Roswell Park Explores Stress Receptors as Possible Immune Checkpoint, Suggesting… – Press Release

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Combining a beta-blocker with the cancer immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab could be a promising new treatment option for many hard-to-treat solid-tumor cancers. At the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2022, researchers from Roswell Park will report on a study of this approach in patients with advanced melanoma.

NEW ORLEANS, April 9, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Combining a beta-blocker with the cancer immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab could be a promising new treatment option for many hard-to-treat solid-tumor cancers. Researchers from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center demonstrated the safety of this treatment combination in patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma In the first prospective clinical trial of this approach, and will report on a follow-on trial in progress Monday, April 11, at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2022.

A growing body of evidence suggests that stress-induced beta-2 adrenergic signals are independently dampening a variety of antitumoral immune responses and, in turn, functioning as an immune checkpoint.
Using propranolol — a nonselective beta-blocker commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure and other conditions — to inhibit these pathways seems to enhance the antitumoral immune response, the Roswell Park team notes. As more research sheds light on the potential of this approach, it may prove to be not only safe but also a highly cost-effective immune checkpoint inhibitor.

“Our recently published data from the phase I dose-escalation portion of this trial not only confirmed that the combination of propranolol plus pembrolizumab appears safe, but a provocative observed overall response rate of 78% suggests that this combination may be achieving a more meaningful anti-tumoral immune response as compared to traditional standards of care with pembrolizumab monotherapy,” says the study’s first author, Benjamin Switzer, DO, MHSA, MS, a hematology/oncology fellow at…

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