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

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

Nanobodies: These Are Not Your Mother’s mAbs

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Orphan Disease, Orphan Drugs

The Drug Kingpins Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are the undisputed drug kingpins. In 2013, the mAb market raked in $75 billion in combined sales, covering a whole range of indications from cancer and infectious disease, to autoimmune disorders, and even high cholesterol. Despite the success, mAbs have one chink in their armor: they cannot enter cells due to their large size, hampering their range … Read More

Therapeutic Antibody Primer

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

Basics & Innovations Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutics burst onto the healthcare scene 20 years ago, and today they remain one of the most versatile and effective therapeutics available. The tried and true mAbs are still in high demand, and we suspect this first wave of derivative products clamoring their way through the pipeline will be equally as successful. In this WEEKLY, we’ll … 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

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

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

Et Tu, Immune System?

Emily BurkeBusiness of Biotech, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Development, Drug Targets, Easily Confused, The WEEKLY

Autoimmune Disorders: A Story Of Betrayal “Et tu, Brute?” The famous line spoken by Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is synonymous with unexpected betrayal by a close friend. A once trusted member of the inner circle, Marcus Brutus joined the coup and turned on Caesar. The 23.5 million Americans suffering from autoimmune disorders also have a Brutus in their midst—their own immune … Read More

Feeding Cancer

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Diabetes, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

The Metabolics Of Cancer Tackling cancer requires a multi-pronged strategy. Currently, many of the cancer drugs on the market work by inhibiting the signaling pathways that activate cell division. These pathways are often the root cause of cancer—a mutated gene leads to a dysfunctional signaling protein which tells the cell to divide inappropriately. In these cases, the cancer may be treated by inhibiting the … Read More

Dodging Another Ebola Outbreak

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Clinical Trials, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Development, Ebola, Genetics, HIV, The WEEKLY

Ebola Finally Meets Its Match The headlining Ebola crisis of last summer devastated West Africa, marking the largest outbreak since the discovery of the disease in 1976. The glaring lack of a treatment or vaccine caused the virus to quickly spread within Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. A small number of infected healthcare workers were able to receive an experimental antibody known as Zmapp … 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