Conference Coverage

Dr. Louis Weiner: AACR presentations highlight new “transformative strategies”



– Several studies featured during a press briefing at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research highlight the types of “transformative strategies” currently being developed and implemented, according to Louis Weiner, MD.

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“Had this been the AACR [meeting] 20 years ago ... each one of them would have been a main plenary presentation and would have been the talk of the meeting,” Dr. Weiner, director of the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University, Washington, and press briefing moderator, said of the findings.

While they are well accepted as being high quality presentations of great value, they don’t cause the same amount of stir, he said, adding: “I wouldn’t say we’re jaded, but we’ve come to the point where we almost expect great results at these meetings, and isn’t that wonderful?”

In this video interview he discussed the findings of two of the studies, including the phase 2 UNITY-NHL study and a preclinical Lynch syndrome mouse model used to develop a potential cancer preventive vaccine.

The Lynch syndrome data “suggest the strong possibility that we might be able to immunize people and combine that treatment with standard nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as naproxen to delay or reduce the impact of Lynch syndrome.”

“This set of findings ... opens the door to investigators in many different areas of cancer research to explore whether or not there are common frameshift mutations that might create novel neoantigens that we can go after with vaccines – be they for therapeutic benefit or for prevention,” he said.

The UNITY-NHL study, which showed that umbralisib is active and well tolerated as single-agent therapy in patients with relapsed or refractory marginal zone lymphoma, suggests “it’s quite possible that [the phosphoinositide 3-kinase delta inhibitor] is going to become a very important element in the treatment of patients with marginal zone lymphomas, and obviously it can be then used in earlier stages of diseases since it’s well tolerated, and it may well have useful activity in other B-cell malignancies,” he said.

Dr. Weiner reported having no relevant disclosures.

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