A new combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer caused tumors to shrink in the majority of evaluable patients, namely 20 out of 24 as of an interim analysis of the phase 1b trial data. The early findings provide hope that this strategy involving an antibody to CD40, a checkpoint inhibitor, and standard-of-care chemotherapy could be effective for treating the nation's third deadliest type of cancer. Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) presented the findings on March 31, 2019 in a clinical trials plenary session at the American Association for Cancer Research 2019 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia (Abstract #8060). The title of the presentation is “A Phase Ib Study of CD40 Agonistic Monoclonal Antibody APX005M Together with Gemcitabine (Gem) and Nab-Paclitaxel (NP) with or without Nivolumab (Nivo) in Untreated Metastatic Ductal Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) Patients.” The ongoing study is being conducted in collaboration with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (where/what) and its other member institutions and partners. These are the first clinical trial data ever presented as a result of this collaboration. "These findings give us clues that this new and innovative combination therapy can be effective against pancreatic cancer," said the study's co-lead author Mark H. O'Hara, MD, an Assistant Professor of Hematology-Oncology at Penn, who gave the presentation. "Although only time and further research will truly tell, our data are a reason for optimism." Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most common type of pancreatic cancer, and it kills more Americans each year than any cancer type other than lung and colorectal.
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