Navigation Links
Experimental Drug Aids Kids With Nervous System Tumor
Date:9/29/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Adding an experimental immunotherapy drug to the standard regimen of care extended the lives and decreased the risk of a disease recurrence in children with high-risk neuroblastoma, a new study says.

This type of tumor is not actually a brain tumor because it appears outside the brain and spinal cord. But it accounts for 12 percent of cancer-related deaths in children under the age of 15. Half of patients with this type of malignancy have the high-risk form, according to background information with the study.

In this trial, 46 percent of children who had the conventional treatment were alive after two years, compared to 66 percent of those who also received the immunotherapy, known as ch14.18.

The difference was significant enough to halt the study early so all children could start receiving ch14.18.

"It's a statistically significant improvement, so the kids who received this treatment were less likely to relapse with neuroblastoma," said Dr. Amal Abu-Ghosh, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Georgetown University's Lombardi Cancer Center, in Washington, D.C.

And the improvement was seen in a very vulnerable population.

"These are young children who have neuroblastoma who receive very intensive treatment with high dose chemotherapy and, despite that, many are not successfully treated," said Dr. Malcolm Smith, co-author of the study and associate branch chief for pediatric oncology at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, which co-funded the study.

Georgetown was one of the centers participating in the trial, although Abu-Ghosh was not an author on the paper, which was published in the Sept. 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

But the immune therapy is highly unusual in that the National Cancer Institute, not a pharmaceutical company, manufactured the drug, Abu-Ghosh said.

"Now that the trial is over, we will have to find what other resources are available to get the antibody because it's still not commercially available," said Abu-Ghosh. "It still has to do go through the industry."

The National Cancer Institute is in talks with United Therapeutics Corp. to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and to manufacture and market the drug.

Meanwhile, the clinical trials network is trying to make the drug available to children who need it.

But even if the product were commercially available, patients would still have to endure the arduous conventional treatment, as the study participants did.

That means high-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplantation to replace blood cells lost during chemotherapy, then the drug isotretinoin (an acne medication that goes by Accutane and other brand names) to kill off any leftover cancer cells.

For this study, all 226 children received both chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation before being randomly chosen to receive isotretinoin alone or isotretinoin plus ch14.18 along with drugs to strengthen the immune system.

The immunotherapy, Smith explained, "is an antibody-based therapy and the antibody recognizes an antigen that's on the surface of the neuroblastoma cells. It binds to the neuroblastoma cells and then recruits immune cells to the neuroblastoma cells to kill the neuroblastoma cells."

Children in the immunotherapy group did have more side effects, including pain, than those in the conventional-treatment group.

"This tells us that we need to do more to prevent relapse by using immune therapy," said Abu-Ghosh.

A second study in the same issue of the journal found that children with intermediate-risk neuroblastoma who took a reduced regimen of chemotherapy plus a biologically based treatment were able to live just as long as those receiving conventional duration-and-dose chemotherapy.

At three years, 96 percent of children with this tumor were still alive with the biologic agent and less chemotherapy, which compares well with rates for the traditional treatment.

But only patients with tumors that had certain genetic traits were selected for the therapy, meaning the results can't be generalized to a larger population.

More information

The National Cancer Institute has more on neuroblastoma treatment.

SOURCES: Malcolm Smith, M.D., Ph.D., associate branch chief for pediatric oncology, U.S. National Cancer Institute; Amal Abu-Ghosh, M.D., pediatric hematologist/oncologist, Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer Center, Washington, D.C.; Sept. 30, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Experimental Test May Spot Prostate Cancer Earlier, More Accurately
2. Experimental Leukemia Drug Proves a Slam Dunk
3. Experimental Drug Shows Promise for Bone Marrow Disorder
4. Experimental TB Test Called Fast and Accurate
5. Experimental treatments for cocaine addiction may prevent relapse
6. Experimental obesity drug avoids brain effects that troubled predecessors
7. Experimental nonsteroidal treatment of asthma shows promise
8. Experimental targeted therapy shows early promise against medulloblastomas
9. Experimental Vaccine Shields Monkeys Against Ebola
10. Experimental Drug Offers Hope for Cystic Fibrosis Patients
11. Immune system helps transplanted stem cells navigate in central nervous system
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The American Board of Family Medicine's (ABFM) ... and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dr. James C. Puffer upon his retirement. Dr. Newton ... until Dr. Puffer’s retirement at the end of 2018. Upon assuming the role of ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... PurhealthRX , a leading Health and Nutrition Company, is announcing the ... spectrum CBD oil will revolutionize the rapidly growing CBD market by reducing the amount ... into liquid products, while reducing costs to end users. , The team of researchers ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Lori R. Somekh, ... member of ElderCounsel, a national organization of elder law and special needs planning attorneys. ... and rules. It also provides a forum to network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance that covers care for ... a waiver for care if the client has a cognitive impairment diagnosis. , ... care, is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start immediately,” said Mechell ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, ... in business to advocate for action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in ... around the globe, and reached a social audience of over 3 million. To watch ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... Denmark , Oct. 2, 2017 The Rebound ... in the struggle to reverse the tide of prescription drug ... for regulating their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage ... set to launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 people ... Learn more at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... NEW YORK , Sept. 27, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: ... data solutions, today announced that its MyDario product is expected to appear ... listings for when The Dr. Oz Show airs in your area: ... The nine-time Emmy award-winning, The ... ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... Sept. 22, 2017  As the latest Obamacare repeal ... Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham ... the medical device industry is in an odd place. ... the 2.3% excise tax on medical device sales passed ... want covered patients, increased visits and hospital customers with ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: