Typical cancer treatments are hard on the body and are not always effective. When treating someone for cancer, chemotherapy is typically used, which kills cancer cells or stops them from growing or spreading. Chemotherapy can also kill healthy cells, which makes it hard on the body. Immunotherapy is another option, and it works by helping the immune system fight and attack cancer cells. There are different types of immunotherapy that are being tested and used for treatment including monoclonal antibodies, oncolytic viruses, T-cell therapy, and cancer vaccines. With these different immunotherapy options, cancers that have not responded well to chemotherapy and other typical cancer treatments are able to be treated with the possibility of a cure.
An upcoming study is looking at using two different treatments to help fight mesothelioma. The first drug, Opdivo, is a type of immunotherapy drug that is an immune checkpoint inhibitor, which helps the immune system detect and fight cancer cells. Cancer cells use the protein PD-1, which disguises them from the immune system. When using Opdivo, the PD-1 protein is blocked, allowing the immune system to see and kill cancer cells. The other drug being looked at is MTG201 which was created by MTG Biotherapeutics. It is an inactivated adenovirus which seeks out cancer cells and induces their death.
The phase two trial is looking at Opdivo and MTG201 together in people who have been treated with chemotherapy and the treatment failed. Twelve people will be examined while taking the treatment. This combination of drugs can help mesothelioma patients because typically, there are few immune cells that exist for activating the immune system to fight mesothelioma. Immune cells need to be attracted to the tumor, which is possible when combining the two drugs.
MTG201 is injected into the tumor four times while 480 mg of Opdivo is given intravenously every four weeks until the disease progresses. The researchers want to see what percentage of participants will respond to the treatment, how long the response takes, and how long the patient can live without cancer progression.
The combination of Opdivo and MTG201 has shown to be an effective treatment in mouse models. Cell death because of the MTG201 boosted Opdivo’s response, causing great results in patients.
With new cancer treatments continuing to be developed, there is still hope for mesothelioma sufferers. Mesothelioma typically does not respond well to cancer treatments, but with the new advances, it can potentially be cured.
“How Does OPDIVO® Work With My Immune System?” Opdivo [Link]
Patricia Inacio, “Upcoming Phase 2 Trial Will Test Opdivo-MTG201 Combo for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma” Immuno-Oncology News (August 9, 2019). [Link]