Combination Immunotherapy Improves Pancreatic Cancer Survival


Novel drug combined with gemcitabine chemotherapy shows promise

A recent trial showed significant results in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who were treated with immunotherapy.

Over the last 20 years, there has been little progress in treatments for this aggressive disease. In a study published in the British Journal of Cancer, patients who received the combination treatment, IMM-101 with chemotherapy, demonstrated a significant survival advantage over patients who receive chemotherapy alone. Most notably, the combination treatment did not have any added toxicity.

IMM-101, also called M obuense, is a naturally occurring mycobacterium that harnesses the immune system to recognize, respond, and control cancer in a way that is different than conventional immunotherapy treatments.

“In my experience of using IMM-101 to treat cancer patients, we see that using IMM-101 ‘wakes up’ the immune system without any added toxicity,” said lead researcher Angus Dalgleish. “In my melanoma patients in particular, patients have shown greatly increased survival rates and enjoy a much better quality of life. In some patients I’ve actually seen the cancer disappearing altogether. I’ve seen first-hand that this is a hugely beneficial treatment for patients and I’d like to see it translated to every hospital in the country. I believe IMM-101 could revolutionize the way this cancer is treated globally.”

For the trial, participants were randomized to either receive gemcitabine chemotherapy through a drip and a course of IMM-101 injections, or to receive gemcitabine alone.

The findings revealed that some of the patients who were given both treatments lived significantly longer than expected (years), while the overall median survival increased by 59% (2.6 months).

“The results from this study are remarkable, and represent a significant breakthrough in the development of immunotherapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer,” said Charles Akle, chairman of Immodulon. “The next phase of testing is imminent, after which, we hope to be able to bring IMM-101 to market for patients.”

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