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Gut bacteria may be key to efficacy of immunotherapies

Why immunotherapies are successful in some individuals and not in others is a matter of huge importance to both patients and the companies that develop such treatments. The success of PD-1 and PD-L1 therapies for some patients has led to more interest into why certain patients are not able to respond as strongly.

Another piece of the jigsaw may been revealed in recent research published in Science, with two papers linking patient’s gut bacteria to successful treatment of tumours.

Harnessing the power of the immune system

Published on 09/10/17 at 10:55am

Dr Áine McCarthy, Senior Science Information Officer at Cancer Research UK, discusses the latest efforts to further understand the immunotherapies that have done so much for cancer treatment in recent years, and how they can be pushed to achieve even more.

Roche's Tecentriq scores approvals in metastatic lung and bladder cancer

It’s good news for Roche as the company’s immunotherapy drug Tecentriq secures approval from the European Commission to be used in the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and two forms of metastatic bladder cancers.

Specifically, the drug has been approved in previously treated locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC, and in metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) in those who have received a platinum-based chemotherapy or who are ineligible to receive cisplatin chemotherapy.

FDA locks down combo immunotherapy trials, Roche added to hold

The FDA has moved to ensure that all immunotherapy trials studying PD-1/L1 agents, alongside immunomodulatory medicines in certain blood cancers have been placed on full or partial hold.

The latest to join this group is Roche’s Tecentriq, with a partial hold being placed on its trials examining the drug in combination with Celgene’s Revlimid or Pomalyst for multiple myeloma and follicular lymphoma.

Lilly's Cyramza combo boasts strong results in bladder cancer

Eli Lilly has announced new Phase 3 data at the European Society for Medical Oncology 2017 Congress which further add to the efficacy profile of Cyramza (ramucirumab) in treating platinum-refractory advanced urothelial carcinoma when used in combination with docetaxel.

BMS hit by clinical trial hold from FDA

The FDA has placed a partial hold on clinical trials involving Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy treatment, Opdivo, when used in combination with certain medicines in treating patients with multiple myeloma.

Immunotherapy firm develops breakthrough method for robust bispecific antibody production

A team of researchers at Dutch immunotherapy research firm Merus have developed an approach to efficiently manufacture bispecific antibodies which are able to bind to two separate target molecules simultaneously, heralding a potential breakthrough in the space.

Independent research may change the immunotherapy game

Immunotherapy treatments that focus on the PD-L1 protein have become some of the most exciting to emerge in cancer treatment. Treatments are so successful, in certain patients, that they’ve become an extremely lucrative market – so much so that AstraZeneca’s fortunate were sunk on the poor result of one combination trial with its own PD-L1 inhibitor, Imfinzi.

Takeda strikes partnership to develop single-drug cancer combo immunotherapies

Japanese pharma giant Takeda has announced that it is to partner up with US-based Shattuck Labs in a collaboration to develop checkpoint fusion proteins which can be refined and utilised as highly differentiated, advanced immunotherapies for cancer. As part of the deal, Takeda will have the rights to the global development and commercialisation of up to four such molecules.

Ending the era of $100,000 cancer drugs

Paul Workman, Chief Executive and President of the Institute of Cancer Research, examines the spiralling cost of cancer treatments and what can be done to bring them down to a manageable level whilst ensuring patients receive the best treatment.

Something has to change. We cannot continue putting up with new cancer drugs costing up to, and in excess of, $100,000 (£80,000). This is unsustainable and we need to be thinking hard about how we can make prices come down.

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