On Sunday at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2016 Congress, Merck revealed results of two clinical trials that treated lung cancer patients with immunotherapy and could pave the way for its use as a first-line treatment option. In both trials, patients with metastatic and previously untreated non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) benefited from treatment with checkpoint blockade using the anti-PD-1 drug pembrolizumab. The results from the trials were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.
Studies Reveal the Combination’s Ability to Ramp Up the Destruction of Cancers in Mice
PHOENIX — A drug combination designed to enhance the immune system’s ability to zero in and attack cancer cells has shown a pronounced therapeutic effect against advanced and metastatic cancers in mice, according to a Mayo Clinic study, published in the July 12 edition of the online journal Oncotarget.
“Cancers can remain inconspicuous in the body for months to years before causing major problems, leading the immune system to coexist rather than to attack cancers,” explains Mayo Clinic cancer immunotherapist Peter Cohen, M.D., who co-led the study with Mayo Clinic immunologist Sandra Gendler, Ph.D., and postdoctoral fellow Soraya Zorro Manrique, Ph.D.
Scientists at the Duke Cancer Institute have identified a molecular key that breast cancer cells use to invade bone marrow in mice, where they may be protected from chemotherapy or hormonal therapies that could otherwise eradicate them.
Through years of experiments in mice, the scientists have found ways to outmaneuver this stealth tactic by not only preventing breast cancer cells from entering the bone marrow, but also by flushing cancer cells out into the blood stream where they could be targeted for destruction.