Covid-19 mortality in cancer patients could be four times higher than the general population

The contribution of biologists to the therapeutic arsenal has been undeniable in recent years and continues to make a difference today in serious diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, inflammatory or autoimmune diseases, among others. Currently, 30 percent of the drugs in our health system are biological and 69 percent of those under development are the result of biotechnology.

According to a recent ASEBIO report, Spain is the ninth world power in the production of scientific knowledge in this field. In addition, this production has increased in our country by almost 30% since 2008, reaching 1,085 publications in 2018.

Amgen is one of the companies that has stood out the most in recent years for its research in biotechnology

The benefits that these innovative drugs bring to the medical community to treat thousands of patients are backed by many years of research. Research such as that of the biotechnology company Amgen, a leader in the development of a new generation of biological therapies and which has been applying the omic sciences to its research and development for four decades.

Amgen was one of the first companies to detect the potential of molecular biology to analyze the complexity and origin of many diseases and to discover innovative therapies based on human genetics. In its effort to transform the way new drugs are developed, scientists have discovered key genetic factors that underlie dozens of cardiovascular diseases and different types of cancer, thanks to the contribution of its subsidiary CODE Genetics, a world leader in genetic research. , which published the most accurate map of the human genome in 2019.

Amgen uses deCODE’s unique expertise in human genetics combined with his growing knowledge in population transcriptomics and proteomics to find significant links between these two data sets. The purpose of understanding the genetics of the disease is to use all that information to create new methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Today, Amgen is at the forefront of state-of-the-art biological treatments in areas such as oncology, hematology, nephrology, cardiology, bone metabolism and inflammatory diseases.

Biomarkers that anticipate diagnosis

Thanks to biotechnology, Amgen has obtained new biomarkers that allow the anticipation of the diagnosis of pathologies and facilitate faster and more successful clinical trials, by drastically reducing their size and duration. All this makes it possible for the drugs to be approved and reach patients much earlier.
“We are convinced that the next scientific advances will take place in the field of biological sciences through the study of human genetics, which is already revealing its ability to solve the most remarkable challenges of humanity. Genetics continues to be one of the most powerful tools we can apply to understand how nature works, ”adds Amgen’s CEO for Spain and Portugal.

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An example of the application of genetic knowledge to develop targeted treatments is in the field of oncology. After more than 30 years of research, Amgen has discovered an effective inhibitor of a subtype of the KRAS gene mutation, present in one of eight new diagnoses of small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This type of lung cancer accounts for up to 85 percent of cases.

Another example is the study of T cells, which has revolutionized the approach to cancer. Amgen has been researching new ways to fight cancer using immunotherapy for years. New biologic therapies aim to increase the immune system’s ability to detect and destroy cancer cells. This is the case with the innovative BiTE® technology platform, a type of immunotherapy that helps the immune system detect and attack only tumor cells.

Amgen’s answer to COVID-19

Amgen, through its deCODE subsidiary, also contributed its scientific knowledge in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Since April last year, it has been using the DNA sequencing capabilities of deCODE Genetics to study genetic mutations in SARS-CoV-2 and to measure the durability of human antibodies against the virus.
One of his projects managed to obtain a complete map of the molecular epidemiology of COVID-19 in Iceland, the headquarters of this company. Thus, it has become better known how the virus spreads among the population and how isolation measures such as early and massive diagnosis, case monitoring or isolation help to stop the disease. The results confirm the risk of asymptomatic people spreading the virus.

Research and development activity

The company currently has more than 139 international clinical trials, essential to transform the fifty molecules under development into effective and safe biological drugs.
In Spain, Amgen is currently developing 44 clinical trials in a wide range of therapeutic fields and in collaboration with various health centers. From its headquarters in Barcelona, ​​Amgen Spain celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with a workforce of more than 340 employees, of which over 60% are women, a percentage that is above the national average.

This content was developed by UE Studio, the creative content branding and content marketing company of Unidad Editorial, for Amgen.