Roswell Park Researchers Publish Findings on Agent Shown to Enhance Immunotherapy

February 24, 2012 Updated Feb 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Roswell Park Researchers Publish Findings on Agent Shown to Enhance Immunotherapy

February 24, 2012 Updated Feb 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Preclinical research by a team from Roswell Park Cancer Institute has demonstrated for the first time the way in which a class I histone deacetylase inhibitor, entinostat, appears to boost the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapy for treatment of some solid tumors.

The findings support conclusions from earlier studies and also suggest that the approach merits further testing in clinical settings.

In a study involving models of renal and prostate cancer, recently published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS One, a team led by Roberto Pili, MD, Professor of Oncology, Chief of the Genitourinary Section and Co-leader of the Genitourinary Program, Department of Medicine, demonstrated the novel immunomodulatory effect through which entinostat, manufactured by Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc., appears to enhance the antitumor activity of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) for kidney cancer and of a surviving cancer vaccine (SurVaxM), developed at RPCI by Michael Ciesielski, PhD, and Robert Fenstermaker, MD, of the Department of Neurosurgery, for prostate cancer.

“Entinostat has an immunomodulatory effect on regulatory T cells, which are like brakes for the immune system and are present in many tumors,” Dr. Pili said. “By suppressing these suppressor cells, entinostat releases the brakes and helps the immunotherapies to work better.”

The combination of a vaccine with approaches to deplete or suppress regulatory T cells, the researchers write, “represents a rational strategy in prostate cancer therapy” and one that “also has promising potential to be effective in other immunotherapies and in different tumors."

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