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New immunotherapy for lung cancer may be effective, safe: Lancet

The study noted that the therapy is promising and can be delivered in an outpatient setting

IANS  |  New York 

Scientists find potential trigger to kill cancer
Tumour cells often produce suppressive factors which essentially turn the brakes on tumour-killing white blood cells

A novel combination is effective and safe at controlling the progression of lung cancer, results from a clinical trial showed.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, noted that the therapy is promising and can be delivered in an outpatient setting.

Metastatic non-small cell lung -- the most common form of lung -- always progresses after chemotherapy, so most patients go on to be treated with -- a type of therapy that uses the body's immune system to fight

One class of immunotherapeutic drugs is known as "checkpoint" inhibitors, and the therapy works by cutting the brake cables on the white bloods cells that are inherently able to kill cells, added Mark Rubinstein, from the

cells often produce suppressive factors which essentially turn the brakes on tumour-killing white blood cells.

However, "what's unique about the new therapy is that in addition to cutting the brake cables on white blood cells, we're providing fuel to them so that they can more effectively kill cancer cells", Rubinstein said.

The new therapy is a combination of a checkpoint drug, nivolumab, with a new and powerful immune stimulation drug, ALT-803.

"It's two completely different types of drugs that have never been combined in humans before. The trial demonstrated that these drugs can be safely administered, and also, there's evidence that it may help patients where checkpoint therapy is not good enough alone," Rubinstein noted.

Patients who have stopped responding to checkpoint therapy may be helped significantly by adding ALT-803.

Pre-clinical studies have shown that ALT-803 activates the immune system to mobilise lymphocytes against cells and could potentially serve as an important component in combination treatments.

"We can reassert control, at least in terms of stable disease, in essentially everybody we've treated so far," said John Wrangle, immunologist at the varsity.

This novel combination is a huge step forward in cancer treatment, he noted.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, April 08 2018. 23:38 IST
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