Monday, June 05, 2006

Oncology news from ASCO plus a competitor to antibody therapeutics

DailyUpdates 5th June, 2006: With ASCO (The American Society of Clinical Oncology) now in full swing, cancer is not surprisingly the focus of today's news section and out of the 20 or so press releases featured we highlight and announcement by Cell Genesys describing the development of their GVAX vaccine for the treatment of CML. In their phase 2 trial the company reports that a complete molecular response is seen in 25% of patients whose treatment included GVAX - this compares to historical data of about 10% in patients not receiving GVAX. Many of the studies presented at ASCO involve the development of antibody therapeutics - not surprising given that oncology represents the primary indication of many therapeutic antibodies. Todays featured journal article describes a new competitor to antibodies involving the use of peptides derived from bacteria that are able to penetrate the cell blocking specific protein-protein interactions. For further information on this phylomer technology plus Cell Genesys' announcement, read on; alternatively access today's DailyUpdates for full details of this and all of today's selected press releases and breaking research.

Phylomer technology as a new alternative to antibodies as a approach to proof of concept studies and therapeutics:
The monoclonal antibody market is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative sectors of the pharmaceutical industry, with exceptional. It has the potential to triple in value over the next six years and reach $30.3 billion in 2010, driven by technological evolution from chimeric and humanized to fully human antibodies (see our feature Monoclonal Antibody Therapies). Despite success in this arena antibody technology is limited by barriers to delivery and in particular these therapeutics cannot access intracellular proteins. This limitation also applies to the use of antibodies as experimental tools. Today's featured paper describes an alternative approach based on libraries of natural, highly structured bacteria-derived peptides that act as specific inhibitors of protein-protein interactions. This technology, known as phylomer technology is being developed by Australian company Phylogica as an approach to inflammatory diseases. Readers who are interested in Phylomer technology are invited to contact Ms Rolee Kumar (Director of Business Development; Ph +61 8 9423 8830). Further details can also be found at the company's website at

Continued development of Cell Genesys' GVAX for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML): As discussed in our feature Chronic Leukemias - Curative Intent Raises the Bar, prolonging disease-free survival in patients with cancers such as chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) relies on the eradication of minimal residual disease. This is a particular problem given the progressive emergence of Gleevec-resistant CML with continued treatment, coupled with only a 50% response rate in patients with advanced disease. Thus there is the need for novel, efficacious second-line treatment strategies both for patients with Gleevec-resistant chronic phase CML and for virtually all advanced stage patients. Today’s featured press release describes the advancement of one such treatment, GVAX immunotherapy which is being developed by Cell Genesys. The release announces encouraging long-term follow-up data from a Phase 2 trial of GVAX in CML patients with molecular evidence of persistent leukemia following at least one year of Gleevec.


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