high clearance
  • predicted human bioavailability at 40%

 

12:45 PM – 12:50 PM
– Discussion

12:50 PM – 1:00 PM
1042 – Preclinical pharmacokinetic and metabolic characterization of the next generation oral SERD AZD9833Eric T. Gangl, Roshini Markandu, Pradeep Sharma, Andy Sykes, Petar Pop-Damkov, Pablo Morentin Gutierrez, James S. Scott, Dermot F. McGinnity, Adrian J. Fretland, Teresa Klinowska. AstraZeneca, Waltham, MA

1:00 PM – 1:05 PM
– Discussion

1:05 PM – 1:15 PM
– Closing RemarksChristopher G. Nasveschuk. MA

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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 27, 2020 Opening Remarks and Clinical Session 9 am

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD.

9:00 AM Opening Session

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM
– Opening Video

9:05 AM – 9:15 AM
– AACR President: Opening Remarks Elaine R. Mardis. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH

 

Dr. Mardis is the Robert E. and Louise F. Dunn Distinguished Professor of Medicine @GenomeInstitute at Washington University of St. Louis School of Medicine.

Opening remarks:  Dr. Mardis gave her welcome from her office.  She expressed many thanks to healthcare workers and the hard work of scientists and researchers.  She also expressed some regret for the many scientists who had wonderful research to present and how hard it was to make the decision to go virtual however she feels there now more than ever still needs a venue to discuss scientific and clinical findings.  Some of the initiatives that she has had the opportunity to engage in the areas of groundbreaking discoveries and clinical trials.  606,000 lives will be lost in US this year from cancer.  AACR is being vigilant as also an advocacy platform and public policy platform in Congress and Washington.  The AACR has been at the front of public policy on electronic cigarettes.  Blood Cancer Discovery is their newest journal.  They are going to host joint conferences with engineers, mathematicians and physicists to discuss how they can help to transform oncology.  Cancer Health Disparity Annual Conference is one of the fastest growing conferences.  They will release a report later this year about the scope of the problem and policy steps needed to alleviate these disparities.  Lack of racial and ethnic minorities in cancer research had been identified an issue and the AACR is actively working to reduce the disparities within the ranks of cancer researchers.   Special thanks to Dr. Margaret Foti for making the AACR the amazing organization it is.

 

9:15 AM – 9:30 AM- AACR Annual Meeting Program Chair: Review of Program for AACR Virtual Annual Meeting Antoni Ribas. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Antoni Ribas, MD PhD is Professor, Medicine, Surgery, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology; Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center at UCLA; Director, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Tumor Immunology Program aribas@mednet.ucla.edu

The AACR felt it was important to keep the discourse in the cancer research field as the Annual AACR meeting is the major way scientists and clinicians discuss the latest and most pertinent results.  A three day virtual meeting June 22-24 will focus more on the translational and basic research while this meeting is more focused on clinical trials.  There will be educational programs during the June virtual meeting.  The COVID in Cancer part of this virtual meeting was put in specially for this meeting and there will be a special meeting on this in July.  They have created an AACR COVID task force.  The AACR has just asked Congress and NIH to extend the grants due to the COVID induced shutdown of many labs.

9:30  Open Clinical Plenary Session (there are 17 sessions today but will only cover a few of these)

9:30 AM – 9:31 AM
– Chairperson Nilofer S. Azad. Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comp. Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD @noza512

9:30 AM – 9:31 AM
– Chairperson Manuel Hidalgo. Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

9:30 AM – 9:35 AM
– Introduction Nilofer S. Azad. Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comp. Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD

9:35 AM – 9:45 AM
CT011 – Evaluation of durvalumab in combination with olaparib and paclitaxel in high-risk HER2 negative stage II/III breast cancer: Results from the I-SPY 2 TRIAL Lajos Pusztai, et al

see https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/9045/presentation/10593

