Several weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to be joined by not one but two international stars in lung cancer research that is being translated directly from lab bench to bedside of the patient. I don't think there's a more clear and inspiring example of good science leading to effective therapy, albeit for a limited patient population, than the story of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor crizotinib (recently FDA approved and commercially launched as XALKORI) for patients with an EML4-ALK rearrangement (approximately 4% of the broader NSCLC population). Drs. Ben Solomon from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and Ross Camidge from University of Colorado, in Denver, collaborated with a handful of other international researchers from all over the world to study crizotinib and conduct the critical trials, shepherding its development into a treatment now available to help a targeted subset of patients with this targeted therapy.
Dr. Ben Solomon spoke first, providing an overview of the (short) history of the EML4-ALK translocation and how crizotinib began to be studied in the first patients. He then took us on a tour of the highlights of both the efficacy data for this new agent and the side effect profile. Here's the audio version of his presentation:
This is the first of the series of podcasts from this program on ALK inhibition. The next one, coming very soon, will cover Dr. Camidge's presentation, which covered practical issues such as screening for ALK and alternative treatment options for ALK-positive patients. Special thanks to LUNGevity Foundation for partnering with GRACE to make the live program and these subsequent podcasts possible.