ASCO 2019: Lymphoma Expert Discusses Advances in Targeted Therapies

Published on

Topics include: Emerging Research

What alternatives do lymphoma patients have to chemotherapy? On-site in Chicago, leading expert Dr. Joshua Brody shares advances made in non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment announced at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting. Tune in to hear Dr. Brody discuss the latest research on targeted therapies and therapeutic cancer vaccines for non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients. 

Click here to learn more about the non-Hodgkin lymphoma vaccine clinical trials. 

View more programs featuring and

Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Rebecca Seago-Coyle:

The theme of ASCO this year is caring for every patient, learning from every patient.  I watched some of your YouTube videos, and I know that you definitely care for every patient.  So can you tell our audience here how some of those ways of what you're taking from ASCO here back to your clinic and your lab?  

Dr. Brody:

Sure. Absolutely.  Yeah.  A lot of exciting advances in 2018, 2019.  A lot of them being presented here at ASCO, especially for our patients with lymphoma and CLL.  One of the big advances for patients with lymphoma I would say the—overall the arching themes are big advances in what we call targeted therapies.  Some of these can be kinase inhibitors or small molecule inhibitors.  I'll give you one example, and immune therapies, therapies in which we get our patients' own immune systems to go and attack their own cancer, and many times melt it away and hopefully give long remissions.  

I'll mention one of the targeted therapies.  We have a kinase inhibitor, a new PI3K delta kinase inhibitor called umbralisib, and Dr. Nathan Fowler is presenting some more data on that for patients with marginal zone lymphoma.  Marginal zone is another type of indolent non?Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Clinically, we treat it very similarly to follicular lymphoma and the other low-grade lymphomas, but we have never had very good kinase inhibitors to treat it up until a couple of years ago.  Now we have BTK inhibitors, pretty good for marginal zone lymphoma.  And now this new PI3K delta inhibitor probably going to be FDA approved in the next year or so because of this exciting data. High response rates and many patients staying in remission for months and years.  

Rebecca Seago-Coyle:

Wow.  That is really exciting to hear.  I think that's what patients also want to hear too that there is an opportunity to be—take a treatment that will keep you in remission longer.  

Dr. Brody:

Yeah. Absolutely, and especially, I mean, for some of these patients who have had chemotherapy, chemotherapy and also patients who are getting anti-CD20 antibodies rituximab (Rituxan).  And when those stop working, I'll be honest, sometimes patients have a real negative association with the last two types of chemotherapy they had, and they say, isn't there something that kills cancer in a different way?  And so this is a great example of that, kinase inhibitors like BTK inhibitors and PI3K Delta inhibitors.  

Rebecca Seago-Coyle:

Great information.  Now, in your lab you're also developing a vaccine.  I think that's a very big topic these days especially with the huge measles outbreak.  I know we're bringing that up a lot, but can you kind of talk about one new vaccine that you're developing and then talk about what that means for the lymphoma patient?

Dr. Brody:

Sure. Sure.  This is very exciting for us.  We've been very, very lucky to have good results in some of the first few patients that we've been treating.  We published data on just the first handful of patients.  We've treated in the first cohort 12 patients and published this a couple months ago in nature medicine.  And Dr. Linda Hammerich is the first author of that paper.  

Let's clarify just a couple of specific points.  So when we say vaccine everyone always thinks like a measles vaccine, polio vaccine.  These are things to keep a disease away, a preventative a vaccine.  A vaccine does not have to be a preventative vaccine. This is a whole different tactic called a therapeutic vaccine.  You treat the problem after you already have it.  That would not work for measles or polio, but in cancer we have some examples of therapeutic cancer vaccines.  Once the person already has the cancer then we administer the vaccine, and we can make both the site that we're treating go away and sites throughout the body, tumors throughout the body regress.   

Rebecca Seago?Coyle:

Wow. That's really fascinating.  I'm really interested in the vaccines.  

Dr. Brody:

Sure.  Sure.   

Rebecca Seago?Coyle:

It is a hot topic.  And I think—so once a person has been diagnosed with a lymphoma, is this for all lymphomas or just a specific kind?  

Dr. Brody:

So far we are only using this in low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, so follicular lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma, SLL, primarily those three types.  

Rebecca Seago?Coyle:

Interesting. Okay.  Now, is that already FDA approved and available today?  

