Epigenetic Drugs May Be Key to Improving Cancer Patients’ Response to Immunotherapies

Epigenetic Drugs May Be Key to Improving Cancer Patients’ Response to Immunotherapies
In the past decade, immunotherapy treatment approaches designed to fight cancer using the body's natural defenses have attracted tremendous attention. This led to advances in the synthesis and development of new agents, some of which have now reached the clinic. Several successful immunotherapy studies were presented at this summer's American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago. Ovarian cancer, which affects around 220,000 women per year, is the seventh-most common form of cancer worldwide. It is commonly treated with chemotherapy, but recent advances show that immunotherapy could be a better alternative. "Cancer patients who respond to immunotherapy tend to have a prolonged response," Rebecca C. Arend, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Division of Gynecologic Oncology, said in a news release. "It's really exciting, because this is something that we don't usually see with chemotherapy and 75 percent of patients recur within two years of receiving initial chemotherapy and surgery for ovarian cancer," she said. Lately, researchers have been focusing particularly on immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as PD-1 and CTLA-4 inhibitors. "Your body has a natural response of putting the brakes on the immune system," said Arend, also an associate scientist in the Experimental Therapeutics Program at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. "These drugs take those brakes off." Currently, checkpoint inhibitors like Opdivo (nivolumab), Yervoy (ipilimumab), and Keytruda (pembrolizumab) are approved for a number of indications. The PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo, for example, is now approve
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *