New drug ‘wakes up’ immune system to fight one of deadliest cancers

IMM-101 drug has extended lives of people with metastatic pancreatic cancer and appears to have no side-effects

A new drug that “wakes up” the immune system to attack cancer has extended the lives of people with metastatic pancreatic cancer and has no side-effects, raising hopes for a new and powerful tool against the most intractable form of the disease.

The drug, IMM-101, is considered groundbreaking because pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body usually kills within a few months.

The patients who were given the new immunotherapy drug actually felt better than those who were on standard chemotherapy, said Angus Dalgleish, professor of oncology at St George’s, University of London, who led the research.

Dalgleish is excited by the potential of the immunotherapy drug, although the trial is relatively small, involving 110 people. Only 18% of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer are alive after one year and 4% after five years, so new treatments for the disease are badly needed.

Read at The Guardian

The Importance of Sample Processing for Clinical Trials

Cambridge Biomedical frequently works with clients on the optimum methodology for the collection of clinical samples. For many clinical trials this  involves collection sites situated in different countries with varying levels of expertise and understanding of the correct processes to follow.

One of the critical areas we investigate when we develop an assay for a client, is the sample collection process and particularly the stability of the sample. For example, assays may involve the collection of PBMC’s, if these are not processed, correctly, within 24 hours of collection then the resulting data obtained from the assay can be seriously affected.

We identified this issue several years ago and introduced a video service for our clients. These videos are specifically tailored to the study requirements and  detail the complete process,from venipuncture through to sample shipment.

The result of using these training videos has been a resounding success and we have seen a dramatic decrease in the quality of the resulting data.

If you would like to learn more about how Cambridge Biomedical can help with your sample collection process and bioanalytical analysis please visit our website and we will be delighted to assist.

 

Most Scientists Believe There Is A “Crisis” Reproducing Experiments

More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature‘s survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.

The data reveal sometimes-contradictory attitudes towards reproducibility. Although 52% of those surveyed agree that there is a significant ‘crisis’ of reproducibility, less than 31% think that failure to reproduce published results means that the result is probably wrong, and most say that they still trust the published literature.

 

Read at Nature

Cancer researchers claim ‘extraordinary results’ using T-cell therapy

This is unprecedented’ says researcher after more than half of terminally ill blood cancer patients experienced complete remission in early clinical trials

A scanning electron micrograph of a human T lymphocyte (also called a T-cell).
A scanning electron micrograph of a human T-cell. ‘T-cells are a living drug, and in particular they have the potential to persist in our body for our whole lives,’ said researcher Chiara Bonini. Photograph: Alamy

Scientists are claiming “extraordinary” success with engineering immune cells to target a specific type of blood cancer in their first clinical trials.

Among several dozen patients who would typically have only had months to live, early experimental trials that used the immune system’s T-cells to target cancers had “extraordinary results”.

In one study, 94% of participants with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) saw symptoms vanish completely. Patients with other blood cancers had response rates greater than 80%, and more than half experienced complete remission.

Link to full article at The Guardian

 

Cambridge Biomedical announces that Tim Smith has been appointed Chief Financial Officer, effective Feb 1st, 2016.

Cambridge Biomedical announces that Tim Smith has been appointed Chief Financial Officer reporting to Brad Yount, President and Chief Operating Officer, effective Feb 1st, 2016.

“Tim has extensive experience in bringing operational improvements and financial acumen to developing companies. I have worked with Tim in previous organizations and have tremendous confidence that he will help to further strengthen Cambridge Biomedical’s capabilities” said Brad Yount, President and Chief Operating Officer Officer.

Smith will assume responsibility for financial operations in Cambridge Biomedical and is focused on improving operational efficiencies within the company as it positions itself for continuing double-digit growth.

“Cambridge Biomedical’s strength in bioanalytical assays and diagnostic testing is well known in the industry” Smith commented “and I am excited by this opportunity to help develop the infrastructure within the company with its team of highly experienced staff through its next phase of growth”

Prior to this appointment, Smith was responsible for the the financial operations of several different companies in Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Europe. Mr. Smith received a BS in Management from Susquehanna University and an MBA from Lehigh University and is also a certified CPA.

About Cambridge Biomedical

Cambridge Biomedical, based in Boston, Massachusetts, supports sponsors by developing customized assays for small and large molecules, biomarkers, and other critical analytes, along with validation and sample testing in our CLIA certified and CAP accredited, GLP/GCLP compliant facilities,

The Company has extensive expertise in technology transfer, assay development, optimization and validation. It also offers specific services in analytical support for PK/PD studies, biomarker development, clinical assay development, assay validation, specimen analysis, and testing services in support of clinical trial and drug or device development.

Our personalized project methodology, along with a focus on delivering quality results and regulatory submission ready documentation and rapid turnaround times, ensures we meet our client’s product development timelines.

Questions Remain as to What Caused the Bial Trial Tragedy in France

CHICAGO — Days after a Phase I clinical trial studying an experimental fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor being developed by Portugal-based Bial-Portela left one patient dead and five others hospitalized in France, there are still numerous unanswered questions, but perhaps most importantly—what went wrong?

FAAH inhibitors are designed to break down endocannabinoids, including anandamide, in the brain and are being investigated for use in the treatment of chronic pain. These molecules activate cannabinoid receptors—the same ones that bind THC, the key component of cannabis, report in Science magazine said. Bial’s BIA 10-2474, the drug tested in the French facility, is designed to inhibit FAAH, and thus slow the breakdown of endogenous cannabinoids, which might help fight pain, the magazine said.

 

Link to full story at BioSpace

Landmark Huntington’s trial starts

The first drug that can potentially correct the underlying defect that causes Huntington’s disease has been taken by patients in a clinical trial.

Doctors at University College London, which is leading the study, said it was an important moment in tackling the incurable condition.

Current medication treats the symptoms, but cannot slow or prevent the progressive damage to the brain.

The Huntington’s Disease Association said the trial was “very exciting”.

The disease is caused by the brain producing a mutant protein called huntingtin which damages and ultimately kills off brain cells.

As Huntington’s progresses it leads to uncontrolled movements, behaviour changes and poor cognition. Life expectancy after diagnosis can be as short as 10 years.

 

Link to BBC