Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an informative article on the emergence of cancer immunotherapies designed to augment the immune system's ability to recognize and combat malignant tumors. The oncology community is embracing this new treatment paradigm based on mounting clinical evidence that immunotherapies can produce long-term responses across multiple tumor types when combined with traditional therapies. As per the article, industry analysts project that immunotherapies could represent half of all cancer treatments within the next 10 years. The opportunity in lung cancer alone was referenced as a $6 billion opportunity.
At least five major drug companies are advancing candidates, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, whose drug Yervoy is already approved for melanoma. Drug mechanisms that inhibit the PD-1 molecular pathway, which cancer cells hijack to evade destruction by the body's immune system, are a primary target in the emerging immunotherapy pipeline. The article also balanced the compelling promise of these candidates with the reality that PD-1 inhibitors and other immunotherapies face significant administration and cost hurdles. Much of the concern is associated with the challenge of stacking an immunotherapeutic drug on top of the toxicity of established therapies such as radiation, chemotherapy, targeted cancer agents or other PD-1 inhibitors. Beyond this challenge, the cost of combining such therapies could prove to be prohibitive considering that Yervoy alone costs $120,000 for four doses administered over 12 weeks.
From an Aethlon Medical perspective, the Wall Street Journal article serves to reinforce our vision that a medical device can deliver immunotherapeutic benefit to both established and candidate cancer therapies, and do so economically and without added drug toxicity.
About Aethlon Medical
Aethlon Medical creates innovative medical devices that address unmet medical needs in cancer, infectious disease, and other life-threatening conditions. Our Aethlon ADAPT™ System is a revenue-stage technology platform that provides the basis for a new class of devices the rapid, yet selective removal of disease promoting particles from the entire circulatory system. At present, The Aethlon ADAPT™ product pipeline includes the Aethlon Hemopurifier® to address infectious disease and cancer, and a medical device being developed under a 5-year contract with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to reduce the incidence of sepsis in combat-injured soldiers. For more information, please visit www.aethlonmedical.com.
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