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Cervical Cancer – New drug combination: Balstilimab Plus Zalifrelimab

Overview

Advanced cases of cervical cancer pose a challenge for physicians to treat. Once the cancer cells have spread to other tissues, procedures such as surgery and curative radiation therapy become less effective.

Fortunately, we still have chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Both of which are switching to combination treatments that show promising results.

In this article, we will cover the effectiveness of balstilimab combined with zalifrelimab in the treatment of cervical cancer.

What is balstilimab?

Balstilimab is an immunotherapeutic drug that does not act on the tumor directly. Instead, it helps the immune system become better at identifying and neutralizing cancer cells.

Some tumors have the ability to evade T-cell detection, which gives them the liberty to grow and spread uncontrollably.

Balstilimab binds to specific receptors on T-cells, preventing cancer proteins (i.e., ligands) from binding to the receptors. As a result of this interaction, T-cells continue to recognize and kill tumor cells.

What is zalifrelimab?

Zalifrelimab is another immunotherapeutic drug that optimizes the function of your immune cells in recognizing and killing cancer cells.

Despite the effectiveness of T-cells, they still have some checkpoints to prevent the damage of healthy tissue.

Checkpoints are key regulators of the immune system that when stimulated can dampen the immune response. Some cancers can protect themselves from attack by stimulating immune checkpoint targets, which eventually leads to devastating consequences.

Zalifrelimab works by increasing the number of activated T-cells around the environment of the tumor, boosting their cytotoxic ability.

How does this combination treatment help with cervical cancer?

Before we talk about the effectiveness of this combination therapy, it is worth mentioning that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted a Fast Track designation to evaluate the drugs for the treatment of advanced cases of cervical cancer (e.g., metastasis, relapses).

In a phase II clinical trial, researchers enrolled 155 women with advanced cervical cancer. These patients received 3 mg/kg of balstilimab every 2 weeks and 1 mg/kg of zalifrelimab every 6 weeks for a total period of 2 years. Eventually, data was collected from 125 evaluable patients.

Researchers followed up with the patients for 21 months:

Out of the 125 subjects,

  • 10 achieved complete remission
  • 22 had a tumor shrinkage of between 30 to 50%
  • 8% of patients had tumor shrinkage of between >0% to 50%
  • The median time to recurrent of the disease was 2.7 months at data cutoff
  • Finally, the median survival was 12.8 months

Takeaway message in cervical cancer

Combining balstilimab with zalifrelimab to treat cervical cancer produced promising results in this clinical trial. Hopefully, phase III trial will reveal more concrete evidence to help thousands of patients in need of this therapy.

We hope that this article managed to shed some light on the potential effectiveness of balstilimab and zalifrelimab in the treatment of cervical cancer.

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Cervical Cancer - New drug combination: Balstilimab Plus Zalifrelimab
Cervical Cancer – New drug combination: Balstilimab Plus Zalifrelimab

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