Please login to the form below

ASCO 2015: What you missed in Chicago

Blue Latitude sent two of our consultants to Chicago to attend ASCO 2015, a key annual meeting for oncology specialists that brings over 30,000 delegates together to talk about innovations and progress in the field. David takes us through the highlights of the event and his take on the exciting developments that came out of the conference.



Last week, Blue Latitude sent two of our consultants to Chicago to attend ASCO 15, a key annual meeting for oncology specialists that brings over 30,000 delegates together to talk about innovations and progress in the field. David takes us through the highlights of the event and his take on the exciting developments that came out of the conference.
 

Medical Developments: The Immuno-oncology Era

Without question, this year really was the heralding of the immuno-oncology era, both in terms of medical developments and the great coverage ASCO got in the media. We’ve been working in immuno-oncology for a year and a half now, but we were still very impressed by the data coming out of the conference. Specifically, we thought the checkpoint inhibitors in head and neck, lung cancer and melanoma really shone. In particular, the fact that not only are the therapies showing deep responses, they are also providing a much longer duration of response, which was discussed as being a hallmark of immunological agents in oncology.  

Bristol-Myers-Squibb redefines Melanoma treatment standards

In terms of winners here, BMS is likely to redefine the standard of care in Melanoma with the Opdivo/Yervoy (ipilimumab) combination. However, the advantage BMS had over Roche and Merck in the programmed cell death pathway space (PD-1/PD-L1) was thrown open over a biomarker debate around activity in PD-L1 positive patients.[1] The challenge here is: firstly, there is no clear criteria for defining PD-L1 positivity (the part of the checkpoint pathway expressed on the tumour cell); and secondly, there is no standard assay to measure PD-L1 expression. I think the strength of the Checkmate-057 data[2] will ultimately give Opdivo an advantage in all patients, but I also think that how the other PD-1/PD-L1s challenge Opdivo will depend on how the European markets provide access to it, as well as how issues of cost versus value of the treatment are addressed.  

Personalised treatments: targeting genetic mutations to treat cancer

The second area that really impressed me was the large National Cancer Institute (NCI) trial[3] that will look to treat patients with solid tumours based on their genetic mutations and not their organ of origin. A list of targeted treatments, such as crizotinib and TDM-1, will be used to target specific genetic abnormalities in patients’ tumours. This represents a real step forward in terms of precision medicine, which will further link whole genomic screening to the tailoring of an individual patient’s treatment. It will be extremely exciting to see what comes out of this trial.    

Transforming multiple myeloma treatment with monoclonal antibodies

The third area was the arrival of breakthrough therapies in plasma cell disorders. Three monoclonal antibodies were presented on the last day of ASCO - two in multiple myeloma and one in amyloidosis. For years, leukaemia and lymphoma patients have benefited from power of monoclonal antibody treatment while plasma cell malignancies showed little activity with CD20 targeting treatment. In multiple myeloma, we saw data from two immunotherapies showing clinical activity. In particular, daratumumab in double refractory multiple myeloma represents a truly transformational treatment in this area for patients who have tried all current options[4]. In an area dominated by combination trials, daratumumab showed significant single agent activity in this hard to treat population with tolerable safety profile.  

ASCO 15: Highlighting innovation and raising key questions

Amgen and AstraZeneca had excellent booths that were extremely interactive with some great educational tools. The Amgen booth had a giant mechanical puppet show that explained their BITE technology, while AstraZeneca used the Oculus Rift to describe the how and why around various cellular pathways they were developing treatments for to great effect.   Overall, ASCO15 was a great place to be this year with all the exciting innovations in cancer treatments that were announced. However, oncology specialists and healthcare practitioners more generally will have their work cut out for them in taking this information on board and incorporating these new treatment options into their practise. Questions around cost and value still need to be urgently addressed by the medical community if the goal is to deliver personalised cancer treatment to patients across the world.    


These are the topics we discuss at Blue Latitude, both internally and externally, with our clients and a range of stakeholders whom we carry out primary research with. If you would like to discuss ASCO15 or immuno-oncology with us further, please reach out to Matt, our Head of Commercial at: matt.bolton@bluelatitude.net.



References:
[1] PD-L1 Expression as a Predictive Biomarker in Cancer Immunotherapy. Patel SP et al Mol Cancer Ther 2015 [2] Combined Nivolumab and Ipilimumab or Monotherapy in Untreated Melanoma. Larkin et al 2015 NEJM [3] NCI Prepares to Launch MATCH Trial. Cancer Discov. 2015 [4] NCT01985126 An Efficacy and Safety Study of Daratumumab in Patients With Multiple Myeloma… 2015

15th June 2015

Share

Tags

Company Details

Blue Latitude Health

+44 203 328 1840

Contact Website

Address:
Blue Latitude Health (UK)
140 Aldersgate Street
London
EC1A 4HY
United Kingdom

Latest content on this profile

Fishawack Health, a new breed of global commercialization partner, fit for a post pandemic world
Our parent company, Fishawack Health has reorganized to deliver agile and innovative solutions for life-sciences companies in the face of rapidly changing markets
Blue Latitude Health
In the precision medicine era, the line between products and services is blurred
Precision and personalised medicines are more than products, they are services in their own right. So, how should pharma approach this uncharted territory to ensure targeted therapies work for patients?
Blue Latitude Health
Understanding COVID-19 and varying responses across the globe
At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Senior Account Executive Lauren Fernandes took a course at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to better understand how the global response to the virus and to ensure we were best positioned to serve our clients during this challenging time. She shares the key learnings and why understanding the epidemiology of the disease is integral for fighting it.
Blue Latitude Health
Top 5 tips for a multi-indication product launch
Senior Associate Consultant Sana Rahim and Senior Consultant Victoria Clark explain the lessons the team has learned from launching six different indications of an oncology product in an accelerated timeframe.
Blue Latitude Health
If our patients are diverse, why are clinical trials so white?
Despite facing worse health outcomes, minority populations are often left out of clinical trials and miss the opportunity to participate in life-saving research. Associate Consultant Ling Song explores this issue and calls for the pharmaceutical industry to change its approach.
Blue Latitude Health
Engaging physicians during COVID-19
COVID-19 has drastically changed the lives of healthcare professionals. They are emotionally and physically drained and under huge amounts of pressure. They also need pharma’s help. Senior Consultant Pany Koizi outlines five principles for engaging with physicians during the pandemic.
Blue Latitude Health