Last month´s ESMO Congress: ecancerTV coverage of VHIO faculty who chaired, presented, delivered and discussed

Recently celebrated in Copenhagen, Denmark, 07-11 October 2016, the 2016 Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), surpassed all expectations. Not only did this year´s edition smash previous records of attendance — drawing some 20,500 participants from across the globe, it also totaled 1,640 studies presented, including 47 late breaking trials and over 1500 high quality posters.

As an indicator of the caliber of the cancer science and medicine delivered and debated throughout the meeting, a record number of studies to first outing during the Congress were published in some of the most prestigious medical journals including The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), The Lancet Oncology, and JAMA Oncology.

To capture and report on just some of these essential contributions ecancer was on the ground throughout the Congress. As part of its coverage, ecancerTV caught up with just some of VHIO´s faculty who contributed to the meeting as session Chairs, invited speakers, and/or presenters:

Lurbinectedin in BRCA 1/2 breast cancer

In a Proffered Paper Session on metastatic breast cancer, chaired by Javier Cortés, Associate Translational Investigator of VHIO´s Breast Cancer & Melanoma Group headed by Cristina Saura, Judith Balmaña, both Medical Oncologist and Clinical Researcher of the same group, presented Anti-tumor activity of PM01183 (lurbinectedin) in BRCA1/2-associated metastatic breast cancer patients: Results of a single-agent phase II trial.

Led by Judith, this multi-center phase II sought to assess the clinical activity of lurbinectedin, a trabectidin analogue, in the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer and BRCA mutations.

Talking to ecancerTV, she describes its mechanism of action, aiming to use the resulting gene suppression and DNA damage selectively in tumour cells, and outlines results of progression-free and overall survival among multiple patient cohorts. She also highlights expanded research centering on the timing and exposure factors that may influence patient response to lurbinectedin, especially PARP inhibitors, as well as studies exploring its activity in other tumour sites.

To watch this interview with Judith Balmaña click here.

The ASCO Post´s Newsreel, also reporting on the ground during ESMO 2016, selected this same study for coverage. To access this video click here.

Lurbinectedin in PARP resistant breast cancer

Lurbinectedin was also firmly under the lens during a basic science and translational research Proffered Paper Session, co-chaired by VHIO´s Joan Seoane, Director of Translational Research (see penultimate interview below).

Cristina Cruz, Medical Oncologist of VHIO´s Experimental Therapeutics Group headed by Violeta Serra, and Staff Scientist of its High Risk & Cancer Prevention Group (PI Judith Balmaña), who also participated in the aforementioned phase 2 study, presented and discussed findings from a translational study, Lurbinectedin (PM01 183) exhibits antitumor activity in PARP-inhibitor resistant germline BRCA PDX and lacks cross-resistance with cisplatin.

Reflecting the multidisciplinary and translational nature of research performed at VHIO, this study was carried out in close collaboration with colleagues from VHIO´s Cancer Genomics, Experimental Therapeutics, Oncogenetics, Growth Factors, Molecular Oncology, and Breast Cancer and Melanoma Groups (directed by Ana Vivancos, Violeta Serra, Orland Díez, Joaquín Arribas, Paolo Nuciforo, and Cristina Saura respectively), along with other co-researchers from the VHIR and Pharma Mar S.A.

Cristina was interviewed by ecancerTV on trials for lurbinectedin in patients for whom PARP inhibition is no longer an option. She describes the mechanisms by which resistance to other medications can be subverted by lurbinectedin, and reports its suitability even for tumours with resistance to standard therapy cisplatin.

To find out more click here.

Innovative uses of kinase inhibitors in cancer

Jordi Rodón, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s Early Clinical Drug Development Group, Director and Medical Coordinator of VHIO´s Research Unit for Molecular Therapy of Cancer (UITM), co-chaired an ESMO 2016 Special Symposium themed, Drugs you will be using in 2020.

In this interview with ecancerTV, he highlights some of the conclusions and clinical perspectives from the session that centered on antibody-drug conjugates, engineered peptide therapeutics, the future directions in developing novel kinase inhibitors, RNA therapeutics, and using viruses and bacteria to treat cancer.

Jordi also discusses innovative uses of a new kinase inhibitor for angiogenesis and fibroblast growth factor receptors as well as how some tumours with genetic alterations could benefit from the use of this novel class of drug.

To access this video and discover more click here.

Biomarkers and sensitivity of resistance

Joan Seoane, Director of Translational Research at VHIO, was selected to co-chair a Special Session entitled, Will we ever conquer resistance? ecancerTV caught up with him directly after the Session to reflect on the conclusions and clinical perspectives.

In his interview, Joan talks about modelling cell lines and determining and better analyzing biomarkers for a more precise prognosis. Considering the pathways through which cancers develop insensitivity to different therapies, he also stresses the need for a greater understanding and proactive prevention of resistance with novel treatments and combinatorial strategies.

Drawing on the basic and translational Proffered Paper Session that he co-chaired, he also highlights Lurbinectedin in PARP resistant breast cancer (see above), along with other findings that were reported within the context of acquired resistance to EFGR therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer. He observes that the rapid advancements in state-of-the-art technologies combined with expanded insights into the mechanisms of action of compounds, as well as a better understanding of the biology of cancer, will better equip us to collectively revert resistance to anti-cancer therapies.

To watch this interview now, click here.

KRAS in the clinic and conference

Ana Vivancos, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s Cancer Genomics Group, was selected as an invited speaker for the Multidisciplinary Patient Case Session on Precision medicine in the clinic: How do I provide it?, where she presented on and around the ´journey´ from raw data to providing a comprehensive genetic report.

During her interview she talks about targeting KRAS mutations and the promising new approach aimed at a more precise tracking and policing of advanced disease — the liquid biopsy. She touches on both clinical practice, working with lung adenocarcinomas, metastatic colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer, and also discusses the advent of novel biomarkers and immunotherapy in improving outcomes for an increasing number patients, based on novel data presented throughout the Congress.

Click here to access the interview.


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