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Roche Holding AG Immune Therapy Cancer Drug Shows Promise In Early Study-Reuters


Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013 03:00pm EDT 

Reuters reported that an experimental drug that spurs the immune system to fight cancer appeared to be safe and demonstrated anti-tumor activity against a variety of cancers in a small early stage study. The drug, called MPDL320A, was discovered and is being developed by Roche Holding AG's Genentech unit. The Phase 1 trial of the drug in 30 patients with advanced cancer was designed as a dose escalation study to test for toxicity at higher doses. But researchers were also pleased to find early signs of effectiveness of the drug. The drug is an engineered antibody that targets a protein called PD-L1, for programmed death-ligand 1, and enables T cells of the immune system to more effectively attack cancer cells. PD-L1 is found on the surface of many cancer cells and impairs the immune system's ability to fight the disease. The drug was administered intravenously every three weeks, beginning with a dose of just 0.01 milligrams per kilogram of weight and increased up to a maximum dose of 20mg/kg. 

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