“The novel therapies presented today could have a major impact on some very hard-to-treat cancers, such as those that progress despite all other forms of therapy,” said Lynn Schuchter, MD, ASCO co-moderator of the news briefing and professor of medicine at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “Particularly exciting is a new monoclonal antibody which improves survival for advanced melanoma and a promising treatment for medulloblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer among children.”
“The pace of discovery in cancer medicine continues to accelerate, and the innovative therapies discussed here underscore the need for continued commitment to clinical cancer research,” said ASCO news briefing co-moderator Sonali Smith, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. “The molecularly targeted treatments discussed here are the direct result of our growing understanding of the biology of the cancer cell.”
Studies highlighted in the press briefing include:
- Antibody Drug Ipilimumab Improves Long-Term Survival in Previously Treated Advanced Melanoma: A Phase III trial featured in an ASCO plenary session finds that patients with advanced, previously treated melanoma who received the monoclonal antibody ipilimumab lived 34 percent longer than those who received the immune-stimulating gp100 peptide vaccine. The clinical trial is the first randomized study to find an improvement in survival for advanced melanoma, which has few treatment options.
- Dasatinib Is More Effective than Imatinib for Newly Diagnosed Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: A Phase III study has found that dasatinib (Sprycel) is superior to the standard first-line drug, imatinib (Gleevec), for bringing about cytogenetic and molecular responses in patients newly diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
- Targeted Therapy Shows Early Indications of Benefit for Drug-Resistant Medulloblastoma in Children: A small Phase I study on a novel targeted agent for children with drug-resistant medulloblastoma shows early indications of therapeutic benefit, with at least one patient remaining on the treatment for an extended period without disease progression. The drug, GDC-0449, targets the “sonic hedgehog pathway,” which has been associated with 20 percent of medulloblastomas, as well as other cancers.
For consumer-oriented information on these studies and more than 120 cancer types, please refer your readers to ASCO’s patient website, www.cancer.net.
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