The Multiple Myeloma Landscape

Emily BurkeBiologics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Easily Confused, Genetics, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs

BLOOD CANCER: MULTIPLE MYELOMA Plasma cells are the antibody-producing cells of our immune system which happen to play a critical role in our defense against infections. In multiple myeloma, plasma cells begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner, forming a cancerous mass known as a plasmacytoma. Marrow — which produces plasma — no longer functions in our defense, it simply takes … Read More

Breast Cancer Subtypes

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Cancer, Genetics, Mechanism of Action

FOUR MOLECULAR VARIANTS EXPLAINED Hearing your doctor utter the words HER2-positive, HR-positive, triple-negative, or BRCA mutation can be devastating — even for the most resilient person. Simply put, breast cancer is a complex disease. A diagnosis can be derived from any combination of the factors listed above — or, none at all. The National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, MD) has outlined four molecular subtypes of the disease. … Read More

The PARP Race Is On

Emily BurkeCancer, Clinical Trials, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Easily Confused, FDA, Mechanism of Action, The WEEKLY

PARP1 INHIBITOR LINEUP PARP1 inhibitors are making a strong statement! Tesaro’s (Waltham, MA) just-approved Zejula has garnered predictions of blockbuster status. AstraZeneca’s (Cambridge, UK) Lynparza was the first PARP1 inhibitor to make it to market back in 2014, and their recent clinical trial results showed significant survival benefit in ovarian cancer. Clovis Oncology (Boulder, CO) achieved the second FDA approval of a PARP1 inhibitor with Rubraca in … Read More

Harnessing Your Immune System For Good

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Cancer, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies

YOUR INNER IMMUNE WORKINGS What do monoclonal antibodies, CAR-T therapy, and checkpoint inhibitor treatments all have in common? They are immunotherapies, or therapies that activate the immune system to fight or prevent a disease. While an activated immune system can help save a life, an overactive immune system can attack the body it is charged with protecting. This over-activity is the … Read More

The Next Generation Fight Against CF

Emily BurkeClinical Trials, Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Easily Confused, Genetics, Mechanism of Action, Orphan Disease, Orphan Drugs, The WEEKLY

TARGETING THE ROOT OF CYSTIC FIBROSIS Innovative therapies targeting the root cause of cystic fibrosis (CF) hit the market several years ago, but those treatments were only for a subset of CF patients.  Now, companies like AbbVie and Vertex may have the potential to treat a large majority of the population—up to 90%—according to clinical trial data. In this issue, we’ll explain … Read More

Breaking Bad With NSCLC & SCLC

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Cocktail Fodder, Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

BREAKING BAD The hit TV series Breaking Bad features anti-hero Walter White, who starts out as a sympathetic character: a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher with a nagging cough that turns out to be lung cancer. Money problems precipitated by costly treatments, poor insurance, and a modest salary push him to start cooking up meth to ensure the financial security … Read More

Pushing The Self-Destruct Button

Emily BurkeCancer, Drug Approvals, FDA, Genetics, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

 Pushing the Self-Destruct Button Breakthrough drug Venclexta charged onto the marketplace three months early to battle chronic lymphocytic leukemia. AbbVie’s (North Chicago, IL) and Roche’s (Basel, Switzerland) new therapy gained a quick approval after 80% of patients in the 106-person clinical trial responded to the small molecule inhibitor. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common type of leukemia in adults, with approximately … Read More

Two Monoclonal Antibodies Walk Into The Market

Emily BurkeBiologics, Clinical Trials, Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Easily Confused, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

Attacking Asthma & Pushing Out Psoriasis Two new monoclonal antibodies debuted on the market thanks to FDA approvals last month. Both treat chronic inflammatory conditions: Lilly’s (Indianapolis, IN) Taltz for psoriasis and Teva’s (Petah Tikva, Israel) drug Cinqair for severe asthma. Interestingly enough, having psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of developing asthma according to a study in the British Journal of Dermatology. While these two conditions … Read More

Unmasking Multiple Sclerosis

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

 Many Channels Available To Impede MS Progression Continuing our series on central nervous system (CNS) disorders—previously covering Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s—we pivot to unmask Multiple Sclerosis this week. Famous faces suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) include former talk show host Montel Williams and Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler. MS typically occurs in susceptible individuals between the ages of 20 and 50, and there are … Read More

The ABCs Of Hepatitis

Emily BurkeDrug Targets, FDA, Mechanism of Action, Ribonucleic Acid (RNA), Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

Hepatitis Viruses Explained Curing disease is serious business. Lou Reed, the infamous leader of the rock band Velvet Underground, died in 2013 of complications from hepatitis C and liver disease. Death is the most profound fear for people living with hepatitis C, but with today’s treatments patients can beat this disease. Thank you Gilead’s (Foster City, CA) Harvoni or AbbVie’s (North … Read More

Packing A Punch With The Immune System

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, The WEEKLY

THE INNER WORKINGS OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM What do monoclonal antibodies, CAR-T therapy, and 3D vaccines all have in common? They are immunotherapies, or therapies that activate a patient’s own immune system to fight or prevent a disease. While immune system activation can help save a life, an overactive immune system can potentially attack the body it is charged with … Read More

Targeting Breast Cancer

Emily BurkeCancer, Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Targets, FDA, Genetics, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

The Subtypes of Breast Cancer Hearing your doctor utter the words HER2-positive, HR-positive, triple-negative, or BRCA mutation can be devastating—even for the most resilient person. Simply put, all are linked to breast cancer. Breast cancer is complex and a diagnosis can be caused by all, some, or even none of the factors listed above. In fact, the National Cancer Institute’s (Bethesda, … Read More

Curing Hepatitis C

Emily BurkeBiologics, Business of Biotech, Cancer, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Approvals, Drug Targets, FDA, HIV, Mechanism of Action, Ribonucleic Acid (RNA), Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

The biotech industry gets its fair share of criticism. Take for example HBO’s John Oliver shining his light on biopharma last week and proclaiming drug companies are like high school boyfriends: more interested in getting into patients’ bodies than actually being effective once they’re inside. That soundbite prompted us at the WEEKLY to wonder: Is a 90% cure rate for a disease afflicting … Read More

Longevity In Biotech

Emily BurkeBiologics, Business of Biotech, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Genomics, The WEEKLY

Longevity has fascinated mankind for centuries, from ancient myths about fountains of youth to current speculation around caloric restriction. With our increased scientific understanding of aging, clinical validation and commercialization of treatments are near. The goal is to extend lifespan as well as health span, and we may be looking at a future where the norm is to remain mentally and physically active at age 90, or even … Read More

The Bispecific Antibody: A Lethal Hybrid

Emily BurkeBiologics, Cancer, Drug Approvals, Drug Targets, FDA, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

Amgen’s acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment, Blincyto, coasted past the FDA bottleneck ahead of schedule, gaining approval earlier this month as a “first of its kind” immunotherapy. The FDA designated Blincyto as a breakthrough therapy and an orphan product on top of granting a priority review, thus propelling the bispecific antibody (BsAb) to the market five months early. The swift approval … Read More