January 2015, Vol. 2, No. 1

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FDA Grants Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Genentech’s Investigational Cancer Immunotherapy MPDL3280A (Anti–PD-L1) in Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

Second FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for MPDL3280A Following Bladder Cancer in 2014

Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, announced today that it has received a second Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its in­vestigational cancer immunotherapy MPDL3280A (anti–PD-L1). The designation was granted for the treatment of people with PD-L1 (Programmed Death-Ligand 1)–positive non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has progressed during or after platinum-based chemotherapy (and an appropriate targeted therapy for those with an EGFR mutation-positive or ALK-positive tumor).

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death globally, and we are pleased the FDA has granted breakthrough designation for MPDL3280A in non–small cell lung cancer,” said Sandra Horning, MD, chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “We are committed to personalized healthcare, developing medicines like MPDL3280A with companion tests that may help us identify those who may be appropriate candidates for our medicines.”

This Breakthrough Therapy Designation is based on early results of MPDL3280A in people whose NSCLC was characterized as PD-L1 positive by an investigational test being developed by Roche. All studies of MPDL3280A are prospectively evaluating PD-L1 expression. Some studies will evaluate the medicine regardless of a tumor’s PD-L1 status; other studies are evaluating the medicine only in people whose tumors are characterized as PD-L1 positive.

Breakthrough Therapy Designation is designed to expedite the development and review of medicines intended to treat serious diseases and to help ensure patients have access to them through FDA approval as soon as possible. The FDA granted the first Breakthrough Therapy Designation for MPDL3280A in metastatic bladder cancer in 2014. Ongoing pivotal studies of MPDL3280A include lung and bladder cancer, and we plan to initiate Phase III studies in additional tumor types this year.

About MPDL3280A (Anti–PD-L1)

MPDL3280A (also known as anti–PD-L1 and RG7446) is an investigational monoclonal antibody designed to interfere with a protein called PD-L1.
MPDL3280A is designed to target PD-L1 expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, preventing it from binding to PD-1 and B7.1 on the surface of T cells. By inhibiting PD-L1, MPDL3280A may enable the activation of T cells, restoring their ability to effectively detect and attack tumor cells.

About Lung Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that more than 221,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, and NSCLC accounts for 85 percent of all lung cancers. It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of lung cancer diagnoses in the United States are made when the disease is in the advanced stages.

Genentech press release, February 1, 2015

Uncategorized - February 18, 2015

Will PD-1 Blockers Have a Role in Hematologic Cancers?

The checkpoint inhibitors – the anti-­CTLA-4 agent ipilimumab and the PD-1 blockers nivolumab and pembrolizumab (with others coming) – have shown promise in multiple solid tumors and are showing hints of activity in hematologic malignancies as well. But according to early research, their use in hematology may be somewhat more [ Read More ]

Breast Cancer - February 18, 2015

The Future of Immunotherapy in Breast Cancer

The oncology community is abuzz with the promise of immunotherapy, sparked by the success of immunotherapeutic approaches in advanced melanoma. There is major interest in studying immunotherapy in other cancers, including breast and lung cancer. At the 2014 Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium, Heather L. McArthur, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist in [ Read More ]