Research Project: Combining Immune Checkpoint Therapy and Interlukin-6 Targeting to Enhance the Anti-Tumor Immune Response
Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer continues to be a major clinical challenge. A new combination of therapies targeting infiltrating immune suppressive cells, which promote tumor progression, may increase the body’s anti-tumor immune response. Therefore, this treatment strategy is of great interest. This study aims to evaluate the potential to combine current clinically utilized immune directed therapy with inhibition of one pathway involved in the accumulation of immune suppressive cells within the tumor, interleukin-6 signaling, to increase therapeutic effect.
While immunotherapy has changed the treatment landscape of non-small cell lung cancer, many patients become resistant or do not respond to currently utilized immune directed therapies. We are combining clinically utilized immune checkpoint therapy, a type of immunotherapy that helps the body's own immune system recognize cancer cells, with an interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antibody to increase effectiveness of anti-tumor immune cells within lung tumors. Using tissue samples from patient tumors, we are evaluating response to combination therapy when compared to immune checkpoint therapy alone. This year, we will finish this process and determine the effectiveness of this combination.