Pfizer to Test Cancer Immunotherapy Combination

Pfizer is reportedly gearing up to test a combination of three cancer drugs in human trials next year.

According to the Financial Times, the trial, which will be one of the first to test a trio of immunotherapies, will monitor the safety and efficacy of the combination in patients with solid cancers.

Although current immunotherapies have shown unprecedented survival results, the treatments only seem to be effective in around a third of patients. Therefore, Pfizer, and other drugmakers, are striving to seek out new approaches that will boost their reach.

As such, the drug giant is reportedly looking at new combination treatments, including a trio consisting of checkpoint inhibitor avelumab (a fully human anti-PD-L1 IgG1 monoclonal antibody being developed with Merck), utomilumab and another experimental therapy referred to as OX40.

Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s R&D chief, told the Financial Times that the firm is exploring whether grouping several drugs into one single treatment plan will be able to magnify the survival benefits of existing immunotherapies. “To go from months to years, there is only one path, and that is combination therapies,” he said.

A key focus of the study is to determine how much manipulation of the immune system the body can handle, explained Mace Rothenberg, chief medical officer in Pfizer’s cancer division. “We want to find the best benefit to risk ratio, because we don’t want to make a treatment that is worse than the disease,” he noted, according to the FT.


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