Four Things To Watch for at ASCO 2019

From a CAR T cell therapy to a JAK2 inhibitor, here are the hot and trending topics.

More than 32,000 oncologists, researchers, nurses and patient advocates from around the world are expected this week for the 55th American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting to learn about the latest advances in cancer research and innovations in cancer care.

With more than 2,400 abstracts accepted for presentation at the conference and more than 3,200 additional abstracts accepted for online publication, we’re highlighting four areas of research being discussed at ASCO that shouldn’t be missed.

1. Exploring CAR T Cell Therapies for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Certain Lymphomas

Some anticipated studies are focused on the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies as oncologists are excited to learn as much as possible about this innovative therapeutic class.

Researchers will be presenting new data from Celgene-sponsored studies on the potential durability of patients’ responses to an investigational CAR T-cell therapy in patients with relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma and the impact of this investigational therapy on health-related quality of life in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). As well, researchers will address the adverse events (AEs) of these investigational treatments observed in patients with various cancers.

Some of the cancers for which CAR T-cell therapies are being explored as potential treatments include chronic lymphocytic leukemia and relapsed/refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).

2. Targeting Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2) in Myelofibrosis

The only potential curative treatment option for myelofibrosis is a stem cell transplantation, but many patients are ineligible for the procedure. This year at ASCO researchers will present results from a study focusing on a therapy of a wholly owned subsidiary of Celgene that targets a protein called Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2).

More options are needed for these patients, and data at ASCO will reveal what is on the horizon.

3. Targeting Cereblon in Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma

Over the past decade, researchers have been working to uncover the role of cereblon in the biology and treatment of multiple myeloma. Cereblon is a protein that functions as part of the cellular machinery that disposes proteins no longer needed by the cell.

At ASCO 2019, researchers will present data from a Celgene-sponsored study on an investigational compound capable of co-opting cereblon as a mediator of the targeted protein degradation mechanism of certain target proteins. Physicians are keen to identify new treatment options since multiple myeloma is incurable and patients with the disease often cycle through multiple therapies over the course of their treatment.

4. Immunotherapy Combinations for Relapsed/Refractory Indolent Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Many patients with indolent (slow growing) NHL, such as follicular lymphoma, may experience multiple relapses that require several rounds of therapy. Their durability of response can also diminish with each line of therapy.

At this year’s ASCO, oncologists will present new analyses from ongoing Celgene-sponsored studies of a new combination regimen to treat certain types of indolent NHL.

Of course, these are just some of the hot and trending topics that will be discussed at the upcoming ASCO Annual Meeting as the cancer community gathers in Chicago to dive deeper into the data and insights from these and other studies to improve cancer care.