New immunotherapeutic therapeutic approaches
For a long time all attempts to use the body’s own immune response against tumor cells for an effective lung cancer therapy had been without success. The increasing comprehension of the molecular control of the immune system has recently lead to the development of new drugs, the so-called immune checkpoint inhibitors (also called anti-PD1, anti PDL1 antibody), which have a surprisingly good efficacy in various forms of lung cancer. The effectiveness is due to an activation of the body’s own T cells (T-lymphocytes) against the tumor cells.
The first PD1 antibody has already been approved after failure of chemotherapy in squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. In addition to an improved tolerability, the survival of patients with this therapy is better than with chemotherapy.
Also in adenocarcinoma of the lung the approval of such drugs can be expected soon. In trials, they are also tested in small cell lung cancer.