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ASCO conference: Amgen's KRAS inhibitor stops cancer growth in early trial

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ASCO conference: Amgen's KRAS inhibitor stops cancer growth in early trial

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The 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology takes place from May 31 to June 4.
Source: ASCO

Amgen Inc. said its KRAS inhibitor dubbed AMG 510 stopped tumor growth in patients with lung and colorectal cancer in a small, early-stage study.

KRAS inhibitors target a mutation in a group of proteins called RAS that signal between cells. Mutations to these signal proteins appear in about a third of all human cancers and have been studied for more than 30 years as a possible but difficult lever to pull in treating these cancers.

Amgen said its drug is the first to enter clinical trials and showed to be safe in results from the phase 1 study that the Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based company revealed at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Of 35 patients in the trial, 14 had non-small cell lung cancer, 19 had colorectal cancer and two had other types. They all received other therapies before being treated with KRAS, Amgen said in a release.

Ten patients with lung cancer were able to be evaluated. Half of them saw a reduction in tumor size after treatment with the KRAS inhibitor and the tumors in four others stabilized.

Of those with colorectal cancer, AMG 510 stabilized the disease in 13 of the 18 evaluable patients.

Nine patients overall stopped taking the drug during the trial, and 26 remain in the ongoing study. Adverse events were low on the severity scale.

"KRAS has been a target of active exploration in cancer research since it was identified as one of the first oncogenes more than 30 years ago, but it remained undruggable due to a lack of traditional small molecule binding pockets on the protein," Amgen's executive vice president of research and development, David Reese, said. "AMG 510 seeks to crack the KRAS code by exploiting a previously hidden groove on the protein surface."

Other companies developing treatments for KRAS mutations are Mirati Therapeutics Inc. and Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc. The National Cancer Institute also launched an initiative in the space in 2013.

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The 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting is expected to bring together more than 32,000 professionals from around the world, with more than 2,400 study abstracts to be presented on site and an additional 3,200 abstracts to be published online.