Posts Tagged “Therapeutic vaccines”

The Fight Against Cancer Is Increasingly Personal

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The Fight Against Cancer Is Increasingly Personal

Oncology is leading the way in the development of personalized medicines. Over the past two decades, the field has started to move from chemotherapy and radiation to targeted monoclonal antibodies and, now, to therapies that activate a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. According to a report by the industry group PhRMA, almost 250 immuno-oncology medicines and vaccines were in development in 2017.

Advances in diagnostics have driven much of this progress. Rather than simply identifying a cancer by location or tissue type, researchers now use advanced molecular profiling tests to characterize tumors, the proteins they express and the novel mutations they develop — known as neoantigens. “Cancer is like a person’s thumbprint; each person’s cancer is uniquely theirs,” says Bill Hearl, CEO of Immunomic Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotechnology company developing a nucleic acid immunotherapy platform with the potential to treat cancer, allergies and animal health issues.

New ways to characterize cancers have led to different treatment approaches. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the cancer drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for a range of solid tumors that are either microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR). Keytruda is the first approved drug that targets…

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