Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, on Coronavirus, Cancer, and Immunotherapy: Navigating Clinical Trials and Treatment
Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, of NYU Langone Medical Center, offers his perspective on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on oncology care and cancer clinical trials, as clinicians strive to provide optimal treatment to patients while reducing their risk of contracting the coronavirus. The steep decline in trial enrollment has recovered, with many of the changes in how research was conducted as a result of the pandemic still in place and improving the process going forward.
Mehmet Altan, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses findings from a phase Ib dose-escalation study, which showed early evidence of activity for NKTR-255, an investigational IL-15 receptor agonist, plus cetuximab in patients with solid tumors. Treatment appeared to lead to expansion and proliferation of NK and CD8+ cells (Abstract 957).
Kim A. Reiss, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, discusses results of a phase I trial of a CAR-M engineered macrophage cancer therapy, known as CT-0508, for patients with solid tumors that overexpress HER2. CAR-M, designed to exploit the natural role of macrophages to initiate an antitumor response, is currently under study at multiple clinical sites (Abstract 951).
Hans Wildiers, MD, of University Hospitals Leuven, discusses the final results from the phase IIb AIPAC study, which suggested that eftilagimod added to paclitaxel may be of benefit to patients older than 65 years with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer after endocrine-based therapy. Eftilagimod, which is a first-in-class antigen presenting cell activator, appeared to increase circulating CD4/CD8 T cells, which correlated to improved overall survival (Abstract 948).
Emily Z. Keung, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the complex interactions of immune infiltrates and neoadjuvant immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) in patients with resectable soft-tissue sarcoma. These interactions may hold the key to understanding pathologic response to ICB and ICB resistance (Abstract 379).
Hannah E. Dzimitrowicz, MD, of Duke Cancer Center, discusses study results showing that in patients with melanoma and renal cell cancer receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy, the COVID-19 vaccination appears to be well tolerated and safe. A higher rate of post-vaccination symptoms reported in these patients is likely related to more frequent visits compared with controls (Abstract 625).