Big Week for Immuno-Oncology Therapeutics


     
We've heard a lot about immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs in the news this week. Most notably, Merck & Co., Inc. (Merck) shared two major announcements involving their anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, Keytruda®.

First, in a press release on October 21st, Merck announced the stoppage of a Phase III clinical trial for bladder cancer. Covering the announcement, BioSpace Online reported that "early results were so positive that the DMC is recommending halting the trial". (The DMC is the independent Data Monitoring Committee overseeing the Phase III clinical trial.)

On October 25th, Merck scored first line treatment status for non-small cell lung carcinoma, expanding the utility of this blockbuster drug yet again. It is worth noting that expansion of indications for Keytruda® is underway, with over 30 clinical trials ongoing.

These successes mark the latest in a string of positive reports for immuno-oncology therapeutics.

Driven largely by successes like these, biomedical research in this area has focused on new and combinatorial treatment strategies in syngeneic mouse models and humanized immune system mice.