Immunotherapy for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer
Name of the Trial
Why This Trial Is Important
During an immune response, cells signal each other in complex ways that serve to start, stop, or control the intensity of the response. Molecules found on many types of cancer cells stimulate certain immune system cells (called cytotoxic T lymphocytes, or activated T cells) to attack the cancer cells. Once the attack has started, however, the activated T cells produce a molecule called cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4). This molecule then produces a signal that tells the T cells to stop their attack. This T-cell inhibition helps prevent normal cells from being harmed by an immune response, but it may also prevent the immune system from destroying malignant tumors. Researchers hope that blocking CTLA-4's inhibitory signal will lead to a more robust immune response against tumors.
In this trial, researchers are using a monoclonal antibody called MDX-010 to treat patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. MDX-010 binds to and blocks the activity of CTLA-4.
"We know that T lymphocytes infiltrate pancreatic tumors in great numbers, but the tumors present an immunosuppressive environment," said Dr. Royal. "We hope that MDX-010 will help lymphocytes overcome this immunosuppression and allow the patient's own immune system to destroy their cancer."
Who Can Join This Trial
An archive of "Featured Clinical Trial" columns is available at http://cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/ft-all-featured-trials.