A combination of the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) with another immunotherapy agent called AM0010 for the treatment of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) shows promise, according to the results of a phase 1b clinical trial. The findings from the clinical trial were presented at the Second CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science into Survival, held last week in New York.

AM0010 is a modified form of human interleukin-10  (IL-10), which has been shown to have immune stimulating effects, inducing the activation, proliferation and survival of the anti-tumour cytotoxic CD8-positive T-cells, which are found in tumours. In addition, preclinical studies have suggested that AM0010 can boost the immune system when given with other agents, as well as chemotherapies. Pembrolizumab is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that blocks the immune-suppressive PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, boosting the immune system’s ability to recognise and fight the cancer cells.

Results from the phase 1b trial showed that after 10 to 15 months of follow-up, two of the eight patients with RCC had complete responses to treatment, while two had partial responses (77% and 92% reduction, respectively). In addition, two of the six melanoma patients had partial responses and two had a pseudoprogression (initial growth of the tumour followed by shrinkage). Also, AM0010 did not induce any autoimmune side effects, the most common side effects being anaemia, low platelet numbers and fatigue, which are all manageable.

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