Tags: immune | therapy | cancer

New Immune Therapy Targets Cancer

Friday, 08 June 2012 12:46 PM

Boston researchers are reporting a novel technique that uses a person's own immune system to battle cancer cells has effectively reduced tumors in patients with advanced kidney cancer, and it may also be effective against melanoma and lung cancer.
Doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said the immune systems of a small number of cancer patients treated with a human monoclonal antibody developed by Bristol Myers Squibb – known scientifically as “BMS-936558” – were able to fight off kidney cancer cells better and longer than those using conventional therapies.
Researchers said the findings, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual conference in Chicago, mark a significant advance in scientific efforts to develop new ways to use the body’s own disease-fighting systems against cancer.
"We have seen about 30 percent of the patients with kidney cancer have major responses to this line of treatment,” said lead researcher Dr. David F. McDermott, director of biologic therapy at Beth Israel and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “A similar 30 percent of melanoma patients have had major response to treatment and there are much more melanoma patients in this study than kidney cancer patients. And maybe 20 percent or so of patients with lung cancer have had major benefit."
Cancer cells can trick the immune system, which is designed to ward off infections, he added. Immune therapy such as antibody treatment and vaccines are designed to reeducate the body to recognize cancer as an invader.
McDermott noted that unlike current immunotherapies using interleukin-2, patients using the newly develop agent did not have to be hospitalized and suffered fewer side effects such as skin rash or nausea.
"We realized that we could this drug at the highest doses without developing many significant or too dangerous side effects," he said. "Once we realized the drug was relatively safe to give, we expanded into larger numbers of patients who seem to be benefiting early on from this treatment."

© HealthDay

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Doctors find a new therapy that uses the body's immune system combats kidney, skin and lung tumors.
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:46 PM
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