Verastem's quest to develop drugs that block cell signaling pathways that cancer stem cells need to survive hits a major milestone in mid-2013, when it launches a 350-patient clinical trial of a potential companion biomarker test for its investigative mesothelioma drug treatment.
With ASCO looming at the end of this month, previews of the world's most anticipated new cancer drugs are getting under way. And today Bloomberg's Robert Langreth leads off with a collection of experimental immunotherapies that have grabbed the industry's attention with their blockbuster potential.
Which experimental drugs make Langreth's list? There's Bristol-Myers' nivolumab, a PD-1 drug that is being put at center stage of the next-gen field. Now in 6 late-stage studies, the treatment (BMS-936558 acquired in the Medarex buyout) spurred tumor shrinkage in three of 5 cancer groups studied, including 18% of 72 lung cancer patients, close to a third of 98 melanoma patients and 27% of 33 patients with kidney cancer. Merck, meanwhile, has the melanoma drug lambrolizumab, which grabbed the FDA's new breakthrough designation after impressive Ib data came through for skin cancer. Now Merck believes it may be able to win an approval with the right mid-stage data, a bid that would considerably enhance its position after frustrating investors with a weak late-stage pipeline.
A blood test to determine a patient's suicide risk may be within reach. Scientists at the University of New South Wales in Australia and colleagues in Sweden believe they've come up with a viable diagnostic biomarker: higher-than-normal levels of the neurotransmitter quinolinic acid. Through their work with an unnamed biotech, they expect to debut a working blood test for human clinical trials within the next year, the Australian Times reports. Ideally, such a test would process results with a day or two, enabling targeted personalized medicine-style treatments specific to reducing levels of quinolinic acid. Read more >>
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An investigative team of heart experts has tracked down a pair of biomarkers they say can flag people who are at risk of having "silent strokes," asymptomatic events that can quietly damage the brain and leave them threatened by even worse incidents of heart and vascular disease.
With rates of oral cancer linked to HPV infection on the rise, a group of investigators has pinned down a new biomarker that can be used to identify high-risk patients.
Activity in certain parts of the brain appears to offer solid biomarker guideposts to whether drugs or psychotherapy works best to treat depression, researchers have found. And a pretreatment brain scan helps make the determination.
Measurement of particular blood biomarker during a pregnant women's first trimester may be a good way to help predict how likely it is she'll face gestational diabetes, Japanese researchers have found.
Early detection boosts colon cancer survival rates. The Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, and Genomictree believe they can accomplish this goal, thanks to a noninvasive biomarker blood test that appears to be highly accurate based on initial clinical work.
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have identified a biomarker that could help match the right stem cell line to patients to more effectively treat a variety of cancers.
From Our Sister Sites
Gilead Sciences has recalled 20 batches of its antifungal drug AmBisome after bacterial contamination was discovered during a routine test at its plant in San Dimas, CA.
Researchers in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia have developed a biosensor nanotechnology that could improve drug delivery for the treatment of pancreatic cancer while allowing for imaging at the same time, according to a report in Asian Scientist .