Genentech, a member of the Roche Group focused on cancer immunotherapy and personalized medicine, recently announced that data on ten of its approved cancer drugs and ten investigational drugs will be presented in the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, to be held in Chicago from May 29 – June 2, 2015.
“We’re particularly excited about our data in different types of advanced lung cancer, including pivotal data for alectinib and results of the first randomized study of our investigational immunotherapy, MPDL3280A,” said Genentech’s Global Product Development and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sandra Horning in the press release. “These results build upon our long-standing commitment to improve outcomes for people with lung cancer, and we hope these data will help us bring new options to treat this devastating disease.”
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. It has been reported that some NSCLC patients have a rearrangement in a gene called ALK (anapestic lymphoma kinase), resulting in the production of an abnormal ALK protein that promotes cell growth and spread. Lung cancers with the ALK gene rearrangement are susceptible to treatment with ALK inhibitors.
Alectinib is an ALK inhibitor currently under investigation for the treatment of advanced ALK-positive NSCLC in Phase I/II clinical trials (NCT01588028, NCT01871805 and NCT01801111). Data on these trials will be presented at the ASCO meeting.
Genentech will also present data on MPDL3280A, an investigational cancer immunotherapy that is an engineered anti-PDL1 (programmed death-ligand 1) monoclonal antibody able to interfere with PDL1, a protein expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells that is thought to play a major role in suppressing the body’s immune system. By inhibiting PDL1, MPDL3280A may be able to activate immune T cells, restoring their ability to effectively recognize and attack tumor cells.
MPDL3280A is currently under investigation in more than 30 clinical trials for several types of cancer, including six ongoing trials for lung cancer. One of them is the Phase II POPLAR study (NCT01903993), which data contributed for the attribution of Breakthrough Therapy Designation to MPDL3280A by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with PDL1-positive NSCLC. This designation intends to accelerate the development and review of drugs for serious diseases and helps ensure that patients have access to them as soon as possible.