Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Posts tagged ‘cancer’

Last week brought the first anniversary of this blog since moving to WordPress as a platform, but as luck would have it, I was snowed under with more work than usual.

Several people have asked about the stats here recently, so it seems a good time as any to do an annual review. Although this blog has been up and running since 2006, it only started on WP on October 24th 2010.

In the last twelve months, PSB has seen the following activity:

  • 614K reads, with around 50-60K reads per month
  • 337K visitors, approx. 30K visitors per month

This week a fascinating paper appeared in one of my favorite journals, Science Translational Medicine.  Until now, it had been assumed that antibodies only bind to proteins found on the cancer cell surface, largely because of the size of the molecules:

“Because antibodies are viewed as too large to access intracellular locations, antibody therapy has traditionally targeted extracellular or secreted proteins expressed by cancer cells.”

Not so fast!

Guo et al., (2011) have now demonstrated that proteins hidden within cells can be attacked by antibodies as well.


One of the key things that drives drug development and R&D is hope.

Photo Credit: Harry Willis

Hope for better drugs, hope for new targeted therapies that make a real difference to the lives of people, hope for more gentle therapies that increase survival, hope for longer remissions… and so on.

One thing that is rarely talked about or discussed, however, is palliative care and end of life decisions.  Sometimes the best option is no further treatment.  These, sadly and inevitably, come too especially in patients with incurable or metastatic disease. Those ‘the time has come’ moments are rightly mostly private affairs for families and close friends.

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This latest widget captures all the tweets and discussion about ASCO data including the week before the meeting – this year the tweets are going at a tremendous velocity, with a much wider variety of people joining in.

Check it out below:


A lot of people have asked me over the last year how I keep up with so much information in cancer research.  I thought it would be a nice idea to illustrate one way I consume information on a daily basis.

Since getting an iPad2, my life has changed for the better.  There are a number of really useful apps that let you browse information in a more user-friendly way.  Four of these include:

  1. Flipboard
  2. Zite
  3. Reeder
  4. Feedly

After trying them all over time, I found that for me, the one that resonated most for me was Flipboard.

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It’s the end of a long week and today I thought it would be nice to highlight some people who write about cancer in the blogosphere since some people have emailed asking me what blogs do I read.

Here are a few cancer news sources I enjoy each week – some are writers, some survivors, some physicians, some analysts and not all have blogs, but some use other social media tools creatively to aggregate useful cancer information.

I heartily suggest you check them all out – their linked names take you to their Twitter stream and the other link to their blog or social media resource:


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of those subjects where many have a strong opinion either way and I suspect even if we have another dozen trials evaluating at the pros and cons, those opinions won’t change very much.

That said, the latest large randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) in postmenopausal women with a prior hysterectomy (n=10,739) taking conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) such as Premarin has just reported their health outcomes analysis.


This week’s Nature is chock full of interesting articles on various cancer related topics so it was quite hard to pick just one to discuss in a blog post.   Nevertheless, two on Zebrafish was very striking, since the Letters discusses how models have revealed oncogenes and potential new drug targets in a particularly difficult to treat tumour type, i.e. melanoma.

Zebrafish, source: wikipedia

We now know that in melanoma, the BRAF V600E mutation drives signaling and proliferation of the MAPK pathway and that resistance also develops to treatment with targeted therapies such as PLX4032 and other inhibitors after six months or so.  The question then is what factors are driving the resistance and are other (druggable) oncogenes involved?

Today is Friday and I try to post something lighthearted and fun at the end of a busy week.  With that in mind, someone sent me this great link to Kids Kicking Cancer.  As someone who experienced a childhood cancer, I can identify with this awesome concept – help the kids feel victors not victims:

Kids Kicking Cancer

They have some great use of social media tools to spread their message and provide links to inspiring stories about the Kids.  There is a Facebook Page and a YouTube channel, for example.  After watching one of their their videos, I simply couldn’t resist sharing a genuine feel-good story about what their vision is:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games.  26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

Source: wikipedia

Continuing the sporting metaphors this week, I was catching up on blog reading last night and noticed that Jim Lefevere put up a nice post on Digital Strategist about how:

Domain Expertise + Work Ethic + Time = Success

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