New two-step immunotherapy approach offers new hope for ovarian cancer patients

Published on April 8, 2013 at 1:55 AM · No Comments

Because ovarian cancer symptoms can be stealth and easily mistaken for other issues - constipation, weight gain, bloating, or more frequent urination - more than 60 percent of patients are diagnosed only after the disease has spread to their lymph nodes or other distant sites in the body, when treatment is much less likely to produce a cure compared to when the disease is detected early. As the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the United States, it takes the lives of more than 14,000 women each year.

"Given these grim outcomes, there is definitely a vast unmet need for the development of novel, alternate therapies," said lead author Lana Kandalaft, PharmD, PhD, MTR, a research assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of clinical development and operations in Penn Medicine's Ovarian Cancer Research Center. "This is the first time such a combination immunotherapy approach has been used for patients with ovarian cancer, and we believe the results are leading us toward a completely new way to treat this disease."

Both treatments are given in conjunction with bevacizumab, a drug that controls the blood vessel growth that feeds tumors. Combining bevacizumab with immunotherapy makes a powerful duo, Kandalaft says. The vaccine trial is still open to accrual to test new combinatorial strategies.

Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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