January 31, 2018 – Triple Punch


Anchor lead: Can combining treatments lead to a win in lung cancer treatment? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Using drugs that target so-called epigenetic changes, where chemical groups are added to DNA, may help one of the newest types of cancer therapy, the checkpoint inhibitor, work better to combat cancer. That’s according to work by Stephen Baylin, a cancer expert, and colleagues at Johns Hopkins.

Baylin: What the trial seeks to do is to take our best bet with our work so far, to take two agents which contribute to what we call epigenetic therapy and pair them with immune checkpoint therapy, to improve the efficacy of the latter. And we will do it in patients with advanced non small cell lung cancer, which is our biggest killer. It’s our best hope for a theme that we’re had for several years going. We’ve made is more sophisticated by the work in this Cell paper and that’s what we brought to the trial.   :30

Baylin says the combination has worked well in both animal and human models of disease, and is now being used in patients. He says the strategy renders cancer cells more susceptible to therapy. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.