Multimodal meeting

ASH 2017 by the numbers: cell and gene therapies making inroads

This year’s clinical abstracts at the American Society of Hematology meeting hint at how newer treatment modalities -- cell therapies in cancer and gene therapies in hematology -- will branch out into new indications and fit into evolving treatment landscapes.

In advance of the conference, which runs Dec. 9-12 in Atlanta, BioCentury performed a series of manual and algorithm-guided analyses on 4,429 abstracts and identified 2,027 that concerned clinical studies of therapeutics, diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers.

Leukemias dominated the cancer abstracts this year -- among all the blood cancers mentioned in the abstracts, just over half were leukemias, while 26% were lymphomas and the remaining 23% were either myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or multiple myeloma (MM).

Like last year, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) was the cancer subtype most often mentioned in the clinical abstracts, a trend that shows no signs of slowing. AML made up 28% of indications mentioned among preclinical blood cancer abstracts (see “ASH 2017: Top Indications”).

In BioCentury Innovation’s analysis of preclinical abstracts, AML also was the indication mentioned most often, and also had the greatest share of emerging targets, holding out the possibility of more novel clinical programs to come. BioCentury Innovations, which published its analysis on Dec. 7, defined emerging targets as proteins or genes mentioned in one or two ASH abstracts in 2016 and at least three abstracts in 2017, or in no abstracts in 2016 and at least four in 2017.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was the second most common leukemia mentioned, thanks in part to a newly approved therapy, and in part to a bevy of late-stage therapies that feature new modalities beyond small molecules and mAbs.

Eight abstracts discussed treatment with Besponsa inotuzumab ozogamicin, Pfizer Inc.’s antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that was approved for the indication in August. At least 24 described clinical use of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies targeting CD19 or CD22.


Figure: ASH 2017: Top indications

Within cancer, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) once again dominated abstracts published ahead of the 2017 American Society of Hematology conference in Atlanta, appearing in more than 400 clinical abstracts. References to AML, which was the top cancer indication in 2016, made up over 40% of the clinical mentions of leukemias, and occurred nearly twice as often as the next most commonly cited cancer indication, multiple myeloma (MM).

The two most commonly cited hematology indications -- neutropenia and thrombocytopenia

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