Cancer is not just one disease. It is a group of more than 100 different and distinctive diseases. Bringing together data, related to cancer, in an organized manner, is the task of ONCOWIKIA.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Responsible For Rising Oropharyngeal Cancer In The USA?

HPV which is responsible for cervical cancer now appear to be responsible for throat cancer. A Research team tested tumor samples from 271 patients with throat cancer diagnosed from 1984 to 2004. The Human papilloma virus was found in only 16% of the samples that were from the 1980s and increased to 72% of the samples collected during 2000s.

The researchers estimated that over all, throat cancers caused by the virus have increased to 2.6 per 100,000 people in 2004 from 0.8 cases per 100,000 people in 1988. If the trend continues, by 2020 the virus will be causing more throat cancer than cervical cancer, the study concluded.

There are two vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix, targetting HPV Type 16 and other strains of the HPV but they are only for girls, to protect them from cervical cancer. Now doctors say it might be a good idea to administer the vaccines to boys as well.

See th editorial doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.37.8893; listen to the podcast by Dr Gillison at

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Companion Diagnostic for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer From LabCorp.

BURLINGTON, N.C.-Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (LabCorp®) (NYSE: LH) announced today the nationwide availability of a new FDA-approved companion diagnostic for lung cancer patients.

The drug XALKORI®, available from Pfizer, and Abbott Molecular’s Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe companion diagnostic test were simultaneously approved by the FDA on August 26, 2011 for use in patients with advanced ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe test detects all ALK gene rearrangements and is the only available diagnostic assay that has been clinically validated to predict response to the targeted therapy XALKORI. An estimated 6,500-11,000 individual will develop advanced ALK-positive NSCLC in the United States in 2011.

“2011 has been an important year for personalized medicine,” indicated Dr. Mark Brecher, LabCorp's Chief Medical Officer. “The recent approval of XALKORI for NSCLC and its companion test demonstrates how laboratory diagnostics will play an even larger role in cancer care, assisting physicians in administering the treatments best suited to the disease.”

Approximately 3% to 5% of NSCLC tumors are characterized by genetic rearrangements in a gene called ALK. The ALK gene encodes a key cell signaling protein, and when altered by a rearrangement that combines ALK with other gene sequences, the pathway becomes constitutively active and drives cell proliferation and uncontrolled growth. The drug XALKORI inhibits the mutant ALK protein, and thereby diminishes the ability of the cancer cells to grow and divide. There is limited efficacy data in patients that lack the ALK rearrangement and a clinically validated companion diagnostic is essential for identifying which patients will benefit from therapy. The new FDA-approved Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe Kit for XALKORI detects a specific rearrangement in the ALK gene using a technique called fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH). The Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe Kit has been optimized only for identifying and quantifying rearrangements of the ALK gene from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded human NSCLC tissue specimens.

LabCorp’s Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology (CMBP), was instrumental in the studies supporting the approval of this new companion diagnostic. CMBP collaborated with Abbott Molecular in the analytical validation of the ALK companion diagnostic. LabCorp’s Esoterix Clinical Trials Services provided testing for tumor samples in these studies that supported FDA approval.

The Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe test is now available for patient testing nation-wide through LabCorp.

About LabCorp®

Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings, an S&P 500 company, is a pioneer in commercializing new diagnostic technologies and the first in its industry to embrace genomic testing. With annual revenues of $5.0 billion in 2010, over 31,000 employees worldwide, and more than 220,000 clients, LabCorp offers a broad test menu ranging from routine blood analyses to reproductive genetics to DNA sequencing. LabCorp furthers its scientific expertise and innovative clinical testing technology with its Centers of Excellence: The Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology, National Genetics Institute, ViroMed Laboratories, Inc., The Center for Esoteric Testing, Litholink Corporation, Genzyme GeneticsSM*, DIANON Systems, Inc., US LABS, Monogram Biosciences, Inc., and Esoterix and its Colorado Coagulation, Endocrine Sciences, and Cytometry Associates laboratories. LabCorp conducts clinical trials testing through its Esoterix Clinical Trials Services division. LabCorp clients include physicians, government agencies, managed care organizations, hospitals, clinical labs, and pharmaceutical companies. To learn more about our organization, visit our Web site at:

*Genzyme Genetics and its logo are trademarks of Genzyme Corporation and used by Esoterix Genetic Laboratories, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LabCorp, under license. Esoterix Genetic Laboratories and LabCorp are operated independently from Genzyme Corporation.

XALKORI is a trademark of Pfizer.

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Each of the forward-looking statements is subject to change based on various important factors, including without limitation, competitive actions in the marketplace and adverse actions of governmental and other third-party payors. Actual results could differ materially from those suggested by these forward-looking statements. Further information on potential factors that could affect LabCorp’s financial results is included in the Company’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, and subsequent SEC filings.

Investor/Media Contact:
Stephen Anderson, 336-436-5274
Company Information:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Two doses of the Cervarix vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV) is as effective as multiple dozes.

