A Faster Way to Try Many Drugs on Many Cancers – NYT

A new way to give hope to patients

doctor_physician_surgeryCancers often tend to be fueled by changes in genes, or mutations, that make cells grow and spread to other parts of the body. There are now an increasing number of drugs that block mutations in cancer genes and can halt a tumor’s growth.

While such an approach has worked in a few isolated cases, those cases cannot reveal whether other patients with the same mutation would have a similar experience.

Now, medical facilities are starting coordinated efforts to find answers. And this spring, a federally funded national program will start to screen tumors in thousands of patients to see which might be attacked by any of at least a dozen new drugs. Those whose tumors have mutations that can be attacked will be given the drugs. The studies of this new method, called basket studies because they lump together different kinds of cancer, are revolutionary, much smaller than the usual studies, and without control groups of patients who for comparison’s sake receive standard treatment.

The NYT article

Nature Biotech Honors Some Of 2014’s Best Academic Startups – LifeSciVC

The editors’ selections of the top startups – 11 companies to follow!

power_buttonThis year they picked 11 companies to highlight across cancer, gastrointestinal, fibrosis, pain, and rare disease areas.

By way of background, Nature Biotechnology is the most widely cited journal for biotech, ranked #1 by “impact factor”, and its editors drove the startup selection process. Their methodology involved evaluating the list of new startups that raised significant Series A rounds last year, as “substantial funding” was their view of “commercial excitement” or validation. Then they selected companies where the underlying science was derived from academic labs and was sufficiently innovative to be compelling – essentially their editors’ assessment of the most exciting science. Nature senior editor Laura DeFrancesco and her colleague Aaron Bouchie then wrote up narratives describing each of the companies.

Have a look at this wonderful blog on Lifesciences    Nature article (subscription required)