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The Onco'Zine Brief
49 minutes | a month ago
Richard Schilsky, M.D. - A Deep Passion for Cancer Medicine
In this episode of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland talks with Richard Schilsky, M.D.Dr. Schilsky is The Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is an oncologist who specializes in new drug development and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. His impressive experience and many accomplishments in both clinical medicine and clinical research, reflect his deep passion for cancer medicine. As a highly respected leader in the field of clinical oncology, Dr. Schilsky has spent the majority of his career at the University of Chicago, where he joined the faculty in 1984. In 2013 he joined ASCO where he launched ASCO’s first-ever prospective clinical trial, the Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry or TAPUR Study. Dr. Schilsky also established the Center for Research & Analytics, developed a Board-approved Policy on Research Scope, set up a process to review and fulfill requests for ASCO data, built a Division of Biostatistics and Research Data Governance, and initiated ASCO’s Research Survey Pool to support surveys of ASCO members for research purposes. Being at the forefront of cancer medicine, Dr. Schilsky also worked on developing ASCO’s CancerLinQ which helped define a real-world evidence research strategy in cancer care, recognizing early on that big data can help us to learn from every patient’s cancer experience—not just from the 3% of patients who are able to participate in clinical trials.In February 2021 Dr. Schilsky will be retiring from his role of chief medical officer at the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In the interview today Hofland and Schilsky talk about progress made in the treatment of cancer.About The Onco'Zine BriefThe Onco'Zine Brief is distributed in the United States via PRX (Public Radio Exchange). In the United Kingdom and Europe, the program is distributed via UK Health Radio (UKHR). And the program can be downloaded via most podcasts and streaming media services, including iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio.For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefFor more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.comTo sign up for The Onco'Zine Newsletter (open for residents of the United States only), text the word CANCER to 66866.
49 minutes | 2 months ago
Pascal Touchon: A Mission to Transform the Lives of Patients with Serious Medical Conditions
In this episode of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland talks with Pascal Touchon, President, Chief Executive Officer, and member of the Board of Directors Atara Biotherapeutics. With more than 30 years of global biopharmaceutical leadership experience, Pascal Touchon has committed his career to transform the lives of patients with serious medical conditions.Before joining Atara Biotherapeutics Dr. Touchon was Global Head, Cell & Gene and member of the Oncology Executive Committee at Novartis Oncology, where he was responsible for the global launch of Novartis’ CAR T-cell drug and expanded global CAR T-cell manufacturing and technical operations.Now, at Atara Biotherapeutics, Dr. Touchon guides the company in developing the next-generation of off-the-shelf CAR T-cell immunotherapies, using a technology platform that makes it possible to manufacture a T-cell library in advance of a patient’s specific medical needs.The company is developing a host of potentially transformative T-cell immunotherapies for cancer, autoimmune, and viral diseases, using Epstein-Barr Virus T-Cells from donors with a healthy immune function.Epstein-Barr Virus is associated with a wide range of hematological malignancies and solid tumors, as well as certain autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Among the novel therapies the company is developing, is ATA3271, a next-generation, off-the-shelf, allogeneic Epstein-Barr Virus CAR T-cell therapy targeting mesothelin, a cell surface antigen that is strongly expressed in mesothelial cells and is highly expressed in pancreatic cancers, ovarian cancers, mesotheliomas, and some other cancers. The investigational drug is designed for the treatment of solid tumors. Earlier this year, during the 35th annual meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) the company presented favorable findings from in vitro and in vivo evaluation of ATA3271During the upcoming 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), being held virtually from December 5th through 8th this year, pre-clinical data of another investigational agent, ATA3219, will be presented. The available data shows that ATA3219 demonstrates efficient targeting of CD19-expressing tumor cells, both in vitro and in vivo In the interview today, originally recorded in June 2020, Hofland and Touchon talk about the company and the transformative therapies being developed for patients diagnosed with solid tumors, hematologic cancers, and autoimmune disease.About The Onco'Zine BriefThe Onco'Zine Brief is distributed in the United States via PRX (Public Radio Exchange). In the United Kingdom and Europe, the program is distributed via UK Health Radio (UKHR). And the program can be downloaded via most podcasts and streaming media services, including iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio.For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefFor more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.comTo sign up for The Onco'Zine Newsletter (open for residents of the United States only), text the word CANCER to 66866.
48 minutes | 2 months ago
Accelerate the Development of Precision Medicine Diagnostics
In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland talks with Peter Keeling about Personalized Medicine, diagnostic testing, and the effect of Covid-19 on cancer and cancer diagnostics. Hofland and Keeling also talk about the world’s first Diagnostic Network for Precision Medicine.Peter Keeling is the chief executive officer and Founder of Diaceutics. Since its founding, the company has built the world’s largest repository of diagnostic testing data with a growing network of 2,500 laboratories in 51 countries.The company recently launched the world’s first digital diagnostics platform solution. Diaceutics has launched this new platform – called --The Diagnostic Network® ---to help solve the many problems that exist today within the patient diagnosis process.A proper diagnostic test is an essential step to ensure that a patient receives the most effective treatment.Correctly diagnosing also leads to efficiently managing a patient’s disease, which, in turn, results in improved healthcare outcomes. In contrast, the failure to diagnose a condition correctly can reduce the possibility of a good healthcare outcome and limit a patient's ability to fully recover.Diaceutics’ network has been designed to accelerate the end-to-end development and commercialization of precision medicine diagnostics. But more importantly, the platform is designed to get every patient the treatment he or she deserves.About The Onco'Zine BriefThe Onco'Zine Brief is distributed in the United States via PRX (Public Radio Exchange). In the United Kingdom and Europe, the program is distributed via UK Health Radio (UKHR). And the program can be downloaded via most podcasts and streaming media services, including iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio.For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefFor more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.comTo sign up for The Onco'Zine Newsletter (open for residents of the United States only), text the word CANCER to 66866.
