Nivolumab is a human monoclonal antibody developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which acts as an immunomodulator through the blockade of the ligand-receptor interactions of programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) receptor and its ligand PD-L1, therefore enhancing T cell responses against tumor cells.
By modulating the patient’s own immune system into killing cancer cells, Kenneth Blankstein, Medical Oncologist at Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center, is hopeful that Nivolumab will overcome the deleterious side effects that advent from the current drugs used in the clinic.
Data from the American Cancer Society shows that lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the second most common cancer in both men and women and accounts for about 13% of all new cancers and approximately 27% of all cancer deaths.
To be eligible for this study, patients must have been diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer and undergone at least one therapy. Daria Sheperd of Kingwood Township was one such patient, diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer in December and subjected to chemotherapy, only to find out such approach was not effective for her type of cancer. Ms. Sheperd is now enrolled in the clinical trial and has been receiving the drug for two weeks, stating that she has had no side effects so far and that she feels good overall.
Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center’s partnership with Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, allows physicians to access many clinical research trials including new treatment protocols for lung breast and gastrointestinal cancers, as well as lymphoma and melanoma.