Immunotherapy holds promise for ovarian cancer patients

28 Mar 2015

Personalized medicine is getting closer to reality for women with late-stage ovarian cancer. An experimental immunotherapy is in the works that can target an individual woman's tumor and extend the time period between initial treatment and the cancer's return.

Clinical design of the study

During the initial surgery to remove the tumor, sample cells are taken to develop the personalized immunotherapy. After the initial surgery followed by standard of care chemotherapy, women received either one injection per month for anywhere between 4 and 12 months or were randomized to standard of care.

The phase 2 study included 31 women with stage 3 or 4 ovarian cancer, where 20 of them received immunotherapy and 11 did not. The cancer in those who did not receive the immunotherapy returned in a median of 14.5 months. Those who did receive the immunotherapy have not reached the median time to recurrence and the majority is well beyond 14.5 months.

The immunotherapy is called "bifunctional" because it works by targeting a biochemical pathway in cancer cells and by helping to stimulate the patient's immune response to fight cancer.


“This immunotherapy may keep the cancer away longer”

"The results from this clinical trial suggest that using a patient's immune system to fight advanced ovarian cancer may be a promising avenue to improve outcomes in what has continued to be the most aggressive gynecologic cancer," said Krishnansu S. Tewari, MD, a gynecologic oncologist, professor and director of research at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, Orange, CA.

The National Cancer Institute states that about 80% of women treated for ovarian cancer relapse after their first treatment."This is cutting edge medicine for ovarian cancer," said Jonathan Oh, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Texas Oncology, P.A., in Dallas, as this immunotherapy may keep the cancer away longer.”


Source: Science Daily

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