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Unique Cancers Require a Unique Approach: Takeda’s Take On Treating Underserved Diseases at the Source

Unique Cancers Require a Unique Approach: Takeda’s Take On Treating Underserved Diseases at the Source

Awny Farajallah, Head, Global Medical Affairs Oncology | September 14, 2021

Over the past decade, cancer care has evolved significantly. Advancements in diagnostics and precision medicine have been a major contributor to this evolution, illustrating how – for certain patient populations – identifying and targeting the very source of a person’s cancer can more effectively improve outcomes compared to traditional treatment methods.  1

At Takeda Oncology, our patient-driven approach to cancer care and scientific partnerships seeks to translate science into transformative solutions for distinct patient populations, including those who may benefit from a targeted approach to treatment.

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Lung cancer advancements serve as a powerful example of the promise of precision medicine.

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – the most common form of lung cancer – is associated with several different genetic mutations, making it notoriously complex to study, diagnose and treat.  2,3 And research has shown that standard NSCLC treatment approaches that do not address the individual oncogene driving the cancer do not achieve optimal and sustained results for patients with these specific mutations.  3,4

Fortunately, recent advancements in comprehensive diagnostic testing – a critical component of precision medicine – can aid care teams in identifying, diagnosing and more effectively treating individuals today.

Takeda Oncology’s lung cancer portfolio embraces the power of precision medicine – honing our clinical efforts on targeted therapies and the role of diagnostic testing to meet the needs of people living with forms of NSCLC driven by acquired genetic mutations. With a focus on anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive (ALK+) NSCLC and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) Exon20 insertion+ NSCLC, we’ve demonstrated how targeted therapies can provide a true impact for patients who have few effective treatment options.  5,6

Sharing new research on targeted therapies in lung cancer helps expand our understanding of options.

Every year, oncology congresses serve as key moments to share the latest clinical developments in our industry, and this year’s virtual World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) and the European Society of Clinical Oncology (ESMO) congress are no exceptions. As a company focused on delivering innovative, personalized treatments to patients, these congresses show how we can better understand our targeted therapies, their impact on people living with cancer and the need for more options that improve outcomes.

This month, we are presenting key findings at WCLC and ESMO that deepen our understanding of medicines designed to target the unique genomic profiles of difficult-to-treat cancers. Eleven company-sponsored abstracts will share new information on the safety, efficacy and real-world experience in NSCLC, including the following highlights:

  • At WCLC, we presented several analyses from a multi-cohort Phase 1/2 trial investigating patients with EGFR Exon20 insertion+ NSCLC, as we aim to continue to understand the needs of and achieve durable responses for people living with this complex and devastating disease.

  • At ESMO, we will share the final results from the Phase 3 ALTA 1L trial, which investigated the overall efficacy, intracranial efficacy (or efficacy in the brain) and safety of an ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) in newly diagnosed patients with ALK+ NSCLC whose disease has a predilection to spread to the brain. We will also share data that helps to better characterize gastrointestinal (GI) side effects and their impact on efficacy in patients with EGFR Exon20 insertion+ NSCLC taking an investigational oral TKI.

Takeda Oncology is translating cutting-edge science into potentially curative or transformative treatments for patients in need.

The results being presented at these congresses exemplify our commitment to advancing R&D to rapidly meet the needs of people living with cancer. In partnership with the scientific community, we look forward to continuing toward our goal of bringing transformative medicines to market for underserved patient populations around the globe.


 1 Howlader, Nadia et al. “The Effect of Advances in Lung-Cancer Treatment on Population Mortality.” The New England journal of medicine vol. 383,7 (2020): 640-649. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1916623

 2 American Cancer Society. What is Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer? https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/about/what-is-non-small-cell-lung-cancer.htmlGo to https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/about/what-is-non-small-cell-lung-cancer.html. Accessed March 2021.

 3 Kris, Mark G et al. “Using multiplexed assays of oncogenic drivers in lung cancers to select targeted drugs.” JAMA vol. 311,19 (2014): 1998-2006. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3741

 4 Sasaki, Takaaki et al. “The biology and treatment of EML4-ALK non-small cell lung cancer.” European journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990) vol. 46,10 (2010): 1773-80. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2010.04.002

 5 Zhang, Tianli et al. “Treatment of uncommon EGFR mutations in non-small cell lung cancer: new evidence and treatment.” Translational lung cancer research vol. 8,3 (2019): 302-316. doi:10.21037/tlcr.2019.04.12

 6 Remon, Jordi et al. “EGFR exon 20 insertions in advanced non-small cell lung cancer: A new history begins.” Cancer treatment reviews vol. 90 (2020): 102105. doi:10.1016/j.ctrv.2020.102105

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