Checkpoint Inhibitors: Changing the Treatment Paradigm in Metastatic NSCLC

By: Nick Turner, PhD, Senior DirectorLung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide, accounting for more than 1.6 million deaths annually. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 85% of all new cases. Current first-line treatment decisions for metastatic NSCLC mandate analysis of the genetic status of the cancer to determine the presence of driver mutations, such as activating mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). In mutation-positive patients, first-line treatment comprises small molecule inhibitors of EGFR-tyrosine kinase, e.g., gefitinib, afatinib or osimertinib, or ALK inhibitors, e.g., alectinib or crizotinib. Roughly 85% of patients with NSCLC, however, do not harbor these oncogenic drivers; in these patients, treatment options have been limited to platinum-based chemotherapy. The emergence of immune checkpoint inhibitors, which attenuate immunosuppression within the tumor microenvironment and enable the immune system to attack tumor cells, opens the door to more effective therapy with durable responses and manageable toxicity.

New Paradigms in the Treatment of Breast Cancer

By: Nick Turner, PhD and Paula Palacios Fernandez, MScBreast cancer is the most common cancer in women with more than 2.1 million new cases diagnosed in 2018. And with more than 600,000 deaths in 2018, it is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide (WHO). Advances have been made across all stages and sub-types of the disease and provide hope for improved treatment options, lower rates of relapse and better survival outcomes. The development of agents against novel molecular targets, including inhibitors of PARP, CDK4/6, PI3K and immune checkpoints, offers treatment options for patients with previously poor prognoses and treatment-resistant disease. We describe some recent  developments below.

Clarity for the Developing NASH Market Is Imminent

By: Tanya Casimiro, PhDAs the first Phase III data in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) begin to be released, the next 12 months will prove crucial to understanding which drivers will shape the NASH market. Key questions of interest to stakeholders will be answered, such as:

Companion Diagnostics – Challenges to Realizing Personalized Healthcare on a Large Scale

By: Ben DoranPersonalized healthcare: An overview There is significant interest in companion diagnostics (CDx) throughout the healthcare industry, but for this personalized medicine approach to continue to gain traction, numerous technical and commercial challenges need to be overcome. At Prescient Healthcare Group, our experts who are closely monitoring CDx developments across therapeutic areas have observed four key issues.

Rare Diseases Present Both Challenges and Opportunities to Pharma

By: Joanne Taylor, PhDApproximately 7,000 rare diseases affect more than 300 million people worldwide, or around 5-8% of the population, depending on the market. The number of patients diagnosed with individual rare diseases varies enormously: One disease may affect only a handful of patients while others affect hundreds of thousands. Eighty percent of rare diseases have an identified genetic origin and half affect children. Approximately 30% of those children do not reach their fifth birthdays, making the need to find a treatment particularly urgent.

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