AbstractBackground: I-SPY2 is a multicenter, phase 2 trial using response-adaptive randomization within molecular subtypes defined by receptor status and MammaPrint risk to evaluate novel agents as neoadjuvant therapy for breast cancer. The primary endpoint is pathologic complete response (pCR, ypT0/is ypN0)). DNA repair deficiency in cancer cells can lead to immunogenic neoantigens, activation of the STING pathway, and PARP inhibition can also upregulate PD-L1 expression. Based on these rationales we tested the combination of durvalumab (anti-PDL1), olaparib (PARP inhibitor) and paclitaxel in I-SPY2.
Methods: Women with tumors ≥ 2.5 cm were eligible for screening. Only HER2 negative (HER2-) patients were eligible for this treatment, hormone receptor positive (HR+) patients had to have MammaPrint high molecular profile. Treatment included durvalumab 1500 mg every 4 weeks x 3, olaparib 100 mg twice daily through weeks 1-11 concurrent with paclitaxel 80 mg/m2 weekly x 12 (DOP) followed by doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide (AC) x 4. The control arm was weekly paclitaxel x 12 followed by AC x 4. All patients undergo serial MRI imaging and imaging response at 3 & 12 weeks combined with accumulating pCR data are used to estimate, and continuously update, predicted pCR rate for the trial arm. Regimens “graduation with success” when the Bayesian predictive probability of success in a 300-patient phase 3 neoadjuvant trial in the appropriate biomarker groups reaches > 85%.
Results: A total of 73 patients received DOP treatment including 21 HR- tumors (i.e. triple-negative breast cancer, TNBC) and 52 HR+ tumors between May 2018 – June 2019. The control group included 299 patients with HER2- tumors. The DOP arm graduated in June 2019, 13 months after enrollment had started, for all HER2- negative and the HR+/HER2- cohorts with > 0.85% predictive probabilities of success. 72 patient completed surgery and evaluable for pCR, the final predicted probabilities of success in a future phase III trial to demonstrate higher pCR rate with DOP compared to control are 81% for all HER2- cancers (estimated pCR rate 37%), 80% for TNBC (estimated pCR rate 47%) and 74.5% for HR+/HER2- patients (estimated pCR rate 28%). Association between pCR and germline BRCA status and immune gene expression including PDL1 will be presented at the meeting. No unexpected toxicities were seen, but 10 patients (14%) had possibly immune or olaparib related grade 2/3 AEs (3 pneumonitis, 2 adrenal insufficiency, 1 colitis, 1 pancreatitis, 2 elevated LFT, 1 skin toxicity, 2 hypothyroidism, 1 hyperthyroidism, 1 esophagitis).
Conclusion: I-SPY2 demonstrated a significant improvement in pCR with durvalumab and olaparib included with paclitaxel compared to chemotherapy alone in women with stage II/III high-risk, HER2-negative breast cancer, improvement was seen in both the HR+ and TNBC subsets.

  • This combination of durvalumab and olaparib is safe in triple negative breast cancer
  • expected synergy between PARP inhibitors and PDL1 inhibitors as olaparib inhibits DNA repair and would increase the mutational burden, which is in lung cancer shown to be a biomarker for efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors such as Opdivio
  • three subsets of breast cancers were studied: her2 negative, triple negative and ER+ tumors
  • MRI imaging tumor size was used as response
  • olaparib arm had elevation of liver enzymes and there was a pancreatitis
  • however paclitaxel was used within the combination as well as a chemo arm but the immuno arm alone may not be better than chemo alone but experimental arm with all combo definitely better than chemo alone
  • they did not look at BRCA1/2 status, followup talk showed that this is a select group that may see enhanced benefit; PARP inhibitors were seen to be effective only in BRCA1/2 mutant ovarian cancer previously

 

10:10 AM – 10:20 AM
CT012 – Evaluation of atezolizumab (A), cobimetinib (C), and vemurafenib (V) in previously untreated patients with BRAFV600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma: Primary results from the phase 3 IMspire150 trial Grant A. McArthur,

for abstract please see https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/9045/presentation/10594

AbstractBackground: Approved systemic treatments for advanced melanoma include immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy (CIT) and targeted therapy with BRAF plus MEK inhibitors for BRAFV600E/K mutant melanoma. Response rates with CITs are typically lower than those observed with targeted therapy, but CIT responses are more durable. Preclinical and clinical data suggest a potential for synergy between CIT and BRAF plus MEK inhibitors. We therefore evaluated whether combining CIT with targeted therapy could improve efficacy vs targeted therapy alone. Methods: Treatment-naive patients with unresectable stage IIIc/IV melanoma (AJCC 7th ed), measurable disease by RECIST 1.1, and BRAFV600 mutations in their tumors were randomized to the anti­-programmed death-ligand 1 antibody A + C + V or placebo (Pbo) + C + V. A or Pbo were given on days 1 and 15 of each 28-day cycle. Treatment was continued until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary outcome was investigator-assessed progression-free survival (PFS). Results: 514 patients were enrolled (A + C + V = 256; Pbo + C + V = 258) and followed for a median of 18.9 months. Investigator-assessed PFS was significantly prolonged with A + C + V vs Pbo + C + V (15.1 vs 10.6 months, respectively; hazard ratio: 0.78; 95% confidence interval: 0.63-0.97; P=0.025), an effect seen in all prognostic subgroups. While objective response rates were similar in the A + C + V and Pbo + C + V groups, median duration of response was prolonged with A + C + V (21.0 months) vs Pbo + C + V (12.6 months). Overall survival data were not mature at the time of analysis. Common treatment-related adverse events (AEs; >30%) in the A + C + V and Pbo + C + V groups were blood creatinine phosphokinase (CPK) increase (51.3% vs 44.8%), diarrhea (42.2% vs 46.6%), rash (40.9% in both arms), arthralgia (39.1% vs 28.1%), pyrexia (38.7% vs 26.0%), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) increase (33.9% vs 22.8%), and lipase increase (32.2% vs 27.4%). Common treatment-related grade 3/4 AEs (>10%) that occurred in the A + C + V and Pbo + C + V groups were lipase increase (20.4% vs 20.6%), blood CPK increase (20.0% vs 14.9%), ALT increase (13.0% vs 8.9%), and maculopapular rash (12.6% vs 9.6%). The incidence of treatment-related serious AEs was similar between the A + C + V (33.5%) and Pbo + C + V (28.8%) groups. 12.6% of patients in the A + C + V group and 15.7% in the Pbo + C + V group stopped all treatment because of AEs. The safety profile of the A + C + V regimen was generally consistent with the known profiles of the individual components. Conclusion: Combination therapy with A + C + V was tolerable and manageable, produced durable responses, and significantly increased PFS vs Pbo + C + V. Thus, A + C + V represents a viable treatment option for BRAFV600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma. ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT02908672

