Bulletin: American Society Of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) – Preview

In a web and teleconference with reporters, ASCO highlighted six studies.ASCO abstracts – other than late breakers – are now off embargo, and these are the ones ASCO chose to present to the media.This is a brief write-up mostly to provide a sense of the tone and focus of those choices and the webcast.About 39,000 attendees are expected at ASCO in Chicago June 1-5, 2018, and there will be ~5,000 abstracts. The theme this year: Delivering, Discovering, and Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine.

American Society Of Cataract And Refractive Surgery (ASCRS)

Cataract surgeons are increasingly interested in learning how to do minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), but the move to MIGS is still slow, and doctors agree that there is a steep learning curve when it comes for these techniques. Glaukos’ iStent is the overwhelming favorite, mostly because doctors have the most experience with it. Ophthalmologists are also interested in Glaukos’ next-generation iStent inject, which appears to be very easy to implant. There is great interest in Allergan’s Xen subconjunctival device. Novartis/Alcon’s CyPass is popular but has some side effects, and doctors said they will only use it in patients for whom they have to get even lower IOP. Reimbursement for MIGS is a continual and aggravating problem, and doctors don’t know what will be reimbursed from month to month. However, there is a feeling that as MIGS increases in popularity, insurance companies will have no choice but to cover it.

American Psychiatric Association (APA)

There was a lot of news about treatment and testing for depression at APA, and that is the main focus of this report – treatment-resistant depression, postpartum depression, and major depressive disorder – but there also was some medication news in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

World Federation Of Hemophilia (WFH)

For a rare disease, the explosion in new treatments is really remarkable. They offer better control, more normal control, easier administration, and less bone/joint damage. The newest extended half-life agent – Roche and Chugai’s Hemlibra (emicizumab) – is expected to be adopted widely and quickly, but there are a number of exciting agents in the pipeline, including Sanofi/Bioverativ’s BIVV-001. Gene therapy was the hottest topic at the meeting, and there are several gene therapies in development, but the data are still scant.

Society Of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM)

Shock – mostly septic shock but also cardiac shock – was a big topic at the meeting. Although in-hospital mortality from shock – distributive (septic) and cardiac – has declined, it is still alarmingly high. The first new drug in many years was recently approved for distributive shock, La Jolla’s Giapreza. However, critical care doctors are taking a cautious approach to this new agent. In cardiac shock a key message was the need to get more of these patients to the cardiac cath lab – and get them there fast. The meeting was also an opportunity to see if or how CAR T therapy for cancer patients is impacting intensive care units (ICUs).

Angiogenesis, Exudation, And Degeneration 2018

Retinal diseases are an active area of research, not just to find and test new drugs and gene therapies but also to develop new imaging approaches and to better understand the underlying pathology. n Wet AMD: It was disappointing that the Phase II data for Novartis’ brolucizumab, a longer-acting anti-VEGF, were expected but not presented. Does it really last longer? n Geographic atrophy: Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ APL-2, a Complement 3 inhibitor, and Stealth BioTherapeutics’ elamipretide both looked interesting. n Dry AMD: Hemera Biosciences’ HMR59, a gene therapy, had positive early data. n Diabetic macular edema (DME): The star of the day was Roche’s RG-7716 in diabetic macular edema, which showed efficacy better than Roche/Genentech’s Lucentis.

American Academy Of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)

Hip and knee replacement volume is holding fairly steady. Hip and knee implants are now so good that implant companies are looking for other ways to differentiate themselves. Robotics has become the hot technology – but there are still no outcomes data for robotic surgery, and payors are fighting reimbursement for CT scans. They key players are: Stryker’s Mako – pricey but dominant, Zimmer Biomet’s Rosa – when is it coming and what is the secret robotic arm, Smith & Nephew’s Navio – portability is key; OMNI’s OMNIBotics – simple and affordable; Think Surgical -- a real robot; J&J – late to the game but may surprise.

American College Of Cardiology (ACC)

The American College of Cardiology shortened their meeting this year, condensing it into three days, and they were three very busy days. Among the key trials reported were ANNEXA-4, ODYSSEY Outcomes, VEST, PIONEER-HCM, and MOMENTUM-3.

Bulletin: American Association For Cancer Research (AACR) – Preview

For the first time, AACR held a web conference with reporters in advance of the annual meeting (April 15-18) in Chicago. Four studies were highlighted: CAR T cell quality, HER2 breast cancer resistance, disparities in clinical trial participation, and the link between chlamydia and ovarian cancer.

International Symposium On Endovascular Therapy (ISET)

This appeared to be a smaller, quieter ISET than last year. There was little controversy at ISET this year, but lots of interesting data. Among the key findings: Embolic filters are a must for carotid stenting, and there are a number that work well; the benefit of drug-coated balloons appears to fade over time; EVAR and TEVAR continue to gain popularity; there is real interest in using thrombectomy for pulmonary embolisms, but more data are needed; and while small bore vascular closure devices are underutilized, large bore VCDs are in strong demand because of the growth of procedures like TAVR.

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