Is the CAR-T Upset?

Posted by Pranav Srivastava on Dec 1, 2016 12:38:37 PM

Recently, Juno Therapeutics announced that it’s putting a clinical trial for one of its CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy candidates (JCAR015) on hold, even though it remains unclear whether the patient deaths in one of its trials were drug related. Following the news, the company’s stock took a beating before Thanksgiving, dropping nearly a quarter of its value. Prior to the two patient deaths—both suffered from swelling of the brain—the broad range of neurotoxicity had been a known challenge with CAR-Ts. With the latest news, we once again are faced with questions: Is this when the shine starts to come off? Are we seeing the reality beyond the hype? 


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ASH 2016: Have Combination Regimens Arrived Yet?

Posted by Pranav Srivastava on Nov 23, 2016 9:20:07 AM


In a few short years, the treatment landscape for patients with hematologic malignancies has been transformed into a world of choices. The upcoming American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, which will be held Dec. 3-6 in San Diego, will bring more data to the forefront—with much more to come in the next five years—that builds on the recent trend of attacking cancer via multiple pathways through combination therapy regimens.

So far, the event abstracts already show a wide array of combination therapies in most tumor types: acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia, among many others. As the data for combination regimens continues to build, we expect many more approvals in the next few years, and with this ever-lengthening list of combination therapies comes greater hope for patients.


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Striking a Balance With Oncology Ads

Posted by Pranav Srivastava on Aug 23, 2016 3:06:08 PM

In an Aug. 9 op-ed in The New York Times titled “Cancer-Drug Ads vs. Cancer-Drug Reality,” the author contrasted the possible outcomes that pharmaceutical ads convey with the reality of the outcomes that most patients experience. The author has experienced loss in his own family due to cancer, and in the op-ed, he questioned whether ads for the immunotherapy that didn’t work for his loved one are unnecessarily instilling false hope in other patients. As a market researcher and reader of clinical data on drugs, I can see all sides of the story. 


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The Changing Face of Cancer: CLL

Posted by Pranav Srivastava on Jul 25, 2016 11:42:08 AM

If you were a patient diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 1980, your doctor would have probably shared something to the effect of: “The good news is that CLL is a slowly progressing disease. The challenge is that once it progresses, we won’t have many options. There’s chemotherapy and not much else.” The prognosis that the doctor may or may not have shared with you was that the five-year survival rate was 69%, and it was much worse when you relapsed. 

Fast-forward to today and the story looks very different for the next generation of CLL patients. Today, 83% of patients will survive five years, and a significant portion will make it past 10 years—and this statistic is improving as we speak. While “cure” isn’t in the lexicon yet, the treatments are certainly headed in the right direction. 


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What Video Games Can Teach Us About the Patient Experience

Posted by Pranav Srivastava on Mar 24, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Recently, I came across a “video game” called, “That Dragon, Cancer.” The game has neither dragons, nor the legions of knights who will slay them. Instead, it’s about life with a child with cancer and the experience of helplessness that’s all too central to that life. Created by Ryan and Amy Green, a young couple who lost their son, Joel, at age 5 after a battle with cancer, the game—one of a new breed of “point-and-click adventure” games—makes that experience very real and, perhaps, lets you reflect on the patient or caregiver experiences that you’ve had in your own life.


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