Two doses of the vaccine Cervarix targeting human papilloma virus (HPV) were discovered to be as effective as the current standard three-dose regimen after four years of follow-up, according to researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their colleagues. The results of the study, based on data from a community-based clinical trial of Cervarix in Costa Rica, appeared online Sept.9, 2011, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Worldwide, approximately 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed every year, and about 250,000 women die from the disease. An overwhelming majority of these new cases and deaths occur in low-resource countries. Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by persistent infection with HPV. Cervarix is one of two vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of cervical cancer caused by HPV types 16 and 18, which together account for 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases. The vaccine is intended to be administered in three doses given over the course of six months. To date, investigators have observed up to eight years of protection from persistent HPV infection with the vaccine. Studies are ongoing to determine the maximum length of protection.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Overcoming Cetuximab Resistance In Cancer Treatment Possible With ERBB2 inhibitors.

Kimio Yonesaka, MD, PhD, formerly of Dana-Farber and now at Kinki University School of Medicine, in Osaka, Japan, together with other scientists including Pasi Jänne, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber , have discovered a pair of backup circuits in cancer cells that enable the cells to bypass the effect of a widely used cancer drug cetuximab, an antibody that interferes with cancer cell growth by blocking a structure known as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).
Their research found out that interfering the said backup circuits ERBB2 with targeted therapies may heighten or restore the cetuximab’s potency. The paper covering the study is published in the Sept. 7 issue of Science Translational Medicine.
"ERBB2 activates a critical signaling pathway that is not normally blocked by cetuximab, and in this way subverts cetuximab’s function, Because ERBB2 isn’t affected by cetuximab, this is an easy way for cancers to become resistant to the drug."" says Jänne, the study's co-senior author with Kazuhiko Nakagawa, MD, PhD, of Kinki University.
"We hope the findings of our study will inspire the development of clinical trials aimed at overcoming cetuximab resistance, We've identified biomarkers that can be used to select cetuximab-resistant patients who may benefit from a combination of cetuximab and ERBB2 inhibitors."" Yonesaka remarks.

Abstract from Science Translational Medicine.
Cetuximab, an antibody directed against the epidermal growth factor receptor, is an effective clinical therapy for patients with colorectal, head and neck, and non–small cell lung cancer, particularly for those with KRAS and BRAF wild-type cancers. Treatment in all patients is limited eventually by the development of acquired resistance, but little is known about the underlying mechanism. Here, we show that activation of ERBB2 signaling in cell lines, either through ERBB2 amplification or through heregulin up-regulation, leads to persistent extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1/2 signaling and consequently to cetuximab resistance. Inhibition of ERBB2 or disruption of ERBB2/ERBB3 heterodimerization restores cetuximab sensitivity in vitro and in vivo. A subset of colorectal cancer patients who exhibit either de novo or acquired resistance to cetuximab-based therapy has ERBB2 amplification or high levels of circulating heregulin. Collectively, these findings identify two distinct resistance mechanisms, both of which promote aberrant ERBB2 signaling, that mediate cetuximab resistance. Moreover, these results suggest that ERBB2 inhibitors, in combination with cetuximab, represent a rational therapeutic strategy that should be assessed in patients with cetuximab-resistant cancers. 

Dana-Farber Press Release;

September 07, 2011 Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and colleagues overseas have discovered a pair of backup circuits in cancer cells that enable the cells to dodge the effect of a widely used cancer drug. Jamming those circuits with targeted therapies may heighten or restore the drug’s potency, according to a study published in the Sept. 7 issue of Science Translational Medicine.
The research focused on the drug cetuximab, an antibody that interferes with cancer cell growth by blocking a structure known as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Cetuximab is effective in many patients with colorectal cancer or squamous cell cancer of the head and neck, but the benefits rarely last longer than a year, and some patients receive no benefit from the drug.
Until now, scientists haven't known why cancers that initially respond to cetuximab become resistant to it, or how to overcome such resistance.

In the new study, researchers led by Pasi Jänne, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber and Kimio Yonesaka, MD, PhD, formerly of Dana-Farber and now at Kinki University School of Medicine, in Osaka, Japan, found that in some cetuximab-resistant cancer cells, a protein known as ERBB2 was actively sending "grow" signals, circumventing the "stop growing" signals triggered by cetuximab. The researchers discovered that ERBB2's activity sprang from an oversupply of the protein’s parent gene, Her2/neu, or by a related protein, ERBB3, when prompted by high levels of the protein heregulin. In both cases, the new growth messages are unaffected by cetuximab.
"ERBB2 activates a critical signaling pathway that is not normally blocked by cetuximab, and in this way subverts cetuximab’s function," says Jänne, the study's co-senior author with Kazuhiko Nakagawa, MD, PhD, of Kinki University. "Because ERBB2 isn’t affected by cetuximab, this is an easy way for cancers to become resistant to the drug."

