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How do checkpoint inhibitors work?

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Proteins in your body called checkpoints help the immune system tell if cells are a normal part of your body and should be left alone or invaders that should be attacked.

Cancer cells can trick your immune system by binding to the cells that are supposed to fight it. When that happens, the checkpoint signals your body not to attack. A checkpoint inhibitor stops these cells from binding. That way, your immune system recognizes and targets the cancer.

SOURCES:

National Cancer Institute: “FDA Approves New Immunotherapy Drug for Bladder Cancer,” “Immunotherapy.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: “Immunotherapy,” “FDA Approves ‘Game Changer’ Immunotherapy Drug for Bladder Cancer,” “A Phase II Study Assessing Mediators of Response to Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Immunotherapy in Patients with Advanced Melanoma or Bladder Cancer,” A Phase I/IB Study of Immunotherapy with CPI-444 Alone and with Atezolizumab in Patients with Metastatic Solid Tumors.”

American Cancer Society: “FDA Approves New Immunotherapy Drug for Bladder Cancer,” “Immunotherapy for bladder cancer.”

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: “Q&A Understanding Immunotherapy,” “Nivolumab immunotherapy helps patients with advanced bladder cancer,” “Immune checkpoint inhibitors shrink tumors in 26 to 38 percent of metastatic bladder cancer patients.”

American Society of Clinical Oncology: “Patients With Advanced Bladder Cancer Benefit From Anti-PD-L1 Immunotherapy.”

The Lancet: “Atezolizumab in patients with locally advanced and metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have progressed following treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy: a single-arm, multicentre, phase 2 trial.”

FDA: “Nivolumab for Treatment of Urothelial Carcinoma.”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on March 3, 2019

SOURCES:

National Cancer Institute: “FDA Approves New Immunotherapy Drug for Bladder Cancer,” “Immunotherapy.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: “Immunotherapy,” “FDA Approves ‘Game Changer’ Immunotherapy Drug for Bladder Cancer,” “A Phase II Study Assessing Mediators of Response to Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Immunotherapy in Patients with Advanced Melanoma or Bladder Cancer,” A Phase I/IB Study of Immunotherapy with CPI-444 Alone and with Atezolizumab in Patients with Metastatic Solid Tumors.”

American Cancer Society: “FDA Approves New Immunotherapy Drug for Bladder Cancer,” “Immunotherapy for bladder cancer.”

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: “Q&A Understanding Immunotherapy,” “Nivolumab immunotherapy helps patients with advanced bladder cancer,” “Immune checkpoint inhibitors shrink tumors in 26 to 38 percent of metastatic bladder cancer patients.”

American Society of Clinical Oncology: “Patients With Advanced Bladder Cancer Benefit From Anti-PD-L1 Immunotherapy.”

The Lancet: “Atezolizumab in patients with locally advanced and metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have progressed following treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy: a single-arm, multicentre, phase 2 trial.”

FDA: “Nivolumab for Treatment of Urothelial Carcinoma.”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on March 3, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

What checkpoint inhibitor drugs treat metastatic bladder cancer?

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