Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Western Regional Medical Center (Western) in Goodyear, Arizona, has just announced the launch of a Phase II clinical trial of a novel combination treatment of immunotherapy and chemotherapy named “PembroPlus“, which includes the immunotherapeutic agent pembrolizumab. This study was designed to explore the treatment’s benefit in soft-tissue cancers or sarcomas.
“There is growing evidence that the use of immunotherapies like those in our PembroPlus clinical trials could enhance the ability to fight cancers,” said Dr. Glen Weiss, Director of Clinical Research and Medical Oncologist, CTCA at Western. “We will be testing this new arm for sarcoma patients to determine its effectiveness and safety.”
Researchers at the CTCA are aiming to enrol around 140 patients who have previously received standard treatments and have been deemed eligible to participate in clinical trials for their condition. Last week, the first patient in the study received PembroPlus in the investigational combination pembrolizumab and chemotherapeutic agent liposomal doxorubicin. Other arms of this multi-faceted study will be treating patients with other immuno- and chemotherapy combinations to see PembroPlus’ benefits in advanced small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and other advanced cancer types.
“Each year, nearly 14,000 Americans are newly diagnosed with some form of sarcoma, which are often difficult to treat, especially in advanced stages,” said Dr. Vivek Khemka, Medical Oncologist, CTCA Western and PembroPlus Principal Investigator. “We believe that, even though these types of cancer pose a significant challenge, researchers are developing powerful new tools that eventually may give cancer patients additional answers and renewed hope.”
In a new review study entitled “Molecular Pathways: At the Crossroads of Cancer Epigenetics and Immunotherapy” a team of researchers suggests that epigenetictherapies, when combined with immunotherapy drugs, benefit the clinical outcome of cancer patients. The study was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
In this review, the team revised a series of preclinical and clinical studies that support their hypothesis for the potential anti-cancer action of epigenetic drugs, when combined with immunotherapies, such as interleukin-2 therapy, adoptive T-cell transfer, and immune checkpoint inhibitors (immunotherapies is a type of treatment that uses our body own immune system to help fight cancer). Current clinical trials are testing the potential of epigenetic drugs combined with immunotherapies in multiple cancer types, including leukemias, metastatic melanoma, metastatic kidney cancer, peripheral neuroectodermal tumors, non-small cell lung cancer, and metastatic colorectal cancer.