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Ivosidenib FDA-approved as first-line treatment for AML patients with IDH1 mutation

On the 2nd of May 2 2019, the FDA approved ivosidenib (Tibsovo®, Agios) as treatment for newly-diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients ≥75 years old and AML patients with comorbidities precluding intensive induction chemotherapy. Patients should harbour a susceptible IDH1 mutation, as per the FDA-approved Abbott RealTime™ IDH1 Assay, to be legible for ivosidenib treatment.

Pembrolizumab plus axitinib FDA approved for the first-line treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma patients

On 19 April 2019, the FDA approved the programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®, Merck) plus axitinib – a selective and potent receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFR) 1, 2, and 3 – as a first-line treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients.

Erdafitinib FDA approved for the treatment of metastatic urothelial carcinoma

On 12 April 2019, the FDA granted accelerated approval to erdafitinib (Balversa®, Janssen) for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cell carcinoma (mUCC) progressed during or following a platinum-containing regimen, including progression within 12 months of (neo)adjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy, and whose tumours harbour susceptible fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) 3 or FGFR2 genetic alterations as determined by the FDA approved companion diagnostic (CDx), the therascreen® FGFR RGQ RT-PCR Kit by Qiagen.

Single-agent pembrolizumab FDA approved for the first-line treatment of stage III NSCLC with PD-L1 TPS ≥1%

On 11 April 2019, the FDA approved single-agent pembrolizumab (Keytruda®, Merck) for the first-line treatment of stage III/IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with a PD-L1 Tumor Proportion Score (TPS) ≥1% who are not amenable to surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation and who have no known EGFR or ALK genomic aberrations.

Atezolizumab FDA approved for PD-L1 positive unresectable triple-negative breast cancer

On 8 March 2019, the FDA granted accelerated approval to atezolizumab (Tecentriq®, Genentech/Roche) in combination with albumin-bound paclitaxel (nab-paclitaxel) for the treatment of adult unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients with programmed death 1 ligand (PD-L1) stained tumour-infiltrating immune cells (IC) of any intensity covering ≥1% of the tumour area, as determined by the VENTANA PD-L1 (SP142) Assay companion diagnostic (CDx).

Trifluridine/tipiracil combination FDA approved for metastatic gastric or GEJ adenocarcinoma

On 22 February 2019, the FDA approved the fixed combination tablets of the nucleoside metabolic inhibitor trifluridine plus the thymidine phosphorylase inhibitor tipiracil (Lonsurf®, Taiho Pharmaceutical) for the treatment of adult metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma patients pretreated with two or more prior lines of chemotherapy including a fluoropyrimidine, a platinum, and either a taxane or irinotecan plus (when appropriate) HER2/neu-targeted therapy.

Trastuzumab-biosimilar Ontruzant® FDA approved in several indications

On 18 January 2019, the FDA approved the Herceptin®-biosimilar Ontruzant® (trastuzumab-dttb, Samsung BioEpsis), a HER2/neu receptor antagonist, for patients with HER2-overexpressing (HER2+) breast cancer in the adjuvant and metastatic setting, and in metastatic HER2+ gastric cancer patients. Ontruzant® was approved as biosimilar, not as an interchangeable product.

Calaspargase pegol-mknl (Asparlas®) FDA approved in paediatric and young adult acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) patients

On 20 December 2018, the FDA approved the asparagine specific enzyme calaspargase pegol-mknl (Asparlas®, Servier) as a component of multi-agent chemotherapeutic regimens for the treatment of paediatric and young adult patients aged 1 month to 21 years with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Olaparib (Lynparza) FDA approved as maintenance for BRCAm ovarian cancer

On 19 December 2018, the FDA approved olaparib (Lynparza®, AstraZeneca) as a maintenance treatment for adult advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer patients who achieving a complete or partial response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy and who have deleterious germline or somatic BRCA-mutatations (gBRCAm or sBRCAm) by an FDA-aproved test or who are suspected to have deleterious BRCA-mutatations (BRCAm). 