The findings suggest that combining cetuximab with ERBB2-inhibiting drugs could be an effective therapy for cancers that are cetuximab-resistant from the start or for those that become resistant over time, the study authors say. Several such inhibitors have already been approved, while others are undergoing clinical study.
"We hope the findings of our study will inspire the development of clinical trials aimed at overcoming cetuximab resistance," Yonesaka remarks. "We've identified biomarkers that can be used to select cetuximab-resistant patients who may benefit from a combination of cetuximab and ERBB2 inhibitors."
Jänne estimates that up to 40 percent of colorectal cancers are cetuximab-resistant when first diagnosed. He notes that although the ERBB2 pathway may be responsible for many cases of cetuximab resistance, there are undoubtedly other pathways, yet to be discovered, that play a similar role. Further research is needed to confirm ERBB2's role in cetuximab resistance and to develop strategies for testing ERBB2 inhibitors and cetuximab in clinical trials.
Funding for the study was provided by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and the Hazel and Samuel Bellin research fund.
Co-authors of the paper include Kreshnik Zejnullahu, Dalia Ercan, Andrew Rogers, Juliet Philips, MS, Jason Sun, Takafumi Okabe, MD, PhD, Jeffrey Swanson, MD, and Ramesh Shivdasani, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber; Isamu Okamoto, MD, PhD, Taroh Satoh, MD, Masayuki Takeda, MD, PhD, Yasuhito Fujisaka, MD, Toshio Shimizu, MD, PhD, Osamu Maenishi, Hiroyuki Itoh, MD, Kiyotaka Okuno, MD, Minoru Takada, MD, Masahiro Fukuoka, MD, and Kazuto Nishio, MD, PhD, Kinki University, Osaka, Japan; Federico Cappuzzo, MD, Massimo Roncalli, MD, and Annarita Destro, PhD, Instituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano, Italy; John Souglakos, MD, PhD, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece; Yonggon Cho, and Marileila Varella-Garcia, University of Colorado Cancer Center, Denver; Koichi Taira, MD, and Koji Takeda, MD, Osaka City General Hospital, Japan; and Eugene Lifshits and Jeffrey Engelman, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital.
cetuximab  (From NCI Drug Dictionary) 
A recombinant, chimeric monoclonal antibody directed against the epidermal growth factor (EGFR) with antineoplastic activity. Cetuximab binds to the extracellular domain of the EGFR, thereby preventing the activation and subsequent dimerization of the receptor; the decrease in receptor activation and dimerization may result in an inhibition in signal transduction and anti-proliferative effects. This agent may inhibit EGFR-dependent primary tumor growth and metastasis. EGFR is overexpressed on the cell surfaces of various solid tumors. Check for active clinical trials or closed clinical trials using this agent. (NCI Thesaurus)

Synonyms:Anti-EGFR Monoclonal Antibody
Anti-Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Monoclonal Antibody
C225 monoclonal antibody
Chimeric Anti-EGFR Monoclonal Antibody
Chimeric Monoclonal Antibody C225
Immunoglobulin G1, anti-(human epidermal growth factor receptor) (human-mouse monoclonal C225 gamma1-chain), disulfide with human-mouse monoclonal C225 kappa-chain, dimer
monoclonal antibody C225
US brand name:Erbitux
Abbreviations:Chimeric MoAb C225
Code names:C225

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

P53 Gene Mutations Found To Play Major Role In Early Cancer

Mutations to a gene called p53 have been linked to half of all cancers, leading to tumor growth and the spread of cancerous cells.

Now, a Cornell-led study identifies for the first time the mechanisms by which p53 controls cell movement and invasion into other areas of the body.

Using cultures of ovarian surface epithelium cells, where ovarian cancer originates, the researchers found that when they inactivated the p53 gene, the cells began to move and invade the underlying gelatinous protein mixture used in the lab that resembles an extracellular tissue environment.

"People thought that cell motility and invasion were part of later stages of cancer, but we show that this characteristic can be found in cells at the very beginning of cancer formation," said Chang-Il Hwang, lead author of the paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and a graduate student in the lab of Cornell biomedical sciences professor and senior author Alexander Nikitin.

Under normal circumstances, p53 regulates the expression of a receptor protein called MET. But when p53 mutates, MET overexpresses, leading to cell movement and invasive growth. The researchers found two distinct pathways by which p53 regulates and suppresses MET.

"One of the next steps is to study ways to inhibit MET," said Hwang. "Our findings support the idea that suppression of MET could be a particularly reasonable and effective approach to controlling cancer carrying p53 mutations. We hope our findings can be generalized into other types of cancer as well."

In tests, the researchers found the p53 and MET network were consistent in both lung and colon cancer.

Mutations of p53 take many forms, with the most common mutation affecting one of the pathways that regulates MET but not the other pathway. By understanding how different p53 mutations affect each of the two pathways, researchers may one day develop individualized cancer therapies by suppressing MET, said Hwang.

"Different p53 mutations may affect the cancer from different angles," he added.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer, Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FDA Rejection Of Exelbine For Treating Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Affects ADVENTRX Pharmaceuticals Share Prices

ADVENTRX Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Amex:ANX) Fell hard due to the new about FDA Rejection of New Drug Application For Lung Cancer Treatment; Shares Drop -1.48 (57.87%) @ 11:18AM EDT.
ADVENTRX Pharmaceuticals Inc. will hold a conference call and a webcast;

Conference Call and Webcast

ADVENTRX will hold a conference call on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time to review the developments discussed in this news release and answer questions. Individuals interested in listening to the conference call may do so by dialing (800) 860-2442 for domestic callers, (412) 858-4600 for international callers and requesting the ADVENTRX Pharmaceuticals Update Call, or, from the webcast on the investor relations section of the Company's Web site at A telephone replay will be available for five days approximately one hour after the conclusion of the call by dialing (877) 344-7529 for domestic callers, or (412) 317-0088 for international callers, and entering conference number 10003222. The webcast will be available on the Company's Web site for 30 days following the completion of the call.

Press Release;

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ADVENTRX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex: ANX) announced today that it received a complete response letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the Company's New Drug Application (NDA) for Exelbine (vinorelbine injectable emulsion) for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.

