New hope for rare but incurable eye cancer

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Dennis Thompson
Health Day reporter

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 (HealthDay News)-A cutting-edge experimental drug reduces the risk of death in rare but aggressive patients by nearly half cancer of eye, new Clinical Trials Data Display.

Tebentafusp is now the first drug to improve the overall survival rate of patients with uveal Melanoma, Dr. Antoni Ribas, former chairman of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), said in a speech HealthDay Now interview.

“Uveal melanoma is a disease that has not yet been treated,” said Ribas, director of the Jones Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Cancer Immunology Program at the University of California Parker Cancer Immunotherapy Center. “In the last 50 years of clinical research, there hasn’t been any. improve.”

The risk of death in patients who are randomly selected to receive telbitaps therapy is almost half that of other patients. Immunotherapy or Chemotherapy, According to the results presented at the recent ACR annual meeting.

carry on

The research presented at the conference is usually considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Clinical trial researcher Jessica Hassel said: “Tipitapus reduces the relative risk of death by half and therefore has a major impact on the prolonged survival of patients with metastatic uveal melanoma.” She is an associate professor and section chief of the Department of Dermatology and the National Cancer Center of Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany. “Therefore, it is the first drug with a survival advantage for patients with uveal melanoma, even in patients with advanced melanoma.”

Uveal melanoma is generally rare, but the most common Eye cancer Among adults, Hasel said. It accounts for about 3% to 5% of all melanomas.

The wall of the eye consists of three layers. The outer layer is made up of the “white of the eye” called the “sclera”. On the front side, there is a transparent part called the cornea through which light can pass. The inner layer has a lining of nerve tissue called the retina, which perceives light and transmits visual information to the brain.

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Between the two is a layer called “uvea”. The colored iris is located in this layer. The muscles can help your eyes focus, and the blood vessels can provide oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the eye.

Hasel said that so far, the prognosis of uveal melanoma has been poor. After the cancer spreads from the eyes to other parts of the body, people’s average life expectancy is less than one year.

She said: “When a uveal melanoma is diagnosed, it will undergo radiation or surgery based on the size of the tumor.” “Half of the patients will eventually metastasize, mainly to the liver. There was no standard treatment at that time.”

Hasel said that doctors have tried to treat cancer that has spread to the liver and have used powerful immune-enhancing drugs, but “none of these treatments have shown overall survival benefits.”

She said that Tebentafusp is a protein that recognizes two different receptor targets. One target exists on melanoma cells and the other exists on T cells produced by the immune system that can kill cancer. The drug is administered intravenously once a week.

carry on

Hasel said: “It builds a bridge between the tumor and immune cells for Bentaphos, enabling immune cells to attack the tumor.” “It binds to T cells and activates them to fight melanoma cells in the eye.”

The trial tested the potential of tebentafusp as a first-line treatment for eye cancer and recruited 378 patients with metastatic uveal melanoma. Researchers provided 252 patients with experimental drugs, while the remaining patients received chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

The researchers report that the estimated one-year overall survival rate for patients receiving tebentafusp is 73%, compared with 59% for patients receiving other therapies. This means that the survival benefit of the new drug is 49%.

After 12 weeks, the disease control rate of tebentafusp patients (the percentage of patients who had a complete or partial response to treatment or whose disease was stable for a long time) was 46%. In contrast, only 27% of people receive chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

Hasel said that side effects mainly affect the skin during the first few treatment cycles. In rare cases, patients suffer from an inflammatory “cytokine storm” due to overstimulation of the immune system. Due to side effects, only 2% of patients stopped treatment.

carry on

Based on these results, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Tebentafusp a breakthrough treatment designation, and the drug developer Immunocore issued a press release in February.

After early clinical evidence suggests that the drug may be much better than existing therapies, the name aims to accelerate drug development and review for serious or life-threatening diseases.

Hasel said the researchers now plan to see if tebentafusp can be used to prevent the recurrence of uveolar melanoma patients who are in remission. They also hope to test this drug in combination with other immune-boosting drugs.

Immunocore funded the clinical trial.

More information

U.S. National Cancer Research all more about Uveal melanoma.

Source: Dr. Jessica Hassel, Associate Professor and Chief of Section, Department of Dermatology and National Cancer Center, Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany; Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, Director of Cancer Immunology Program, Jonson Comprehensive Cancer Center, California Director, Parker Cancer Immunotherapy Center, University of Los Angeles; American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, April 9, 2021

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