Researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are collaborating with Pfizer to study the effects of immunotherapy treatment Avelumab when combined with stereotactic body radiation therapy, or SBRT, for those suffering from mesothelioma. SBRT treatments use a device called a linear accelerator that delivers precise and intense doses of radiation to target cancer cells so healthy cells are not affected. Typical radiation therapy is delivered over the course of several weeks in smaller doses, but SBRT can be administered in five daily sessions or less, which allows for other cancer treatments like chemotherapy and immunotherapy to be given. Tumor cells express the protein PD-L1 which binds to PD-1 and prohibits the immune system from being able to attack cancer cells. When Avelumab is administered, PD-L1 is blocked, allowing anti-cancer cells to grow and fight the invasive cancer cells.
Traditional mesothelioma treatments overall have a poor response rate, as this cancer is difficult to treat. This current clinical trial aims to determine how the combination treatment of Avelumab and SBRT affects mesothelioma, how SBRT affects the immune system, and to determine if the combination treatment is more effective than either radiation or immunotherapy alone.
Those eligible for this clinical trial will receive 10mg of Avelumab through IV infusion every other week throughout the duration of the trial. After two doses of Avelumab, the patient will then begin SBRT in 30 to 60 minutes sessions over the course of 10 days. This study is currently recruiting participants in multiple locations in New York and New Jersey. The estimated primary completion date is December 2020.
Patients suffering from either pleural mesothelioma or peritoneal mesothelioma are eligible for this clinical trial as long as they can follow the inclusion criteria. Patients with specific prior therapies or patients currently participating in other clinical trials may be excluded. Find out more regarding inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Clinical Trials Offer Hope
A mesothelioma diagnosis can be different for everyone. A treatment that is successful with one individual may not be with another and because of this, scientists and researchers are continually studying different combination therapies in order find an effective treatment that targets the needs of the patient. Clinical trials are often divided in to three phases and each phase must be passed before moving on to the next. Phase I clinical trials typically focus on administration procedures. Trials in the second Phase provide information about the safety and potential benefits of the new procedure. Phase III trials compare the promising new drugs with the current treatment standard. Positive results from the Phase III trial imply the treatment is eligible for approval by the FDA and can become a first line treatment for some.
U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy and Avelumab Immunotherapy for Treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma,” ClinicalTrials.gov (January 29, 2018). [Link]