A New Immunotherapy Combination for Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer


Could a novel combination of monoclonal antibodies block abnormal cell growth and restore antitumor activity?

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are becoming increasingly popular as potential treatments for advanced cancer, as they can interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread.

A new combination of two mAbs targeting specific proteins is being studied in metastatic pancreatic cancer to determine the best dose and any toxic side effects.

Two Targets

A monoclonal antibody is a type of protein that has been designed to recognize and attach to a specific structure (called an antigen) in the body.

The first drug involved in the trial, siltuximab (Sylvant), has been designed to bind to a protein in the body called interleukin 6 (IL-6). Too much IL-6 is thought to contribute to the abnormal cellular growth of tumor cells. By attaching to IL-6, siltuximab blocks its activity and stops abnormal cell growth. It is currently used in the treatment of certain cancers and of multicentric Castleman’s disease, a rare blood disorder caused by dysregulated IL-6 production.

The second drug in the trial, spartalizumab, is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the PD-1 protein, which negatively regulates T-cell activation. By blocking the binding between PD-1 and its interacting proteins, PD-L1 and PD-L2, spartalizumab acts like a checkpoint inhibitor, and can restore effector T cell functions and induce the immune response of T cell-mediated against tumor cells. It has been previously tested as an investigational drug for the treatment of melanoma.


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