47 minutes | 3 months ago
The Burden of Chemotherapy-induced Myelosuppression
In this episode of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland Ph.D., talks with Raj Malik M.D. and Robert Epstein M.D.Malik is Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, R&D, at G1 Therapeutics. He leads the company’s clinical development, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, biometrics, translational medicine and preclinical teams. Epstein is an epidemiologist with extensive expertise in pharmaco-economics and health outcomes research. He served in academia and public health prior to joining the private sector and is currently the Chief Executive Officer and co-Founder of Epstein Health, providing strategic consultancy services to life sciences companies Hofland and his guests talk about the burden of Chemotherapy-induced Myelosuppression (CIM), which is also referred to as Bone Marrow Depression.  Chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression is a common side effect of chemotherapy. It generally ranges from mild to severe. Severe cases of myelosuppression, referred to as myeloablation, can be fatal.As a result, the side effects of chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression remain a major source of concern for both patients and health care providers. And the consequences include anemia, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia, all of which can cause severe complications, and limit the ability of patients to receive chemotherapy on time and at standard-of-care doses. Chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression is one of the most common dose-limiting complications of cancer treatment and is associated with a range of symptoms that can significantly impact patients’ health related quality of life. Despite the current availability and use of various supportive care interventions, chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression places a substantial burden on patients with advanced solid tumors, impacting many aspects of their daily livesBreakthrough TherapyIn the program today Hofland and his guests also talk about G1 Therapeutics first-in-class FDA-designated "Breakthrough Therapy" designed to improve outcomes for people with cancer who are treated with chemotherapy and we talk about myelopreservation which may reduce chemotherapy-related toxicity, making chemotherapy safer and more tolerable, and also reduce the need for rescue interventions that address the effects of myelosuppression, such as growth factors or blood and platelet transfusions.Data from a study published earlier this year in advances in therapy highlights that despite the various methods used to address chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression, and the patient-focused approach of oncologists, the real-world impact of chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression on patients is substantial. Based on the results of the study, the authors conclude that improving communication between patients and health care providers may help improve patients’ understanding of chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression and foster shared decision-making in terms of treatment. For more information about chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression and GI Therapeutics visit the company’s web site at https://www.g1therapeutics.com/ About The Onco'Zine BriefThe Onco'Zine Brief is distributed in the United States via PRX (Public Radio Exchange). In the United Kingdom and Europe, the program is distributed via UK Health Radio (UKHR). And the program can be downloaded via most podcasts and streaming media services, including iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio.For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefFor more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.comTo sign up for The Onco'Zine Newsletter (open for residents of the United States only), text the word CANCER to 66866.References Epstein, R.S., Aapro, M.S., Basu Roy, U.K. et al. Patient Burden and Real-World Management of Chemotherapy-Induced Myelosuppression: Results from an Online Survey of Patients with Solid Tumors. Adv Ther 37, 3606–3618 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12325-020-01419-6
49 minutes | 3 months ago
Antibody-dye Conjugates – A Targeted Light Activated Anti-Cancer Treatment
In this episode of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland talks with Peggy Berry, Vice president of Global Regulatory Affairs at Rakuten Medical.*Rakuten Medical is developing a technology platform called Illuminox™ which is based on a cancer therapy called Near Infrared Photoimmunotherapy. This technology was originally developed by Hisataka Kobayashi, M.D., Ph.D. and his team at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States. Rakuten Medical’s first investigational drug, based on it’s Illuminox™ platform technology, is called cetuximab saratolacan (previously known as ASP-1929 and RM-1929).Cetuximab saratolacan is an antibody-dye conjugate which includes the antibody, cetuximab (Erbitux®; Eli Lilly and Merck Serono) and a near-infrared, water-soluble, silicon-phthalocyanine derivative, photosensitizer or light activatable dye called IRdye700DX (IR700).The antibody-dye conjugate specifically targets the epidermal growth factor receptor or EGFR, which is broadly expressed in tumors such as head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, lung and pancreatic cancers as well as glioblastoma.The investigational agent has a unique mechanism of action. After cetuximab saratolacan is administered and binds to EGFRs on tumor cells, the drug is locally activated with non-thermal red light using a device laser system (called BioBlade® Laser System), which is the medical device used in the combination with cetuximab saratolacan. Pre-clinical data shows that following activation, cetuximab saratolacan induces rapid cell membrane disruption of the targeted cancer cells, leading to cell necrosis, and immune-o-genic cell death. Pre-clinical data also shows that cetuximab saratolacan can also induce innate and adaptive anti-cancer immune responses. Rakuten Medical is currently conducting a global Phase III multi-center clinical trial with cetuximab saratolacan to evaluate the efficacy and safety in patients with recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.In this program we talk about the platform technology and the regulatory aspects of developing this novel approach. We also talk about clinical trials, trial recruitment and real-world data.About The Onco'Zine BriefThe Onco'Zine Brief is distributed in the United States via PRX (Public Radio Exchange). In the United Kingdom and Europe, the program is distributed via UK Health Radio (UKHR). And the program can be downloaded via most podcasts and streaming media services, including iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio.For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefFor more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.comTo sign up for The Onco'Zine Newsletter (open for residents of the United States only), text the word CANCER to 66866.Note* Previously know as Aspyrian TherapeuticsReferences Kobayashi H, Choyke PL. Near-Infrared Photoimmunotherapy of Cancer. Acc Chem Res. 2019 Aug 20;52(8):2332-2339. doi: 10.1021/acs.accounts.9b00273. Epub 2019 Jul 23. PMID: 31335117; PMCID: PMC6704485. Baselga J. Why the epidermal growth factor receptor? The rationale for cancer therapy. Oncologist. 2002;7 Suppl 4:2-8. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.7-suppl_4-2. PMID: 12202782.
