New discovery could help combat side effects of cancer immunotherapy

Source: news.liverpool.ac.uk Author: staff Researchers in Liverpool and the US have made a breakthrough that could lead to improved immunotherapy treatments for some cancer patients. Their findings, which have been published in Nature, provide critical clues to why many immunotherapies trigger dangerous side effects – and point to a better strategy for treating patients with solid tumours, such as head and neck cancers. The work was led by Professor Christian Ottensmeier, Professor of Immuno-Oncology at the University of Liverpool and a Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, and Professor Pandurangan Vijayanand at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California. Immunotherapy side effects While immunotherapy has revolutionised the world of cancer treatment, long term disease control is achieved in only around 20 to 30 percent of patients with solid cancers. Immunotherapy can also come at a cost as many patients develop serious problems in their lungs, bowel, and even skin during treatment. These side effects can be debilitating and may force physicians to stop the immunotherapy. When head and neck patients started showing adverse side effects during an immunotherapy trial sponsored and funded by Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development in a number of cancer centres across the UK, the researchers went back through the data and worked with patient samples to see what went wrong. The patients had been given an oral cancer immunotherapy called a PI3Kδ inhibitor, which are new to the cancer immunotherapy scene, but hold promise for their ability to inhibit “regulatory” T [...]

Gene mutations that contribute to head and neck cancer also provide ‘precision’ treatment targets

Source: www.sciencedaily.com Author: Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University About one-fifth of often deadly head and neck cancers harbor genetic mutations in a pathway that is key to normal cell growth, and scientists report those mutations, which enable abnormal cancer cell growth, can also make the cancer vulnerable. Keys to targeting that vulnerability include individualized genomic analysis to identify a patient's specific mutation, and finding the drugs that directly target it, investigations that should be given more attention in cancer therapy development, they report in a review article in the journal NPJ Genomic Medicine. The MAPK pathway is a "signaling hub" for cells important to the usual development of the head and neck region, and activating key pathway constituents, like the genes MAPK1 and HRAS, is known to drive the growth of a variety of cancers, says Dr. Vivian Wai Yan Lui, molecular pharmacologist and translational scientist at the Georgia Cancer Center and Medical College of Georgia and the paper's corresponding author. But the mutations in the genes in the MAPK pathway that enable tumor growth can also make it sensitive to drug therapy, says Lui. While a lot of discovery is still needed to find more mutations in the MAPK pathway and the drugs that target them, Lui says they are among the most logical treatment targets for this tough-to-treat cancer. As she speaks, she is looking in her lab for drugs that kill head and neck primary tumors from patients, and at the genetics behind how they [...]

Researchers find new treatment combo effective for head and neck cancer

Source: nocamels.com Author: Simona Shemer Israeli researchers have helped to develop a new treatment combination for patients with advanced or metastatic head and neck cancer (HNC). The treatment, which uses both a targeted drug and immunotherapy following a certain sequence and within a specific time frame, blocks a signaling pathway that suppresses the immune system and keeps it from fighting tumor cells. The research was conducted by an international team of scientists led by PhD student Manu Prasad in the laboratory of Prof. Moshe Elkabets of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Their findings were just published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer in a study co-authored by Israeli, Chinese, French, German, and US researchers. The researchers targeted an aggressive type of HNC which is driven by the hyperactivation of a specific signaling pathway that will not allow the immune system to kill tumor cells. This was found in more than 40 percent of HNC cases. Head and neck cancers include cancer in the larynx (voice box), throat, lips, mouth, nose, and salivary gland, or malignant tumors that arise from the lining of the head and neck regions. The treatments currently available treatments are ineffective, Prof. Elkabets tells NoCamels. HNC develops in multiple sites on a person and existing treatments, which include chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy have a relatively low response rate of about 20 percent. The average survival rate for patients in Stage III or IV of the disease is only about [...]

Wirral, UK cancer patient trials vaccine

Source: www.wirralglobe.co.uk Author: Craig Manning, Chief Reporter A Wirral man has become the first in the UK to trial a 'vaccine' that is hoped will stop his recurring head and neck cancer from returning. The clinical research team at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre has given patient Graham Booth an injection of a therapy tailor-made to his personal DNA and designed to help his own immune system ward off cancer permanently. Graham first had head and neck cancer in 2011 and it then returned four times, each time meaning he needed grueling treatment, including facial surgery, reconstruction and radiotherapy. He is now hoping this new treatment – part of the Transgene clinical research study – will mean it does not come back. Dad-of-five Graham, 54, will have a year-long course of immunotherapy injections in a bid to keep him cancer-free, part of a research project designed to reduce deaths and recurrence in head and neck cancers, including of the throat, neck, mouth and tongue. Graham, from West Kirby, said he was not worried about being the first person in the UK to receive this pioneering treatment and that it "opened new doorways" which gave him hope that the cancer would not come back. He added: "When I had my first cancer treatment in 2011, I was under the impression that the cancer would not return. "My biggest fear was realised in 2016 when it came back and then in 2019 and then two cases in 2021. "Last year I had the [...]