Frontline atezolizumab plus bevacizumab and chemotherapy FDA approved for metastatic non-squamous NSCLC

On 6 December 2018, the FDA approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq®, Roche/Genentech) plus bevacizumab and chemotherapy with paclitaxel and carboplatin for the frontline treatment of metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSq NSCLC) patients not harbouring any EGFR or ALK genomic tumour aberrations.

MURANO: off-drug progression-free survival after 2 years venetoclax plus 6 cycles Rituximab

On the first day of the 2018 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, an additional year of follow-up data from the practice-changing MURANO study were presented to the audience by Professor John F. Seymour. In the trial’s setting of relapsed/refractory (R/R) chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), the non-chemo-containing regimen venetoclax (Venclexta®, AbbVie/Roche) plus rituximab was associated with maintained superior progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) over standard-of-care chemoimmunotherapy with bendamustine plus rituximab. At the same time, a durable post-treatment disease control is also attainable with the fixed-duration chemo-free regimen.

TIGR®Matrix shows promising results when used for incisional hernia prevention in septic patients undergoing laparoscopy

Onlay mesh placement of the synthetic and fully resorbable TIGR®Matrix surgical mesh (Novus Scientific AB, Uppsala — Sweden) for the prevention of incisional hernia in septic patients undergoing emergency laparoscopy showed encouraging efficacy and safety in a small retrospective study, as presented during the XXVIII Waterford Surgical October Club Meeting.

Efficacy of oral Cladribine for MS durable after a two-year treatment course

Two short courses of oral cladribine (Mavenclad®, Merck KGaA) over a period of two years can sustain the No Evidence of Disease Activity-3 (NEDA-3) status in certain relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients for up to three additional years without further treatment, a new analysis presented at the 34th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) 2018 suggests.

TKR inhibitor larotrectinib (Vitrakvi®) FDA approved for cancers with NTRK gene fusion

On 26 November 2018, the FDA granted accelerated approval to the first-in-class tropomyosin receptor-kinase (TRK) inhibitor larotrectinib (Vitrakvi®, Loxo Oncology/Bayer) for the treatment of adult and paediatric patients with solid tumours that are metastatic or not amenable to surgery, harbour the neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusion in the absence of known acquired resistance mutations, and whose cancer progressed following treatment or for whom are no satisfactory other treatment options available.

Venetoclax plus azacitidine, decitabine, or low-dose cytarabine FDA approved in elderly AML patients

On 21 November 2018, the FDA granted accelerated approval to venetoclax (Venclexta®, AbbVie/Genentech) in combination with either azacitidine, or decitabine, or low-dose cytarabine (LDAC), for the treatment of newly-diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients ≥75 years old or in patients with comorbidities precluding intensive induction chemotherapy.

Emapalumab FDA approved in adult and paediatric patients with primary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis

On 20 November 2018, the FDA approved the interferon-γ neutralising monoclonal antibody emapalumab (Gamifant®, Novimmune) for the treatment of adult and paediatric (newborn and older) patients with refractory, recurrent, or progressive primary haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) or in patients intolerant to conventional HLH therapy.

Brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris®) plus chemotherapy approved for several CD30 expressing lymphomas

On 16 November, 2018, the FDA approved brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris®, Seattle Genetics) in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of previously untreated systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (sALCL) and other CD30-expressing peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL), including angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) and PTCL not otherwise specified (PTCL-NOS).

Fully resorbable synthetic matrix offers improved safety for breast cancer patients undergoing immediate breast reconstruction

UPPSALA, Sweden, Nov. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Using the synthetic and fully resorbable TIGR®Matrix surgical mesh (Novus Scientific AB, Uppsala — Sweden) improves the outcome in breast cancer patients undergoing immediate reconstruction, as published in the Journal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery.

Lorlatinib FDA approved for metastatic ALK-positive NSCLC

On November 2nd 2018, lorlatinib (LORBRENA®, Pfizer) received accelerated approval by the FDA for the second- and third-line treatment of patients with metastatic, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Third-line patients should have had progression on crizotinib and another ALK-inhibitor for metastatic disease, and second-line patients should have had progression on either alectinib or ceritinib in the first-line for metastatic disease.

