The new treatments disengage this mechanism that the cancer cells use and then what you have is a new reality. The result is a relentless, persistent, and expanding army of so-called “T-cells” that attack and destroy the tumor. This treatment can be so powerful that it can lead to complete elimination of the cancer over a short period of time. Clinical trials that have already been completed show the potentially remarkable efficacy of this approach, and new studies are now being planned to try this therapy in patients with lung cancer.
At our practice at Pacific Shores Medical Group, we have been involved in immunotherapy for over a decade; and indeed we conducted the phase I initial studies of immune checkpoint blockade therapy and presented the results back in 2002. Eventually the initial molecule that we tested (also known as CTLA4) became an approved, new treatment option for patients with malignant melanoma. These new immune therapies are also known as PD-1 and PDL-1 antibodies.
What is exciting about the new immune checkpoint blockade therapy is that it can work in other cancers, and in this particular piece I am excited to share that it can help patients with lung cancer. Lung cancer has not received all the attention that it deserves. Lung cancer is highly prevalent and very lethal, and patients suffer from it across our country. We look forward to participating in immune therapy trial options for patients with lung cancer, and we expect to do so very soon.