Scientists struggle to keep up with demand for CAR T therapy | Study: Blocking malaria parasite protein could protect blood cells | Drug candidate shows potential against Philadelphia chromosome leukemia
June 16, 2017
AABB SmartBrief
News for the transfusion medicine and cellular therapy community
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Scientists struggle to keep up with demand for CAR T therapy
Oncologists and research labs are struggling to keep up with demand for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy as more clinical trials get underway and desperately ill patients seek access to the promising therapy. The investigational approach, which involves the time-consuming and expensive process of genetically engineering autologous immune cells, is risky but has shown strong results, especially in patients with lymphoma.
Science online (6/13) 
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Science & Health
Study: Blocking malaria parasite protein could protect blood cells
Pennsylvania State University researchers have identified a Plasmodium falciparum protein that allows the parasite to enter red blood cells, according to a study in the journal Cell Host and Microbe. The next step will be to develop a drug candidate that blocks the protein PfAP2-I, lead researcher Manuel Llinas said.
Voice of America (6/14) 
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Emerging Trends
Drug candidate shows potential against Philadelphia chromosome leukemia
A histone deacetylases 1 and 2 inhibitor is being developed by researchers from the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute for the treatment of Philadelphia-chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A study in the journal Leukemia found the drug was associated with 50% to 70% leukemia load reductions in tests of mice.
Nature World News (6/12) 
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Mutant fungi developed as a killer of malaria-bearing mosquitoes
Scientists from the University of Maryland have genetically engineered the fungus Metarhizium pingshaensei with spider and scorpion venom to be used for killing malaria-carrying mosquitoes, according to research published in the journal Scientific Reports. The fungus was tested in a study conducted in Burkina Faso and was found to be more effective and more fast-acting in killing insects while also halting their feeding process, thus impairing their capability to become malaria vectors.
Newsweek (6/14) 
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Industry News & Practice
Immune repurchases rights to Mylan's leukemia drug Ceplene
Immune Pharmaceuticals has entered into a contract allowing the firm to reacquire assets for Mylan's Ceplene, or histamine dihydrochloride, a maintenance therapy for acute myeloid leukemia. Immune subsidiary Cytovia would market the drug.
Seeking Alpha (free registration) (6/15) 
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Fla. professor to study Zika virus with $1.8M NIH grant
A Florida State University professor has been awarded $1.8 million by the NIH to continue his study of the Zika and West Nile viruses. Hengli Tang's research will focus on the viruses' targeting of brain cells and the brain's reaction to the viruses at different stages.
Tallahassee Democrat (Fla.) (tiered subscription model) (6/14) 
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Government & Regulatory
Gilead seeks FDA approval for HIV-1 treatment
A new-drug application was filed with the FDA by Gilead Sciences for its once-daily tablet containing bictegravir and emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide as a treatment for adult patients with HIV-1 infection. A late-stage clinical trial showed high rates of virologic suppression and no treatment-emergent resistance in 48 weeks with the treatment in treatment-naive adult patients and in virologically suppressed adult patients who switched treatments.
European Pharmaceutical Review (U.K.) (6/15) 
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Takeda's Adcetris gains NICE recommendation for Hodgkin lymphoma
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended use of Takeda's Adcetris, or brentuximab vedotin, as a treatment for adult patients with CD30-positive Hodgkin lymphoma who have relapsed or refractory disease following autologous stem cell transplant. Funding via the Cancer Drugs Fund was also backed by NICE for adult patients with CD30+ve R/R Hodgkin lymphoma who have had at least two previous therapies and for whom ASCT or multiagent chemotherapy are not treatment options.
PharmaTimes (U.K.) (6/15) 
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NICE recommends new combo therapy for first multiple myeloma relapse
The National Institute for Health Care Excellence has recommended Amgen's Kyprolis, or carfilzomib, for the treatment of relapsed multiple myeloma in patients who have not received Janssen's Velcade, or bortezomib. Progression-free survival averaged 18.7 months in study participants taking both Kyprolis and dexamethasone, compared with 9.4 months in patients taking Velcade and dexamethasone.
PharmaTimes (U.K.) (6/14) 
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Association News
2017 AABB Annual Meeting agenda available online
AABB posted the full agenda for the 2017 AABB Annual Meeting, to be held Oct. 7-10 in San Diego, Calif. The agenda provides the full schedule for the meeting, including the educational program, preconference workshops, networking events and abstract sessions. Educational offerings this year include sessions on hemovigilance, cellular therapies, patient blood management, transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI), transfusion-transmitted infections and leadership. The updated online system allows attendees to search for sessions by area of interest, date and time, speaker or keyword. Additional information about the meeting can be found on the Annual Meeting website.
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