|19th May 2017
Image: molecules in a particle-based vaccine for cancer therapy (Flickr: NIH Image Gallery)
**This article originally appeared in PharmaPhorum's Deep Dive magazine - May 2017 edition
With the promise of using the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, immunotherapy has received significant interest from the scientific community, bringing hope to patients across many cancer indications.
The recent development of immunotherapies has led to considerable change in the oncology treatment landscape, driving transformation in the standard of care and yielding lasting responses in patients with metastatic cancers.
While promising, first and second generations of agents have demonstrable weaknesses too, such as:
In order to optimise agent efficacy and overall patient survival, most of these agents are now used in combination. This shift has led to a proliferation of combination studies and approvals, as well as research and commercial partnerships between top pharma companies and small biotechnology companies with innovative product pipelines.
The first generation of agents has shown some interesting results, while also highlighting the limits of immunotherapies in oncology. Yervoy (ipilimumab, Bristol-Myers Squibb) is a first-generation agent which was approved by the FDA in 2011 for advanced melanoma.
The second wave of agents encompasses checkpoint inhibitors and cell therapies, among others. Nivolumab, pembrolizumab and atezolizumab are checkpoint inhibitors, meaning that they help the immune system to recognise and kill tumour cells. These three agents have been approved in the US and Europe for multiple indications, where they have shown promising efficacy.
Third-generation agents are emerging. These are a broader set, targeting other aspects of the immune system. They promise multiple therapeutic options that can be tailored to the patient and offer a wide range of possibilities for combination (Hoos et al, 2016).
|11th June 2018
Precision medicine promises to revolutionise patient outcomes and reduce costs for industry but is pharma ready for it? Blue Latitude Health Co-founder and Head of Strategy Fred Bassett explores the challenges and opportunities while introducing the latest issue of 'Perspective' magazine on this weighty topic.
|6th June 2018
Head of Insight Martine Leroy reveals how her team uses behavioural insights to help develop strong pharma brands and services, which successfully navigate complex situations.