 

 

10:25 AM – 10:35 AM
CT013 – SWOG S1320: Improved progression-free survival with continuous compared to intermittent dosing with dabrafenib and trametinib in patients with BRAF mutated melanoma Alain Algazi,

for abstract and more author information please see https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/9045/presentation/10595

AbstractBackground: BRAF and MEK inhibitors yield objective responses in the majority of BRAFV600E/K mutant melanoma patients, but acquired resistance limits response durations. Preclinical data suggests that intermittent dosing of these agents may delay acquired resistance by deselecting tumor cells that grow optimally in the presence of these agents. S1320 is a randomized phase 2 clinical trial designed to determine whether intermittent versus continuous dosing of dabrafenib and trametinib improves progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with advanced BRAFV600E/K melanoma.
Methods: All patients received continuous dabrafenib and trametinib for 8-weeks after which non-progressing patients were randomized to receive either continuous treatment or intermittent dosing of both drugs on a 3-week-off, 5-week-on schedule. Unscheduled treatment interruptions of both drugs for > 14 days were not permitted. Responses were assessed using RECIST v1.1 at 8-week intervals scheduled to coincide with on-treatment periods for patients on the intermittent dosing arm. Adverse events were assessed using CTCAE v4 monthly. The design assumed exponential PFS with a median of 9.4 months using continuous dosing, 206 eligible patients and 156 PFS events. It had 90% power with a two-sided α = 0.2 to detect a change to a median with an a priori hypothesis that intermittent dosing would improve the median PFS to 14.1 months using a Cox model stratified by the randomization stratification factors.
Results: 242 patients were treated and 206 patients without disease progression after 8 weeks were randomized, 105 to continuous and 101 to intermittent treatment. 70% of patients had not previously received immune checkpoint inhibitors. There were no significant differences between groups in terms of baseline patient characteristics. The median PFS was statistically significantly longer, 9.0 months from randomization, with continuous dosing vs. 5.5 months from randomization with intermittent dosing (p = 0.064). There was no difference in overall survival between groups (median OS = 29.2 months in both arms p = 0.93) at a median follow up of 2 years. 77% of patient treated continuously discontinued treatment due to disease progression vs. 84% treated intermittently (p = 0.34).
Conclusions: Continuous dosing with the BRAF and MEK inhibitors dabrafenib and trametinib yields superior PFS compared with intermittent dosing.

  • combo of MEK and BRAF inhibitors can attract immune cells like TREGs so PDL1 inhibitor might help improve outcome
  • PFS was outcome endpoint
  • LDH was elevated in three patients (why are they seeing liver tox?  curious like previous study); are seeing these tox with the PDL1 inhibitors
  • there was marked survival over placebo group and PFS was statistically  with continuous dosing however intermittent dosing shows no improvement

Dr. Wafik el Diery gave a nice insight as follows

Follow on Twitter at:

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Live Conference Coverage of AACR 2020 Annual Virtual Meeting; April 27-28, 2020

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will hold its Annual Meeting as a Virtual Online Format.  Registration is free and open to all, including non members.  Please go to

https://www.aacr.org/meeting/aacr-annual-meeting-2020/aacr-virtual-annual-meeting-i/?utm_source=Salesforce%20Marketing%20Cloud&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=&sfmc_s=0031I00000WsBJxQAN

to register for this two day meeting.  Another two day session will be held in June 2020 and will focus more on basic cancer research.

Please follow @pharma_BI who will be live Tweeting Real Time Notes from this meeting using the hashtag

#AACR20

And @StephenJWillia2

The following is a brief summary of the schedule.  Please register and go to AACR for detailed information on individual sessions.

