Dr. Herbst on Immunotherapy in Lung Cancer
Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine at Yale Cancer Center and chief of Medical Oncology at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven in Connecticut, discusses immunotherapy for patients with lung cancer.
While researchers and physicians are constantly identifying mutations in tumors, realistically, 70% or more of patients may not have an actionable mutation for which they can receive an oral targeted agent. Many of these patients, Herbst says, are benefiting from an antibody against PD-1 or PD-L1, important regulators of the immune checkpoint.
Many tumors are immunogenic and can be killed by T cells. These tumors, however, express a protein (PD-L1) that acts as a cloaking device by keeping the tumor invisible to the immune system. Herbst notes that it is becoming increasingly possible to interact and break up that invisibility, using immunotherapies.