The FDA determined that it could not approve the Exelbine NDA in its present form. In particular, the complete response letter noted that, based on inspections at clinical sites, the authenticity of the drug products used in the pivotal bioequivalence trial (Study 530-01) could not be verified, which placed the results of the trial into question. The letter stated that the bioequivalence trial will need to be repeated to address this deficiency.

In addition, the FDA requested information regarding product quality, or CMC matters. All CMC information requests in the complete response letter were the subject of FDA inquiries from earlier in the review cycle, and the Company had submitted responses to each request prior to receipt of the complete response letter.

"We are disappointed with the FDA's determination and, next week, plan to request a type A meeting to discuss its response. Following that meeting, we will be in a better position to comment on the future of our Exelbine program. However, we believe the authenticity of the drug products used in the pivotal study is verifiable and plan to discuss FDA's concerns in this regard. We also will inquire whether FDA has comments to our previously submitted responses," said Brian M. Culley, Chief Executive Officer of ADVENTRX.

"In the meantime, our resources and focus are on ANX-188 and ANX-514, which we believe are the long-term value drivers for our company. Our cash and equivalents of $40.7 million at July 31, plus cost savings from delaying or potentially discontinuing the Exelbine program, will provide us the capital to continue to advance both of these programs," Mr. Culley added.

The Company believes that FDA's concern over drug product authenticity stems from the procedures used to select testing and reserve samples in Study 530-01 and the availability of testing and reserve samples for inspection. The Company believes the procedures used to select testing and reserve samples in Study 530-01 were adequate to verify the authenticity of the drug products. Of note, Exelbine and the reference product come in different package presentations, require different preparation procedures and have different physical characteristics. Based on the different characteristics between the study drugs, the Company believes it is unlikely that study sites would confuse the two study drugs or fail to recognize which drug was being administered to a patient.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brain Tumor, Scientists Find Cause Of The Tumors, Gene Mutations.

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Duke University have completed a comprehensive map of genetic mutations occurring in the second-most common form of brain cancer, oligodendroglioma. The papers were published the August 4 ahead-of-print issue of the journal Science.
These findings were only possible due to the advancement of science and technology.
"The team used whole genome sequencing technology so that no genes would be excluded, and we found to our surprise that one gene, on chromosome 19, was mutated in six out of the seven initial tumor specimens we sequenced,A mutation frequency of 85 percent is very high." said Hai Yan, MD, PhD, Duke associate professor of pathology and co-corresponding author of the study.

Press release by John Hopkins (the Press release by Duke University is here);

Release Date: 08/04/2011

--Findings reveal cause of the tumors

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists have completed a comprehensive map of genetic mutations occurring in the second-most common form of brain cancer, oligodendroglioma. The findings, reported in the Aug. 4 issue of Science, also appear to reveal the biological cause of the tumors, they say.

To create the map, the scientists sequenced protein-coding genes in seven oligodendroglioma tissue samples, and focused attention on recurring mutations in two genes not previously associated with these tumors – CIC and FUBP1. The investigators say that CIC and FUBP1 are known to regulate cell-signaling processes, and CIC mutations have been rarely linked to sarcoma, breast and prostate cancers.

More mutations in the two genes were found in an additional 27 oligodendroglioma samples. In all, two-thirds of the samples studied had CIC and FUBP1 mutations.

“Whenever we find genes mutated in a majority of tumors, it is likely that the pathway regulated by that gene is critical for the development and biology of the tumor,” says Nickolas Papadopoulos, Ph.D., associate professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

In brain cancer, the Johns Hopkins investigators say CIC and FUBP1 mutations may be the “missing link” in what scientists describe as a “two-hit” theory of cancer development. The theory is based on the fact that each cell in the human body has two copies of 23 chromosomes containing thousands of protein-producing genes. If a gene on one chromosome is damaged or deleted, the other copy makes up for the loss of protein. But if the second copy fails as well, the cell cannot make the proper protein and may become cancerous.

In oligodendrogliomas, the “first hit” has long been known to occur in regions of chromosome 1 and 19, which fuse together resulting in a loss of many genes on both chromosomes. Up to 70 percent of oligodendroglioma patients have these DNA fusions, and most of them respond better to chemotherapy and radiation than those who lack the deletions in the chromosomes. For more than a decade, researchers have been looking for evidence of a “second hit” in specific mutated genes that allow oligodendrogliomas to develop.

In the current study, the Johns Hopkins investigators found mutations in the remaining copies of the CIC and FUBP1 genes on chromosomes 1 and 19, suggesting that these mutations represent the second hit needed to create cancer.

“Thanks to the Human Genome Project and advances in cancer genome sequencing, a single study can now resolve decade-old questions and reveal the genetics of this brain cancer,” says Kenneth Kinzler, Ph.D., professor and co-director of the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins. “Knowing the genetic roadmap of a cancer is the key to attacking it.”

Oligodendrogliomas account for up to 20 percent of brain cancers and more commonly occur in younger people aged 30 to 45. The cancer forms most often in the frontal lobe of the brain in cells that coat neurons. Median survival of 10 years is considered far better than other brain cancers. Oligodendrogliomas are treated initially with surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation.

The research team says its next step will be to test whether patients with CIC and FUBP1 mutations have the same favorable prognosis as those who have the chromosome 1 and 19 fusion, says Chetan Bettegowda, M.D., Ph.D., chief resident in the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.

