A clinical trial says a treatment using “natural killer cells” is effective against Hodgkin lymphoma. Separately, retevmo, a drug from Eli Lilly already approved for lung and thyroid cancer treatments, has shown promise in beating rare tumors found elsewhere.
Natural Killer Cells Induce Remissions In Patients With Blood Cancer
Two patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma were told their tumors were so resistant to treatment that hospice was their best option. Then, they were enrolled in a clinical trial of a novel immunotherapy involving so-called natural killer cells. After treatment, they saw complete remission. (Feuerstein, 4/9)
Lilly’s Retevmo Shows Success In Rare Tumors With Key Genetic Mutation
Retevmo, a drug developed by Eli Lilly’s Loxo Oncology unit, shows efficacy in tumors beyond the lung and thyroid cancers where it is approved so long as those tumors bear a key genetic alteration, the company said. Full data were released Sunday at a presentation at the virtual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. (Herper, 4/11)
Revolution Medicine Seeks To Bolster Case For Its Lead Cancer Drug
Revolution Medicines on Saturday presented updated data to bolster the case for its lead cancer drug — designed to stop tumor growth by throttling back mutations in a common cell-signaling pathway. The drug, called RMC-4630, won’t shrink tumors very much on its own. The drug’s main purpose will be as a backbone of combination treatments. (Feuerstein, 4/10)
ITeos Therapeutics Debuts First Data On TIGIT-Targeting Cancer Immunotherapy
ITeos Therapeutics offered the first look at clinical data for its experimental cancer antibody that works by blocking the novel — and very buzzworthy — protein target called TIGIT. The tumor-shrinking activity of the company’s drug, called EOS-448, was minimal but still comparable to early study data from competing TIGIT-targeted drugs in development, including ones from Roche and Merck. (Feuerstein, 4/11)
Clinical Study Reports Hold More Details About Cancer Drug
For years, researchers have urged regulators to release clinical study reports that are generated during clinical trials in order to support further research and improve care. Now, a new study offers evidence why this is a good idea: There were more harmful side effects found in clinical study reports than listings in corresponding trial registries or published studies. (Silverman, 4/9)
In other pharmaceutical industry news —
Trial Shows Promise Aiming A Cold-Sore Virus At Children’s Brain Tumors
A therapy that sends a modified cold-sore virus to selectively kill tumor cells and spark an immune response to a particularly deadly brain cancer in children showed promise in an early clinical trial, scientists reported Saturday. They hope their approach to high-grade gliomas will pave the way toward a combination treatment with immunotherapy that could spare children the harsh toxicities of current therapies. (Cooney, 4/10)
The Washington Post:
Are MRNA Flu Shots In The Works? Yes, But Not For The Upcoming Flu Season.
The technology used in two of the coronavirus vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration may enable scientists to develop flu shots in record time, but also make inoculations that could be more effective and protect against numerous flu strains for years at a time. The messenger-RNA technology — used in the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines — would be a leap forward for flu shots, some of which still rely on a process developed in the 1950s involving chickens, petri dishes and dead viruses. Researchers are hopeful that the success of those coronavirus vaccines will grease the wheels for mRNA flu shots and help expedite what is typically a lengthy process involving years of research, clinical trials and regulatory review and approval. (Bever, 4/11)
Some Members Of Sackler Family Under Fire Over Ties To Opioids
Purdue Pharma, privately owned by some members of the Sackler family, is the drug maker that developed and marketed the powerful painkiller OxyContin. The company has been blamed for helping to spark the opioid epidemic that killed nearly half a million people in this country over the past two decades. And yet, for much of that time, the Sacklers – one of the wealthiest families in America (as compiled by Forbes magazine) – have largely avoided public scrutiny for the part they allegedly played. They are now the subject of Keefe’s new book: “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty” (Doubleday). (4/11)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.