For us it would be in the area of vaccines first.
The approval of the first cancer therapeutic vaccine from Dendreon in prostate cancer establishes the concept that immunotherapy is a conceptually achievable and clinically useful approach for treating cancer. This allows us and others to develop novel concepts of immunotherapy for cancer.
On another vein is the approval of GlaxoSmithKline’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine both for the continued demonstration of the importance of infectious disease-related cancer and the ability to intervene with a vaccine to prevent such a cancer. The GSK HPV vaccine also includes the first novel adjuvant in a vaccine in the U.S. in the last 30 years and thus allowing the ability of novel adjuvants to enhance immune responses for candidate cancer vaccines or vaccines that are directed at infections in the elderly.
Lastly is the discussion of the complexities that rapid emergence of resistance to cancer therapies is being increasingly noted. There is an ongoing discussion about allowing combination chemotherapy to be utilized early on in the clinical development pathway of cancer therapies as well as complex infectious diseases such as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
[Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of posts from Xconomists and other technology and life sciences leaders from around the U.S. who are weighing in with the top surprises they’ve seen in their respective fields in the past year, or the major things to watch for in 2011.]
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