2022-02-07T13:33:09-07:00February, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Trial underway for novel agent plus immunotherapy for HPV-related head and neck cancer

Source: www.curetoday.com Author: Brielle Benyon Results from a phase 2 clinical trial demonstrated promise for the combination of the novel agent PDS0101 plus Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in treating human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancer. As such, the trial will now progress to full enrollment of 54 patients who have not been previously treated with a checkpoint inhibitor. The trial, VERSATILE-002, involves two groups of HPV16-positive patients with head and neck cancer that is either metastatic or has returned after treatment. One group consists of patients who have no prior treatment with checkpoint inhibition immunotherapy, while the other group is made up of 21 patients whose disease failed checkpoint inhibition — assessment for this group is still ongoing. In the checkpoint inhibitor-naïve group, four or more of the 17 patients achieved an objective response, which was classified by a 30% or more reduction in tumor size. “The achievement of this important milestone in the VERSATILE-002 phase 2 clinical trial strengthens the evidence of our novel Versamune platform’s potential ability to induce high levels of tumor-specific CD8+ killer T-cells that attack the cancer to achieve tumor regression,” commented Dr. Lauren V. Wood, Chief Medical Officer of PDS Biotech, the developer of PFS101, in a statement. “The initial data solidifies our belief that PDS0101’s demonstrated preclinical efficacy when combined with Keytruda has the potential to significantly improve clinical outcomes for patients with advanced HPV16-positive head and neck cancers.” PDS0101 works by inducing large quantities of CD4+ helper and CD8+ killer T cells, a [...]

2022-02-03T10:51:38-07:00February, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Improving head and neck cancer treatment

Source: www.uc.edu Author: Tim Tedeschi, University of Cincinnati News When the medical community finds a treatment for a particular cancer, the work doesn’t stop. Researchers continue to study how treatments can be improved in order to reduce side effects and the possibility of the cancer recurring. University of Cincinnati researchers are leading a new clinical trial to examine if the combination of a more localized radiation treatment and immunotherapy can be a better treatment for patients with recurrent head and neck cancer. Chad Zender, MD, said head and neck cancers include cancers of the tongue, throat, tonsil and larynx, and about 30%-50% of patients treated through surgery and radiation will have their cancer return. Patients often then undergo additional surgery and/or radiation treatments, which can lead to side effects like problems with speech and swallowing. “The quality of life is significantly less in the patients that require [subsequent] surgery and then radiation with or without chemo,” said Zender, professor in the Department of Otolaryngology in UC’s College of Medicine, director of head and neck surgery and principal investigator for the new trial. Precision radiation Zender said the trial will test a more localized radiation delivery method through a radioactive seed, about the size of a grain of rice that emits an intense amount of radiation to the cancer and only minimal radiation outside to other areas. The radioactive Cesium-131 seeds are implanted directly into the operative site during surgery. This approach in early studies appears to give more localized radiation [...]

2022-02-03T10:44:13-07:00February, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Treatment Paradigms Are Shifting for Locally Advanced HPV-Positive Head and Neck Cancers

Date: November 18th, 2021 Authors: Kaveh Zakeri, MD, MAS, Nancy Y. Lee, MD Source: OncLive The standard of care for patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinomas does not substantially differ according to human papillomavirus (HPV) status in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines.1 Resectable tumors can be treated with surgery followed by adjuvant therapy. Alternatively, definitive chemoradiation therapy with cisplatin is the other dominant treatment paradigm. Incidence of HPV-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma has increased rapidly and is associated with higher overall survival (OS) compared with cancers caused by smoking and alcohol.2,3 Given the unique biology of HPV-associated oropharyngeal disease, a separate staging system was developed for these tumors.4 HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers are more radiosensitive and chemosensitive than cancers caused by smoking and alcohol, yet the traditional treatment paradigms—including high doses of radiation and chemotherapy—were developed prior to the epidemic of HPV-associated disease. De-escalation of therapy has been proposed for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer based on data demonstrating high OS and progression-free survival (PFS).5 De-escalation of therapy has been investigated for both definitive surgical and chemoradiation therapy paradigms. Most de-escalated approaches focus on selecting patients according to clinical features, such as disease stage and smoking status, whereas personalized de-escalation reduces treatment intensity for patients according to treatment response. Transoral Robotic Surgery Followed by Adjuvant Radiotherapy Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) is a minimally invasive approach that reduces morbidity compared with traditional, open surgery for patients with oropharyngeal cancers. TORS is a standard of care option for patients with [...]

