Two weeks ago, we reported that pembrolizumab worked well as first-line treatment for advanced lung cancer patients. Those benefits―which included a 40% reduction in risk of death compared to chemotherapy―led the FDA to grant Breakthrough Therapy Designation and Priority Review to the therapy.
Although the FDA had until December 24 to make a decision, U.S. regulators decided yesterday, two months ahead of schedule, to approve pembrolizumab (Keytruda ®, Merck) as a first-line option for patients with advanced non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). It’s important to note, however, that this approval is for patients whose tumors have high PD-L1 expression (more than half the cells expressed it) and don’t have any mutations in EGFR or ALK. Pembrolizumab is an anti-PD-1 checkpoint antibody that targets the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway and can help keep immune cells active against cancer.
Checkpoint Inhibitors Benefit Lung Cancer Patients in Clinical Trials
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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.
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CRI’s focus on immunology research—while primarily aimed at curing cancer—also has contributed to advances in the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.
We spoke with the five inaugural CRI Lloyd J. Old STARs to learn more about their work and what they hope to accomplish during the next five years.