“We can focus now on when these mutations develop during tumor formation, whether they can guide prognosis, and how they might form targets for therapy,” says Bettegowda.

Bettegowda says the gene map uncovered mutations in other genes, such as PIK3CA, which have been well-studied in cancer. It is possible, he says, that oligodendroglioma patients with mutations in PIK3CA or other genes could be enrolled in current clinical trials using experimental therapies that target these mutations.

Funding for the research was provided by the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center Core, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, state funding from Sao Paulo (FAPESP), the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health.

Contributors to the research include Nishant Agrawal, Yuchen Jiao, Mark Sausen, Laura D. Wood, Ralph H. Hruban, Fausto J. Rodriguez, Daniel P. Cahill, Gregory Riggins, Victor Velculescu and Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins; Roger McLendon, Darell Bigner and Hai Yan of Duke University; and Sueli Mieko Oba-Shinjo and Suely Kazue Nagahashi Marie of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Under agreements between the Johns Hopkins University, Genzyme, Exact Sciences, Inostics, Qiagen, Invitrogen and Personal Genome Diagnostics, Papadopoulos, Vogelstein, Kinzler and Velculescu are entitled to a share of the royalties received by the university on sales of products related to genes and technologies described in this manuscript. Papadopoulos, Vogelstein, Kinzler, and Velculescu are co-founders of Inostics and Personal Genome Diagnostics, are members of their Scientific Advisory Boards, and own Inostics and Personal Genome Diagnostics stock, which is subject to certain restrictions under Johns Hopkins University policy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stand Up To Cancer, Where Your Money Goes!

Stand Up To Cancer PI3K Pathway scientists explain their ongoing progress and look towards the future.

If you ever wondered where all the money you donated to Stand Up To Cancer go. Please watch the above video. And if you have not donated yet or want to learn more about Stand Up To Cancer PI3K Pathway, follow the link below.

"Rarely do you see responses with investigational drugs in phase one but with these compounds some very dramatic responses are being seen." - Dr. Lewis C. Cantley SU2C PI3K Dream Team Leader
SU2C, Stand Up To Cancer

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sarilumab Succeeds In Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis But Fails In Addressing Ankylosing Spondylitis in Phase 2b Trial

Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) announced the outcome from Phase 2b trials in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) with sarilumab (REGN88/SAR153191), a novel, high-affinity, subcutaneously administered, fully-human antibody targeting the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R).
Sarilumab Succeeded in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis but failed in addressing Ankylosing Spondylitis, a long-term disease that causes inflammation of the joints between the spinal bones, and the joints between the spine and pelvis in Phase 2b Trial.

"Following these encouraging Phase 2b results in rheumatoid arthritis, the companies are currently discussing the dose(s) of sarilumab to advance into the Phase 3 portion of the MOBILITY trial," said Elias Zerhouni, President, Global Research & Development, Sanofi.

Further details about the MOBILITY trial are available at

Press release;

PARIS and TARRYTOWN, N.Y., July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced results from Phase 2b trials in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) with sarilumab (REGN88/SAR153191), a novel, high-affinity, subcutaneously administered, fully-human antibody targeting the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R).

The Phase 2b MOBILITY trial in rheumatoid arthritis demonstrated that patients treated with sarilumab in combination with a standard RA treatment, methotrexate (MTX), achieved a significant and clinically meaningful improvement in signs and symptoms of moderate-to-severe RA compared to patients treated with MTX alone. The MOBILITY study is a 306-patient, dose-ranging, multi-national, randomized, multi-arm, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, that compared five different dose regimens of sarilumab in combination with MTX to placebo plus MTX. The primary endpoint of the study was the proportion of patients achieving at least a 20% improvement in RA symptoms (ACR20) after 12 weeks.

In the MOBILITY trial, there was a dose response observed in patients receiving sarilumab in combination with MTX. An ACR20 response after 12 weeks was seen in 49.0% of patients receiving the lowest sarilumab dose regimen and 72.0% of patients receiving the highest dose regimen compared to 46.2% of patients receiving placebo and MTX (p=0.02, corrected for multiplicity, for the highest sarilumab dose regimen). The most common adverse events (>5%) reported more frequently in active treatment arms included infections (non-serious), neutropenia, and liver function test abnormalities. The types and frequencies of adverse events were consistent with those previously reported with IL-6 inhibition. The incidence of serious adverse events among the five sarilumab treatment groups and placebo group were comparable.

Sarilumab also demonstrated significant benefit compared to placebo in secondary endpoints, including ACR 50, ACR 70, and DAS 28 scores, additional measures of clinical activity used in RA trials.

"Following these encouraging Phase 2b results in rheumatoid arthritis, the companies are currently discussing the dose(s) of sarilumab to advance into the Phase 3 portion of the MOBILITY trial," said Elias Zerhouni, President, Global Research & Development, Sanofi.

"The MOBILITY results provide evidence that IL-6R blockade with sarilumab represents a promising new anti-inflammatory investigational therapy for reducing RA disease symptoms. We are very pleased that the first of our novel VelocImmune®derived antibodies is poised to enter Phase 3 development," said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron and President of Regeneron Research Laboratories.

In the Phase 2b ALIGN trial in ankylosing spondylitis (AS), sarilumab did not demonstrate significant and clinically meaningful improvements in signs and symptoms of active AS compared to placebo in patients who had inadequate response to NSAIDs. Sarilumab was generally well tolerated. The most common adverse events reported more frequently in active treatment arms included infections and neutropenia.

