March 09, 2016
5 min watch

VIDEO: Immunotherapy success in melanoma only 'tip of the iceberg'

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David Bajor, MD, of the division of hematology/oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, discusses the trajectory of immunotherapy in the treatment of melanoma, including where the field has come and where it is headed.

He highlights the expanded populations of candidates for CTLA-4 and PD-1 inhibitors today, detailing the promising response rates observed with the different classes in both metastatic and adjuvant settings.

Bajor goes on to talk about the success of combining the therapies, describing a range of specific side effects that patients may experience along with their remedies.

“What we know about PD-1 and CTLA-4 inhibitors to some degree is that they require an existing immune response in order to be effective,” Bajor said.

He points to findings within the tumor micro-environment by Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, and colleagues at UCLA that predict immunotherapy benefit in melanoma, then underscores the importance of studying novel compounds that cause an immune response and describes research into the CD40 molecule now underway at University of Pennsylvania.

Bajor notes that understanding the innate immune system has invited discoveries into other approaches and cancers outside of melanoma.

“We look forward to the day when immune therapies will be available for all types of solid malignancies, and we’re just at the tip of the iceberg now.”