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New System for Treating Cancer Seen as Hopeful

New System for Treating Cancer Seen as Hopeful | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Drugs that unleash the body’s immune system to combat tumors could allow patients with advanced melanoma to live far longer than ever before, researchers gathered at the nation’s largest cancer conference say.

“ 'It’s a completely different world for patients with metastatic melanoma, to talk about the majority of patients being alive for years rather than weeks or months,' said Dr. Jedd D. Wolchok, a melanoma specialist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, interviewed at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology here."

Editor's note: This is a good exploration of immunotherapy treatments for melanoma; immunotherapy for lung cancer is also discussed.

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The New York Times  |  Jun 2, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Bristol Plans Big Lung Cancer Study, Pairing Immunotherapies

"Bristol-Myers Squibb Co on Tuesday said it plans this year to begin a late-stage trial testing whether a combination of two of its high-profile immunotherapies can effectively treat lung cancer, easing concerns about the company's intentions.


"Company executives spooked investors in January by saying they were not yet planning a late-stage trial that would combine its experimental medicine, nivolumab, and an approved melanoma treatment called Yervoy as a treatment for lung cancer.


"But spirits lifted on Tuesday when Brian Daniels, senior vice president of global development for Bristol-Myers, told investors at the Cowen and Co healthcare conference in Boston that the Phase III trial was indeed on track to begin by the end of 2014."


Editor's Note: This article has a business spin, but may be of interest to lung cancer patients curious about clinical trials. To learn more about clinical trials and how they can sometimes be good treatment options, visit our Lung Cancer Basics.

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Reuters  |  Mar 4, 2014

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Engaging the Immune System May Be a Useful Strategy in SCLC

Drugs that enhance the body’s immune response (immunotherapies) may help patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Immunotherapy may be beneficial on its own, but could also complement standard chemotherapy. An overview of recent studies and ongoing clinical trials highlighted several promising immunotherapies, including ipilimumab (Yervoy). Yervoy, which has been approved to treat certain kinds of skin cancer, targets a protein called CTLA4, which acts as an "off switch" on immune system cells. By deactivating CTLA4, Yervoy allows the immune system to continue attacking tumors. Another immune treatment that may be combined with traditional chemotherapy is interferon-alpha, a molecule that stimulates the body’s immune cells.

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Journal of Thoracic Oncology | Apr 15, 2013

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FDA Grants Merck’s Anti-PD1 Antibody Priority Review

FDA Grants Merck’s Anti-PD1 Antibody Priority Review | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The FDA has granted Merck’s anti-PD1 antibody MK-3475 a priority review designation for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma in patients who have previously been treated with ipilimumab. Priority review status is reserved for drugs considered to offer a significant improvement in the safety or efficacy of the treatment of a serious condition. It will shorten the drug’s FDA review period from 10 months to 6 months."


Editor's note: MK-3475 is an immunotherapy drug that works by boosting a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. While this story is about melanoma, anti-PD1 drugs like MK-3475 have also shown promise for other cancers, including for lung cancer. Once it is approved by the FDA for unresectable or metastatic melanoma, doctors in the U.S. will be able to prescribe it to their patients outside of the clinical trial system. 

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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Immunotherapy Promises Breakthroughs in Cancer Treatment

Immunotherapy Promises Breakthroughs in Cancer Treatment | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Researchers have begun to identify the mechanisms that tumors use to protect themselves from the body’s immune system. Disrupting these mechanisms frees the immune system to attack the cancer, offering the hope of effective therapies for otherwise hard-to-treat cancers. Among the first such treatments is ipilimumab (Yervoy), which was approved for treatment of melanoma in 2011. Additional immunotherapy drugs are currently under investigation for lung cancer treatment. Overall, these drugs produce modest increases in average survival. However, some patients respond dramatically: 20% of melanoma patients treated with Yervoy in a clinical trial are still alive up to 10 years later. In others, immunotherapy can cause the immune system to attack healthy cells also, leading to dangerous or even fatal reactions. Further research aims to uncover the reasons behind these different responses.

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New York Times | Oct 14, 2013

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New York Times | Oct 14, 2013

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Novel Drugs Show Promise in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Novel Drugs Show Promise in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Medical experts at the 2012 Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium presented data on the growing number of targeted treatments for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with so-called driver mutations—specific genetic mutations that drive tumor growth. Among the drugs showing promise in adenocarcinoma are ridaforolimus for KRAS-mutant tumors, ganetespib for ALK- or KRAS-mutant tumors, and afatinib for EGFR-mutant tumors. For squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), new potential treatments include AZD4547 and BGJ398 (FGFR1-mutant), dasatinib and nilotinib (DDR2 mutant), Tarceva and Iressa (EGFRvIII-mutant), and Yervoy and Cadi-05 (all SCC), while anti–PD-1 antibodies such as BMS-936558 may be effective for both adenocarcinoma and SCC.

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OncLive | Jan 14, 2013

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