48 minutes | 4 months ago
C3 – Looking for Ideas Beyond Medicine to Change Cancer Care
In this episode of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland, Ph.D. talks with Anthony Yanni, M.D., Senior Vice President, patient-centricity at Astellas. In this role, Yanni is responsible for leading the development and execution of Astellas’ global patient-centricity strategy. To understand patient centricity, consider the fact that 10 years ago, patient-centricity wasn’t even a concept – In most cases, drugs were developed if scientists could achieve innovation, without considering if companies should actually develop a medicine based on the real-world unmet medical needs and the perspectives of the patient. And while ‘patient-centricity’ has become an industry’s catchphrase, not everyone has the same understanding of its true meaning. The concept of 'patient-centricity' comes from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service -idea of “no decision about me, without me.”But 'Patient-centricity' is more than a catchphrase. In the most advanced form, it is about the meaningful use of insights from patients - to support the development of health solutions, including the development of novel therapeutics.The essence of patient-centricity requires companies to have a 'listening ear' – to listen to the patient, to listen to what they think and understand – and really understand what they mean. According to a number of peer-reviewed studies patient-centricity – and with that - increased engagement with patients and providers leads to better care, decreased levels of disease, and a decrease of overall health-related expenses. In this process Information is essential. Information may help all participants involved in this process to have a better understanding of a particular disease and the individual, unmet medical needs of the patient.If patient-centricity is to succeed, engaging with the patient at a much earlier stage than has traditionally been the case may be essential. For example, patients, patient advocates, and their organizations may help in the drug development phase, including clinical trial design.By doing so, pharma – and in its wake the entire life sciences industry - can then leverage the patients’ expertise and detailed knowledge of their own disease and their own medical history to provide more effective patient-centric care. In his role as Senior Vice President and Head of Patient Centricity at Astellas, Yanni is responsible for leading the development and execution of the company’s global patient-centricity strategy. In that capacity, he helps guide the company to really understand the patient journey in a real-world setting - along with the continued development of a patient-focused corporate culture.In his view, medicine is more than a novel drug: “At the end of the day,” Yanni notes, “we are not here to treat a patient – we’re here to care for a person. Having a conscious awareness of that person in every activity, from every area of the company, every single day, ensures we will create truly meaningful innovations.”More than ever before, there is a need for meaningful innovation that can ease the challenges and worries patients and their caregivers have. And this is particularly so amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. In their process of listing to the patient, Astellas Oncology, years ago, established the Changing Cancer Care or C3 Prize.This prize is more than a listening exercise. It’s an effort to foster innovation in cancer care beyond medicine and change the entire experience for patients, caregivers, and loved ones. The C3 Prize is open to anyone with a great idea to change cancer care. Past winners have developed charity initiatives, patient education programs, apps, augmented reality experiences, and other programs aimed at changing the overall experience of cancer care. Any idea that can have an impact, especially if it is simple – is welcome.This year, Astellas Oncology is looking for ideas beyond medicine that can bring solutions to everyday challenges facing people with cancer, including concepts that can ease the increased burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care and health disparities affecting patients and caregivers. The program will award U.S. $ 200,000 in grants and resources to help winners further develop and advance their ideas.The award is open to anyone with a great idea – past winners included patients and their caregivers, healthcare providers, business leaders, and more. The C3 Prize is a global initiative and past prize winners included participants from Nigeria, Europe, the United States, Australia, and other countries.To learn about past winners, go to https://www.c3prize.com/winning-ideas To learn more and apply go to www.C3Prize.com - Applications to participate are open now until September 28, 2020About The Onco'Zine BriefThe Onco'Zine Brief is distributed in the United States via PRX (Public Radio Exchange). In the United Kingdom and Europe, the program is distributed via UK Health Radio (UKHR). And the program can be downloaded via most podcasts and streaming media services, including iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio.For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefFor more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.comTo sign up for The Onco'Zine Newsletter (open for residents of the United States only), text the word CANCER to 66866.