Full data of both Phase 2b trials will be submitted for presentation at an upcoming scientific conference.

About Sarilumab

Sarilumab (REGN88/ SAR153191) is the first fully human monoclonal antibody directed against the alpha subunit of the IL-6 receptor complex (IL-6R alpha). Sarilumab is a high affinity, sub-cutaneously delivered, specific inhibitor of IL-6 signaling. It blocks the binding of IL-6 to its receptor and interrupts the resultant cytokine-mediated inflammatory signaling cascade. Sarilumab was developed using Regeneron VelocImmune® antibody technology.

About the MOBILITY Trial

The MOBILITY trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter, two-part, dose ranging and confirmatory study with an operationally seamless design, evaluating efficacy and safety of sarilumab on top of MTX in patients with active RA who are inadequate responders to MTX therapy. The primary objective of part A of the dose ranging MOBILITY trial was to demonstrate that sarilumab on top of MTX is effective in reducing the signs and symptoms of RA at 12 weeks. The five doses tested were 100 milligrams (mg) and 150 mg every week and 100 mg, 150 mg and 200 mg every other week. The primary objective of part B of the MOBILITY trial will be to demonstrate that sarilumab on top of MTX is effective in reducing the signs and symptoms of RA at 24 weeks. Further details about the MOBILITY trial are available at

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease affecting approximately 0.5%–1% of the global adult population. Abnormal immune response causes an inflamed, thickened synovium, the membrane that lines the joint. As synovitis expands, the inflammatory process can damage the bone and cartilage of the joint and the surrounding tissues. RA-related inflammation can involve the heart and the lung. In 10% of patients with RA the liver is affected. Complications of RA include anemia and leucopenia. At times RA can be very painful and affect a person's ability to carry out everyday tasks. Most people with RA experience periods when their symptoms worsen (flares or active disease) separated by periods in which the symptoms improve. Studies suggest that blockade of IL-6 signaling, one of several key cytokines involved in the inflammatory processes related to RA, may reduce inflammation of the joints, prevent long-term damage and relieve certain systemic effects of RA such as decreased hemoglobin, fatigue and osteoporosis.

About the ALIGN Trial

The 300-patient ALIGN trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose ranging study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of sarilumab in patients with AS who had an inadequate response to NSAIDs. The primary outcome measure of the trial was the percentage of patients who achieved a 20% improvement in AS International Working Group Criteria for improvement (ASAS20) at 12 weeks. The secondary endpoints included ASAS40 response, partial remission, and changes in disease activity, safety and tolerability. In the ALIGN trial, the same dose regimens were tested as in part A of the MOBILITY trial. Further details about the ALIGN trial can be found at

About Sanofi

Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed inParis (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

About Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Regeneron is a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, and commercializes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions. In addition to ARCALYST® (rilonacept) Injection for Subcutaneous Use, its first commercialized product, Regeneron has therapeutic candidates in Phase III clinical trials for the potential treatment of gout, diseases of the eye (wet age-related macular degeneration, central retinal vein occlusion, and diabetic macular edema), and certain cancers. Additional therapeutic candidates developed from proprietary Regeneron technologies for creating fully human monoclonal antibodies are in earlier stage development programs in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, pain, cholesterol reduction, allergic and immune conditions, and cancer. Additional information about Regeneron and recent news releases are available on Regeneron's web site at

Sanofi Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives, intentions and expectations with respect to future financial results, events, operations, services, product development and potential, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words "expects", "anticipates", "believes", "intends", "estimates", "plans" and similar expressions. Although Sanofi's management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Sanofi, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, future clinical data and analysis, including post marketing, decisions by regulatory authorities, such as the FDA or the EMA, regarding whether and when to approve any drug, device or biological application that may be filed for any such product candidates as well as their decisions regarding labeling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of such products candidates, the absence of guarantee that the products candidates if approved will be commercially successful, the future approval and commercial success of therapeutic alternatives, the Group's ability to benefit from external growth opportunities as well as those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by Sanofi, including those listed under "Risk Factors" and "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" in Sanofi's annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2010. Other than as required by applicable law, Sanofi does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements.

Regeneron Forward-Looking Statements

This news release includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties relating to future events and the future financial performance of Regeneron, and actual events or results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. These statements concern, and these risks and uncertainties include, among others, the nature, timing, and possible success and therapeutic applications of Regeneron's product candidates and research and clinical programs now underway or planned, the likelihood and timing of possible regulatory approval and commercial launch of Regeneron's late-stage product candidates, determinations by regulatory and administrative governmental authorities which may delay or restrict Regeneron's ability to continue to develop or commercialize Regeneron's product and drug candidates, competing drugs that may be superior to Regeneron's product and drug candidates, uncertainty of market acceptance of Regeneron's product and drug candidates, unanticipated expenses, the availability and cost of capital, the costs of developing, producing, and selling products, the potential for any license or collaboration agreement, including Regeneron's agreements with the Sanofi Group and Bayer HealthCare, to be canceled or terminated without any product success, and risks associated with third party intellectual property and pending or future litigation relating thereto. A more complete description of these and other material risks can be found in Regeneron's filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 and Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2011. Regeneron does not undertake any obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, unless required by law.