 

AACR VIRTUAL ANNUAL MEETING I: SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE

AACR Virtual Annual Meeting I is available free Register Now

VIRTUAL MEETING I: BROWSER REQUIREMENTS AND ACCESSVIRTUAL MEETING I: FAQVIRTUAL MEETING I: MEETING PLANNER (ABSTRACT TITLES)

Presentation titles are available through the online meeting planner. The program also includes six virtual poster sessions consisting of brief slide videos. Poster sessions will not be presented live but will be available for viewing on demand. Poster session topics are as follows:

  • Phase I Clinical Trials
  • Phase II Clinical Trials
  • Phase III Clinical Trials
  • Phase I Trials in Progress
  • Phase II Trials in Progress
  • Phase III Trials in Progress

Schedule updated April 24, 2020

MONDAY, APRIL 27

Channel 1 Channel 2 Channel 3
9:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
Opening Session
_______________________
9:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m.
Opening Clinical Plenary
_______________________
11:40 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Clinical Plenary: Immunotherapy Clinical Trials 1
_______________________
___ 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Minisymposium: Emerging Signaling Vulnerabilities in Cancer
_______________________
___ 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Minisymposium: Advances in Cancer Drug Design and Discovery
__________________________
2:00 p.m.-4:50 p.m.
Clinical Plenary: Lung Cancer Targeted Therapy
_______________________
___ 1:55 p.m.-4:15 p.m.
Clinical Plenary: Breast Cancer Therapy
_______________________
___ 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Minisymposium: Drugging Undrugged Cancer Targets
__________________________
4:50 p.m.-6:05 p.m.
Symposium: New Drugs on the Horizon 1_______________________
___ 4:50 p.m.-5:50 p.m.
Minisymposium: Therapeutic Modification of the Tumor Microenvironment or Microbiome
_______________________
___ 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Minisymposium: Advancing Cancer Research Through An International Cancer Registry: AACR Project GENIE Use Cases__________________________

All session times are EDT.

TUESDAY, APRIL 28

Channel 1 Channel 2 Channel 3
9:00 a.m.-101:00 a.m.
Clinical Plenary: COVID-19 and Cancer
__________________________
11:00 a.m.-1:35 p.m.
Clinical Plenary: Adoptive Cell Transfer Therapy__________________________
___ 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Symposium: New Drugs on the Horizon 2_________________________
___ 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Minisymposium: Translational Prevention Studies
______________________
___ 12:30 p.m.-1:25 p.m.
Symposium: New Drugs on the Horizon 3
_________________________
___ 12:30 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
Minisymposium: Non-coding RNAs in Cancer
______________________
1:35 p.m.-3:35 p.m.
Clinical Plenary: Early Detection and ctDNA__________________________
___ 1:30 p.m.-3:50 p.m.
Clinical Plenary: Immunotherapy Clinical
Trials 2
_________________________
___ 2:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
Minisymposium: Novel Targets and Therapies______________________
3:35 p.m.-5:50 p.m.
Minisymposium: Predictive Biomarkers for Immunotherapeutics__________________________
___ 3:50 p.m.-5:35 p.m.
Minisymposium: Evaluating Cancer Genomics from Normal Tissues through Evolution to Metastatic Disease
_________________________
___ 4:00 p.m.-4:55 p.m.
Clinical Plenary: Targeted Therapy______________________
5:00 p.m.-5:45 p.m.
Symposium: NCI Activities– COVID-19 and Cancer Research
Dinah Singer, NCI
______________________
5:45 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Closing Session
______________________

All session times are EDT.

 

 

 

Day

 

Session Type

Topic Tracks

For more on @pharma_BI and LPBI Group Conference Coverage in Real Time please go to

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/press-coverage/

and

 

 

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Opinion Articles from the Lancet: COVID-19 and Cancer Care in China and Africa

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

Cancer Patients in SARS-CoV-2 infection: a nationwide analysis in China

Wenhua Liang, Weijie Guan, Ruchong Chen, Wei Wang, Jianfu Li, Ke Xu, Caichen Li, Qing Ai, Weixiang Lu, Hengrui Liang, Shiyue Li, Jianxing He

Lancet Oncol. 2020 Mar; 21(3): 335–337. Published online 2020 Feb 14. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30096-6

PMCID: PMC7159000

 

The National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease and the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China collaborated to establish a prospective cohort to monitor COVID-19 cases in China.  As on Jan31, 20202007 cases have been collected and analyzed with confirmed COVID-19 infection in these cohorts.

Results: 18 or 1% of COVID-19 cases had a history of cancer (the overall average cancer incidence in the overall China population is 0.29%) {2015 statistics}.  It appeared that cancer patients had an observable higher risk of COVID related complications upon hospitalization. However, this was a higher risk compared with the general population.  There was no comparison between cancer patients not diagnosed with COVID-19 and an assessment of their risk of infection.  Interestingly those who were also cancer survivors showed an increased incidence of COVID related severe complications compared to the no cancer group.

Although this study could have compared the risk within a cancer group, the authors still felt the results warranted precautions when dealing with cancer patients and issued recommendations including:

  1. Postponing of adjuvant chemotherapy or elective surgery for stable cancer should be considered
  2. Stronger personal protection for cancer patients
  3. More intensive surveillance or treatment should be considered when patients with cancer are infected, especially in older patients

Further studies will need to address the risk added by specific types of chemotherapy: cytolytic versus immunotherapy e.g.

