Press review

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Six cancer patients treated with CAR-Ts in Madrid reported to be in complete remission

MADRID, 17 Jan (APM) - A total of 41 patients in Madrid region have been treated with CAR-Ts, six of whom are now in complete remission, daily newspapers ABC, 20 Minutos and La Vanguardia reported on Monday.
ABC quoted data provided by the region's health chief, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, after one year of administering CAR-Ts in two hospitals in Madrid. Out of the 41 patients, 26 received the therapies under the risk-sharing agreements signed with the two companies which developed them, whereas 15 candidates were included in clinical trials. (APMHE 65388)
Escudero said: "It is still too soon to evaluate the efficacy of these treatments, but the results are encouraging." Two of the patients in complete remission have been discharged, ABC added.
Encarnación Ruiz, head of the region's committee for advanced therapies, noted that time is crucial when it comes to administering CAR-Ts. She added that the estimated waiting time to complete the procedure has been reduced from 64 days to an average of 57.5 days in patients treated in Madrid, 20 Minutos reported.
José Luis Díaz, head of haematology at Gregorio Marañón Hospital, said that the waiting time is in part due to the fact that cell processing sites are overseas. He said it would be a good idea to implement that kind of processing facilities in Spain, the newspaper added.
ABC quoted Ruiz Escudero as saying that more hospitals should be authorised in the region to administer CAR-Ts, as there are seven others with enough experience in the field, including four participating in ongoing clinical trials with these therapies.
Medical journals Acta Sanitaria, IM Médico Hospitalario and Gaceta Médica also carried the story.

New indications of approved cancer drugs 'overlooked in Spain'

On Wednesday, daily newspaper El País carried an interview with Miguel Martín, head of Spanish breast cancer research network GEICAM.
According to Martín, there are many ways in which a drug can be used and their efficacy could be greatly improved by changing the conditions of administration.
"A drug used in third-line patients with metastatic breast cancer could be developed for other conditions. However, most often, once a drug is on the market and generating revenue under one specific use, the manufacturer does not spend more money in seeking further uses for it," he told the newspaper.
A clinical trial with these characteristics is expensive, though, with an estimated investment of 15-€20 million. "Pharmaceutical companies are not interested. That is why some medicines only reach half of their potential," he added.
Martín thinks that healthcare authorities should make an effort to fund studies with drugs which are already available in order to optimise their use.
He mentioned a publicly-funded study in France to analyse different uses of Roche's Herceptin (trastuzumab), in that case with a shorter course (six months instead of a year). The goal was to make treatment more tolerable for patients and to save money.
"That is something we need in Spain, but it has been impossible because politicians would not even consider this kind of research when we brought it up," he added.

Advances in drug development with AI

On Monday, financial newspaper Cinco Días reported on SOM Biotech, a Catalonian firm that has developed a technology to identify potential new drugs based on artificial intelligence (AI).
The firm is particularly interested in the identification of drug candidates for orphan diseases which affect the central nervous system.
SOM Biotech commercialises treatments for transthyretin amyloidosis, Huntington's disease, adrenoleukodystrophy, phenylketonuria, Niemann Pick's disease and glioblastoma. Its focus is 'reinnovation' of already existing drugs via agreements with research centres and pharmaceutical companies, Cinco Días reported.

Sacklers identified as 'toxic donors'

Daily newspaper El Mundo carried a lengthy story on Monday about so-called "toxic-donors", with references to public figures who fall from grace and whose names are prominent in prestigious institutions due to their donations. (APMHE 64622)
The Sacker brothers, owners of Purdue Pharma, which developed OxyContin and have been linked to the U.S. opioid abuse epidemic, were included in the piece. The newspaper reported that the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris and the National Portrait Gallery in London, have withdrawn the Sackler name from their buildings.

Best jobs in 2020

On Saturday, financial newspaper Expansión carried a story about the jobs with the best prospects in 2020.
"The boom of advanced therapies, generics and biosimilars will create a boost demand for sales representatives," the newspaper said. Medical directors and hospital delegates were also mentioned in the story.
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