49 minutes | 5 months ago
A Non-Invasive Blood Test Designed to Advance Infectious Disease Diagnostics
In this episode of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland, Ph.D., talks with Tim Blauwkamp, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Karius.Karius, based in Redwood City, CA, has developed a non-invasive liquid biopsy, a blood test, called the Karius Test®. The test is based on next-generation sequencing of microbial cell-free DNA and can rapidly detect pathogens causing serious infections, including those diseases that are difficult to diagnose through conventional methods. The test can identify and quantify over 1,000 clinically relevant pathogens, including bacteria, DNA viruses, fungi, and parasites. The test can be used to identify infections related to complicated and atypical pneumonia, infections in immunocompromised patients including invasive fungal infections, viral infections and neutropenic fever, and endocarditis and other cardiovascular infections.In the right patient population, the test is faster than conventional culture-based diagnostics and eliminates traditional diagnostic methods for deep-tissue infections, which may require a diagnostic surgical procedure.But overall, the test helps clinicians make rapid, treatment decisions.And this is especially important for infectious disease diagnostics in immunocompromised patients, including patients with cancer.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, about 650,000 cancer patients receive chemotherapy in an outpatient oncology clinic in the United States. And while chemotherapy is important for the treatment of cancer and hematological malignancies, it may also lead to a condition known as neutropenia, a dramatic reduction of white blood cells. These cells, called leukocytes, include B-cells, T-cells, and NK- or natural killer - cells. They are designed to help fight infections. But when their numbers are reduced by cancer therapy, infections may develop easier and are harder to control.Infections may make treating cancer more complicated. When infections develop, the medical team needs to eradicate the infection before they can start another cycle of chemotherapy or radiation therapy or perform any surgical procedures. Preventing or eradicating infection is vital to continuing a patient’s cancer-targeted therapy. A complicating factor is that the medical team must also be on the lookout for side effects caused by the medications they use to treat the infection in patients who are already dealing with side effects related to their cancer therapy.Without a doubt, patients receiving chemotherapy are at a higher risk of developing infections. In turn, these infections may lead to hospitalization, disruptions in chemotherapy schedules, and even death.The CDC estimates that about 60,000 cancer patients are hospitalized with infections every year in the United States. In fact, infections remain a primary cause of severe morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. In some cases, even more so than the morbidity caused by cancer itself.About The Onco'Zine BriefThe Onco'Zine Brief is distributed in the United States via PRX (Public Radio Exchange). In the United Kingdom and Europe, the program is distributed via UK Health Radio (UKHR). And the program can be downloaded via most podcasts and streaming media services, including iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio.For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefFor more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.comTo sign up for The Onco'Zine Newsletter (open for residents of the United States only), text the word CANCER to 66866.
48 minutes | 5 months ago
Diagnosed with a Rare Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic? What Now?
In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief, Peter Hofland, Ph.D., talks with Vince McRuiz and Margo Shoup, MD, FACS.Margo Shoup is a nationally recognized surgical oncologist who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers and sarcomas. She is also the senior vice president, and system chair of the Nuvance Health Cancer Institute, where she provides strategic and clinical leadership for all aspects of Nuvance Health’s cancer services. Vince McRuiz is a patient of Dr. Shoup.In March 2020 just as the COVID-19 pandemic was ramping up in the northeastern United States, Vince was diagnosed with a retroperitoneal sarcoma — a rare abdominal cancer —that develops in the lining of the abdominal wall and the soft tissues that surround the kidneys, pancreas, and blood vessels. Vince needed surgery to remove the tumor. But removing this kind of cancer requires one of the most complex types of surgery. And while a diagnosis of cancer alone can be daunting, what if the cancer is rare and you’re diagnosed during a pandemic? In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief Hofland talks about that experience with Vince McRuiz, a father of three and grandfather of four, who has experienced several health and personal challenges over the past several years. In 2013 Vince was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and in 2019 he underwent major colon surgery, which required a three-week hospital stay. In 2018, Vince also lost his wife, Cynthia, to complications from Parkinson’s disease.And, then, in March 2020, during a routine CT scan to follow up on the colon surgery, doctors discovered a mass in Vince’s abdomen. Biopsy results confirmed that the mass was malignant. About retroperitoneal sarcomaThe retroperitoneum is the space between the peritoneum and the posterior abdominal wall that contains the kidneys and associated structures, the pancreas, and part of the aorta and inferior vena cava.According to the American Cancer Society, 15% of all diagnosed soft tissue sarcomas arise in the retroperitoneum. And approximately one-third of malignant tumors that arise in the retroperitoneum are sarcomas. With approximately 8,600 patients diagnosed each year in the United States, representing less than 1% of all newly diagnosed malignancies, soft tissue sarcomas, including retroperitoneal sarcoma, are considered rare.The most common types of retroperitoneal sarcomas diagnosed in adults are liposarcomas, leiomyosarcomas, and malignant fibrous histiocytomas. Patients diagnosed with retroperitoneal sarcoma are often diagnosed in later stages with advanced disease because these tumors arise in the large potential spaces of the retroperitoneum where they can grow very large without producing symptoms.Furthermore, because retroperitoneal sarcoma is a rare disease in an anatomically complex location, evaluation, and treatment is challenging. The overall survival rates of patients are affected by the tumor size on presentation, the inability to achieve wide surgical margins, and the limitations of treating retroperitoneal sarcoma with radiation and chemotherapy.After surgery patients are scheduled for quarterly follow-up CT scans to make sure they are healing well and to determine if additional treatment is required.About The Onco'Zine BriefThe Onco'Zine Brief is distributed in the United States via PRX (Public Radio Exchange). In the United Kingdom and Europe, the program is distributed via UK Health Radio (UKHR). And the program can be downloaded via most podcast and streaming media services, including iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio. For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefFor more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.com
44 minutes | 6 months ago
Transforming Cell Therapy Manufacturing by “Squeezing” Cells: An Interview with Armon Sharei
