Fewer Than Half of Accelerated Approval Drugs Showed ClinicalBenefit in Confirmatory Trials After Five Years

Of the 46 cancer drugs that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval between 2013-2017, 63% were converted to regular approval even though only 43% demonstrated a clinical benefit in confirmatory trials after more than five years of follow-up, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2024, held April 5-10 in San Diego. The study was simultaneously published in JAMA.

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Accelerated Aging May Increase the Risk of Early-Onset Cancers in Younger Generations

Accelerated aging was more common in recent birth cohorts and was associated with increased incidence of early-onset solid tumors, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2024, held April 5-10. “Multiple cancer types are becoming increasingly common among younger adults in the United States and globally,” said Ruiyi Tian, MPH, a graduate student in the lab of Yin Cao, ScD, MPH at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Understanding the factors driving this increase will be key to improve the prevention or early detection of cancers in younger and future generations.”

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Immune Response to Investigational RNA Vaccine for Pancreatic Cancer Continues to Correlate with Clinical Benefit

An adjuvant treatment regimen that included autogene cevumeran, an investigational individualized neoantigen-specific mRNA vaccine, induced durable and functional T-cell responses that were associated with a reduced risk of disease recurrence in certain patients with resectable pancreatic cancer, according to three-year follow-up results reported at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2024, held April 5-10.

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Bispecific Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Improves Survival in Gastric Cancer Patients Regardless of PD-L1 Status

The PD-1/CTLA-4 bispecific antibody cadonilimab plus chemotherapy improved progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with untreated, HER2-negative, locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer, including those with PD-L1-low tumors, compared with chemotherapy alone, according to results from the phase III COMPASSION-15 trial presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2024, held April 5-10.

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Long Day of Spectacular Science for 23,000 Attendees at AACR 2024 Annual Meeting—Sunday Highlights

Highlights of Sunday’s third day of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2024 Annual Meeting included opening/welcome remarks of AACR CEO Margareet Foti, PhD, and AACR President Philip Greenberg, together with brief remarks by new NCI Director W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, and the award of the 2024 AACR Outstanding Achievement Award for Service to Cancer Science and Medicine to Pfizer and its Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla, PhD, who were  honored for the company’s long-standing and impressive work in oncology, its deep-rooted commitment to scientific innovation in the development of novel cancer therapeutics, and its steadfast and enduring commitment to the AACR. Bourla gave an acceptance address in which he spoke movingly of the recent colon cancer death of a talented Pfizer woman colleague who he thought might have otherwise become a future CEO of Pfizer. “Time is life and life is time,” Dr. Bourla said, while stating his belief that breathtaking breakthroughs are quite possible now and will constitute quantum steps forward in cancer treatment and cure.  

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23,000 Enjoy Full Day of Fascinating Biology at AACR Annual Meeting Day 2

Saturday, the second day of the six-day American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2024 featured a full slate of diverse events throughout the day. The over 23,000 in-person and virtual registrants had 41 education sessions and 12 methods workshops on a diverse range of topics to choose from. There was also a special session on “Strategies to Effectively Communicate Science to the Public” chaired by AACR President Philip Greenberg. The AACR 2024 Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to Steven Rosenberg, MD, PhD, Senior Investigator and Chief, Surgery Branch, NCI/CCR. This award was established to honor individuals who have made significant fundamental contributions to cancer research, either through a single scientific discovery or a collective body of work. These contributions, whether in research, leadership, or mentorship, must have had a lasting impact on the cancer field and must have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to progress against cancer.

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Education Sessions and Methods Workshops Mark First Day of AACR 2024 Annual Meeting in San Diego

15 sessions focus on breaking developments in cancer research; T cell exhaustion and CAR-T cell manufacture and delivery were two of the important topics discussed

Friday’s opening day of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2024 featured 11 education sessions and 4 methods workshops in advance of the full-scale meeting starting on Saturday morning April 6, and running through Wednesday afternoon, April 10. The AACR has over 58,000 members in 141 countries and territories, and this year’s meeting in San Diego, California, has recorded 23,000 registrants (in-person attendees as well as many virtual attendees). Attendees will be rewarded with great networking opportunities and an incredibly rich program of presentations, industry exhibits, clinical trial reports, and research posters documenting recent progress in the accelerating field of cancer research. We will highlight two of Friday’s 15 sessions below.

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Revolutionizing Gut Health: The Incredible Discovery of Cellulose-Degrading Bacteria in the Human Gut

by Manisha Kashyap, PhD

Cellulose fibers

In a ground-breaking revelation that promises to transform our understanding of gut health, a team of visionary researchers, led by Sarah Moraïs, PhD, Sarah Winkler, PhD, and senior author Itzhak Mizrahi, PhD, all of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, has unveiled a hidden world of cellulose-degrading bacteria within the human gut. This remarkable discovery, published in Science, heralds a new era in the quest for optimal digestive well-being.

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Yale Epidemiologist Discusses Dengue Fever Outbreak in Americas

Cases of dengue fever are surging at a record pace across South America and Puerto Rico. The Pan American Health Organization recently confirmed that 3.5 million cases of dengue and more than 1,000 deaths have been reported across South and Central America in the first three months of this year. This is compared to a total of 4.5 million reported cases in the region in all of 2023. The outbreak has reached as far north as Puerto Rico, which recently declared a dengue epidemic due to a sudden spike in cases and hospitalizations. Dr. Albert Ko, MD, an infectious disease epidemiologist in the Yale School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, specializes in community-based interventions to epidemics such as dengue, Zika, meningitis, and leptospirosis. He has conducted extensive research on infectious diseases in Brazil, where the vast majority of dengue cases have been reported. In addition to serving as Yale’s Raj and Indra Nooyi Professor of Public Health, Ko is a collaborating researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation of the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Ko shares his insights about the current dengue public health threat below.

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Developing Artificial Skin That Can Regenerate Skin and Transmit Sensation at the Same Time

Development of biomimetic bionic skin and tactile neurotransmission system. Successful animal model implantation of bionic artificial skin composed of sensors and biomaterials.

Damage to nerve tissue due to skin defects such as burns, skin diseases, and trauma causes loss of sensory and cognitive functions that are essential for life-sustaining activities, as well as mental and physical distress. If the damage is severe enough that natural healing is not possible, surgical treatment is required to implant artificial skin in the affected area, but the artificial skin developed to date has focused on skin regeneration, providing a structure and environment similar to skin tissue, but has not restored sensation to patients. The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has announced that a research team led by Dr. Youngmee Jung of the Center for Biomaterials and Dr. Hyunjung Yi of the Post-Silicon Semiconductor Institute, in collaboration with Prof. Ki Jun Yu of Yonsei University and Prof. Tae-il Kim of Sungkyunkwan University, has developed a human-implantable tactile smart bionic artificial skin. Unlike conventional artificial skin, which focuses on skin regeneration, smart bionic artificial skin can restore even permanently damaged tactile senses by fusing biocompatible materials and a tactile function delivery system implemented with electronic devices.

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