[4 June 2015] The IBTA was on the ground in Chicago last week, exhibiting at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). With over 30,000 attendees from all over the world, this meeting is the largest and most high profile cancer conference of the year. A key point of difference from the neuro-oncology conferences we attend is that ASCO gives us the opportunity to learn about new developments in cancers other than brain tumours and therefore gain a valuable perspective on how the fight against cancer is progressing.
This year, the focus at ASCO was again on immunotherapy. The growing success of checkpoint inhibitors across a number of different cancers holds promise for their deployment against brain tumours, although trials are still at an early stage. At a much later stage of development is Celldex Therapeutics’ rindopepimut (RINTEGA) which made headlines with positive results from their phase 2 ReACT study in recurrent glioblastoma. RINTEGA, which was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year, is also in phase 3 for newly diagnosed GBM.
Novocure presented the first full dataset analysis from EF-14, the successful phase 3 trial of their tumour treating fields (TTF) therapy in newly diagnosed GBM. This 700 patient trial showed that combining the TTF treatment with standard-of-care temozolomide extends progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) compared with temozolomide alone. Also widely reported were the results from the NCCTG N0574 study which showed that patients with small brain metastases should not routinely receive adjuvant whole brain radiation therapy following stereotactic radiosurgery.
During the ASCO meeting, news broke about the tragic death of Beau Biden, son of US Vice President Joe Biden, from a brain tumour. It was a timely reminder that brain tumours strike indiscriminately, and despite the undoubted progress being made, there is still no cure for the most malignant forms of the disease.
It was a busy time at the IBTA booth as we took the opportunity at ASCO to launch the 2015 edition of our “Brain Tumour” magazine. The response to this year’s edition has been very positive and we wish to thank everyone who took the time to visit our booth to pick up a copy. A key objective for us at ASCO is to foster collaboration between health professionals, academia, industry and patient advocates. Over the course of five days, many new connections were made and existing relationships reinforced. We look forward to returning to Chicago in a year’s time for ASCO 2016!