In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland, Ph.D. talks with Armon Sharei, Ph.D. Chief Executive Officer of SQZ Biotech, about the development and manufacturing of cell therapies. Traditionally, the foundation of cancer treatment included surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. But over the last few decades, targeted therapies —drugs that specifically target molecular changes seen primarily on cancer cells—have become a standard treatment for many cancers.In addition, over the past several years, immunotherapies—therapies that are designed to use the power of a patient's own immune system to attack cancer, have emerged as a new treatment.One of the rapidly emerging immunotherapy approaches is called adoptive cell transfer. It is based on collecting and using patients' own immune cells to treat their cancer. Although there are several types of these therapies, one approach that has advanced the furthest in clinical development is called Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy or CAR T-cell therapy.In 2017, as the result of the remarkable responses seen in some patients—both children and adults— two CAR T-cell therapies were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.One treatment was approved for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and the other for adults with advanced lymphomas. But given the unique and personalized approach, the Manufacturing of cell therapies is expensive and complex. One reason is that because CAR T-cell therapies are hyper-personalized - using a patient’s own T-Cells - it may take 3 – 4 weeks, and sometimes even longer - to manufacture such a personalized and unique treatment option. And the manufacturing comes with a high price tag. So, scientists started to look for alternatives.Scientists at SQZ Biotech - a privately-held clinical-stage company are developing transformative cell therapy candidates for patients with cancer and other serious diseases. Hofland talks with Sharei about SQZ Biotech’s cell engineering platform which was named as a top 10 world-changing technology by Scientific American in 2014.SQZ Biotech’s approach could provide treatment options for patients across many different diseases, including, but not limited, to cancer and hematological malignancies. For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebrief For more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.com
47 minutes | 6 months ago
ASCO 2020: New Developments in the Treatment of Hard to Treat Cancers
In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland, Ph.D. talks with Christian Massacesi, MD, Senior Vice President, Head of Late Development Oncology R&D at AstraZeneca and with Jeffrey Skolnik, MD, Vice President, Clinical Development at Inovio Pharmaceuticals about new data and exciting developments both companies are presenting during the 2020 virtual annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology – ASCO.This year, amidst the SAR-CoV-2 or coronavirus pandemic, the ASCO organization has been hard at work to offer a unique scientific program for oncology professionals, patient advocates, and industry representatives.In the program, Hofland and Massacesi talk about AZD9833, a drug in clinical development for the treatment of women with ER+ HER2- advanced breast cancer. They also talk about a drug AstraZeneca is developing for the treatment of Tripple Negative Breast Cancer… and a potential treatment for a very uncommon form of lung cancer … and, last but not least, they talk about the company’s partnerships with Daiichi Sankyo in developing a very targeted drug – an Antibody-drug Conjugate or ADC – called Trastuzumab Deruxtecan - for the treatment of patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer – and other HER2-positive cancers. In the second part of the program, Hofland talks with Jeffrey Skolnik about the DNA medicines Inovio Pharmaceuticals is developing to potentially treat and protect people from serious diseases, including life-threatening diseases associated with HPV, cancer, and infectious diseases.They talk about the company’s presentations during ASCO, including data about their HPV treatment and novel treatment for Glioblastoma or GBM, a hard to treat form of brain cancer. They also talk about the complexity of conducting clinical trials during the coronavirus pandemic and how the pandemic is impacting the clinical trial process.For more information about The Onco'Zine Brief or how to sponsor or support this public radio broadcast and podcast, visit: https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebrief For more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.com
48 minutes | 7 months ago
Advancing CAR T-cell Therapy in Difficult to Treat Cancers: An Interview with Precigen’s Helen Sabzevari
In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief, Peter Hofland talking with Helen Sabzevari, the president of Precigen. Precigen is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and clinical-stage development of the next generation of gene and cell therapies using precision technology. The company is developing novel therapeutic agents that are designed to target the most urgent and difficult diseases in immuno-oncology, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases.During the second part of the virtual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Research – AACR - being held June 22 to June 24, 2020, the company presented preclinical results of an investigational drug called PRGN-3005 which is being developed for the treatment of patients with advanced, recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.And there is a large unmet medical need for these patients.Worldwide, nearly 300,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year with approximately 22,000 of them in the US. Since early ovarian cancer is often without obvious symptoms, the disease is frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage where cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs. Five-year survival rates depend on stage and type of ovarian cancer with rates decreasing for advanced-stage cancers that have spread to distant parts of the body. The novel drug being developed by Precigen is a new kind of CAR T-cell therapy.CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses specially altered T cells — a part of the immune system — to fight cancer. Traditionally a sample of a patient's T cells are collected from the patient’s own blood, then modified to produce special structures called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. When these CAR T cells are reinfused into the patient, the new receptors enable them to latch onto a specific antigen on the patient's tumor cells and kill them.In addition to the standard CAR-T-cell therapies which are approved and commercially available in the United States, different forms CAR T-cell therapies have been developedThis includes the so-called ‘off-the-shelve’ CAR T-cell – which are in clinical development. In our interview today, we talk with Helen Sabzevari about Precigen’s approach in the development of their CAR T-cell therapy, which is unique and different from the traditional and the ‘off-the-shelve’ approach.
47 minutes | 7 months ago
Sacituzumab Govitecan, a Novel Treatment for Patients with mTNBC
In this episode of The Onco'Zine Brief, Peter Hofland talks with Thorsten Sperber, Global Head Medical Affairs at Immunomedics. Hofland and Sperber talk about sacituzumab govitecan, a novel antibody-drug conjugate. At the time of the interview, the drug was not yet approved, but in the weeks following the interview, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved sacituzumab govitecan (Trodelvy™) for the treatment of adult patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC) who have received at least two prior therapies for patients with relapsed or refractory metastatic disease.Sacituzumab govitecan, previously known as IMMU-132, is Immunomedics’ lead product and the most advanced program in the company’s unique antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) platform. The drug binds the humanized anti-trophoblast cell-surface antigen 2 (Trop-2) monoclonal antibody (mAb) hRS7 IgG1κ through the cleavable CL2A linker to the anti-cancer drug SN-38 to kill cancer cells. Trop-2 is expressed in more than 85% of all cancers, including breast cancer and TNBC.With the FDA’s decision, sacituzumab govitecan is the eight approved and available ADCs reaching the market, making these targeted drugs a powerful class of therapeutic agents in oncology and hematology.
