Checkpoint Inhibitor Combination Well-tolerated, Effective in Ovarian Cancer Patients, Phase 1b Trial Shows

Checkpoint Inhibitor Combination Well-tolerated, Effective in Ovarian Cancer Patients, Phase 1b Trial Shows
A combination of two checkpoint inhibitor therapies, magrolimab (Hu5F9-G4) and Bavencio (avelumab), has an acceptable safety profile, is well-tolerated, and stabilizes disease in more than half of heavily-treated ovarian cancer patients, results from a Phase 1b trial show. The findings of the trial (NCT03558139) were presented in a poster at the 2020 Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium, organized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer.  The poster was titled “A phase Ib study of the anti-CD47 antibody magrolimab with the PD-L1 inhibitor avelumab (A) in solid tumor (ST) and ovarian cancer (OC) patients.” Macrophages are a type of front-line immune cell that attacks infectious agents and cancer cells. They identify their targets because they lack a protein on the cell surface called CD47. Normal, healthy cells produce CD47 to tell the macrophages not to attack them. However, nearly all types of cancer cells, including those from ovarian cancer, produce CD47 to hide from macrophage attack, helping the disease to progress. Forty Seven's magrolimab (Hu5F9-G4) is an antibody — called a checkpoint inhibitor — that blocks CD47 on cancer cells, allowing them to be identified and attacked by macrophages. Magrolimab has shown antitumor activity in combination with other checkpoint-inhibiting antibodies that block the programmed cell death ligand (PD-L1) — a protein that suppresses immune T-cells from attacking cancers in a similar way as CD47.  One such PD-L1 inhibitor, Bavencio, developed by Merck KGaA (known as EMD Serono in the U.S. and Canada) and Pfizer, is approved for advanced forms of a skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma, bladder cancer, and kidney cancer. The combination therapy of
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