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Scientists Discover Why Some Cancers May Not Respond to Immunotherapy

UCLA scientists have discovered that people with cancers containing genetic mutations JAK1 or JAK2, which are known to prevent tumors from recognizing or receiving signals from T cells to stop growing, will have little or no benefit from the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. This early-stage research has allowed them to determine for the first time why some people with advanced melanoma or advanced colon cancer will not respond to pembrolizumab, an anti-PD-1 treatment.

Treatment of Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) with Pembrolizumab Presented at AACR Annual Meeting and Published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced new data from KEYNOTE-001, a Phase 1b study evaluating pembrolizumab, the company’s investigational anti-PD-1 therapy, in na├»ve and previously-treated patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In a new analysis of 313 patients from a validation data set for tumour PD-L1 expression, overall-response rate (ORR) was 45.4 percent (95% CI, 33.5-57.3) in patients with greater than or equal to (>=) 50 percent of tumour cells positive for PD-L1 expression (n=73). In the other PD-L1 subgroups, ORR was 16.5 percent (95% CI, 9.9-25.1) in patients with 1-49 percent tumour cells positive (n=103) and 10.7 percent (95% CI, 2.3-28.2) in patients with less than1 percent tumour cells positive (n=28) for PD-L1 expression. In the total study population, ORR was 19.4 percent (95% CI, 16.0-23.2) (n=495), which was consistent with data previously presented from this study. These data from KEYNOTE-001 will be presented today by Dr. Edward Garon, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting (abstract #CT104), were part of the AACR press program, and were also published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Study Published in Nature Suggests immunoSEQ Assay May Be Used to Predict Response to anti-PD-1 Therapy for Melanoma

Adaptive Biotechnologies, a pioneer in leveraging Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to profile T- and B-cell receptors, recently reported that the immunoSEQ Assay was able to help identify patients with metastatic melanoma who would be most likely to respond to treatment with pembrolizumab (an anti-PD-1 therapy), according to a study published in Nature.