Bristol Immunotherapy Shows Encouraging Survival in Lung Cancer Trial

Treatment of a common form of advanced lung cancer with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's experimental immunotherapy nivolumab led to a one-year survival rate of 41 percent in a midstage clinical trial, according to data to be presented at a medical meeting, sending the drugmaker's shares up 8.8 percent. While the study, called CheckMate-063, did not compare nivolumab with another drug or placebo, the historical one-year survival rate for patients like those in the trial, whose squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had progressed after treatment with two or more prior therapies, is between 5.5 percent and 18 percent, the company said on Thursday. Squamous cell cancer tends to be found in the middle of the lung.
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Genomics, Gene Therapy Have an Exciting Future in Spinal Care

Nicholas Theodore, MD, presented data on the human genome, restoring function and regenerating areas of tissue destruction in the spine during a presentation at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting. Stem cell research during the past several years has made some interesting steps in the spinal field but remains largely undefined, according to Theodore. “We do know that cells can migrate long distances on the spinal cord, and we’ll be able to hopefully exploit that in the treatment of the spinal cord,” he said.
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Digoxin Drug May be Adaptable for ALS Treatment, Study Suggests

Digoxin, a medication used in the treatment of heart failure, may be adaptable for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive, paralyzing disease, suggests new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, destroys the nerve cells that control muscles. This leads to loss of mobility, difficulty breathing and swallowing and eventually death. Riluzole, the sole medication approved to treat the disease, has only marginal benefits in patients. But in a new study conducted in cell cultures and in mice, scientists showed that when they reduced the activity of an enzyme or limited cells' ability to make copies of the enzyme, the disease's destruction of nerve cells stopped. The enzyme maintains the proper balance of sodium and potassium in cells.
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Immunotherapy Added to Radiotherapy May Help Overcome Resistance to Treatments

Treating cancers with immunotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time could stop them from becoming resistant to treatment, according to a new study. Combining the two modalities helped the immune system hunt down and destroy cancer cells that were not killed by the initial radiotherapy in mice with breast, skin, and bowel cancers. The approach was found to improve survival and protect the mice against the return of the disease. Radiotherapy is a very successful treatment for many forms of cancer. However, in cancer cells that it does not kill, it can switch on a flag on their surface called programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1). PD-L1 tricks the body's defenses into thinking that cancerous cells pose no threat.
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Tens of Thousands Expected to get Ebola Vaccines From January

Tens of thousands of people in West Africa are expected to begin getting experimental Ebola vaccines from January, but population-wide immunisation is still far off, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. Initial clinical trials of vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline and NewLink Genetics are already under way. Some 500 volunteers are due to take part in countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Mali, Gabon and Kenya.

The tests will generate safety and immune-response data in December. The vaccines can then be rolled out early next year to groups including frontline healthcare workers, said Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation.
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Canada to Ship Experimental Ebola Vaccine to World Health Organization

Canada said it would start shipping 800 vials of an experimental Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization on Monday to combat the deadly viral outbreak in Africa. The WHO is the international coordinating body for the Ebola outbreak, which has claimed almost 4,500 lives, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. “Canada views this experimental Ebola vaccine as a global resource and in the interest of global public health, we are sharing it with our international partners to help address the Ebola outbreak in West Africa,” Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose said on Saturday.
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Roche, Merck extend immunotherapy fight to breast cancer

Swiss drugmaker Roche and U.S. group Merck & Co are to present data on their rival immunotherapy drugs in breast cancer in December, extending the novel approach to fighting tumors to another cancer type. Early clinical results with Roche's drug, known as MPDL3280A, in so-called triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) will be revealed at the Dec. 9-13 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the firm said after announcing third-quarter results. TNBC does not respond to either of two kinds of hormonal therapy or drugs that target HER2 receptors, such as Roche's own Herceptin.
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Selecta, JDRF, Sanofi Collaborate on SVP Immunotherapy for Type 1

Selecta Biosciences Inc., and JDRF, announced that they have extended their joint research collaboration and attracted Sanofi as a partner in support of their program to develop a Synthetic Vaccine Particle (SVP) immunotherapy with the long-term goal to treat and potentially prevent the underlying cause of type 1 diabetes. This collaborative research program is aimed at accelerating the advancement of an SVP immunotherapy designed to reset the immune system and restore tolerance to substances (antigens) that cause the immune attacks on insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Selecta’s proprietary tolerogenic SVP products show potential to re-educate the immune system to stop or suppress pro-inflammatory responses against a specific antigen, thereby halting the undesirable immune reaction without causing harmful global immune suppression common with general immune system modulating drugs.
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Astellas Dives into Gene Therapy with a Harvard Expert in Tow

Japan's Astellas Pharma is the latest big drugmaker allured by the promise of gene therapy, mounting an R&D effort that could lead to a new treatment for an inherited eye disease. The company has signed a deal with Harvard Medical School investigator and gene therapy expert Constance Cepko to collaborate on a gene therapy approach to retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease that can damage vision and lead to blindness. The plan is to investigate whether harmless adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors can be used to deliver corrective genes to RP patients, Astellas said, in the process mapping out the mutations at the heart of the disease.
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Title: A Royalty-Free Way to Generate Functional Therapeutic Antibodies
Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Time: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM CDT

Space is limited! Reserve your Webinar Seat at:

This complimentary 45-minute presentation with Dr. John Thompson, of Aldevron, will be live and followed by a 15 minute Q&A session. Register today to reserve your seat or to receive notification of the available recording.
Click below to read the complete webinar description.
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