American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) frenzy on tap
Before I turned in for the evening, I got my feed from Derek Lowe's In the Pipeline for his take on the media frenzy that will accompany the kickoff of the ASCO meeting in Atlanta this weekend.
Dr Lowe is a great chemist and fabulous source for all sorts of pharmaceutical news and information. In fact, coverage of his blog in the 1 August 2005 edition of The Scientist is what originally got me a-thinking about launching a blog of my own.
Derek makes a great point of not reading too much into the ASCO frenzy for cancer drug development trends since what we'll be reading about the next few days are things conceived by Pharma six to ten years ago.
I did, however, comment on his blog that I just saw on WSJ.com this afternoon a report from Jennifer Corbett Dooren that BMS's potent but non-selective Src/Abl kinase inhibitor, dasatinib (formerly BMS-354825), will be recommended by the FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) tomorrow for approval in Gleevec-refractory CML. A recent study is suggestive that dasatinib will also share imatinib's activity against c-kit in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Truly a great win for my esteemed BMS chemistry and pharmacology colleagues - congratulations to all involved in the development of this new agent.
Anyway, this approval recommendation makes interesting news for those of us that get killed on NIH grant applications for being cancer phenotype-directed instead of molecular target-directed. Dasatinib was an almost thrown-away kinase inhibitor that had just enough promiscuity to have potent inhibitory activity on imatinib-resistant Bcr-Abl kinase. But, never fear, we pharmacologists have already generated dasatinib-resistant mutations to make way for the next, even less-targeted inhibitor.
We've already gotten the ASCO abstract book at home but I'll be staying tuned to In the Pipeline and the Wall Street Journal for the real stories!