Dr. Bellmunt on Challenges With Immunotherapy in Bladder Cancer

Joaquim Bellmunt, MD, PhD
Published: Monday, Feb 19, 2018



Joaquim Bellmunt, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, director, Bladder Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses challenges with immunotherapy in bladder cancer.

The challenge is to improve on the 20% of patients who respond to immunotherapy, explains Bellmunt. This can be achieved by looking for biomarkers in addition to tumor mutational burden. There are RNA-specific profiles which may enrich the patients who are going to benefit from receiving immunotherapy. Additionally, there are combination approaches with chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and other immunotherapy agents, such as vaccines—which may improve outcomes.

According to Bellmunt, these treatments are high-cost treatments. It is important to not only improve the results, but also better select patients who will benefit from immunotherapy. The biomarker space and combination therapy are where a lot of effort is being focused, Bellmunt adds.
 


Joaquim Bellmunt, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, director, Bladder Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses challenges with immunotherapy in bladder cancer.

The challenge is to improve on the 20% of patients who respond to immunotherapy, explains Bellmunt. This can be achieved by looking for biomarkers in addition to tumor mutational burden. There are RNA-specific profiles which may enrich the patients who are going to benefit from receiving immunotherapy. Additionally, there are combination approaches with chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and other immunotherapy agents, such as vaccines—which may improve outcomes.

According to Bellmunt, these treatments are high-cost treatments. It is important to not only improve the results, but also better select patients who will benefit from immunotherapy. The biomarker space and combination therapy are where a lot of effort is being focused, Bellmunt adds.
 



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