 

Preparedness for COVID-19 in the oncology community in Africa

Lancet Oncology, Verna Vanderpuye, Moawia Mohammed,Ali Elhassan

Hannah Simonds: Published:April 03, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30220-5

Africa has a heterogeneity of cultures, economies and disease patterns however fortunately it is one of the last countries to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which allows some time for preparation by the African nations.  The authors note that with Africa’s previous experiences with epidemics, namely ebola and cholera, Africa should be prepared for this pandemic.

However, as a result of poor economic discipline, weak health systems, and poor health-seeking behaviors across the continent, outcomes could be dismal. Poverty, low health literacy rates, and cultural practices that negatively affect cancer outcomes will result in poor assimilation of COVID-19 containment strategies in Africa.”

In general African oncologists are following COVID-19 guidelines from other high-income countries, but as this writer acknowledges in previous posts, there was a significant lag from first cases in the United States to the concrete formulation of guidelines for both oncologists and patients with regard to this pandemic.  African oncologist are delaying the start of adjuvant therapies and switching more to oral therapies and rethink palliative care.

However the authors still have many more questions than answers, however even among countries that have dealt with this pandemic before Africa (like Italy and US), oncologists across the globe still have not been able to answer questions like: what if my patient develops a fever, what do I do during a period of neutropenia, to their satisfaction or the satisfaction of the patient.  These are questions even oncologists who are dealing in COVID hotspots are still trying to answer including what constitutes a necessary surgical procedure? As I have highlighted in recent posts, oncologists in New York have all but shut down all surgical procedures and relying on liquid biopsies taken in the at-home setting. But does Africa have this capability of access to at home liquid biopsy procedures?

In addition, as I had just highlighted in a recent posting, there exists extreme cancer health disparities across the African continent, as well as the COVID responses. In West Africa, COVID-19 protocols are defined at individual institutions.  This is more like the American system where even NCI designated centers were left to fashion some of their own guidelines initially, although individual oncologists had banded together to do impromptu meetings to discuss best practices. However this is fine for big institutions, but as in the US, there is a large rural population on the African continent with geographical barriers to these big centers. Elective procedures have been cancelled and small number of patients are seen by day.  This remote strategy actually may be well suited for African versus more developed nations, as highlighted in a post I did about mobile health app use in oncology, as this telemedicine strategy is rather new among US oncologists (reference my posts with the Town Hall meetings).

The situation is more complicated in South Africa where they are dealing with an HIV epidemic, where about 8 million are infected with HIV. Oncology services here are still expecting to run at full capacity as the local hospitals deal with the first signs of the COVID outbreak. In Sudan, despite low COVID numbers, cancer centers have developed contingency plans. and are deferring new referrals except for emergency cases.  Training sessions for staff have been developed.

For more articles in this online open access journal on Cancer and COVID-19 please see our

Coronovirus Portal
Responses to the #COVID-19 outbreak from Oncologists, Cancer Societies and the NCI: Important information for cancer patients

 

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Personalized Medicine, Omics, and Health Disparities in Cancer:  Can Personalized Medicine Help Reduce the Disparity Problem?

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

In a Science Perspectives article by Timothy Rebbeck, health disparities, specifically cancer disparities existing in the sub-Saharan African (SSA) nations, highlighting the cancer incidence disparities which exist compared with cancer incidence in high income areas of the world [1].  The sub-Saharan African nations display a much higher incidence of prostate, breast, and cervix cancer and these cancers are predicted to double within the next twenty years, according to IARC[2].  Most importantly,

 the histopathologic and demographic features of these tumors differ from those in high-income countries

meaning that the differences seen in incidence may reflect a true health disparity as increases rates in these cancers are not seen in high income countries (HIC).

Most frequent male cancers in SSA include prostate, lung, liver, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Kaposi’s sarcoma (a cancer frequently seen in HIV infected patients [3]).  In SSA women, breast and cervical cancer are the most common and these display higher rates than seen in high income countries.  In fact, liver cancer is seen in SSA females at twice the rate, and in SSA males almost three times the rate as in high income countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons for cancer disparity in SSA

Patients with cancer are often diagnosed at a late stage in SSA countries.  This contrasts with patients from high income countries, which have their cancers usually diagnosed at an earlier stage, and with many cancers, like breast[4], ovarian[5, 6], and colon, detecting the tumor in the early stages is critical for a favorable outcome and prognosis[7-10].  In addition, late diagnosis also limits many therapeutic options for the cancer patient and diseases at later stages are much harder to manage, especially with respect to unresponsiveness and/or resistance of many therapies.  In addition, treatments have to be performed in low-resource settings in SSA, and availability of clinical lab work and imaging technologies may be limited.