Global Product Communications

Corporate Media Relations

Ingrid Gorg-Armbrecht

Marisol Peron

Tel: +33 (0) 1 53 77 46 25

Tel: +33 (0) 1 53 77 45 02

Mobile: + 33(0) 6 38 10 50 87

Mobile: +33 (0) 6 08 18 94 78



Investor Relations

Media Relations

Michael Aberman, M.D.

Peter Dworkin

Tel: 1 (914) 345-7799

Tel: 1 (914) 345-7640

SOURCE Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Asbestos, You And Cancer Risk

Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals with long, thin fibers. It was once used widely as insulation. It also occurs in the environment. Asbestos fibers are so small you can't see them. Disturbing asbestos can cause fibers to float in the air. When this happens, they are easy to inhale. You breathe out most fibers, but some become lodged in the lungs. Over time, they can build up in the lungs, causing scarring and inflammation. This can eventually affect breathing and lead to disease, such as

Asbestosis, or scarring of the lungs that makes it hard to breathe
Mesothelioma, a rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs or abdomen
Lung cancer
Lung diseases associated with asbestos usually develop over many years. Smoking cigarettes increases the risk.

Exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of asbestosis, other nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers.
Smokers who are also exposed to asbestos have a greatly increased risk of lung cancer.
Individuals who have been exposed (or suspect they have been exposed) to asbestos on the job, through the environment, or at home through a family contact should inform their physician and report any symptoms.
Government agencies can provide additional information on asbestos exposure.
Learn more at National Cancer Institute in Spanish

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why You Should Get Screened for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer screening means looking for cancer before it causes symptoms. This helps to find cancer at an early stage when it may be easier to treat.
Tests that are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer are—
  • Digital rectal exam (DRE): A doctor or nurse will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate. This allows the examiner to estimate the size of the prostate and feel for any lumps or other abnormalities.
  • Prostate specific antigen test (PSA): The PSA test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.
As a rule, the higher the PSA level in the blood, the more likely a prostate problem is present. But many factors, such as age and race, can affect PSA levels. Some prostate glands produce more PSA than others. PSA levels also can be affected by—
  • Certain medical procedures.
  • Certain medications.
  • An enlarged prostate.
  • A prostate infection.
Because many factors can affect PSA levels, your doctor is the best person to interpret your PSA test results.

Should I Get Screened for Prostate Cancer?

Not all medical experts agree that screening for prostate cancer will save lives. Currently, there is not enough evidence to decide if the potential benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the potential risks.
Potential benefits of prostate cancer screening include—
  • Screening can detect cancers early.
  • Treatment for prostate cancer may be more effective when it is found early.
Potential risks of prostate cancer screening include—
  • False positive test results (indicating that you have prostate cancer when in fact you do not) that lead to further tests and can cause anxiety.
  • Treatment of some prostate cancers that may have never affected a man's health even if left untreated.
  • Treatment may lead to serious side effects such as impotence (inability to keep an erection) and incontinence (inability to control the flow of urine, resulting in leakage).
CDC and other federal agencies follow the prostate cancer screening guidelines set forth by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force,External Web Site Icon which state that there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine screening for prostate cancer using PSA or DRE.
CDC Prostate Cancer information center.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Transforms Cancer Care with Cisco Telepresence, A Webinar.

You have an oppertunity to join a live, immersive one-hour seminar,on how telepresence can transform the treatment of cancer patients. It will be held on June 23 1:00 PM EST. In the this Webinar  Michael Young, Director of Telemedicine at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, will be discussing how Cisco TelePresence is helping to transform the treatment of cancer patients and cancer care.

Learn first-hand how oncologists are using Cisco TelePresence to:
•Review patient cases with top specialists irrespective of
distance or location
•Accelerate discussions about treatment options and facilitate
timely recommendations
•Enable immersive, high-quality consultations

If your organization is looking for a better way to enable clinician collaboration beyond your hospital’s four walls, or you want to learn how oncologists employ video conferencing together with data sharing, this is one session you don’t want to miss. You can register at Cisco by following the link below.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Eli Lilly's ALMTA Reaches Primary Endpoint In Phase III Study (PARAMOUNT) In Keeping Lung Cancer Alive.

Eli Lilly and company has reached a decisive endpoint in the Phase III ALIMTA study, PARAMOUNT. The study evaluated ALIMTA® (pemetrexed for injection) in the continuation maintenance setting to determine the progression free survival, or the time a patient alive without worsening of the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a specific type of lung cancer

"PARAMOUNT demonstrated that an ALIMTA continuation maintenance regimen—single-agent ALIMTA following ALIMTA plus cisplatin induction therapy—can improve progression-free survival in patients with the most common form of lung cancer," said Allen S. Melemed, M.D., M.B.A., ALIMTA medical product development leader at Lilly Oncology.   "This finding continues to validate the use of ALIMTA maintenance treatment for certain patients living with this devastating disease."   