47 minutes | 8 months ago
Finding Community After a Cancer Diagnosis: A Conversation with Terri Conneran
Struggling in the heat and humidity of the summer of 2016, Terri Conneran believed that her asthma was uncontrolled. In August that year, her physician assistant prescribed her a preventive inhaler. That autumn brought the excuse of allergies, plus time for the new inhaler to take effect. By Christmas 2016, nasal congestion, and a heavy feeling chest with shortness of breath it was time to again see her doctor. Hearing fluid in her lungs, an x-ray showed a mass with fluid. Pneumonia was diagnosed, a return appointment was scheduled for two weeks later. In the first week of 2017, the wheezing and congestion worsened. Already concerned about the mass shown in the x-ray, a CT scan was ordered. Terri scheduled an appointment with a pulmonologist. Based on the initial CT results, the pulmonologist confidently stated this is unlikely cancer. To be certain, a PET plus biopsy was necessary. Late in the evening of the following Friday, the pulmonologist called with the results. The diagnosis: non-small cell lung cancerTo think of the call, Terri recalls that it still feels surreal hearing those words of the pulmonologist. She exactly remembers where she sitting as I wrote the words he doctor spoke on the paper in front of her.The call forever changed her life - It would be the beginning of her journey as a cancer patient and patient advocate.
48 minutes | a year ago
Susan Rafte: A 25+ Year Survivor of Metastatic Breast Cancer and Patient Advocate
In this episode The Onco’Zine Brief, recorded during the 42nd San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) held December 10 – 14, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas, Peter Hofland talks with Susan Rafte, a 25+ year survivor of metastatic breast cancer and patient advocate.In 1994, eight and a half months after birth to her daughter Marika, Susan Rafte, only 30 years old, was diagnosed with stage III ductal carcinoma.While she was pregnant with her daughter, she first felt a lump in her breast. Her doctors attributed the lump to her pregnancies. However, 18 months later, when Rafte pushed for a biopsy, the lump was diagnosed as a malignant tumor. Rafte was treated at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, by a multidisciplinary care team with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy.In 1995, soon after her initial treatment, Susan’s sister Jane Weiner, and three other dancers in New York City co-founded the Pink Ribbons Project®. After her recovery from a stem cell transplant in 1997, Jane and Susan brought the project to Houston. The Pink Ribbons Project® was the first arts and dance initiative founded solely to promote awareness about breast cancer and help raise funding for breast cancer advocacy and education. And over the Pink Ribbons Project’s lifetime, the organization raised more than US $ 6,000,000 for that cause.Beyond the Pink Ribbons Project and from the beginning of her diagnosis, Rafte has always been public about her disease. She felt it was important to spread awareness and provide education about breast health and breast cancer, because, as she explains: “I knew from personal experience that this disease has no boundaries.”As part of her work Rafte became a peer-to-peer support volunteer through MD Anderson Cancer Center. In 2000, Rafte helped start an on-site peer support program at the breast cancer center at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She also serves on many research projects and committees as a patient advocate.As a volunteer, Rafte’s involvements also includes dividing her volunteer hours with the Baylor College of Medicine, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Breast Health Collaborative of Texas as well as the affiliations she holds with The Rose Diagnostic Center and Harris County Hospital Clinic – Breast Care Centers.
50 minutes | a year ago
Candid Conversations on Mets, Sex, and Side Effects: a Panel Discussion With Breast Cancer Oncologists, Women’s Health Experts and Patients
In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief, recorded during the 42nd San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), held December 10 - 14, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas, Peter Hofland talks with leading breast cancer experts, and patients about metastatic breast cancer and health related quality of life hrQoL issues including sexual intimacy, bone health and joint pain. In this roundtable, panelists will also discuss liquid biomarkers for disease progression in the metastatic setting.The expert panel includes;- David Portman, MD, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sermonix Pharmaceuticals. Portman is a respected Key Opinion Leader (KOL) in the field, presented clinical data at national and international conferences, and published dozens of peer-reviewed papers in the field of menopause, VVA, SERMs and sexual health. Before founding Sermonix in 2014, Portman was founder and director of the Columbus Center for Women’s Health Research for 18 years where he conducted over 140 clinical trials in women’s health. He received his BA from Northwestern University and his MD and Obstetric and Gynecology residency from The Ohio State University College of Medicine where he is an adjunct instructor.- Kelli Davis, metastatic breast cancer patient and director of social media at Metavivor. Davis, is an outspoken advocate on behalf of women living with the disease, was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer in 2009 and stage IIIc in 2013. She learned she had stage IV, or metastatic, breast cancer in late 2014.- Stephanie L. Graff, MD, director of the Breast Cancer Program at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health and associate director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute. Graff, an award-winning writer and social media influencer, has broad experience as a principal investigator on numerous clinical trials. She received the Frist Humanitarian Award for her work improving the lives of people in her healthcare community, and serves on the boards of the American Cancer Society Kansas/Kansas City Area and The Research Foundation.- Kelly Shanahan, MD, an Ob/Gyn, Metavivor board member, metastatic breast cancer patient and advocate. Shanahan is a wife, a mother, a daughter, a doctor, a woman living with metastatic breast cancer. She is also an outspoken advocate. Metastatic breast cancer stole her career and through the horrible diagnosis, she was introduced to amazing women and men who showed her that she, as a trained physician, could still help others and make a difference through advocacy.