Molecular differences in SSA versus HIC cancers which may account for disparities

Emerging evidence suggests that there are distinct molecular signatures with SSA tumors with respect to histotype and pathology.  For example Dr. Rebbeck mentions that Nigerian breast cancers were defined by increased mutational signatures associated with deficiency of the homologous recombination DNA repair pathway, pervasive mutations in the tumor suppressor gene TP53, mutations in GATA binding protein 3 (GATA3), and greater mutational burden, compared with breast tumors from African Americans or Caucasians[11].  However more research will be required to understand the etiology and causal factors related to this molecular distinction in mutational spectra.

It is believed that there is a higher rate of hereditary cancers in SSA. And many SSA cancers exhibit the more aggressive phenotype than in other parts of the world.  For example breast tumors in SSA black cases are twice as likely than SSA Caucasian cases to be of the triple negative phenotype, which is generally more aggressive and tougher to detect and treat, as triple negative cancers are HER2 negative and therefore are not a candidate for Herceptin.  Also BRCA1/2 mutations are more frequent in black SSA cases than in Caucasian SSA cases [12, 13].

Initiatives to Combat Health Disparities in SSA

Multiple initiatives are being proposed or in action to bring personalized medicine to the sub-Saharan African nations.  These include:

H3Africa empowers African researchers to be competitive in genomic sciences, establishes and nurtures effective collaborations among African researchers on the African continent, and generates unique data that could be used to improve both African and global health.

There is currently a global effort to apply genomic science and associated technologies to further the understanding of health and disease in diverse populations. These efforts work to identify individuals and populations who are at risk for developing specific diseases, and to better understand underlying genetic and environmental contributions to that risk. Given the large amount of genetic diversity on the African continent, there exists an enormous opportunity to utilize such approaches to benefit African populations and to inform global health.

The Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) consortium facilitates fundamental research into diseases on the African continent while also developing infrastructure, resources, training, and ethical guidelines to support a sustainable African research enterprise – led by African scientists, for the African people. The initiative consists of 51 African projects that include population-based genomic studies of common, non-communicable disorders such as heart and renal disease, as well as communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. These studies are led by African scientists and use genetic, clinical, and epidemiologic methods to identify hereditary and environmental contributions to health and disease. To establish a foundation for African scientists to continue this essential work into the future work, the consortium also supports many crucial capacity building elements, such as: ethical, legal, and social implications research; training and capacity building for bioinformatics; capacity for biobanking; and coordination and networking.

The World Economic Forum’s Leapfrogging with Precision Medicine project 

This project is part of the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare Platform

The Challenge

Advancing precision medicine in a way that is equitable and beneficial to society means ensuring that healthcare systems can adopt the most scientifically and technologically appropriate approaches to a more targeted and personalized way of diagnosing and treating disease. In certain instances, countries or institutions may be able to bypass, or “leapfrog”, legacy systems or approaches that prevail in developed country contexts.

The World Economic Forum’s Leapfrogging with Precision Medicine project will develop a set of tools and case studies demonstrating how a precision medicine approach in countries with greenfield policy spaces can potentially transform their healthcare delivery and outcomes. Policies and governance mechanisms that enable leapfrogging will be iterated and scaled up to other projects.

Successes in personalized genomic research in SSA

As Dr. Rebbeck states:

 Because of the underlying genetic and genomic relationships between Africans and members of the African diaspora (primarily in North America and Europe), knowledge gained from research in SSA can be used to address health disparities that are prevalent in members of the African diaspora.

For example members of the West African heritage and genomic ancestry has been reported to confer the highest genomic risk for prostate cancer in any worldwide population [14].

 

PERSPECTIVEGLOBAL HEALTH

Cancer in sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Timothy R. Rebbeck

See all authors and affiliations

Science  03 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6473, pp. 27-28
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay474

Summary/Abstract

Cancer is an increasing global public health burden. This is especially the case in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA); high rates of cancer—particularly of the prostate, breast, and cervix—characterize cancer in most countries in SSA. The number of these cancers in SSA is predicted to more than double in the next 20 years (1). Both the explanations for these increasing rates and the solutions to address this cancer epidemic require SSA-specific data and approaches. The histopathologic and demographic features of these tumors differ from those in high-income countries (HICs). Basic knowledge of the epidemiology, clinical features, and molecular characteristics of cancers in SSA is needed to build prevention and treatment tools that will address the future cancer burden. The distinct distribution and determinants of cancer in SSA provide an opportunity to generate knowledge about cancer risk factors, genomics, and opportunities for prevention and treatment globally, not only in Africa.

