This week in drug discovery (20-24 September) 

News round-up by DDW’s Megan Thomas for 20-24 September 

September is Cancer Awareness Month, so this week DDW’s Megan Thomas has rounded up her top five news stories which showcase the work and research of scientists in the fight against cancer.  

AstraZeneca Imfinzi combination effective with non-small cell lung cancer 

Results from the large, randomised COAST Phase II trial showed oleclumab, an anti-CD73 monoclonal antibody, or monalizumab, an anti-NKG2A monoclonal antibody, in combination with Imfinzi (durvalumab) improved progression-free survival (PFS) and objective response rate (ORR) compared to Imfinzi alone in patients with unresectable, Stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had not progressed after concurrent chemoradiation therapy (CRT). 

Can Covid-19 vaccine technology be used for cancer vaccines? 

Scientists from the University of Oxford and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research are building on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 to develop a vaccine to treat cancer.   

Scientists identify new therapeutic target in ovarian cancer subtype 

Mutations in the ARID1A gene are present in more than 50% of ovarian clear cell carcinomas (OCCC), for which effective treatments are lacking. Scientists at The Wistar Institute discovered that loss of ARID1A function enhances a cellular stress response pathway that promotes survival of cancer cells, which become sensitive to pharmacological inhibition of this pathway.   

Cancer Research UK and University of Edinburgh start-up boost 

A University of Edinburgh business-support programme has partnered with Cancer Research UK to help build startup companies focused on tackling cancer. 

AstraZeneca breast cancer drug shows ‘groundbreaking’ results 

Results from a Phase III trial show promise for patients with advanced breast cancer. Enhertu has been shown to reduce the risk of disease progression or death by 72% vs. trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. 

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