Dr. Brody:

So it is available today only as part of clinical trials, so we have the clinical trials open now.  We have really two versions of the clinical trial.  We have the first trial that we've published some results of, but the trial is still ongoing, and that is just the vaccine by itself.  And now we just opened a new trial combining the vaccine, a very famous immunotherapy sometimes call the Jimmy Carter immunotherapy, because these are anti-PD-1 antibodies.  This is what Jimmy Carter got when he had very advanced-stage melanoma, even metastases to his brain.  I'm not Jimmy's doctor, but I understand Jimmy's doing very well.  A buddy of mine saw him on a plane recently, and he said he looked good.  

Rebecca Seago-Coyle:

He saw Jimmy Carter on the plane?  

Dr. Brody:

Yeah. Jimmy, actually, yeah.  Well, I think Jimmy may have been in first class. My buddy was passing through.  But still he looked good, he said.  I wasn't jealous of the fact that he was in first class. 

So these Jimmy Carter therapies, but really that's not their real name.  We call them anti-PD-1 antibodies, or we call them checkpoint blockades.  These are a huge thing in oncology as a whole.  This was the topic of the Nobel Prize in 2018 for which two scientists won the award for developing this concept, and we now are finally combining this checkpoint blockade, these anti-PD-1 antibodies, with the vaccine.  And the reason we're doing it is, because in the lab we discovered that this makes the vaccine about twice as effective and makes anti-PD-1 antibodies much more effective than they were without.  

Although anti-PD-1 antibodies are great for melanoma, lung cancer, and actually great for Hodgkin's lymphoma, they have not been very effective so far in non?Hodgkin's lymphoma, so this is the way we're going to try to solve that problem.

Rebecca Seago-Coyle:

So where can our community members find these clinical trials for the vaccine?  

Dr. Brody:

Sure. Absolutely.  The simplest place probably is just clinicaltrials.gov, where all the trials are listed.  And if you go in there and type, you can type vaccine lymphoma or vaccine my last name, Brody, B-R-O-D-Y, I know that—I heard these studies will pop up to the top. Because so far the therapies are only available at our hospital at Mount Sinai patients have to be nearby, but we've had patients fly from California, patient from Maryland, I think a patient from Michigan now because the vaccine is sort of quick therapy.  You don't have to be on therapy forever.  It's a couple of weeks of therapy and then weekly therapy for a couple of months, and after that you're done.  

Rebecca Seago-Coyle:

Now, is it just one like injection?  

Dr. Brody:

So the course of injection is a little bit more complicated than that.  It's actually daily injections, but it just takes two minutes for two weeks, Monday to Friday, Monday to Friday, and then weekly injections for two months.  So people that are coming from California, they fly out the day before, get the injection, fly home or stay around New York for a couple days and have some pizza. 

Rebecca Seago-Coyle:

Well, Dr. Brody, you know, you're a long-time friend of Patient Power.  We really appreciate all your help.  Is there anything else that you think our viewers might be interested in hearing from you or taking away?  

Dr. Brody:

I think the big picture is that the advances in lymphoma, we are so lucky, because the truth is we've already had better therapies for lymphoma than for some other cancers, and despite that the advances in the last 10 years have been so much more than literally any other type of tumor.  So although the local oncologists know a lot of good therapies, sometimes it's worthwhile to get a second opinion from an academic center to hear if there are very exciting clinical trials.  There are always clinical trials, but some of them are especially exciting, and at least to hear about that from an academic center I think is worthwhile for all lymphoma patients.   

Rebecca Seago-Coyle:

Thank you so much.  To our audience, remember knowledge can be the best medicine.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Related Programs

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Updates From an Expert

Dr. Joshua Brody from Mount Sinai School of Medicine joined Patient Power to provide an important update in non-Hodgkin lymphoma research. Have new avenues in treatment been created? Watch now to stay informed with current treatment and research news.

Published:

The Latest in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma News From ASCO

Dr. John Leonard from Weill Cornell Medicine joined Patient Power to provide an update on the latest research news in non-Hodgkin lymphoma coming from major medical conferences around the world. Dr. Leonard provides an overview of the news including and explanation of the results of the RELEVANCE study and addresses CAR T-cell therapy.

Published:

Dan's Story: My Experience With CAR T-Cell Therapy

Following several unsuccessful rounds of treatment for B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Dan was told that he only had a few months to live. Hear his experience on a CAR T-cell therapy clinical trial.

Published:

Advertisement
Join Our Community Register for Events Read Our Latest Blog
Advertisement

Page last updated on August 20, 2019