Saturday, December 31, 2011

OncoBrands We Used to Know in 2011

Oncology is one island where biotech investment continues in the sea of shrinking biopharma.  As expected, the current environment is also conducive to oncology biotech companies being lost to mergers and acquisitions.  Sadly, these carefully crafted and nurtured brands will be lost for ever!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pubs Serving Oncology News in Pints

Where to go for happenings in oncology - What’s on Tap!
These are some of my oncology pubs serving ales and lagers:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas to all readers of this blog!

It is the time to believe in things, such as, hope, love and compassion, that makes us "human."  It is the time to recall the letter to Virginia, "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Deploying Immunotherapeutic Drones for Cancer

Nearly six scores ago, a Westfield, Connecticut, based bone surgeon, William Coley, injected a mixture of dead Streptococcus pyrogens and dead Serratia marcescens bacteria (called Coley's vaccine or Coley's toxins) in patients' tumors and obtained a near-complete remission.  Nearly a quarter century after his death, the powerful immune stimulant in Coley's vaccine was identified as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) in 1968.  Today, there is a renewed interest in Coley's approach and the immunotherapeutic strategies to control cancer.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Cancer News Stories of 2011

(posted Dec 23rd, 2011)

Today's is the 40th anniversary of Pres. Nixon's War on Cancer (pbs, wsj).  It must be one of the longest running battles in the US history.  But, now Harold Varmus, Director of the National Cancer Institute, thinks that it is time to change the metaphor: Cancer is neither a single enemy nor a war (wsjblog).  While this "war" has consumed trillions of dollars and changed the face of cancer into a "chronic" and manageable condition, somehow, the word "cancer" did not make it to the top ten searched terms this year.  Google Zeitgeist (US) 2011  lists Steve Jobs and two of Apple's creations, iPhone5 and iPad2 among the top ten.  The rest is showbiz.  Just five years ago, "cancer" was number three on the Google News top searches (see here). 

For those who think about cancer, here are the top cancer news stories of the year 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Midline Carcinoma, a Cancer Without a Cure: No More

An extremely rare and "almost always" fatal midline carcinoma effects just 20-40 individuals per year and there are about 200 people with this cancer in the US.  It typically originates in the "midline" regions of the body, such as nose, mouth and sinuses in the head; trachea in the neck; upper airways, chest and thymus in the mediastinum.  It effects children and adults, alike.

Since midline carcinoma cells are undifferentiated or poorly differentiated, this cancer is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.  Diagnosis occurs upon chromosomal analysis and a discovery of a chromosomal rearrangement fusing a gene called NUT to a bromodomain gene BRD4.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

28% of Phase III Failures are in Oncology Trials

John Arrowsmith of Thomson Reuters, who described these numbers in a Nature Reviews Drug Discovery article, listed three major reasons for Phase III failures in oncology: