The Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Western Regional Medical Center in Arizona recently started a Phase Ib/II clinical trial called NivoPlus (NCT02423954) to test a new investigational immunotherapeutic treatment for several advanced cancers. This novel immunotherapeutic approach is based on the combination of an immunotherapy drug (nivolumab) with chemotherapy drugs (irinotecan, temsirolimus and a combination of irinotecan and capecitabine) which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Cancer immunotherapy is defined as the use of the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer. In 2013, the renowned Science magazine established that cancer immunotherapy had been the scientific breakthrough of the year, and recent advances in the field have yielded promising results for cancer patients.
Nivolumab is an antibody against the programmed death 1 (PD-1) receptor, an immune checkpoint that if inhibited results in the stimulation of the body’s antitumor immunity. Nivolumab has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of advanced melanoma in December 2014 and metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer in March 2015. Its combination with chemotherapeutic drugs is expected to activate the body’s immune system and improve the response to cancer.
“Some of these drug combinations are not available elsewhere, giving CTCA patients additional treatment options,” noted the Director of Clinical Research at CTCA at Western Dr. Glen Weiss in a news release. “Our ultimate goal is to evaluate if these combinations yield improved results for our patients.”
CTCA expects to enroll up to 49 patients with advanced cancer, namely non-small cell lung cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer and colorectal carcinoma.
“Patients with these types of advanced-stage cancers have tumors that may be challenging to treat,” said NivoPlus’ trial principal investigator Dr. Vivek Khemka. “We are investigating whether combining nivolumab with these chemotherapy drugs will be a more powerful approach against their disease.”
Recent studies have shown that antibody-based immunostimulatory therapy can have beneficial effects in the treatment of melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma and colorectal cancer. Furthermore, evidence supports a synergetic effect of combining immunostimulatory therapy with chemotherapy.
CTCA’s main goal is to provide patients with the latest technologies and advanced therapeutic options. CTCA is currently recruiting participants for the NivoPlus clinical trial. If you are interested in participating or would like to obtain more information concerning the trial, please visit the following link or contact [email protected] or via 623-207-3000.