Here is the Eli Lily Press Release;

Pivotal Phase III ALIMTA study met primary endpoint

INDIANAPOLIS, June 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced today that PARAMOUNT, its Phase III study evaluating ALIMTA® (pemetrexed for injection) in the continuation maintenance setting, met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival, or the time a patient is alive without their disease worsening, for patients with a specific type of lung cancer called advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
"Continuation maintenance" treatment is when one of the same medicines used in first-line treatment setting is continued as maintenance therapy in an effort to control the cancer.  
Results from the study will be presented on Sunday, June 5 at 11:30 a.m. CDT during the Lung Cancer Oral Abstract Session (Abstract #CRA7510) at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, Ill.  Lilly will present overall survival results from PARAMOUNT at a medical meeting in the future.
PARAMOUNT is the second study to evaluate the use of ALIMTA as a maintenance therapy in patients with advanced nonsquamous NSCLC, and the first study to evaluate the use of continuation maintenance with ALIMTA(1) following first-line ALIMTA plus cisplatin therapy.
Results of this multicenter, double-blind trial demonstrated the median progression-free survival measured from randomization (after first-line treatment) was 3.9 months on the ALIMTA arm as compared to 2.6 months on the placebo arm with a hazard ratio of 0.64.  Said another way, the study showed that ALIMTA continuation maintenance arm resulted in a 36 percent improvement of survival without disease worsening over the placebo arm. The maintenance disease control rate, or the percentage of patients achieving either a response or stable disease first measured at 6 weeks post-randomization was 71.8 percent (2.8%/69.0%) on the ALIMTA arm and 59.6 percent (0.6%/59.0%) on the placebo arm.  
"PARAMOUNT demonstrated that an ALIMTA continuation maintenance regimen—single-agent ALIMTA following ALIMTA plus cisplatin induction therapy—can improve progression-free survival in patients with the most common form of lung cancer," said Allen S. Melemed, M.D., M.B.A., ALIMTA medical product development leader at Lilly Oncology.   "This finding continues to validate the use of ALIMTA maintenance treatment for certain patients living with this devastating disease."    
A total of 939 patients with advanced nonsquamous NSCLC were enrolled in the study and received ALIMTA (500 mg/m2 on day one of a 21-day cycle) in combination with cisplatin (75 mg/m2) induction therapy.  Patients whose disease had not progressed during the ALIMTA+cisplatin induction and had a performance status of 0-1 (n=439) were randomized to receive ALIMTA maintenance (500 mg/m2 on day one of a 21-day cycle) plus best supportive care (n=359) or placebo plus best supportive care (n=180) until disease progression.  All patients received vitamin B12, folic acid and dexamethasone.
Overall, the most serious (grade 3/4) drug-related adverse events (AEs) were higher for those treated with ALIMTA continuation maintenance versus placebo (9.2% vs. 0.6% laboratory and 8.9% vs. 4.4% non-laboratory). The most commonly reported drug-related AEs observed on the ALIMTA arm versus placebo were anemia (4.2% vs. 0.6%), fatigue (4.5% vs. 0.6%), and neutropenia (3.6% vs. 0%).  There was one potentially drug-related death on each arm. Discontinuations due to AEs were 5.3 percent with ALIMTA and 3.3 percent with placebo.
The study was conducted in patients with advanced nonsquamous NSCLC because past studies have shown that advanced NSCLC patients with a nonsquamous histology (those with adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, or other subtypes) experienced improved efficacy over the relative comparator arm in the trial (an increase in progression-free survival, as well as overall survival), when treated with an ALIMTA regimen.(1,2) Patients with advanced NSCLC with squamous cell histology were not included in the PARAMOUNT study as ALIMTA has not shown to be effective in this patient population relative to the comparators in these previous trials.
About Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
Globally, lung cancer is the most common form of cancer and the biggest killer, causing 1.3 million cancer deaths annually.(3)  About 85 — 90 percent of all lung cancers are NSCLC.(4)  The liver, bones and brain are potential targets if the cancerous cells enter the bloodstream.
NSCLC comprises a group of histologies or tumor types differentiated by cellular structure. Nonsquamous histology includes adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma, which account for more than half of all NSCLC diagnoses(5), as well histologies classified as "other."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pfizer's Sutent Approved By FDA For Treating Rare Type Of Pancreatic Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Sutent (sunitinib) to treat patients with progressive neuroendocrine cancerous tumors located in the pancreas that cannot be removed by surgery or that have spread to other parts of the body (metastatic).
Neuroendocrine tumors found in the pancreas are slow-growing and rare. It is estimated that there are fewer than 1,000 new cases in the United States each year.
This is the second new approval by the FDA to treat patients with this disease; on May 5, the agency approved Afinitor (everolimus).

“FDA believes it is important to provide cancer patients with as many treatment options as possible,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Oncology Drug Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The agency is committed to working with companies to bring innovative new therapies to the market and encourages companies to continue exploring additional uses for approved products.”
The safety and effectiveness of Sutent was established in a single study of 171 patients with metastatic (late-stage) or locally advanced (disease that could not be removed with surgery) disease who received Sutent or a placebo (sugar pill). The study was designed to measure the length of time a patient lived before their disease spread or worsened (progression-free survival).
Results from the study demonstrate that Sutent provided benefit to patients by prolonging the median length of time they lived without the cancer spreading or worsening to 10.2 months compared to 5.4 months for patients who received placebo.
In patients treated with Sutent for neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors, the most commonly reported side effects included diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anorexia, high blood pressure, energy loss (asthenia), stomach (abdominal) pain, changes in hair color, inflammation of the mouth (stomatitis), and a decrease in infection-fighting white blood cells (neutropenia).
Sutent is also FDA-approved to treat patients with late-stage kidney cancer (metastatic renal cell carcinoma) and to treat patients with GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumor), a rare cancer of the stomach, bowel, or esophagus.
Sutent is marketed by New York City-based Pfizer.