Scientists have studied a new approach that activates body’s defense mechanisms, its T cells and natural killer cells to destroy lung cancer. The study was published in the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer. It studies that naturally producing protein could become an important new immunotherapy drug for lung cancer treatment. In the Phase 1 clinical trial, 21 pet dogs of various breeds with metastatic lung disease were treated with protein interleukin-15. It was used to reinvigorate the immune system to make it recognize the cancer cells and then eliminate them.
In this study, they showed that amplified concentrations of IL-15 can stimulate immune system defenses against some cancer types in dogs. The study was conducted between October 2018 and December 2020 where dogs inhaled a mist containing IL-15 twice daily. The doses were increased over time and helped to determine the effectiveness, tolerable levels and the ceiling above which toxicity would be arisen.
The study found that tumors shrank dramatically in two dogs while in five other dogs; cancer was stabilized for several months. The overall response rate was close to 40%. The inhaled IL-15 responses were better in dogs that prior human studies, but clinical benefit is seen in less than half of the dogs. This indicates that combining IL-15 with other immunotherapy may result in addictive or synergistic responses. The therapy was well tolerated and even a short course of inhaled IL-15 could lead to sustained suppression of advanced lung cancer.
“This may help us identify patients that might respond to this therapy, as well as help us understand how to potentially combine other immunotherapies to improve response rates. We are grateful to the extremely dedicated clients who sought any and all possible care for their pets, elected to enroll them in this study, and even delivered the inhaled IL-15 to their dogs at home — in hopes that it could benefit their dog, other dogs, or possibly even people with advanced metastatic cancer,” Robert B. Rebhun said.
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