Natural Born Cancer Killers

Emily BurkeCancer, CAR-T, FDA, Immunotherapy, The WEEKLY

Further Down the Cancer Treatment Road with CARs This past August, to much fanfare, the FDA approved the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for blood cancer. Called Kymriah (Novartis), it promises to revolutionize treatment by genetically altering a patient’s own cells to fight cancer. Less than eight weeks later, Kite Pharma, now a part of Gilead Sciences (Foster … Read More

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

Eye Of The Cytokine Storm

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

THE FLASH OF THE FIRST CAR-T Last week’s much anticipated FDA approval of the first chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy for acute lymphocytic leukemia hails as the first gene therapy on the US  market. Classified as a “cell-based gene therapy,” Novartis’ (Basel, Switzerland) Kymriah works by removing patients’ T-cells, using a viral vector to introduce a gene that will allow the … Read More

Putting The CAR-T Before The Horse

Emily BurkeThe WEEKLY

THE STORY BEHIND CAR-T The hottest cancer therapy in the pipeline — chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR-T) — got a big boost last month when an FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended approval of the treatment for children and young adults with a severe form of leukemia who have run out of other options. Developed by Novartis (Basel, Switzerland), this elegant … Read More

Eye Of The Cytokine Storm

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Small Molecule Drugs

Understanding CAR-T Safety Chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR-T) is our top technology pick of 2016, blazing trails in drug development with its innovative approach of using engineered immune cells to fight cancer. Despite its success in clinical trials, safety concerns remain. Serious adverse events, including death, have occurred as a result of “cytokine storms” during CAR-T treatments. We reviewed the basics of CAR-T in last week’s … Read More

The Top Tech Of 2016

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Drug Targets, FDA, Mechanism of Action

CAR-T Primer The hottest cancer therapy in the pipeline — chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR-T) — continued to mature in 2016 with its first FDA approval for blood cancer patients set to arrive this year. What’s next in the world of CAR-T? A whole lot: Additional cancer and autoimmune disease indications in preclinical development. Added safety features. More affordable “off … 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

On A Tumor’s Turf

Emily BurkeBiologics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

TACKLING THE SPACE AROUND SOLID TUMORS Covering the science behind T-cell-based immunotherapies has been the name of the game for our past couple of issues. CAR-T and TCR therapies show significant promise in early phase blood cancer clinical trials, but what about solid tumors? Previously mentioned Juno Therapeutics’ (Seattle, WA) Armored CAR technology has declared war on tumors, and as you will read … Read More

Next-Generation CAR-T

Emily BurkeBiologics, Business of Biotech, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Genomics, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, The WEEKLY

The Race Is On Our last WEEKLY—Hacking the Immune Response—unveiled the science behind CAR-T and TCR, two immunotherapies under the microscope of the mainstream press. The well-deserved media attention highlights the ability of these “living drugs” to recognize and obliterate cancers. With all of the early phase clinical success, a few challenges have popped up: • Safety: CAR-T and TCR can … Read More