Top takeaways from ASCO 2018

Blue Latitude Health|18th June 2018

On June 1 more than 40,000 oncology professionals arrived in Chicago to attend the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting 2018.

The attendees were eager to learn about the latest innovations in the field and debate this year’s theme: ‘Delivering discoveries: expanding the reach of precision medicine’. It’s safe to say they weren’t disappointed. The eclectic array of talks ranged from the role of immunotherapy in brain cancer to the future of liquid biopsies and how to use social media in leveraging cancer research, to name a few.

Interestingly, the agenda focused not only on the break-through technologies but on how best to efficiently use the tools we already have. This echoes our view that pharma will need to review and adapt its current practices in order to best overcome the challenges of bringing precision medicines to market.

Several members of the Blue Latitude Team attended the event. Here, Senior Consultant and precision medicine expert David Cooney, Managing Consultant Matt Bolton, and Senior Associate Consultant Leah Carlisle share their top takeaways from ASCO 2018.

What we learned:

1. New Drugs

Following on from its tropomyosin receptor kinases (TRK) inhibitor, Loxo presented another exciting new precision medicine in the form of its RET inhibitor, which demonstrates robust clinical activity across rearranged during transfection (RET)-altered solid tumours, including in patients with brain metastases.

2. New Regulation

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb commented on new ways to speed up cancer drug approvals in a bid to increase competition across oncology and manage rising drug prices while improving the efficiency of the development process.

3. New Technology

With this year focused on precision medicine, the technology required to be precise was a major part of the agenda. This was especially prevalent from genetic testing companies that leverage blood-based techniques to identify pathogenic mutations. Foundation medicine was leading the space with Guardant looking to challenge their spot. Similarly, decision-making tools required to bring genetic data into the physician and tumour board decision-making process also impressed us, with Tempus, Syapse and Navify all having interesting showings.

4. Patient Experience

The biggest takeaway from this year for us was the game-changing evidence in chemotherapy for breast cancer and surgery in advanced kidney cancer. Two large studies both confirmed that using novel, less invasive or toxic treatments in favour of less patient-friendly treatment does not impact outcomes. This trend towards improving the patient experience is a welcome revelation from this year’s meeting and we hope to see continue over years to come.

At Blue Latitude Health, we have extensive oncology experience working on both traditional and novel products. Get in touch with to find out how we can help you achieve your goals. 


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