Dr. Agarwala on the Role of Cytokines in the Immunotherapy Landscape | OncLive

Dr. Agarwala on the Role of Cytokines in the Immunotherapy Landscape

April 2, 2015

Sanjiv S. Agarwala, MD, Chief of Medical Oncology, Hematology, St. Luke's Cancer Center and Temple University, discusses the differences between cytokines and other types of immunotherapies.

Sanjiv S. Agarwala, MD, Chief of Medical Oncology, Hematology, St. Luke's Cancer Center and Temple University, discusses the differences between cytokines and other types of immunotherapies.

Cytokines and newer immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors have almost opposite mechanisms of action, explains Agarwala. Cytokines get the immune system going, while checkpoint inhibitors prevent the immune system’s natural breaks from kicking in. Taking the breaks off the immune system with drugs like checkpoint inhibitors clinically seems to be a more effective method, says Agarwala.

However, there may be benefit from combinations therapies that include both checkpoint inhibitors and cytokines, he says. Ongoing studies are examining the combination of pegylated interferon and pembrolizumab in melanoma.


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