PARPi talazoparib FDA approved for deleterious gBRCAm HER2‑negative breast cancer

On October 16, 2018, the FDA approved PARP-inhibitor talazoparib (Talzenna®, Pfizer) for use in patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline BRCA-mutated locally advanced or metastatic human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer. Patients should be selected for the PARP inhibitor (PARPi)-treatment using an FDA-approved companion diagnostic (CDx) for talazoparib.

Anti-PD1 sintilimab plus biosimilar bevacizumab receive IND-status by China NMPA

SUZHOU, China, Oct. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The combination therapy of novel programmed death 1 (PD-1) antibody IBI308 (sintilimab, Innovent Biologics) with biosimilar bevacizumab antibody IBI305 (Innovent Biologics) has received the investigational new drug (IND) application for clinical development approval by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA, formerly known as CFDA) in China.

Ipilimumab plus nivolumab for persistent or recurrent ovarian cancer

Adding ipilimumab (IPI [Yervoy®, Bristol-Myers Squibb]) to nivolumab (NIVO [Opdivo®, Bristol-Myers Squibb]) induction followed by maintenance with single-agent NIVO had a superior objective tumour response rate and progression-free survival (PFS) when compared to NIVO alone in patients with persistent or recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer.

CAR-T axicabtagene ciloleucel granted Orphan Drug designation for B-Cell Lymphoma by the Japan MHLW

TOKYO and BASKING RIDGE, N.J., October 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) granted the Orphan Drug designation to axicabtagene ciloleucel (KTE-C19, Daiichi Sankyo) for the treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL),  high-grade B-cell lymphoma (HGBL), and transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL), which are all aggressive forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). 

PD-1 mAB cemiplimab FDA approved for locally advanced and metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC)

On September 28, 2018, the FDA approved programmed death 1 (PD-1) immune-checkpoint inhibitor cemiplimab-rwlc (Libtayo®, Regeneron) for use in patients with metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) and patients with locally advanced CSCC unamenable for curative surgery or curative radiation.

Transcatheter- vs surgical aortic valve replacement in high-risk patients: 5-years survival

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) with the CoreValve® system (Medtronic) and surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) show similar 5-year survival and stroke rates in high-risk patients, as shown by the MCV-US-2009-01 study (NCT01240902). Most patients remained free from severe structural valve deterioration (SVD) and valve reinterventions (VR).

Frontline atezolizumab plus chemotherapy improves PFS in NSCLC

An interim analysis of the Phase III IMpower132 study showed that atezolizumab (Tecentriq®, Roche/Genentech) plus platinum-based chemotherapy (cisplatin or carboplatin) with pemetrexed improves the median progression-free survival (PFS) in treatment-naïve patients with non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The median PFS for atezolizumab plus pemetrexed and a platinum salt was 7.6 months vs 5.2 months with chemotherapy alone (HR=0.60, 95% CI: 0.49-0.72; p<0.0001).

Early breast cancer treatment in China remains conservative

Breast-conserving surgery is uncommon in China, and despite routinely performing SLNB the uptake of the ACOSOG Z0011 study recommendation to treat selected sentinel node-positive patients with whole breast irradiation and adjuvant systemic therapy instead of ALND remains low at only 17% of Chinese centres. These were the key findings of a national survey among 520 Chinese hospitals.

Anti-coagulation: impact on long-term mortality and early valve dysfunction

Anticoagulation, which is often provided for atrial fibrillation (AF), decreases the risk of bioprosthetic valve dysfunction (BVD) after transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), according to the results of the FRANCE-TAVI registry study. Male gender, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and atrial fibrillation (AF) have the highest impact on the 3-year mortality due to BVD after TAVR.

Camrelizumab anti-PD-1 with or without chemotherapy for NPC

Camrelizumab (SHR-1210, Hengrui Medicine), a novel programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor, plus gemcitabine and cisplatin showed a manageable toxicity profile with promising, preliminary anti-tumour activity in treatment-naïve Chinese nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients. Larger, randomised controlled trials may provide further insight into the role of anti-PD1 for NPC, wrote the authors in the Lancet Oncology.

