CHICAGO, IL (May 28, 2013)A promising new therapy for the most common form of lung cancer appears to produce largely manageable side effects, and an ongoing clinical trial is determining whether the compound treats tumors more effectively than what's on the market, according research that scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center will present at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on Saturday, June 1.
"We're very excited about this drug," says Hossein Borghaei, DO, chief of thoracic medical oncology at Fox Chase. "I think if we learn how to use it appropriately, and manage the side effects effectively, it will be a good drug to have in our armamentarium."
Lung cancer is the number one cause of death from cancer. Currently, patients with a metastatic form of the most common form of lung cancernon-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)are treated with a combination of various chemotherapy drugs. If that fails, they are typically treated with a single agent. "We're trying to find a new option," says Borghaei, also the director of Lung Cancer Risk Assessment at Fox Chase.
The drug, known as nivolumab, is a monoclonal antibody that targets the immune system's response to cancer. Specifically, it acts on the pathway that protects the tumor from the efforts of the immune system to destroy it. Treatment with nivolumab is like taking the brakes off the immune system, says Borghaei"it allows the body's own immune system to recognize the tumor as foreign and attack it." A similar drug, ipilimumab, has been approved for melanoma.
Because nivolumab acts on the immune system, Borghaei explains, he and his colleagues have noted different side effects than what often occur with standard chemotherapy. These side effects, reported on other studies with this drug, include thyroid inflammation or inflammation of the colon.
The drug's seller, Bristol-Myers Squibb, has sponsored other research that suggests nivolu
|Contact: Diana Quattrone|
Fox Chase Cancer Center