Video: Dr. Ribas on Triplet Regimens in Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of Hematology and Oncology and director of the Tumor Immunology Program Area at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses triplet therapies for patients with melanoma and the sequencing challenges associated with the approvals of additional agents in the field.

“Though current immunotherapy regimens are showing significant activity in patients, Ribas says the response rate is not 100%; therefore, there needs to be investigations of other ways to modulate the immune system. Patients who benefit from PD-1 monotherapy should not receive any more, as it will lessen treatment-related toxicities, he adds.”

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Melanoma Combinations: Going Beyond Ipilimumab/Nivolumab

Excerpt:

“Ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo) may be getting plenty of buzz; however, the dual immunotherapy regimen is certainly not the only combination making a significant impact in the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma, explains Omid Hamid, MD.

“ ‘On the heels of the ipilimumab/nivolumab combination having such a high response rate and while we are still awaiting survival data, we have been looking to find other standard combinations for advanced melanoma,’ says Hamid, chief of Translational Research and Immunotherapy, director of Melanoma Therapeutics, The Angeles Clinic. ‘That is not to say that ipilimumab/nivolumab is not a standard; it is a breakthrough in showing that we can combine these types of agents and have good outcomes. However, it makes a lot of sense to look at these other combinations.’ ”

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Immunotherapy Drug Doubles Long-Term Survival Rate For Melanoma Patients

Excerpt:

“Opdivo is a checkpoint inhibitor, which releases the break on the immune system allowing a patient’s body to fight the cancer. Research released on Sunday shows that patients who received the drug had a 34 percent survival rate 5 years out. A similar immunotherapy drug, Keytruda, was part of Jimmy Carter’s successful treatment for advanced melanoma.”

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ELCC 2016 Press Release: Immunotherapy With Live Bacterium Improves Response Rate in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Excerpt:

“Immunotherapy with a live bacterium combined with chemotherapy demonstrated more than 90% disease control and 59% response rate in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), according to the results of a phase Ib trial presented today at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.

“ ‘Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung and is rare but difficult to treat,’ said Prof Thierry Jahan, professor of medicine at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco, US. ‘Standard of care treatment with pemetrexed and platinum compound chemotherapy gets a 30% response rate but a modest impact on survival. So there is a clear unmet need in targeting this specific population.’

“Patients with MPM strongly express the mesothelin antigen in the tumour. CRS-207 is a live, attenuated Listeria monocytogenes bacterium that contains two gene deletions to diminish its pathogenicity and has also been engineered to express mesothelin.”

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FDA Grants Priority Review for Genentech’s Cancer Immunotherapy Atezolizumab in Specific Type of Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company’s Biologics License Application (BLA) and granted Priority Review for atezolizumab (anti-PDL1; MPDL3280A) for the treatment of people with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease expresses the protein PD-L1 (programmed death ligand-1), as determined by an FDA-approved test, and who have progressed on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.

“ ‘In a study of atezolizumab in people with previously treated advanced lung cancer, PD-L1 expression correlated with how well they responded to the medicine,’ said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. ‘The goal of PD-L1 as a biomarker is to identify people most likely to benefit from atezolizumab alone.’ ”

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Common Prostate Cancer Treatments Suppress Immune Response and May Promote Relapse

Excerpt:

“Prostate cancer patients and their doctors may want to think twice about the best timing for chemotherapy or radiation therapy in conjunction with a common nonsurgical treatment, based on international research findings led by UT Southwestern Medical Center investigators.

“Researchers using mouse models found that many medical androgen deprivation therapies (ADTs) – the most commonly used nonsurgical treatments for prostate cancer – may suppress patients’ adaptive immune responses, preventing immunotherapies from working if both treatments are used but not sequenced properly. ADTs are anti-hormone therapies that decrease the body’s levels of androgens, the type of hormone that is required for prostate cancer to survive and grow.

“The study findings were published this week in Science Translational Medicine.”

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EU Expands Nivolumab Approval for Lung and Kidney Cancer

Excerpt:

“The European Commission has approved new indications for the immunotherapy nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb), expanding its use in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and adding the indication of renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

“The drug is already approved in Europe for use in previously treated patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC. Now the indication has been expanded to include non-squamous NSCLC, which represents 85% of the cases of lung cancer, and monotherapy in locally advanced or metastatic disease.

“Nivolumab is the only PD-1 inhibitor that has been approved for a broad range of patients with previously treated metastatic NSCLC, regardless of PD-L1 expression, and nivolumab is the only approved PD-1 inhibitor to demonstrate a better overall survival rate than docetaxel in previously treated metastatic NSCLC, the manufacturer pointed out in a press release.”

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Cancer Immunotherapies and Radiation Form Powerful Combination Therapy, Researchers Say

Excerpt:

“Cancer immunotherapy relies on the stimulation of the patient’s own immune system for an effective and lasting anti-tumor response, targeting and eliminating cancer cells. Both the research and clinical communities believe that combining cancer immunotherapy with more traditional anti-cancer treatments, such as radiation, is one of the more exciting new research areas in cancer treatment.

Charlie Garnett Benson, who is working on tumor immunity at Georgia State University, recently wrote about cancer immunity and combination therapy, the cutting-edge research areas listed in the new National Cancer Moonshot initiative highlighted by President Barack Obama in his final State of the Union address.

“Current cancer therapies include some combination of radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy for most patients. Ionizing radiation, one of the oldest and more commonly used types of cancer treatment, consists of high energy waves that damage the DNA of cancer cells leading to cell death, called cell suicide or apoptosis. But radiation can also affect the healthy cells surrounding tumor tissues, so there is a limit of how high a dose a patient can receive without leading to healthy cellular damage and death.”

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Defining Efficacy of Cancer Immunotherapy Is a Challenge

Excerpt:

“The use of immunotherapy is increasing in cancer care, but more research is needed to measure the effectiveness of treatment, researchers write in a report published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Determining clinical efficacy can be challenging because of pseudoprogression and other distinct immune-related patterns of response that have been observed with these therapies.

“The WHO and the RECIST Group have traditionally provided standard guidelines for defining tumor response to therapy, note authors Victoria L. Chiou, MD, and Mauricio Burotto, MD, both from the National Cancer Institute.”

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