October 4, 2017
New Trends in Pre-Surgery Treatments for Breast CancerEmma Shtivelman, PhD
Non-metastatic breast cancers are most often treated with surgery, but if the tumors are fairly large, or involve nearby lymph nodes, neoadjuvant (pre-operative) treatments with chemotherapy (NAC) are done first. NAC often reduces the tumor size and kills cancer cells in lymph nodes, if present, prior to surgery, improving the outcome. The best possible result of neoadjuvant treatment is pCR (pathologic compete response), when… Read more »
July 6, 2017
ASCO 2017: Breast Cancer Treatment NewsEmma Shtivelman, PhD
Last month, the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting took place in Chicago. Thousands of oncologists, patients, and journalists gathered to learn about the most recent developments in cancer research and treatment. Here are some breast cancer highlights from the meeting: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is considered more responsive to treatment with immune checkpoint drugs than any other type of breast cancer.… Read more »
February 8, 2016
Putting Immune Checkpoint Blockade to the Test in Breast CancerEmma Shtivelman, PhD
About 10 months ago, we asked: is there a future for immunotherapy in breast cancer? Now, we can answer this question with a qualified “yes.” The data show why.
September 9, 2015
To PD-L1 or Not to PD-L1: That Is the QuestionEmma Shtivelman, PhD
These days, it seems that I write mostly about immune checkpoint blockade drugs, or some other new immunotherapy treatment for cancer. This post is no different—it covers PD-L1, a protein that is at the center of clinical decisions for selecting patients who are likely to benefit from treatment with an anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 drug.
August 13, 2015
What Determines Whether a Melanoma Patient Will Respond to Checkpoint Blockade Drugs?Emma Shtivelman, PhD
Of all cancer types, melanoma is the most investigated in terms of its potential to be treated through immune system-based approaches. More immunotherapy drugs are approved for melanoma than for any other type of cancer, and more are in development. Recent additions to the immunotherapy arsenal are the ‘anti-PD-1’ immune checkpoint blockade drugs pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo).
June 12, 2015
Melanoma at ASCO 2015: Immunotherapy Continues to Make HeadlinesEmma Shtivelman, PhD
The biggest news in melanoma treatment from the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting was undoubtedly the report from a large, phase III, randomized clinical trial that compared a combination of two ‘checkpoint inhibitor’ drugs—nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy)—with the same drugs given alone. In the CheckMate-067 trial, 945 previously untreated patients with unresectable stage III or IV melanoma were assigned… Read more »
May 27, 2015
‘Immune Checkpoint’ Drugs Show New Promise for Treating Non-Small Cell Lung CancerEmma Shtivelman, PhD
It has become routine practice to prescribe targeted drugs to patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), whose tumors harbor molecular alterations in EGFR, ALK, and ROS. However, the majority of patients with NSCLC have no targetable mutations and lack good treatment options. Enter immunotherapy drugs, specifically ‘immune checkpoint blockade antibodies,’ to which many refer simply as ‘anti-PD-1 drugs,’ or simply ‘PD-1 drugs.’… Read more »
April 29, 2015
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Melanoma: New DirectionsEmma Shtivelman, PhD
The drugs pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 and 2015, respectively. These two competing blockbuster drugs are already changing the outlook in metastatic melanoma, previously considered to be a fatal disease. Known as ‘immune checkpoint inhibitors,’ they work by releasing ‘brakes’ on a patient’s own immune system, freeing it to attack tumors. In the wake of their success, researchers are now taking immune checkpoint inhibition in new directions.