Immunotherapy

San Diego, CA—Although chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has achieved remarkable long-lasting remissions in B-cell malignancies, in approximately 60% of the cases, the initial response wanes over time because of “immune exhaustion.”
San Diego, CA—A dizzying array of new chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies targeting the B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) designed specifically for the treatment of multiple myeloma was presented at ASH 2018. BCMA-targeted CAR T-cell therapies are designed to improve T-cell persistence, depth of response, and tolerability. Response rates reported at ASH 2018 range from 70% to 100%, depending on the patient population and the use of previous regimens.
San Diego, CA—Longer-term follow-up of 2 large pivotal clinical trials in B-cell malignancies has demonstrated continuing remissions after chimeric antigen ­receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy: the ELIANA study in pediatric patients and young adults with relapsed or refractory B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and the JULIET study in adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Both updates were presented at a press conference at ASH 2018.
Immunotherapy combinations are being studied intensively to determine which combinations hold the most promise in specific cancer types. At ASCO 2018, the session "Compelling Combinations: Raising the Bar with Immunotherapy," which featured 3 new studies that explore chemotherapy plus immunotherapy, got high marks from lead investigator Si­by­lle Loibl, MD, PhD, Co-chair of the German Breast Group, Neu-Isenburg, Germany, who discussed the results: durvalumab (Imfinzi) plus anthracycline/taxane chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) plus chemotherapy in metastatic squamous non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and the poly (ADP ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor niraparib (Zejula) plus immunotherapy with pembrolizumab for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.
The second-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy bb2121, engineered to target B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), a protein on the surface of certain myeloma cells, displayed continuing efficacy and safety in an update of a phase 1 clinical trial in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, according to data presented at ASCO 2018. Currently, no CAR T-cell therapy has been approved for patients with multiple myeloma.
Chicago, IL—Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is changing cancer care. In 2010, there were just 3 CAR T-cell clinical trials. As of May 2017, 183 clinical trials are underway, and for the first time, there are more clinical trials in China than in the United States, according to Carl H. June, MD, Director, Translational Research Program, University of Penn­­sylvania, Philadelphia, at the 2017 ASCO annual meeting. Dr June discussed how this rapidly evolving technology is taking immuno-oncology to the “next level” of precision medicine.
Chicago, IL—The tumor types amenable to immunotherapy with the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) keep expanding and now include sarcoma, which has been difficult to treat.
Chicago, IL—Immunotherapy holds promise as second-line or third-line treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare cancer with increasing incidence. Early findings from the ongoing, phase 2 MAPS-2 clinical trial showed that immunotherapy slowed the growth of malignant pleural mesothelioma after relapse, reported lead investigator Arnaud Scherpereel, MD, PhD, Head, Pulmonary and Thoracic Oncology Department, University Hospital of Lille, France, at the 2017 ASCO annual meeting. MAPS-2 is the largest clinical trial to date of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Washington, DC—The Cancer Moonshot 2020 program is exploring a new paradigm in cancer care by bringing clinical trials focused on immunotherapy to community and academic practices. This privately funded initiative seeks to conduct phase 2 clinical trials within the next 36 months in 20,000 patients with >20 tumor types at all stages of cancer, said Gary Palmer, MD, JD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, President, GPS Operations, NantHealth, Culver City, CA, at the Sixth Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care.
Oncologists looking to learn about immunotherapy did not have to go very far at ASCO 2015. Many of the highest-impact presentations this year, including a plenary session, the Karnofsky Award, and the Science of Oncology Award, focused on cancer therapy’s most exciting field.
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