Researchers launched a unique collaboration on Wednesday aimed at getting cancer drugs to the market more quickly in which three companies will cooperate with the U.S. government and non-profit groups to test five experimental breast cancer drugs.
The five-year, $26 million study called Investigation of Serial Studies to Predict your Therapeutic Response with Imaging and Molecular Analysis, or I-SPY2, will aim to use DNA to match the best drug to each patient and to more quickly toss out approaches that do not work or are too toxic.
"They'll get the latest and greatest in terms of targeted drugs," Dr. Anna Barker, deputy director of the National Cancer Institute, said in an interview.
"I think it's the future. Government couldn't have done it on their own and these companies couldn't have done it on their own."
Unusually, the companies agreed to share information on using genes to predict how well a patient will respond as part of the Biomarkers Consortium, which includes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
"I-SPY 2 will provide a path to personalized medicine," said Dr. Laura Esserman, a breast cancer surgeon at the University of California San Francisco who will help lead the clinical trials. "We intend that every drug will graduate with a companion marker."
The trial will match patients to one of five experimental drugs:
-- ABT-888 or veliparib, being developed by Abbott Laboratories. The pill is a PARP inhibitor, which blocks a cell repair enzyme used by cancer cells.
-- AMG 655 or conatumumab, a targeted drug being developed by Amgen. It boosts a protein called APO/TRAIL that causes cancer cells to self-destruct.
-- Amgen's AMG 386, an angiogenesis inhibitor that stops tumors from growing blood vessels to nourish themselves.
-- CP-751,871 or figitumumab, being developed by Pfizer Inc to target the insulin growth factor receptor or IGFR.
-- Pfizer's HKI-272 or neratinib, another targeted therapy called a Pan ErbB inhibitor that targets several related receptors used by cancer cells.
The group is negotiating with other companies to add their experimental drugs to the mix.
"It'll speed up the whole process," Barker said.
The drug company lobby group PhRMA estimates it can take as long as 15 years and cost more than $1.3 billion dollars to take a new drug from laboratory to pharmacy.
Patients at 20 cancer centers will be tested right after they get tiny samples of tissue taken in biopsies. Before they ever get surgery, they will be treated with one of the drugs to see if this helps prevent tumor spread.
Up to 12 different cancer drugs will be tested. Unusually, the group has FDA approval to drop and add drugs throughout the course of the trial without having to stop it to write a whole new protocol.
Security forces in Liberia were ordered to enforce the action plan, which includes placing all non-essential government workers on 30-day compulsory leave.
Scientists analysed blood samples from 1,241 malaria patients in 10 countries across Asia and Africa and found resistance to the world's most effective antimalarial drug.
The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows those of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighbouring Liberia
The hospital will be shut for a week and all staff monitored to ensure the virus has not spread
The new measures announced by the government came as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone struggle to contain the worst outbreak yet of the virus.
Angry crowds gathered outside the country's main Ebola hospital in Kenema where dozens are receiving treatment for the virus, and threatened to burn it down and remove the patients.
Asia’s largest copper mine in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is causing serious damage to the environment.
The victim has been identified as Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian who arrived in Lagos on Sunday.
An MSF report found that malaria cases in Bossangoa had more than tripled to 6,507 in May with almost two-thirds of those children under the age of five.
If confirmed, the case would be the first on record of one of the world's deadliest diseases in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy and, with 170 million people, its most populous country.
Researchers said the findings challenge the universal endorsement of paracetamol as the first choice painkiller for lower back pain.
The 39-year-old Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" by the health ministry, was leading the fight to control an outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country
Shanghai food watchdog said it sealed more than 1,000 tonnes of suspected meat products from OSI in China, and a further 100 tonnes of products from a range of its customers.
Children in Syria are at greatest risk as routine immunisation has been disrupted and many health centres are severely damaged after more than three years of conflict
151 people who came into direct contact with the victim were also placed in quarantine.
Viruses that spread through air - such as flu viruses for example - are far more likely to spread swiftly and widely in human populations