Immune system harnessed to fight pancreatic cancer

October 7, 2013

Substantial tumor regressions among some patients with advanced pancreatic cancer occurred in a recent clinical trial that paired the standard chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, gemcitabine, with an agonist CD40 antibody. A novel, real-time imaging approach monitored tumor response to the immunotherapy and found differences in how primary and metastatic disease sites shrank.

“We're now using imaging to understand the treatment heterogeneity that one can see in immunotherapy—not all tumors within a patient's body react the same way, even in the face of powerful treatments, and now we have a way to follow these unique treatment responses in patients in real time,” said lead author Gregory Beatty, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the division of Hematology/Oncology in the Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The study was published in Clinical Cancer Research (2013; doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-1320).