Last year’s Nobel prize in physiology or medicine went to James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their work on cancer immunotherapy. Some doctors think that the emerging use of these treatments in combination, and with other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, will lead to a step change in survival rates, particularly in cancers that are hard to treat.
Ten years ago patients with a diagnosis such as melanoma or lung cancer, which don’t respond well to traditional methods such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, received a grim prognosis. Immunotherapy has changed this for some patients. For example, a randomised trial of 272 patients with advanced, previously treated squamous cell non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) found that the immunotherapy nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb) increased one year survival to 42%, compared with 24% with chemotherapy (docetaxel).1
Avacta Group Plc (LON:AVCT) principal focus is on its proprietary Affimer® technology which is a novel engineered alternative to antibodies that has wide application in Life Sciences for diagnostics, therapeutics and general research and development.