6:11 PM
 | 
Dec 07, 2017
 |  BC Innovations  |  Targets & Mechanisms

Pathways emerging from ASH

An analysis of emerging targets at ASH by mechanism

A survey of the emerging molecular targets at this year’s American Society of Hematology conference indicates that while harnessing the immune system to treat cancer remains a dominant interest, processes for tuning protein levels -- from epigenetics and transcription, to translation and protein degradation -- are garnering attention.

BioCentury defines emerging targets as those with low to no mentions one year that show a marked increase the next. Specifically, the count includes targets mentioned in two or fewer abstracts in ASH2016 that at least tripled in ASH2017, or that were absent last year and were mentioned in at least four abstracts at ASH2017. Grouping the targets by mechanism provides a weather vane for the direction of innovation in the field.

The tally yielded 66 targets that ranged from zero to two mentions last year, and three to eight mentions this year. The targets fell into 12 different mechanistic categories, with a heavy emphasis on cancer and only a single category specifically related to hematological disease (see “Emergent Properties”).

Figure: Emergent Properties

As expected given the rapid growth of immuno-oncology, a hefty proportion (23) of the emerging targets are involved in immune modulation, but only five -- FCGR2B, RIG-I, STING, MIF and CCR2 -- are already being pursued in the clinic for cancer. For drug developers looking...

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