Clinicians in the dental sphere are still yearning for more robust and predictable tissue regeneration and regenerative medicine models; more so because even though related technologies have proved viable in animal specimens, most are yet to be rolled out in clinics and health centers. Factors contributing to this limitation include: tech developments without a relevant context, resultant outcomes not conforming to standards of care, plus the lack of a large dental and craniofacial (DOC) presence in the biotech and pharmaceutical spheres.
So to overcome these limitations, the National Institutes of Health (NIDCR) has recently inaugurated the DOCTRC program. The venture is most importantly configured to engage clinicians from the onset of technological advancement, with the main aim being to develop resources and strategies for regenerating DOC tissues. The expedition has already seen two subsidiary resource centers being established: the Michigan-Pittsburgh-Wyss Resource Center, and the Center for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Tissue and Organ Regeneration which is an association of California universities.
The latter is currently preparing for a flagship convention wherein invaluable propositions on the same subject will be tabled by specialists from the NIDCR, from various universities, and from journals involved in dental research. Overseers are hoping to emulate a recent symposium dubbed “Dental Oral Craniofacial Tissue Regeneration Consortia: A New Paradigm,” an initiative from America’s and Canada’s Associations for Dental Research.
The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) announced today that environmental biotechnology professors Mark van Loosdrecht and Bruce Rittmann have been named the 2018 Stockholm Water Prize Laureates for their work in waste/water sustainability.
These two professors- Van Loosdrecht, who teaches at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and Rittman, a Regents’ professor of environmental engineering and director of the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, in the United States- are responsible for revolutionizing microbiological-based waste treatment. According to a press release from SIWI, they “have demonstrated how to remove harmful contaminants from water, cut waste water treatment costs, reduce energy consumption, and even recover chemicals and nutrients for recycling.”
“With current technology, you can already be energy neutral and there is a lot of research on how to become energy positive. Especially in developing countries with unstable electricity supply and limited access to funding, this is very important. If we could build a waste water plant that is self-sufficient in energy, that would make sewage plants feasible in many more places,” said Van Loosdrecht.
Just thought I’d share this interesting Ted Talk which looks at some public misconceptions of biotechnology and how/why biotechnology can actually be “beautiful”.
The two biggest names in the HIV treatment market are GlaxoSmithKline and Gilead Sciences. Recently, a virtually unknown company emerged as a contender lower down the pecking order, noted EP Vantage, the editorial arm of the Evaluate group.
That company is Canada’s Theratechnologies, which is predicted to become the world’s fifth-biggest HIV player- a massive leap from where it was before. While it will barely come close to competing with companies like GSK or Gilead, its transformation and entry into a bigger market is no doubt noteworthy. The new drug was Tuesday given the all-clear by the US FDA for use in heavily pre-treated HIV patients who have no further options.
Trogarzo, the HIV treatment that led to Theratechnologies’s success, represents the first HIV treatment with a novel mechanism of action to be approved for 10 years. Assuming that there are plenty more salvage HIV patients who decline Fuzeon, Theratechnologies could be headed for a lot of future success.
Company: AstraZeneca (AZN)
Disease: Stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
News: AZN announced that its PD-L1 inhibitor durvalumab has been approved for the treatment of stage III, unresectable NSCLC following chemoradiation therapy. This approval was based on findings from the PACIFIC study, which showed a substantial improvement in progression-free survival compared with placebo (HR 0.52, P<.0001).
Looking forward: This is a very exciting approval, both for the field and for AZN. It get its first lung cancer authorization for durvalumab, and the company stands alone in this particular space, at least for now. PACIFIC proved that you can make serious headway by attacking the cancer at earlier stages, and stage III disease already presents a pretty significant conundrum, since surgery is often not an option at this point.
Company: Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS) and AstraZeneca (AZN)
Disease: Undisclosed kidney disease
IONS announced the initiation of a collaborative agreement to develop its generation-2.5 antisense compound IONIS-AZ5-2.5Rx in patients with an undisclosed genetic kidney disorder. Under the agreement, AZN will take over development of the oligo at the price of $30 million in upfront payment and up to $300 million in development and regulatory milestone payments, followed by low-double-digit royalties from any future sales of this agent. In other words, AstraZeneca will be responsible for developing and commercializing IONIS-AZ5-2.5Rx.
“This is the second drug to enter development under our strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca in cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases. IONIS-AZ5-2.5Rx is being developed to treat a genetically associated form of kidney disease with a high unmet medical need. We were able to move this program from target validation to a clinical candidate quickly, exemplifying the efficiency of our antisense platform,” said Brett P. Monia, Ph.D., chief operating officer and senior vice president of antisense drug discovery and translational medicine at Ionis. “AstraZeneca is a great partner to work with in the cardiometabolic and renal therapeutic area, and we look forward to them moving this program through development.”
Pharmaceutical company Exelixis announced results from a phase 2 investigator-sponsored trial of its drug cabozantinib for the first-line treatment of metastatic radioiodine (RAI)-refractory differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC). As a whole, the treatment proven to be a success- all but one evaluated patient experienced a decrease in tumor target lesions.
The most common treatment-related adverse events included hyperglycemia (80 percent), diarrhea (77 percent), malaise/fatigue (74 percent), and weight loss (71 percent). However, the majority of these adverse events were grade 1 or 2. The most comment grade 3-5 adverse events occurring in more than one patient included hypertension (14 percent), increased lipase (9 percent), pulmonary embolism (6 percent), and hyponatremia (6 percent). Overall, the treatment looks to be promising with little severe side effects.
“While many patients with differentiated thyroid cancer can be treated successfully with radioiodine, there are very few options for those patients whose tumors have become resistant to treatment,” said Marcia Brose, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery and Director of the Center for Rare Cancers at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and principal investigator of the trial. “These findings suggest that cabozantinib, which showed encouraging efficacy and a manageable safety profile in this phase 2 trial, may be a promising treatment option for this patient population and warrants further evaluation.”