BMS’s Cancer Trial Highlights Potential for Checkpoint Inhibitors

Bristol Myers Squibb’s recent phase III success provided the first late-stage confirmation for a novel immune checkpoint target in nearly a decade. This could herald the next generation of checkpoint inhibitors against cancer.

Last month, the antibody drug relatlimab, developed by Bristol Myers Squibb, increased the progression-free survival of melanoma patients in phase III. These promising results did more than support the efficacy of a single therapy. To many in the field, they validated the approach of targeting lymphocyte activation gene 3 (LAG-3) to treat cancer. 

While the world waits for a full dataset from BMS’s phase III trial, LAG-3’s proponents in European biotechs and elsewhere are already knee-deep in development of the next wave of immune checkpoint inhibitors, for LAG-3 and beyond.

When immune T cells are exposed to cancer or chronic infections for too long, they sometimes become exhausted, losing their ability to fight the invaders. Immune checkpoints like PD-1 and LAG-3, which function as brakes on the immune system, contribute to this T cell exhaustion,

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Published on Thu, 29 Apr 2021 09:49:22 +0000 and brought to you by salesforce pounds to pounds