Researchers all over the world are dedicatedly working towards improving survival rates of lung cancer patients. Now, the researchers from Osaka University have found a new method for monitoring the effect of lung cancer therapy. Dr. Tasuku Honjo, the winner of 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, has discovered immune T-cell protein PD-1. This discovery led to formation of anti-cancer medications and one of them was nivolumab or Opdivo.
The researchers have developed a simple way to test the effects of nivolumab in the body. Their method evaluates how nivolumab binds to PD-1 on T-cells after the treatment. They analyzed tiny samples of blood and lung fluid from the lung cancer patients. Then, the researchers measured the amount of nivolumab bound to T-cells and isolated the ones bound by nivolumab. The effects of nivolumab existed in patients for a considerable amount of time. The findings by the team confirmed that the level of T-cell binding is not an indicator of the functional effect of the drug.
“Our findings show that for any given patient we need more information than blood levels of the drug,” lead-author Akio Osa says. “It is now clear that we need to measure the amount of nivolumab bound to T-cells and the degree of T-cell proliferation to make treatment decisions. Our method makes this possible with just a drop of blood.”
Though the study involved analysis of a few samples but the strategy was to monitor both nivolumab binding and Ki-67 in T-cells to help determine the residual efficacy under various types of lung cancer treatments. The combination strategy of monitoring both is a better way to determine the effect of this drug than just monitoring the blood level of nivolumab alone.
This method helps to monitor the effect of lung cancer therapy and guides in treatment choices available.
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