The Daily Rise: Monday, June 6

Recap: Right Patient, Right Treatment, Right Now

Thank you to everyone who turned out for our conversation, “Right Patient, Right Treatment, Right Now,” held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

On Saturday, Patients Rising co-founder and policy director Jonathan Wilcox brought together patients and patient advocates, as well as nationally acclaimed policy, legal and medical professionals at the Chicago Symphony Center to learn more about how patients can survive the attacks on their treatments.

Special thanks to our all-star panel:

If you couldn’t be in Chicago, you can check out our video from the event.

ASCO 2016 Plenary Session: Progress in Myeloma

As part of our recap from #ASCO16, we’re pleased to share MedScape.com’s coverage of the Plenary Session, which highlighted the progress in myeloma treatments.

Innovation in treatment for multiple myeloma can potentially expand patients’ options beyond a bone marrow transplant. Dr. Richard Schilsky, ASCO chief medical officer and former chief of the section of hematology–oncology at the University of Chicago, described one study as “one of the most exciting presentations of the entire meeting.”

“Some of the best responses ever seen will be presented from the CASTOR study, showing that the combination of daratumumab (Darzalex) with bortezomib (Velcade), given with dexamethasone, achieved about a 60% reduction in death or progression in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, when compared with bortezomib with dexamethasone (abstract LBA4),” Medscape reports.

“The results are preliminary but promising,” Dr. Schilsky said.

ASCO 2016 Update: T-Cell Therapies

New research continues to show the promise of immunotherapy as a treatment for different types of cancer. As soon as next year, patients could benefit from initial regulatory approvals for a type of immunotherapy treatment known as chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies.

“CAR-T therapies involve a complicated process of extracting immune system T cells from an individual patient, altering their DNA to sharpen their ability to spot and kill cancer cells, and infusing them back into the same patient,” Yahoo News reports. “The technique is being tested against a range of different cancer types, but first in blood cancers.”

Research presented over the weekend “showed that 77 percent of patients with advanced ALL achieved a “complete response,” meaning cancer remission, when treated with chemotherapy followed by Juno’s cell therapy. For the trial patients with minimal disease, 90 percent achieved remission.”

Potential for Personalized Immunotherapy

Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, the chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs of the Cancer Research Institute, explains that personalized immunotherapy is one of the things to watch coming out of ASCO.

“Immunotherapy has a role, but it’s going to be personalized immunotherapy,” she tells Forbes. “Colon cancer was never considered to be responsive to immunotherapy. But there is a subset of colorectal cancers that are called ‘microsatellite instable.’ A trial showed that [Keytruda] had a major response in those patients. But the microsatellite stable patients did not respond.

As the director of scientific affairs of the Cancer Research Institute, O’Donnell-Tormey helps award research grants and fellowships to scientists working in the area of cancer immunotherapy.

“Overall the future for all of these immunotherapy approaches is bright,” she tells Forbes. “We’re continuing to see immunotherapies expand to larger patient populations and different cancer types. I think this is potentially going to be a way to treat all cancers.”

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