Cancer research faces political hurdles amidst advances

US Congress votes against funding for Biden's Cancer Moon Shot as global cancer cases are set to soar

Cancer research faces political hurdles amidst advances

In the ongoing battle against cancer, recent developments have underscored both challenges and advancements in the field.  

The US Congress has voted against renewing funding for President Biden's “Cancer Moon Shot,” a key initiative aimed at advancing cancer research towards finding a cure.  

This decision comes at a critical time as health authorities affiliated with the United Nations predict a 77 percent rise in global cancer cases by 2050, with wealthier countries facing the largest absolute increases.   

Despite these political hurdles, the biotech sector remains dynamic, fueled by optimistic projections for the cancer immunotherapy market, which is expected to reach US$314.4bn by 2032, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2 percent.  

Companies like Oncolytics Biotech Inc., Candel Therapeutics, Inc., AstraZeneca PLC, Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., and Janux Therapeutics, Inc. continue to make significant strides in cancer treatment and diagnostics. 

  Oncolytics Biotech Inc. is advancing its flagship immunotherapy agent, pelareorep, which has shown promising results in treating pancreatic cancer and received Fast Track Designation from the FDA for this indication.  

The company has recently gained regulatory approval to further evaluate pelareorep in a new cohort of its ongoing GOBLET study, in combination with other therapies for pancreatic cancer.   

Meanwhile, Candel Therapeutics recently received Orphan Drug and Fast Track Designations from the FDA for its candidate CAN-2409, following encouraging survival data from its phase 2 clinical trial for pancreatic cancer.  

These designations are pivotal as Candel aims to redefine treatment paradigms in this challenging area.   

AstraZeneca PLC reported a significant revenue boost in Q1 2024, driven by its cancer medicines. The company has shared promising results from its Phase III studies, showing substantial progression-free survival benefits in various cancers, further enhancing its oncology portfolio.   

Halozyme Therapeutics, leveraging its Enhanze drug-delivery technology, has partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche to develop more efficient cancer treatment methods, including the first subcutaneous PD-(L)1 cancer immunotherapy approved in Europe.   

Janux Therapeutics has also reported positive data from trials of its innovative TRACTr platform in treating solid tumors, sparking interest from larger pharmaceutical companies considering acquisitions to boost their cancer treatment offerings.