 

References

  1. Rebbeck TR: Cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. Science 2020, 367(6473):27-28.
  2. Parkin DM, Ferlay J, Jemal A, Borok M, Manraj S, N’Da G, Ogunbiyi F, Liu B, Bray F: Cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2018.
  3. Chinula L, Moses A, Gopal S: HIV-associated malignancies in sub-Saharan Africa: progress, challenges, and opportunities. Current opinion in HIV and AIDS 2017, 12(1):89-95.
  4. Colditz GA: Epidemiology of breast cancer. Findings from the nurses’ health study. Cancer 1993, 71(4 Suppl):1480-1489.
  5. Hamilton TC, Penault-Llorca F, Dauplat J: [Natural history of ovarian adenocarcinomas: from epidemiology to experimentation]. Contracept Fertil Sex 1998, 26(11):800-804.
  6. Garner EI: Advances in the early detection of ovarian carcinoma. J Reprod Med 2005, 50(6):447-453.
  7. Brockbank EC, Harry V, Kolomainen D, Mukhopadhyay D, Sohaib A, Bridges JE, Nobbenhuis MA, Shepherd JH, Ind TE, Barton DP: Laparoscopic staging for apparent early stage ovarian or fallopian tube cancer. First case series from a UK cancer centre and systematic literature review. European journal of surgical oncology : the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology 2013, 39(8):912-917.
  8. Kolligs FT: Diagnostics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer. Visceral medicine 2016, 32(3):158-164.
  9. Rocken C, Neumann U, Ebert MP: [New approaches to early detection, estimation of prognosis and therapy for malignant tumours of the gastrointestinal tract]. Zeitschrift fur Gastroenterologie 2008, 46(2):216-222.
  10. Srivastava S, Verma M, Henson DE: Biomarkers for early detection of colon cancer. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 2001, 7(5):1118-1126.
  11. Pitt JJ, Riester M, Zheng Y, Yoshimatsu TF, Sanni A, Oluwasola O, Veloso A, Labrot E, Wang S, Odetunde A et al: Characterization of Nigerian breast cancer reveals prevalent homologous recombination deficiency and aggressive molecular features. Nature communications 2018, 9(1):4181.
  12. Zheng Y, Walsh T, Gulsuner S, Casadei S, Lee MK, Ogundiran TO, Ademola A, Falusi AG, Adebamowo CA, Oluwasola AO et al: Inherited Breast Cancer in Nigerian Women. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2018, 36(28):2820-2825.
  13. Rebbeck TR, Friebel TM, Friedman E, Hamann U, Huo D, Kwong A, Olah E, Olopade OI, Solano AR, Teo SH et al: Mutational spectrum in a worldwide study of 29,700 families with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Human mutation 2018, 39(5):593-620.
  14. Lachance J, Berens AJ, Hansen MEB, Teng AK, Tishkoff SA, Rebbeck TR: Genetic Hitchhiking and Population Bottlenecks Contribute to Prostate Cancer Disparities in Men of African Descent. Cancer research 2018, 78(9):2432-2443.

Other articles on Cancer Health Disparities and Genomics on this Online Open Access Journal Include:

Gender affects the prevalence of the cancer type
The Rutgers Global Health Institute, part of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey – A New Venture Designed to Improve Health and Wellness Globally
Breast Cancer Disparities to be Sponsored by NIH: NIH Launches Largest-ever Study of Breast Cancer Genetics in Black Women
War on Cancer Needs to Refocus to Stay Ahead of Disease Says Cancer Expert
Ethical Concerns in Personalized Medicine: BRCA1/2 Testing in Minors and Communication of Breast Cancer Risk
Ethics Behind Genetic Testing in Breast Cancer: A Webinar by Laura Carfang of survivingbreastcancer.org
Live Notes from @HarvardMed Bioethics: Authors Jerome Groopman, MD & Pamela Hartzband, MD, discuss Your Medical Mind
Testing for Multiple Genetic Mutations via NGS for Patients: Very Strong Family History of Breast & Ovarian Cancer, Diagnosed at Young Ages, & Negative on BRCA Test
Study Finds that Both Women and their Primary Care Physicians Confusion over Ovarian Cancer Symptoms May Lead to Misdiagnosis

 

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Bioinformatic Tools for RNASeq: A Curation

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D. 

 

Note:  This will be an ongoing curation as new information and tools become available.

RNASeq is a powerful tool for the analysis of the transcriptome profile and has been used to determine the transcriptional changes occurring upon stimuli such as drug treatment or detecting transcript differences between biological sample cohorts such as tumor versus normal tissue.  Unlike its genomic companion, whole genome and whole exome sequencing, which analyzes the primary sequence of the genomic DNA, RNASeq analyzes the mRNA transcripts, thereby more closely resembling the ultimate translated proteome. In addition, RNASeq and transcriptome profiling can determine if splicing variants occur as well as determining the nonexomic sequences, such as miRNA and lncRNA species, all of which have shown pertinence in the etiology of many diseases, including cancer.

However, RNASeq, like other omic technologies, generates enormous big data sets, which requires multiple types of bioinformatic tools in order to correctly analyze the sequence reads, and to visualize and interpret the output data.  This post represents a curation by the RNA-Seq blog of such tools useful for RNASeq studies and lists and reviews published literature using these curated tools.

