In a nutshell
This study analysed a new medication to treat advanced melanoma called SD-101. The study found that patients responded very well to injection of the medication directly into the tumor alongside a common medication called pembrolizumab (Keytruda), although this worked best in patients who had never been treated with pembrolizumab before.
Pembrolizumab is a medication used to treat melanoma which has spread through the body. SD-101 is a medication which stimulates the immune system to kill tumor cells. It has been tested in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and seems to work to make the tumors shrink. SD-101 works best when it is injected directly into the tumor.
Methods & findings
This study consisted of 22 patients with melanoma which had spread through the body. Nine of these patients had never been treated with pembrolizumab before, while 13 had been treated with pembrolizumab before. Treatment varied slightly between the patients in terms of the amount of SD-101 used. All patients were treated with pembrolizumab and SD-101 which was injected directly into the tumor.
All of the patients experience at least one side effect from treatment. Most patients felt some kind of flu-like illness which went away quickly. 14% of patients had pain at the site of injection, chills, or headaches. Of the nine patients who had never been treated with pembrolizumab, seven responded to treatment. The overall survival rate was 89% in this group. In the group who had been treated with pembrolizumab before, only two of the 13 patients responded to treatment.
The bottom line
The study concluded that using SD-101 in combination with pembrolizumab seems to be safe and effective in the treatment of advanced melanoma.
The fine print
This study is very small. A larger study should take place to determine if these results are valid. Another study using a different medication to pembrolizumab in combination with SD-101 will help determine how much of the effect seen is due to SD-101, and how much is due to pembrolizumab.
It is still very early days for this medication. Keep an eye out for any new results.
Published By :
Aug 28, 2018