43 minutes | a year ago
Catherine Ivy: A Tireless Advocate for Brain Cancer Patients
In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland talks with Catherine Ivy, the Founder and President of the Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation. The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation, established in 2005, is the largest non-government organization supporter of brain tumor - including glioblastoma (GBM) - research in the world. To date, the Ivy Foundation has funded clinical trials and basic science in North America, Europe, and Asia. Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme, is an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. Glioblastoma forms from cells called astrocytes, that support nerve cells. The disease can occur at any age, but tends to occur more often in older adults. Glioblastoma can cause worsening headaches, nausea, vomiting and seizures. It can be very difficult to treat and a cure is often not possible. Catherine Ivy, is a tireless advocate for glioblastoma patients everywhere. Since 2005, the Ivy foundation has committed more than US $ 92 million to brain tumor research. The expectation is that this investment will, in time, lead to an eventual cure. The Ivy Foundation is dedicated to this effort because funding leads to answers, and answers lead to hope.Ivy Foundation-supported research is always patient-focused and highly translational. The organizational philosophy is to embrace risk, advocate collaboration, and fiercely support the brain tumor patient community. This forward-leaning strategy reflects the ideals of both Ms. Ivy and her late husband, Ben, who died from a glioblastoma in 2005. In this interview with The Onco'Zine Brief, Catherine Ivy tells the story of her husband, Ben Ivy, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma in August 2005. In addition to his devastating diagnosis, Ben’s suffering made a difficult situation overwhelmingly painful – Ben Ivy passed away four months after being diagnosed, in November 2005. Ben and Catherine Ivy felt it was important to give back to their community and they’ve always actively supported education and healthcare. Following Ben’s death, the Ben and Catherine Ivy foundation refocused its mission to find a cure for brain cancer. Catharine Ivy explained that her husband’s suffering and the awareness of the lack of options to fight brain cancer motivated her to find better diagnostics and to develop new therapies to help patients.And that’s what she did.The mission of the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation is to fund brain cancer research in order to develop diagnostics and treatments that lead to long-term survival and a high quality of life for patients with this disease. More information about the Ben and Catherine Ivy FoundationFor more information about the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, visit the website of the organization at: www.ivyfoundation.org About Onco'ZineThe Onco’Zine Brief is developed in collaboration with the online journal, Onco’Zine at oncozine.com - where you can find additional information and the latest news about cancer, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and cancer prevention.How to support The Onco'Zine BriefFor more information about supporting The Onco’Zine Brief, check our online journal Onco’Zine at Onco’Zine.com or visit Patreaon at https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefNewsletterIf you’re living in the United States and want to receive our Newsletter, text the word CANCER to 66866 - and we’ll make sure that you’ll receive our newsletter which includes an overview of the latest news in oncology and hematology.Read more- Hofland P. First-in-human Study to Determine Effectiveness of Novel, Non-invasive Therapy for Brain Cancer. Onco'Zine. November 21, 2019. Online: https://www.oncozine.com/first-in-human-study-to-determine-effectiveness-of-novel-non-invasive-therapy-for-brain-cancer/- Hofland P. New Breast Cancer Drug has the Potential to be a Novel Therapy for Glioblastoma. Onco'Zine, July 25, 2019. Online: https://www.oncozine.com/new-breast-cancer-drug-has-the-potential-to-be-a-novel-therapy-for-glioblastoma/- Nader Sanai, MD, FAANS, FACS. As New Drugs Lag, Accelerated Clinical Trials Lead Charge in Brain Cancer Fight? Onco'Zine. April 12, 2019. Online: https://www.oncozine.com/as-new-drugs-lag-accelerated-clinical-trials-lead-charge-in-brain-cancer-fight%ef%bb%bf/
48 minutes | a year ago
TARDIS - A Simple Blood Draw to Determining a Patient’s Response to Neoadjuvant Therapy
In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland talks with Dr. Muhammed Murtaza and Dr. Thomas Slavin about liquid biopsies Murtaza is Assistant Professor and co-Director of the Center for Noninvasive Diagnostics at TGen in Phoenix, AZ, and Dr. Slavin is Assistant Clinical Professor, Departments of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and Population Sciences, Division of Clinical Cancer Genomics at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California.Hofland talks with Murtaza and Slavin specifically about a test called TARDIS — which stands for TARgeted DIgital Sequencing. This test, according to a study published earlier this year, is as much as 100 times more sensitive than other blood-based cancer monitoring tests. TARDIS is a “liquid biopsy” that specifically identifies and quantifies small fragments of cancer DNA circulating in the patient’s bloodstream, known as circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). About Onco'ZineThe Onco’Zine Brief is developed in collaboration with the online journal, Onco’Zine at www.oncozine.com - where you can find additional information and the latest news about cancer, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and cancer prevention.How to support The Onco'Zine BriefFor more information about supporting The Onco’Zine Brief, check our online journal Onco’Zine at www.Onco’Zine.com or visit Patreaon at https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebriefNewsletterIf you’re living in the United States and want to receive our Newsletter, text the word CANCER to 66866 - and we’ll make sure that you’ll receive our newsletter which includes an overview of the latest news in oncology and hematology.For more information about TARgeted DIgital Sequencing (TARDIS):- Garcia D. Federal Grant helps TGen Refine Cancer-detection Blood Tests for Breast Cancer Patients. Onco'Zine - October 15, 2019 - https://www.oncozine.com/federal-grant-helps-tgen-refine-cancer-detection-blood-tests-for-breast-cancer-patients/- Hofland P. New ‘Liquid Biopsy’ Helps to Improve Breast Cancer Diagnostics and Avoid Unnecessary Surgeries - August 8, 2019 - https://www.oncozine.com/new-liquid-biopsy-helps-improves-breast-cancer-diagnostics-and-avoid-unnecessary-surgeries/
48 minutes | a year ago
How does Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy Work when there’s no Checkpoint Expressed on a Patient's Cancer
