Blood cancer drug trials to resume; Dive deeper into the use of antibiotics


Learn about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN’s Prescription Drug Watch roundup.

Reuters: FDA lifts partial clinical suspension of Gilead blood cancer drug trials

Gilead Sciences Inc. said Monday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has lifted a partial clinical hold on its trials testing a blood cancer drug combination. The FDA lifted the suspension after a review of the safety data from each trial, the company said. (4/11)

Stat: Trying a three-drug combination to help engineered T cells fight cancer

For years, Kristin Anderson tried to push immunotherapy to work in ovarian cancer, only to see immune tool after tool fail to crack open tumors. But now Anderson has new data from a preliminary approach that some experts have called both challenging and a bit controversial: a combination of three immune checkpoint inhibitors and a batch of engineered T cells. The work began with a simple question, said Anderson, a postdoctoral researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center: Is it possible to engineer T cells to attack ovarian tumors? Anderson began by modifying T cells to carry a receptor that would recognize mesothelin – a protein common to several types of cancer, including ovarian cancer. This way, these modified immune cells would be more likely to infiltrate tumors and hopefully start cleaning up the cancer. (Chen, 04/13)

In antibiotic research —

CIDRAP: Study: Medicare outpatients frequently received antibiotics for COVID-19

A review of data on Medicare beneficiaries during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic found that nearly one-third of COVID-19 outpatient visits were related to an antibiotic prescription, mostly for the azithromycin, reported researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). at the end of last week in JAMA. (4/11)

CIDRAP: Study Finds Antibiotic Use in Iowa Hospitals Unaffected by COVID-19

A study of Iowa hospitals that use three different antibiotic stewardship program (ASP) models found that core stewardship activities were maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers reported today in Antimicrobial Stewardship & Healthcare Epidemiology. The study, conducted in 12 hospitals that are part of an integrated health system, looked at trends in antibiotic treatment days (DOT) per 1,000 days present in medical-surgical and intensive care units from January 1, 2019 as of February 28, 2021. (4/8)

CIDRAP: Stewardship linked to the decline in fluoroquinolones for urinary tract infections

A multifaceted antimicrobial stewardship intervention in a community health system significantly reduced fluoroquinolone prescribing for urinary tract infections (UTIs), researchers in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology reported today. … Comparison of prescribing data from the 6-month post-intervention period (September 2019 to February 2020) with the pre-intervention period (September 2018 to February 2019) showed that the percentage of fluoroquinolone prescribing for infections urine decreased from 17.6% pre-procedure to 3.0% post-procedure in the four urgent care clinics, and from 23.8% to 6.8% in the 19 primary care clinics. The percentages of all primary care clinic visits in which a fluoroquinolone was prescribed decreased from 1.3% to 0.5%. (4/11)

CIDRAP: a “long-standing” technique could guide the choice of antibiotics against pneumonia

Results from a randomized clinical trial in Japan indicate that Gram stain-guided antibiotic therapy may help to safely reduce the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia ( VAP). The results, published last week in JAMA Network Open, showed that Gram stain-guided antibiotic treatment in patients with VAP produced non-inferior clinical responses to guideline-based treatment, while significantly reducing the use of antipseudomonal and anti-methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). ) antibiotics. (Dall, 4/11)

ScienceDaily: How a narrow-spectrum antibiotic targets C. Diff

Most antibiotics are double-edged swords. In addition to killing the pathogen for which they are prescribed, they also decimate beneficial bacteria and alter the composition of the gut microbiome. As a result, patients become more prone to re-infection and drug-resistant strains are more likely to emerge. (Rockefeller University, 4/6)

In the news from the pharmaceutical industry —

FiercePharma: High-flying Pfizer could disappoint on first-quarter sales of Comirnaty and Paxlovid, analyst warns

Pfizer’s BioNTech-partnered COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, and its antiviral pill Paxlovid are set to raise billions in 2022, but the company’s first-quarter pandemic haul may be lighter than previously thought, predicts a group of analysts. Louise Chen’s team at Cantor Fitzgerald recalled its first-quarter sales estimate for Pfizer while keeping its full-year guidance for the company “intact”, analysts said in a note to clients on Monday. The team’s updated forecast assumes that Comirnaty and Paxlovid’s revenues for the first three months of the year will be lower than expected. (Kanssteiner, 4/11)

The Wall Street Journal: Halozyme Therapeutics nears deal to buy Antares Pharma

Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. HALO 0.58% is close to a nearly $1 billion deal to buy specialty pharmaceutical company Antares Pharma Inc., ATRS -0.27% according to people familiar with the matter, in a move which would strengthen his focus on drug delivery. Halozyme would pay $5.60 per share in cash in a deal that could be announced on Wednesday and value Antares at around $960 million, the sources said. (Cooper, 04/13)

FiercePharma: Despite TV Ads, Most Asthma Patients Don’t Recognize New Organic Brands But Are Willing To Try Them, Survey Finds

There’s no shortage of TV ads touting new asthma biologics, but most patients who could benefit from them still don’t recognize the brands, according to a new survey from Phreesia Life Sciences. Sanofi’s Dupixent and Regeneron lead the pack in brand recall among these drugs, according to the survey. That part isn’t too surprising given the $288 million drugmakers spent on TV ads for the brand in 2021 (the biggest pharma TV ad spend last year). (Missakian, 4/8)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage by major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.


About Author

Comments are closed.