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Carlos Becerra, MD, medical oncologist, Texas Oncology, discusses an investigational cellular therapy in colorectal cancer.
Carlos Becerra, MD, medical oncologist, Texas Oncology, discusses an investigational cellular therapy in colorectal cancer (CRC).
Cellular therapies are starting to be investigated in patients with CRC. Becerra says that there is a trial of natural killer (NK) cells, which are a part of the human immune system. NKs attack foreign invaders, Becerra explains, and provide a first line of defense for the immune system. There is a subset of these cells that have antitumor activity in patients who have been exposed to cytomegalovirus. This cellular therapy is being test in patients with CRC, as well as other solid tumors.
Cellular therapy is not widely used in patients with CRC, and but there are a few immunotherapeutic agents that are approved for the treatment of these patients. In May 2017, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) was approved by the FDA the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic, microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) solid tumors that have progressed after prior treatment and for patients who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options. Nivolumab (Opdivo) subsequently was approved in August 2017 for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with MSI-H or dMMR metastatic CRC who progressed following treatment with fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan.