In the latest news involving the immunotherapy drug Keytruda, companies have combined their efforts to fight mesothelioma. As reported earlier, the FDA recently opened the door for combining immunotherapy drugs with other approved treatments. Worldwide, treatments using a combined approach are seeing promising results. Now Merck, the marketer of Keytruda, has joined forces with the maker of the experimental cancer drug CRS-207, Aduro Biotech. By joining together, the two companies hope that the combination of the two drugs will prove powerful in the fight against pleural mesothelioma.
Aduro Biotech announced on May 17, 2017 that the company had completed clinical trials using a combination of their CRS-207 with traditional chemotherapy drugs. According to the company, the results were positive and they now want to combine the treatment with pembrolizumab, the clinical name for Keytruda. Moving forward with this Phase Two trial, the company is partnering with Merck.
CRS-207 is developed from listeria and creates a response by the immune system to mesothelin. Mesothelin is a protein commonly found elevated in the blood of mesothelioma victims. Listeria is bacteria which commonly causes food-borne illnesses related to poor food handling procedures in restaurants. In this case, however the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria is specially engineered to introduce antigens into the cells of the patient to stimulate a strong response by the immune system, a vaccination of sorts. The initial trial using this drug resulted in six out of 17 patients living at least 15 months.
Because Keytruda works by targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 protein pathways, researchers at the two companies believe that the combination will allow the body to fight the cancer cells. Keytruda would allow for the fight to happen, and CRS-207 would conduct the fight.
While Merck and Aduro Biotech are seeking patients nationwide, two cancer centers are already recruiting patients for the Phase Two clinical trials for the pembrolizumab/CRS-207 combination. One is the University of Chicago Medical Center and the other is in Tampa, Florida at the Moffitt Cancer Center. However, the companies are encouraging patients nationwide with an interest in this clinical trial to discuss it with their oncologist.
While researchers are diligently waging war against cancer, the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler continue their fight for victims of asbestos-related diseases. We consider it our personal mission to help families in the way that we can – in the courts. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, let us fight for you. Contact us online for a free consultation or call either 800-369-0899 or 215-569-4000 for immediate attention. We serve Pennsylvania and New Jersey.