What are the benefits and risks of immunotherapy? What are the known side effects of immunotherapy? How soon after treatment will I experience the side effects? What is it like to participate in a clinical trial?
In this webinar for patients and caregivers, Brendan Connors, a cancer veteran, and his oncologist, Dr. Michael Postow of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discuss the importance of communication between patient and doctor throughout immunotherapy treatment. They address questions that are important to ask your doctor before, during, and after treatment as well as answer viewer questions.
Brendan Connors is an adventurer and metastatic melanoma veteran. In May 2010, he had a precancerous mole biopsied. In June, he had surgery which included two minor lymph node dissections. Later that summer, his PET scans were clear, but then around November, his scans showed metastatic melanoma. There was a tumor in his left shoulder and armpit, as well as in his right femur. After surgery, Brendan underwent two separate immunotherapy clinical trials. The first trial, which took place at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), involved infusions of his own immune cells, grown to billions of copies in the lab. The second trial, which took place at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was a combination of two immunotherapy drugs, ipilimumab (Yervoy®) and nivolumab (Opdivo®). These two drugs belong to a class of immunotherapies called checkpoint inhibitors that "take the brakes off" the immune system to enable a stronger attack against cancer. Among Brendan’s doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering were Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., Margaret Callahan, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael Postow, M.D. Having adventures to look forward to was crucial in Brendan cope with the emotional and physical taxes of cancer treatment. Upon turning 30 in 2013, he jumped out of a plane, ice climbed, and hiked the Grand Canyon.
Michael Postow, M.D., is a board-certified medical oncologist and part of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He has an interest in developing clinical trials for patients with melanoma involving immunotherapeutic strategies. His specific areas of interest include studying the immunologic effects of radiotherapy and characterizing pharmacodynamic biomarkers associated with ipilimumab outcomes. Dr. Postow received his M.D. from New York University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and his fellowship in medical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he served as Chief Fellow. He is the author of Pocket Oncology, a handbook on all aspects of oncology care.
The "Cancer Immunotherapy and You" webinar series is produced by the Cancer Research Institute. This episode is hosted by our associate director of patient engagement, Caroline Offit. The 2019 series is made possible with generous support from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Cellectis.
Browse our Cancer Immunotherapy and You Webinar Series playlist on YouTube or visit the Webinars page on our website to see other webinars in this series.