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New Research, Drugs Promising for Cancer Patients
- Updated: August 25, 2014
It was just announced that Merck and Advaxis are collaborating on clinical trials using their combined experimental immunotherapies as a way to treat prostate cancer. Known as ADXS-PSA, clinical trials for this experimental cancer therapy will focus primarily on determining the efficacy of former drugs used in combination with the experimental antibody drug called Pembrolizumab.
Advaxis already has tremendous involvement in manufacturing drugs for oncology, which includes one already on the market called Temodar. However, the focus is now on running clinical trials as investigative tools to determine the effectiveness and safety of ADXA-PSA when administered as both a standalone drug and in combination with Merck’s Pembrolizumab.
Both Temodar and Pembrolizumab are immunotherapies, which boost the body’s immune system, making it stronger in fighting cancer. The clinical trials will be broken down into Phase 1 and Phase II studies, each geared toward people with a history of being treated for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. This particular form of cancer is highly resistant to drugs and surgery so success in these studies would be huge.
After all, the American Society for Cancer claims that of all cancers, prostate is the most prevalent for men in the United States. The latest statistics show that one out of every six men in American will be affected by this type of cancer and while in certain cases it can be cured it leads to approximately 30,000 deaths annually.
At this time, work on producing a new drug is still in the clinical developmental stage, focusing on creating several immunotherapies of this kind for cancer, as well as other infections. These immunotherapies are unique in that they use Listeria monocytogenes bacteria capable of generating T-cells that fight cancer but also keep it from spreading.
ADXS-PSA is also an immunotherapy that targets the PSA antigen for men with prostate cancer. Data gathered from preclinical studies show therapies of this type boost the effectiveness of other treatments when used in conjunction with a PD-1 inhibitor such as Pembrolizumab.
Pembrolizumab reactivates the body’s immune system against the development and growth of tumors. Currently, this drug is being tested for use in 30 different cancers and while Merck strongly believes in its effectiveness and safety, they will run a total of 24 clinical trials. Recently, Merck asked the FDA for an accelerated approval for treatment melanoma with a decision of approval or denial anticipated by the end of October.
Both Advaxis and Merck are extremely optimistic that this joint effort will produce an amazing drug to help fight prostate cancer. The two believe the created partnership will make it possible for treatment of this disease to be enhanced. Testing is scheduled for some time early in 2015 and if all goes well, many lives can be saved.