Thursday October 18, 2018

New Combo Therapy Found Effective In Kidney Cancer Patients

With this new combination therapy, tumour shrinkage or stabilization was better than that seen in patients taking just one of the two drugs alone, the researchers found

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The study was published in journal The Lancet Oncology. Wikimedia Commons
The study was published in journal The Lancet Oncology. Wikimedia Commons
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Combining an anti-angiogenesis agent, which blocks blood vessel formation, with an immunotherapy agent, has shown promising anti-tumour activity in an early phase clinical trial in patients with advanced kidney cancer who had not been previously treated, says a new study.

The findings of the study involving the combination of anti-angiogenesis agent — axitinib (trade name Inlyta) – and the immunotherapy agent — pembrolizumab (trade name Keytruda) – were published in the journal The Lancet Oncology.

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“Our results are unprecedented. The combination doubled the efficacy of the drugs when used alone and the treatment was found to be tolerable,” said Michael Atkins of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and principal investigator for the study.

The immunotherapy agent, pembrolizumab, is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that blocks a self-defense mechanism used by cancer cells to evade attack and destruction by the body's immune cells. Wikimedia Commons
The immunotherapy agent, pembrolizumab, is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that blocks a self-defence mechanism used by cancer cells to evade attack and destruction by the body’s immune cells. Wikimedia Commons

“Specifically, over 90 percent of patients exhibited tumour shrinkage and the disease was kept under control for a median of over 20 months,” Atkins said.

The investigators started their phase-1 clinical trial of this combination in 2014 and enrolled 52 advanced renal cell carcinoma (the most common form of kidney cancer) patients who had not previously been treated for the disease.

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With this new combination therapy, tumour shrinkage or stabilization was better than that seen in patients taking just one of the two drugs alone, the researchers found.

Patients also had fewer liver abnormalities and less fatigue than those treated with other similar combination therapies, Atkins said.

“We think this combination could present a major advance in the treatment of this disease as well as help define effective combinations of similar drugs for other cancers,” Atkins said. (IANS)

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Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine Goes To Cancer Therapy Researchers From US, Japan

The prize comes with an award of $1.1 million.

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Nobel Committee of the Karolinska Institute announces 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden. VOA

The 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to James Allison of the University of Texas and Tasuku Honjo of Japan’s Kyoto University for their discoveries in cancer therapy.

“Allison and Honjo showed how different strategies for inhibiting the brakes on the immune system can be used in the treatment of cancer,” the Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute said in a statement on awarding the prize.

The prize for physiology or medicine is first Nobel Prize awarded each year.

Nobel Prize
Nobel Peace Prize Bearing Likeness of Alfred Nobel

The prizes for physics, chemistry, and peace will also be announced this week. The literature prize will not be given this year because of a sexual misconduct scandal at the body that decides the award. The Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Sciences will be announced on Monday, October 8.

The prize comes with an award of $1.1 million.

Nobel Prize
A combination photo shows Ph.D. James P. Allison of MD Anderson Cancer Center at The University of Texas in this picture obtained from MD Anderson Cancer Center (R) and Kyoto University Professor Tasuku Honjo in Kyoto, in this photo taken by Kyodo.. VOA

Who are they?

James P. Allison was born 1948 in Alice, Texas, USA. He received his PhD in 1973 at the University of Texas, Austin. From 1974-1977 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, California. From 1977-1984 he was a faculty member at University of Texas System Cancer Center, Smithville, Texas; from 1985-2004 at University of California, Berkeley and from 2004-2012 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. From 1997-2012 he was an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Since 2012 he has been professor at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas and is affiliated with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

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Tasuku Honjo was born in 1942 in Kyoto, Japan. In 1966 he became an MD, and from 1971-1974 he was a research fellow in the USA at Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore and at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. He received his PhD in 1975 at Kyoto University. From 1974-1979 he was a faculty member at Tokyo University and from 1979-1984 at Osaka University. Since 1984 he has been professor at Kyoto University. He was a faculty dean from 1996-2000 and from 2002-2004 at Kyoto University. (VOA)