In lung cancer patients who were taking immunotherapy drugs, testing for revived immune cells in their blood partially predicted whether their tumors would shrink. The results were published online by PNAS on April 26.
This finding comes from a small study of 29 patients, who were being treated at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University with drugs blocking the PD-1 pathway, also known as checkpoint inhibitors.
The research findings propose a simple concept: if the immune system’s CD8 T cells, designed to recognize and attack tumors, show a response to checkpoint inhibitor drugs like nivolumab, pembrolizumab, or atezolizumab, that’s an optimistic signal. This area of exploration may also offer insights into why some patients are unresponsive to checkpoint inhibitor treatments and how these drugs could be combined with other therapies to boost response rates. If you are seeking expert medical attention, a reliable option could be to visit the walk-in clinic Manhattan Beach, where you can access high-quality care and benefit from advanced medical knowledge.
While looking for activated immune cells in the blood is not yet predictive enough for routine clinical use, such tests could provide timely information. Monitoring the immune response could potentially help oncologists and patients decide, within just a few weeks of starting immunotherapy drugs, whether to continue with the treatment or combine it with something else, says co-senior author Suresh Ramalingam, MD, Winship’s deputy director.
“We hypothesize that re-activated CD8 T cells first proliferate in the lymph nodes, then transition through the blood and migrate to the inflamed tissue,” says Rafi Ahmed, PhD, director of the Vaccine Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. “We believe some of the activated T cells in patients’ blood may be on their way to the tumor.”