New therapies harness power of the immune system against cancer

June 2, 2014, American Society of Clinical Oncology

New research on innovative immunotherapies for advanced or high-risk melanoma and cervical cancer were presented today at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). These treatments – used alone or in combination – fight cancer by activating and amplifying the body's immune response to the disease.

The new studies find high activity with investigative drugs for advanced , and show for the first time that ipilimumab, a already approved for advanced melanoma, can substantially decrease the risk of melanoma recurrence in certain with earlier-stage disease. In addition, another small trial reports that a one-time, personalized immunotherapy treatment induces complete and long-lasting remissions in a small number of women with advanced – a disease with little to no effective treatment options.

"The field of immunotherapy has exploded in the last decade, and more and more patients are benefiting," said press briefing moderator Steven O'Day, MD, ASCO expert and clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine. "Having a potential new way to keep melanoma at bay is a major advance for patients who live under the constant fear of recurrence after surgery. It's also incredibly exciting that we're extending the benefits of immunotherapy beyond melanoma, to diseases like cervical cancer where patients urgently need better options."

Featured studies include:

  • Adjuvant ipilimumab improves recurrence-free survival in patients with high-risk stage III melanoma: Study marks the first time adjuvant (post-surgery) ipilimumab is shown to be effective in earlier-stage melanoma, though side effects are considerable.
  • PD-1 targeting immunotherapy MK-3475 has high and long-lasting activity against : Large phase I trial finds high survival rates in patients with advanced melanoma, including those previously treated with ipilimumab; one-year survival rate is 69 percent across all patient subgroups.
  • Combination immunotherapy with ipilimumab and nivolumab achieves long-term survival for patients with advanced melanoma: Updated follow-up data from an expanded phase I study show concurrent treatment with ipilimumab and the anti-PD-1 nivolumab yields strong, long-lasting responses and high rates.
  • HPV-targeted adoptive T cell therapy may provide a new personalized strategy for advanced cervical cancer: Early study of HPV-targeted immunotherapy shows promising activity in metastatic cervical cancer, a hard-to-treat disease with few effective treatment options.

Explore further: Biomarker identifies melanoma patients who may respond to immunotherapy MK-3475

Related Stories

Biomarker identifies melanoma patients who may respond to immunotherapy MK-3475

April 7, 2014
Among melanoma patients treated with the PD-1 inhibitor MK-3475, those whose tumors had the protein PD-L1 had better immune responses and higher survival rates, according to results presented here at the AACR Annual Meeting ...

Combination of drugs produces dramatic tumor responses in advanced melanoma patients

June 2, 2013
The combination of the immunotherapy drug ipilimumab and the investigational antibody drug nivolumab led to long-lasting tumor shrinkage in more than half of patients with metastatic melanoma, according to results from a ...

Genetic testing beneficial in melanoma treatment

April 4, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Genetic screening of cancer can help doctors customize treatments so that patients with melanoma have the best chance of beating it, according to the results of a clinical trial by researchers at the University ...

Marker may predict response to ipilimumab in advanced melanoma

February 4, 2014
Among patients with advanced melanoma, presence of higher levels of the protein vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in blood was associated with poor response to treatment with the immunotherapy ipilimumab, according ...

ASCO: combo antibody therapy effective for melanoma

May 17, 2013
(HealthDay)—Concurrent use of two immune checkpoint antibodies—ipilimumab and nivolumab—may be effective for the treatment of advanced melanoma, according to a proof-of-principal study presented in advance of the annual ...

Survival hope for melanoma patients thanks to new vaccine

April 17, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that a new trial vaccine offers the most promising treatment to date for melanoma that has spread, with increased patient survival rates and improved ability ...

Recommended for you

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.