Scott Gettinger, MD, associate professor of medicine (medical oncology), Yale School of Medicine, explains the development of immunotherapies in lung cancer.
Gettinger says that though there has not been a consistent advantage to immunotherapies to this point, it may change soon. Certain immune checkpoints have been identified, which suppresses the immune system and prevent against autoimmunity. In cancer, this suppression of the immune system allows tumors to attack and spread in the body.
Immunotherapies such as anti-PD-1 and ipilimumab prevent the “brakes” on the immune system and allow T-cells to help fight the cancer, Gettinger says. Future trials in lung cancer may examine the combination of several immunotherapies, including the reexamination of older therapies.