Today in The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland talks with Dr. Michael Caligiuri, President of City of Hope National Medical Center in Los Angeles, California and Deana and Steve Campbell Physician-in-Chief Distinguished Chair, and Dr. Jianhua Yu, professor in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope, and a Scholar of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.By combining leading-edge science with true compassion and personalized treatment for each and every patient, scientists, researchers, doctors, nurses and in fact anyone at City of Hope, share in one single goal: Outsmarting cancer to eliminate it. Recognizing the accomplishments in cancer research, treatment, patient care, education and prevention, the National Cancer Institute has designated City of Hope as a comprehensive cancer center, an honor reserved for only 49 institutions nationwide.Numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology pioneered by City of Hope. These drugs are saving lives of patients worldwide.In addition to cancer research, millions of people with diabetes benefit from synthetic human insulin, developed through research conducted at City of Hope. In today’s program, Hofland talk with Dr. Caligiuri and Dr. Yu about some of the results of this research – and how this is benefiting patients.ResearchIn a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research, Dr. Caligiuri and Dr. Yu and their colleagues, provide, for first time a scientific explanation as to how checkpoint inhibitor therapy can work when there’s no checkpoint expressed on a patient’s cancer cellsThis understanding may lead to a new powerful therapy against even more cancersImmune SystemThe immune system is a powerful collection of structures and processes within the body, designed to prevent or limit infection and protect against disease. And while the immune system can naturally defend us against cancer, cancer, in turn, has the ability to evade the immune system by seducing it not to attack it.To succeed, cancer exploits immune checkpoints, which regulate immune activation and prevent the immune system form attacking healthy cells. But this mechanism can also be used by a tumor to protect itself from being attacked by the immune system. Checkpoints on tumor cells and on T cells, which are also called T lymphocyte, type of white blood cell, help keep immune responses in check.In contrast, blocking these checkpoints releases the brakes on the immune system, giving it the ability to do what it is designed to do: eradicate cancer.The study published in Cancer Discovery helps understand some of the complex mechanisms involved.
48 minutes | a year ago
BCAN's Mission to Increase Public Awareness, Advance Bladder Cancer Research and Support Patients
Today in The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland talks with Diane Zipursky Quale.Together with her late husband John Quale, Diane, who holds a BA from Stanford University and a JD from the National Law Center, George Washington University, is Co-Founder and Director of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN), the only national advocacy organization devoted to advancing bladder cancer research and supporting those impacted by the disease.BCAN is on the front-lines advocating for greater public awareness and increased funding for research to identify effective treatments and eventually, a cure for bladder cancer.Each year, BCAN provides thousands of patients, caregivers and the medical community with the educational resources and support services they need to navigate their bladder cancer journey. The organization works collaboratively with the medical and research professionals who are dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer and empowers the patient community by allowing them to share experiences with others, and to participate in building awareness of the need for a cure.In the interview today Peter Hofland and Diane Zipursky Quale talk about BCAN and more.
48 minutes | a year ago
Finding Aswers and Improving Patient Care - How Genetic Tests can be Helpful (Part 2)
In this edition of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland talks with Laura Panos Smith, a certified genetic counselor and vice president of commercial operations at Ambry Genetics.Ms. Smith leads a large team responsible for the implementation of key strategic initiatives for Ambry Genetics.This includes the daily support and education for patients and healthcare providers, as well as marketing and sales support functions.Ms. Smith has been with Ambry Genetics since 2013 and she has held a number of positions, most recently as the National Director of the Genetic Specialist team – a position she held for three years. Before joining the company, she worked as a Board Certified Genetic Counselor at Baylor Sammons Cancer Center, in Dallas, Texas, where she led an initiative to grow the oncology and cardiology genetics services. Ambry Genetics, the company Ms. Smith works for, is a leading clinical diagnostics company offering genetic testing, which includes screening and diagnosis, for conditions including hereditary cancer, hereditary cardiovascular disease, neuro-developmental disorders, epilepsy and others.As part of Konica Minolta Precision Medicine, Ambry Genetics translates scientific research into clinically actionable test results based upon a deep understanding of the human genome and the biology behind genetic disease. This enables more prescriptive, proactive and preventive care.But what is genetic testing?As mentioned in a previous episode of The Onco’Zine Brief, Genetic testing is a specific type of medical test designed to identify changes in an individuals’ chromosomes, genes, or proteins. A genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition. It can also help determine a person's chance of developing or even passing on a genetic disorder, which may lead to a specific disease.Generally, there are two main types of genetic testing:If, for example, you have been diagnosed with a type of cancer, the doctor may have told you about somatic or tumor testing. Such a tests involves a sample of the tumor. This test studies the DNA to determine what kind of treatment may be best for you – as a patient. It may look at different, targeted or even personalized treatments to determine which may be better or worse. An oncologist - or his or her team - will be the best resource to discuss this type of genetic testing and the results:The second type of genetic testing is called germline genetic testing. This test is using a blood or saliva sample. The DNA in blood cells is studied to see if there is a mutation that causes an increased risk to develop cancer or another diseaseThis test is for both people who have a specific disease cancer but also for people who do not. And the results of this test can be best discussed with a genetic counselor or healthcare provider.While genetic testing is available for many, it may not make sense for everyone. A genetic counselor can help a patient determine their risk for genetic disease and catch genetic diseases at an earlier more treatable phase.
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