Venetoclax FDA label updated to include Minimal Residual Disease negativity data

On the 11th of September 2018, the FDA updated the label of venetoclax tablets (VENCLEXTA®, Abbvie) in combination with rituximab (MabThera®, Roche) to include information about pre-treated patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in the Phase III MURANO trial who had achieved Minimal Residual Disease (MRD)-negativity.

Quizartinib receives Orphan Drug designation for FLT3-mutated AML in Japan

TOKYO and MUNICH and BASKING RIDGE, N.J., September 11, 2018  — The Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has granted quizartinib (AC220, Daiichi Sankyo), an investigational inhibitor of FLT3, the Orphan Drug designation for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) harbouring FLT3-mutations.

CAR-TCR Summit 2018: Preliminary first-in-human data with CAR-Claudin18.2-T in gastric and pancreatic cancer

CARsgen Therapeutics, a Shanghai-based clinical-stage immune-oncology company committed to developing Chimeric Antigen Receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapies for cancer, presented preliminary data of their first-in-class CAR-Claudin18.2 T-cell clinical trial in pancreatic and gastric cancer patients during the 2018 CAR-TCR Summit in Boston.

DRIVER connects cancer patients in China and the United States to the best care

SAN FRANCISCO and SHANGHAI, Sept. 6, 2018/PRNewswire/ — Today, Driver, a global technology platform that connects cancer patients to the best treatments, launches in the United States and China. Driver’s platform enables any patient, anywhere in the world, to access treatment options across an unprecedented network of cancer centres without leaving home.

Edoxaban in Asian patients with atrial fibrillation: effectiveness and safety

Real-life use of edoxaban (Lixiana®, Daiichi Sankyo) in Asian atrial fibrillation (AF) patients significantly lowered the risk of ischaemic stroke (IS), intracranial haemorrhage (ICH), hospitalisation for gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, hospitalisation for major bleeding, and all-cause death when compared to warfarin. This was concluded by the Korean investigators in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The benefits were consistent in the various high-risk subgroups.

First-in-Class Oncology Vaccine BIL06v Starts Phase 1 Evaluation

Biosceptre has announced the initiation of its Phase 1 clinical study with the peptide vaccine BIL06v. BIL06v is a peptide-protein conjugate that recruits the patient’s immune system to make antibodies specifically targeted at nfP2X7-expressing cancer cells resulting in tumour cell death.

Pembrolizumab and atezolizumab USPIs updated by FDA

On the 16th of August, 2018, the FDA updated the prescribing information for pembrolizumab (Keytruda®, Merck) and atezolizumab (Tecentriq®, Roche/Genentech) and added the requirement for the use of an FDA-approved companion diagnostic test (CDx) to determine PD-L1 levels in cisplatin-ineligible patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma.

Pembrolizumab plus pemetrexed-platinum FDA approved for first-line treatment of metastatic non-squamous NSCLC

On 20th of August 2018, the FDA granted regular approval for pembrolizumab (Keytruda®, Merck) plus pemetrexed and a platinum salt in the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic, non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), not harbouring any EGFR or ALK genomic tumour aberrations.

Talazoparib in advanced breast cancer patients with a germline BRCA1/2 mutation

Single-agent PARP-inhibition with talazoparib is associated with an improved progression-free survival (PFS) and better patient-reported outcomes (PRO) when compared to chemotherapy alone in patients with advanced breast cancer (ABC) and a germline BRCA1/2 mutation, as reported by the investigators of the Phase III EMBRACA study (NCT01945775) in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CheckMate 032: Nivolumab +/- ipilimumab for metastatic esophagogastric cancer

Immunotherapy with either nivolumab (Opdivo®, Bristol-Myers Squibb) alone or the combination nivolumab plus ipilimumab (Yervoy®, Bristol-Myers Squibb) in patients with chemotherapy-refractory esophagogastric cancer leads to durable responses and encouraging long-term overall survival with a manageable safety profile, concluded the investigators of the CheckMate 032 study. 