 

From the RNA-Seq Blog

List of RNA-Seq bioinformatics tools

Posted by: RNA-Seq Blog in Data Analysis, Web Tools September 16, 2015 6,251 Views

from: https://en.wiki2.org/wiki/List_of_RNA-Seq_bioinformatics_tools

A review of some of the literature using some of the aforementioned curated tools are discussed below:

 

A.   Tools Useful for Single Cell RNA-Seq Analysis

 

B.  Tools for RNA-Seq Analysis of the Sliceasome

 

C.  Tools Useful for RNA-Seq read assembly visualization

 

Other articles on RNA and Transcriptomics in this Open Access Journal Include:

NIH to Award Up to $12M to Fund DNA, RNA Sequencing Research: single-cell genomics, sample preparation, transcriptomics and epigenomics, and genome-wide functional analysis.

Single-cell Genomics: Directions in Computational and Systems Biology – Contributions of Prof. Aviv Regev @Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cochair, the Human Cell Atlas Organizing Committee with Sarah Teichmann of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Complex rearrangements and oncogene amplification revealed by long-read DNA and RNA sequencing of a breast cancer cell line

Single-cell RNA-seq helps in finding intra-tumoral heterogeneity in pancreatic cancer

First challenge to make use of the new NCI Cloud Pilots – Somatic Mutation Challenge – RNA: Best algorithms for detecting all of the abnormal RNA molecules in a cancer cell

Evolution of the Human Cell Genome Biology Field of Gene Expression, Gene Regulation, Gene Regulatory Networks and Application of Machine Learning Algorithms in Large-Scale Biological Data Analysis

 

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from The American Association for Cancer Research aacr.org:

 

AACR Congratulates Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Dr. Gregg L. Semenza on 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

10/7/2019

PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) congratulates Fellow of the AACR Academy William G. Kaelin Jr., MDSir Peter J. Ratcliffe, MD, FRS, and AACR member Gregg L. Semenza, MD, PhD, on receiving the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.

Kaelin, professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston; Ratcliffe, director of Clinical Research at the Francis Crick Institute in London; and Semenza, director of the Vascular Program at the Institute for Cell Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, are being recognized by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute for identifying the molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen, which is one of life’s most essential adaptive processes. Their work has provided basic understanding of several diseases, including many types of cancer, and has laid the foundation for the development of promising new approaches to treating cancer and other diseases.

Kaelin, Ratcliffe, and Semenza were previously recognized for this work with the 2016 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

Kaelin’s research focuses on understanding how mutations affecting tumor-suppressor genes cause cancer. As part of this work, he discovered that a tumor-suppressor gene called von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) is involved in controlling the cellular response to low levels of oxygen. Kaelin’s studies showed that the VHL protein binds to hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) when oxygen is present and targets it for destruction. When the VHL protein is mutated, it is unable to bind to HIF, resulting in inappropriate HIF accumulation and the transcription of genes that promote blood vessel formation, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is directly linked to the development of renal cell carcinoma and therapeutics that target VEGF are used in the clinic to treat this and several other types of cancer.

Kaelin has been previously recognized with numerous other awards and honors, including the 2006 AACR-Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award.

Ratcliffe independently discovered that the VHL protein binds to HIF. Since then, his research has focused on the molecular interactions underpinning the binding of VHL to HIF and the molecular events that occur in low levels of oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia. Prior to his work on VHL, Ratcliffe’s research contributed to elucidating the mechanisms by which hypoxia increases levels of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which leads to increased production of red blood cells.

Semenza’s research, which was independent of Ratcliffe’s, identified in exquisite detail the molecular events by which the EPO gene is regulated by varying levels of oxygen. He discovered HIF and identified this protein complex as the oxygen-dependent regulator of the EPO gene. Semenza followed up this work by identifying additional genes activated by HIF, including showing that the protein complex activates the VEGF gene that is pivotal to the development of renal cell carcinoma.

The recognition of Kaelin and Semenza increases the number of AACR members to have been awarded a Nobel Prize to 70, 44 of whom are still living.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute for discoveries of major importance in life science or medicine that have changed the scientific paradigm and are of great benefit for mankind. Each laureate receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money that is decided by the Nobel Foundation.

The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony will be Dec. 10, 2019, in Stockholm.

Please find following articles on the Nobel Prize and Hypoxia in Cancer on this Open Access Journal:

2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for contributions to Cancer Immunotherapy to James P. Allison, Ph.D., of the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Dr. Allison shares the prize with Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Ph.D., of Kyoto University Institute, Japan

The History, Uses, and Future of the Nobel Prize, 1:00pm – 6:00pm, Thursday, October 4, 2018, Harvard Medical School

2017 Nobel prize in chemistry given to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson  for developing cryo-electron microscopy

Tumor Ammonia Recycling: How Cancer Cells Use Glutamate Dehydrogenase to Recycle Tumor Microenvironment Waste Products for Biosynthesis

Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1)[7.9]

 

 

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