Robert Andtbacka of the University of Utah provides an overview about “very encouraging” studies of oncolytic immunotherapies in melanoma, such as talimogene laherparepvec and coxsackievirus A21. Both injected and non-injected lesions have responded to this approach.
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Ken Attie, MD, Vice President of Medical Research at Acceleron Pharma in Cambridge, Massachusetts, talks about the beta-thalassemia medications his company is developing with Celgene. At a meeting of the European Hematology Association, data from two clinical trials—one for each drug, ACE-011 (sotatercept) and ACE-536—showed varying improvements in red blood cell counts, reductions in transfusions, and relief of fatigue. Both medications have received the FDA’s orphan drug designation.
Hervé Dombret, MD, of Hopital Saint Louis in Paris, describes a phase 3 trial that compared azacitadine with conventional care (including intensive chemotherapy and best supportive care) in older patients with acute myeloid leukemia. The study, presented at the European Hematology Association meeting in Milan, showed a median gain of about four months in overall survival with azacitadine.
Merrick Ross, chief of the melanoma section in the Department of Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, discusses the promising role of intralesional therapies for melanoma. Recent research has credited these injectables with prompting both a local and systemic response in patients, who often have a high rate of distant disease.
Merrick Ross, chief of the melanoma section in the Department of Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, says a phase 2 trial of Rose Bengal 10% as a chemical ablative agent injected directly into melanoma tumors yielded “very impressive data.” Even “bystander” lesions that were not injected showed good partial and complete responses, confirming the agent’s systemic value. Because of low toxicity, the treatment could be useful not only in combination with other therapies but as monotherapy for patients who aren’t good candidates for more toxic systemic treatments.