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Pembrolizumab Update: Aduro Biotech Collaborates with Merck

Published: May 18, 2017

A biopharmaceutical company named Aduro Biotech recently announced its collaboration with Merck to further evaluate the findings for the Phase II trial of KEYTRUDA ® (pembrolizumab) and to combine their own immunotherapy treatment, CRS-207.

Information regarding KEYTRUDA ® treatment began to circulate late last year when data presented at the 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer noted the positive effects that KEYTRUDA® had on those suffering from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and mesothelioma. KEYTRUDA ® works with the body’s own immune system, which is generally weakened by fatal cancers such as mesothelioma. Phase 1b KEYNOTE-28 trial reported overall survival rates increasing 18 months with the average patient going 6 months without seeing any disease progression. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure that has a grim prognosis of typically less than one year from the time of diagnosis.

Read more about the initial results for KEYTRUDA ®

CRS-207 is a Listeria based therapeutic vaccine that triggers an immune response to proteins in order to control certain bacteria. Phase 1b clinical trials evaluated the safety and efficacy of CRS-207 when used in combination with common chemotherapy treatment Cisplatin and Pemetrexed for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Results from the trial showed an overall control of the malignancy in 94% of those who participated.

PD-1 is a protein located on the surface of human cells that allow the cells to not be affected by the body’s immune system. This means that when PD-1 is paired with a cancer cell, the cancer cell is able to survive. KEYTRUDA® targets this protein and scientists and researchers from Aduro believe that based upon the their earlier results with CRS-207 targeting immune response proteins, this combination therapy could yield mostly positive results.

The Phase II study for CRS-207 is for mesothelioma patients who have not had success with other prior treatments. Thirty-five patients are expected to participate in this clinical trial.


Audro Biotech, Inc. “Aduro Biotech Announces Clinical Collaboration with Merck to Evaluate the Combination of Aduro’s CRS-207 with Merck’s KEYTRUDA® (Pembrolizumab) for the Treatment of Mesothelioma,” GlobeNewsire (May 17, 2017). [Link]

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