2021-12-06T11:00:39-07:00December, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Two new studies show how to enhance effectiveness of cancer immunotherapy

Source: www.news-medical.net Author: Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc. Two new studies revealed that anti-PD-1 immunotherapy given before surgery was safe and effective for patients with oral-cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OCSCC) and identified potential molecular biomarkers in the blood and tumors of patients that would show how likely it is that someone would respond to immunotherapy. The studies, recently published in Cell Reports Medicine, were a collaborative effort between MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. Due to the highly invasive and resistant nature of OCSCC, researchers looked to anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitors to improve outcomes as this type of immunotherapy has revolutionized the way patients with advanced malignancies are treated. OCSCC, a subset of head and neck cancer, is prevalent in South Carolina due to the history of tobacco use. These cancers oftentimes require complicated surgeries that may be disfiguring, as treatment may involve removing all or a portion of the jawbone and tongue. David Neskey, M.D., a Hollings head and neck cancer specialist and co-senior author of the studies, said 50% of these patients will have a recurrence, and only 60% of patients are alive five years later. "This cancer can impact a patient's ability to talk and breathe," Neskey said. "It can impact a patient's ability to go out to a restaurant or socialize with friends and family. It's one of the reasons so many head and neck cancer doctors are seeking ways to improve outcomes for these patients." [...]

Combination of drugs causes tumours to vanish in some terminally ill patients, study finds

Source: www.theguardian.com Author: Andrew Gregory, Health editor In a landmark trial, a cocktail of immunotherapy medications harnessed patients’ immune systems to kill their own cancer cells and prompted “a positive trend in survival”, according to researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, and the Royal Marsden NHS foundation trust. One patient, who was expected to die four years ago, told the Guardian of the “amazing” moment nurses called him weeks after he joined the study to say his tumour had “completely disappeared”. The 77-year-old grandfather is now cancer-free and spent last week on a cruise with his wife. Scientists found the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab medications led to a reduction in the size of tumours in terminally ill head and neck cancer patients. In some, their cancer vanished altogether, with doctors stunned to find no detectable sign of disease. Combining the two immunotherapy drugs could prove an effective new weapon against several forms of advanced cancer, experts believe. Results from other trials of the drug combination have previously suggested similar benefits for terminally ill kidney, skin and bowel cancer patients. As well as boosting the long-term survival chances of patients, scientists said, the immunotherapy treatment also triggered far fewer side-effects compared with the often gruelling nature of “extreme” chemotherapy, which is the standard treatment offered to many patients with advanced cancer. The results from the phase 3 trial, involving almost 1,000 dying head and neck cancer patients, were early and not statistically significant but were still “clinically [...]

New cancer treatments may be on the horizon – thanks to success in mRNA vaccine trial

Source: www.goodnewsnetwork.org Author: Andy Corbley A personalized, mRNA vaccine, given to patients with particular kinds of aggressive cancers could leverage the immune system of the patient to kill the cancer on its own, and in doing so usher in a new epoch of cancer treatment. Messenger RNA (ribonucleic acid) vaccines were what sparked the COVID-19 vaccine drives, as Pfizer and Moderna adapted the technology to create an emergency treatment to train the body to fight off the viral spike protein. What most of us won’t know however, is that the mRNA vaccines were originally in development for aggressive cancer types. Molly Cassidy, a mother studying for the Arizona Bar exam, is living proof that while the approach isn’t a panacea, it can clear away some of the most dreadful and fast cancers we know of. After being diagnosed with head and neck cancer, she underwent surgery and chemotherapy. However it was only ten days after finishing chemo that she found a marble-like bump on her collarbone from the cancer’s swift return. Later examinations found it had spread from her ear all the way to her lungs, and she was told to get her affairs in order. Cassidy was told she was eligible to join a clinical trial at the University of Arizona, testing an mRNA vaccine personalized to the cancer mutations of the host. By 27 weeks, Cassidy had received nine vaccine doses paired with an immunotherapy drug, and her CT scans were clear: the cancer had left her body. [...]

2021-09-07T05:46:03-07:00September, 2021|Oral Cancer News|
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