Inside Precision Medicine: Immunotherapy boosts head & neck cancer treatment

Inside Precision Medicine recently featured a clinical trial led by the University of Cincinnati's Trisha Wise-Draper, MD.

Wise-Draper, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology in UC’s College of Medicine, Head and Neck Center of Excellence co-leader, medical director of the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office and Lab and a UC Health physician, recently published research showing that adding immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab to the standard of care for head and neck cancer patients increased survival rates for intermediate risk patients.

Wise-Draper told Inside Precision Medicine the "high pathological response rate just after 1 dose of treatment and the survival benefit associated" was a surprising result of the study.  In more than 50% of the patients, the drug caused the tumor to die before surgical resection—a much higher response than had been shown in previous studies of recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer. Within this group, 100% of the patients were disease-free at one year.

“It was a really strong predictor of patients who are going to do well on this treatment,” Wise-Draper said. “Hopefully that is going to help us design trials to better understand who is going to respond and who is not.”

Read the Inside Precision Medicine story.

Wise-Draper's research was also featured in a Pharmacy Times article. Read the Pharmacy Times article.

Featured photo at top courtesy of UC Health.