T cells that will target other types of cancer, including some
types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and
some solid tumors (140, 141). This research is in the very
early stages, but there are promising signs that CAR T–cell
therapies will emerge as a viable treatment option in the
future for patients with a variety of cancer types.
Another way to boost the killing power of the immune
system is with therapeutic cancer vaccines. These
immunotherapeutics train a patient’s T cells, while they
are inside the patient’s body, to recognize and destroy the
patient’s cancer cells. One therapeutic cancer vaccine,
sipuleucel-T (Provenge), has been available since 2011 for
the treatment of some patients with prostate cancer, but
there are many therapeutic cancer vaccines now being
tested in clinical trials, although results are not currently
available for most of these vaccines.
One clinical trial that has recently reported results found
that a combination of two therapeutic cancer vaccines,
CRS-207 and GVAX Pancreas, extended survival for
patients with advanced pancreatic cancer (142), and this
combination of immunotherapeutics has been granted
breakthrough therapy designation by the FDA for the
treatment of this deadly condition.
Directing the Immune System to Cancer Cells
An immune cell must find a cancer cell before it can destroy
it. Many therapeutic antibodies that have been approved by
the FDA for the treatment of various types of cancer (see
Appendix Table 1, p. 122) work, at least in part, by helping
immune cells find cancer cells. The most recent therapeutic
antibody to be added to this group of immunotherapeutics
is dinutuximab (Unituxin), which works by attaching to a
protein, GD2, on neuroblastoma cells and flagging them
for immune cells, which upon attaching to another part of
dinutuximab are triggered to destroy the neuroblastoma cells.
Dinutuximab, which was previously called ch14.18, was
approved by the FDA in March 2015 for treating children
with high-risk neuroblastoma that has progressed after
responding to prior treatments. The approval was based
of patients with advanced
pancreatic cancer survive
five years after diagnosis ( 6).