Not specific to CLL, but to NHL and HL lymphomas, specifically DLBCL:
"Dr Ansell suggested there are 3 main approaches to treating patients. One is going directly after the malignant cells and depleting them. A second is to inhibit critical pathways that the malignant cell is dependent upon, “starving them, if you like.” The third way is to activate the immune system and thereby create a greater benefit for patients.
“[P]robably our best strategy is to use all 3 in a reprogram approach,” he said. “Because unless you target each one of these areas, the likelihood is that the other sides of the 3-legged stool will take over.”
“This is an encouraging and exciting time for immune checkpoints therapy and an encouraging and exciting time for immune therapies in general. I think this is really the new frontier in lymphomas."
and earlier in the article:
"Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) is a surface receptor expressed on T cells and pro-B cells. PD-1 binds 2 ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2.
PD-1 ligands are overexpressed in inflammatory environments and attenuate the immune response through PD-1 on immune effector cells. In addition, PD-L1 expressed on malignant cells or in the tumor microenvironment suppresses tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte activity.
Pidilizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to PD-1, weakens the apoptotic processes in lymphocytes and augments the antitumor activities of NK cells.
Investigators conducted a phase 2 trial of pidilizumab in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) after autologous HSCT to modulate the immune system after a transplant.
The team treated 66 patients with the antibody. At 16 months, progression-free survival (PFS) was 72%. For the 24 high-risk patients who were PET-positive after salvage chemotherapy, the 16-month PFS was 70%.
“And I think that what was most interesting,” Dr Ansell said, when focusing on the 35 patients with measurable disease after transplant, pidilizumab produced a 51% response rate “even in patients that actually had active disease.”"
More from Stephen M. Ansell, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota as reported by the Hematology TImes (free membership)