White Blood Cell Count Predicts Response to Lung Cancer Immunotherapy


“White blood cell counts can predict whether or not lung cancer patients will benefit from immunotherapy, according to research presented at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC).

” ‘Immune checkpoint inhibitors such as and pembrolizumab significantly improve overall survival in some – but not all – patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC),’ said lead author Dr Marcello Tiseo, Coordinator of DMT Thoracic Oncology, University Hospital of Parma, Italy. ‘Researchers are looking for a predictive biomarker to select patients that will benefit from this treatment to avoid unnecessary toxicity and a waste of resources in patients who will not respond.’ ”

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Immune System Cells Could be Trained to Attack Tumors

A type of white blood cell can infiltrate and attack tumors, and researchers have just launched a clinical trial of an experimental immunotherapy designed to sharpen this attack against melanoma. These white blood cells are called killer T cells, and the first step is collecting them from people with melanomas that have spread. Then two genes are inserted into the killer T cells to make them seek tumor cells. Next, the people are treated with chemotherapy to wipe out their remaining T cells, which do not recognize tumor cells as abnormal. The final step is treating people with their own genetically-modified killer T cells in hopes that these will then attack tumors. This phase I trial is currently recruiting participants.