Press Release: AstraZeneca Grants Award to Develop Osimertinib for EGFRvIII-Positive Glioblastoma

Dr. Madan Kwatra, Director of the Glioblastoma Drug Discovery Group at Duke, has been awarded a $97,109 grant for his project titled, “Efficacy of AZD9291 against EGFRvIII-positive glioblastoma.” These studies are a continuation of the NIH/NCATS grant that Dr. Kwatra received in 2015.

Glioblastoma (GBM) is a deadly brain cancer. Thus, Dr. Kwatra and the group believe a personalized medicine approach is required to control the significant inter- and intratumoral heterogeneity of GBM.

The third generation EGFR-TKI, known as AZD9291, has good brain penetration and also blocks EGFRvIII, a mutant EGFR present in 20 percent of GBM tumors, with high affinity. Dr. Kwatra’s preliminary studies indicate AZD9291 is active against EGFRvIII-positive GBMs intracranially transplanted in nude mice. Studies conducted so far indicate that EGFRvIII-positive GBMs differ in their response to AZD9291. The compound will be effective only in GBM patients expressing the sensitive form of EGFRvIII (precision medicine approach).

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