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Bad science: “Incyte Cancer Drug Flop Is Costly and Likely to Be Duplicated”


Author’s Conclusion:

Journalist Max Nisen concludes the article by saying that the failure of Incyte to demonstrate the synergistic effect of combining the drugs Epacadostat and Keytruda is a good example of time and money wasted on combination drugs made from PD-1/L1 inhibitors. He does not believe that investors should keep pouring money into researching these combination products. However, Nisen is pretty confident that this incident will not stop drug developers from reattempting to make similar medications because of their overwhelming desire to profit.  Nisen states that it will probably require a few more setbacks in the future to discourage the drug developers from making more of these products.  According to Nisen, Merck and several other drug companies have put a large amount of their funds into research and development. Currently, there are 30 active trials involving Epacadostat in different cancers.  There are also additional tests that are using other medicines in the same drug class. Earlier last year, analysts projected that Epacadostat would generate $3 billion in revenue in 2022. Now the revised figure has decreased to $600 million.

Student’s Conclusion (Keeon Zimmerman):

The article that I found was published on a site by Bloomberg by a columnist named Max Nisen.  In the article, Nisen discusses the failure of drug developer, Incyte, to successfully demonstrate the synergistic effect of combining Epacadostat and Keytruda.  Nisen believes that these combination drugs are a bad idea and that companies should stop investing so much money into the development of these drugs.  Throughout the article, he states that combination drugs involving PD-1/L1 inhibitors such as Keytruda are a waste of time.  In my opinion, the article was not credible because it did not list any concrete findings from the primary research done involving other drug combinations with PD-1/L1 inhibitors. There were no statistical findings such as p-values or confidence intervals.  Also, Nisen does not have a medical background. For such a huge generalization to be made in regards to a certain class of drugs, without any concrete proof, by a media/PR officer is absurd.



Good Science: Better Outcomes with Bone Marrow vs. Peripheral Blood


 Author’s Conclusion:

“Recipients of unrelated donor Bone Marrow (BM) had better psychological well-being, less burdensome chronic GVHD symptoms, and were more likely to return to work than recipients of peripheral blood (PB) at 5 years after transplantation. Bone marrow should be the standard of care for these types of transplant procedures”

Student’s Conclusion (Jordan Carrillo)

The study and its related article support fact-based and well-researched data that objectively shows bone marrow stem cell transplants have better outcomes in a 5- year study than those receiving stem cell from peripheral blood. The group that was getting BM had a much lower risk of developing a graft vs. host disease with 71% of the BM group showing no signs of disease whereas 49% of the PB group did not show any signs of disease. This is a 22% difference in the incidence of a GVHD. Not only is there a lower incidence of post-surgery aide effects but those who received a BM transplant were able to return to full-time work faster than those who got a PB (52%vs. 40%). This study shows why BM is clinically advantageous over PB but there are some limitations and reasons as to why PB may be used more in an average setting. The main reason being that PB transplants are much less complicated and easier to receive than a BM transplant. This difference in treatment may be dependent on a number of factors ranging from doctor and patient preference to hospital logistics, but in time many facilities will change their standards and eventually BM transplants will become the clinical standard for these patients.