PolyU Researchers Develop Novel Self-fitting Scaffold for Bone-Regeneration

HONG KONG, August 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — A group of researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in close collaboration with Sichuan University have successfully designed and manufactured a novel bone scaffold that can be safely implanted into bone defects, induce bone-regeneration, and enhance the recovery of bone injuries and fractures.

Pan-EGFR TKI pirotinib has commenced into Phase II clinical testing in China

HONG KONG, CHINA – 13 August 2018 – Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Ltd. (HKEx: 0460), announced that its innovative in-house developed oncology drug pirotinib has commenced into Phase II Clinical testing in China following the completion of a Phase I clinical trial in three renowned cancer research centres in the United States. 

Iobenguane I-131 FDA approved for rare adrenal neuroendocrine tumours

On July 30, 2018, the FDA approved iobenguane I-131 (Azedra®, Progenics Pharmaceuticals), a radioactive therapeutic agent, for the treatment of adult and paediatric patients ≥12 years with iobenguane scan positive, locally advanced or metastatic pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma (PPGL) not amenable to surgery and indicated for systemic therapy.

Ribociclib FDA label updated to include pre- and perimenopausal women

On July 18, 2018, the US FDA expanded the ribociclib (Kysqali©, Novartis)  approval. Ribociclib plus an aromatase inhibitor as initial endocrine-based therapy is no longer limited to postmenopausal HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer patients alone and now includes pre- and perimenopausal women. Furthermore, the FDA has added the combination ribociclib plus fulvestrant as initial endocrine-based therapy for postmenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

Ipilimumab plus nivolumab FDA approved for MSI-H and dMMR pre-treated mCRC

On July 10th, the FDA granted accelerated approval to ipilimumab (Yervoy©, Bristol-Myers Squibb) for use in combination with nivolumab (Opdivo©) for the treatment of adult and paediatric patients ≥12 years of age with microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) that has progressed following treatment with a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan.

Bevacizumab in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel FDA approved for several types of gynaecological cancers

On June 13, 2018, the FDA approved bevacizumab (AvastinⓇ, Genentech, Inc.) in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel, followed by single-agent bevacizumab for use after surgical resection in patients with stage III or IV epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer.

FDA approved biosimilar pegfilgrastim to decrease the chance of febrile neutropenia in patients with non-myeloid cancers on myelosuppressive chemotherapy

FDA approved Fulphila (pegfilgrastim-jmdb, Mylan GmbH), a biosimilar of Neulasta (pegfilgrastim, Amgen, Inc.) to decrease the chance of infection due to febrile neutropenia in patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy with clinically significant incidence of febrile neutropenia and with non-myeloid cancers

Biosimilar epoetin alfa-epbx approved by FDA for the treatment of anemia due to chronic kidney disease, use of zidovudine for HIV, and concomitant myelosuppressive chemotherapy

  On May 14, 2018 the FDA announced approval of biosimilar epoetin alfa-epbx (Retacrit®, Hospira, a subsidiary of Pfizer) for the treatment of anemia due to chronic kidney disease (CKD) in patients on dialysis and not on dialysis, use of zidovudine in patients with HIV infection, and the effects of concomitant myelosuppressive chemotherapy. Epoetin alfa-epbx is also […]

Tisagenlecleucel CAR-T receives additional FDA Approval for DLBCL

Tisagenlecleucel CAR-T receives additional FDA Approval for DLBCL FDA approved tisagenlecleucel (KYMRIAH, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.) a CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T-cell immunotherapy, for adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not otherwise specified, high grade B-cell lymphoma and DLBCL […]

Adjuvant dabrafenib plus trametinib FDA approved for BRAF V600E or V600K melanoma

The FDA granted regular approval to dabrafenib (Tafinlar®, Novartis) and trametinib (Mekinist®, Novartis) in combination for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with BRAF V600E or V600K mutations, as detected by an FDA-approved test, and involvement of lymph node(s), following complete resection. 

FDA approved osimertinib for the 1st-line treatment of patients with EGFR exon 19 deletions or exon 21 L858R mutations positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

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FDA approved osimertinib (Tagrisso, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP) for the 1st-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 19 deletions or exon 21 L858R mutations, as detected by an FDA-approved test.