73 episodes

The Onco'Zine Brief is an interview and discussion program presented by Peter Hofland, Ph.D.,covering a broad range of topics and timely news updates with information from all oncology disciplines and sub-specialties from around the world.

The Onco'Zine Brief is a sponsor-supported, program for healthcare professionals involved in the management and care of cancer patients as well as cancer patients and their family and friends.

The Onco'Zine Brief Peter Hofland, Ph.D

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

The Onco'Zine Brief is an interview and discussion program presented by Peter Hofland, Ph.D.,covering a broad range of topics and timely news updates with information from all oncology disciplines and sub-specialties from around the world.

The Onco'Zine Brief is a sponsor-supported, program for healthcare professionals involved in the management and care of cancer patients as well as cancer patients and their family and friends.

    C3 – Looking for Ideas Beyond Medicine to Change Cancer Care

    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...

    • 47 min
    A Non-Invasive Blood Test Designed to Advance Infectious Disease Diagnostics

    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 Brief

    The 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/theoncozinebrief

    For more information about cancer and cancer treatments, visit our online journal Onco'Zine at www.oncozine.com

    To sign up for The Onco'Zine Newsletter (open for residents of the United States only),...

    • 49 min
    Diagnosed with a Rare Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic? What Now?

    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 sarcoma

    The 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 Brief

    The 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: a href="https://www.patreon.com/theoncozinebrief"...

    • 47 min
    Transforming Cell Therapy Manufacturing by “Squeezing” Cells: An Interview with Armon Sharei

    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

    • 44 min
    ASCO 2020: New Developments in the Treatment of Hard to Treat Cancers

    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

    • 46 min
    Advancing CAR T-cell Therapy in Difficult to Treat Cancers: An Interview with Precigen’s Helen Sabzevari

    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 developed

    This 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 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
1 Rating

1 Rating

Top Podcasts In Science