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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
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Stepping Up the Fight Against an Old Healthcare Adversary

Human beings are known for a myriad of different things, but most importantly they are known for getting better on a consistent basis. This ever-improving tendency of ours has allowed us to hit upon some huge milestones, with technology appearing as a major member of the stated squad. The reason why technology enjoys such an esteemed stature among people is largely predicated upon its skill-set, which was unique enough to guide us towards all the possibilities that we couldn’t have imagined otherwise. Nevertheless, if we look a little bit closer, it will become clear how the whole runner was also very much inspired by the way we applied those skills across a real-world environment. The latter component was, in fact, what gave the creation a spectrum-wide presence, including a timely appearance on our healthcare block. Technology’s foray into healthcare was perfect with its timing, as it came right when the sector was beginning to struggle against its own obsolete structure. This reality, fortunately enough, went through a complete overhaul under the new regime, but even after going so far, the new and budding medtech concept will somehow continue bringing all the right goods to the table. The same has turned more and more evident over the recent past, and truth be told, a new FDA approval should only make that trend bigger and better moving forward.

The US Food and Drug Administration has officially approved AstraZeneca’s drug candidate, Imjudo, which is designed to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Going by the available details, Imjudo is one of those checkpoint inhibitors that block proteins usually leveraged by tumors to avoid detection. The drug does so through the targeting of CTLA-4, a checkpoint protein found on the surface of immune cells. Notably enough, it is also dosed in conjunction with Imfinzi, an AstraZeneca antibody that blocks a different checkpoint protein on tumors called PD-L1.

“Metastatic non-small cell lung cancer remains a significant treatment challenge because many patients’ tumors do not respond well to standard therapies, including checkpoint inhibitors. The approval of this dual immunotherapy regimen with chemotherapy introduces a new, generally well-tolerated treatment option for patients with this devastating disease and gives them the chance to benefit from the long-term survival advantage seen with CTLA-4 inhibition,” said Melissa Johnson, director of lung cancer research at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute and a lead investigator in Imjudo’s Phase 3 study,

Of course, Imjudo’s Phase 3 trial did a lot to convince FDA about its overall reliability. The stated trial enrolled over 1,000 patients with metastatic NSCLC, and it had both Imfinzi and chemotherapy in its core dosing schedule. Now, if we put our stock in the published results, five cycles of Imjudo added to Imfinzi, along with four cycles of chemotherapy, was able to reduce the death probability by 23% compared to various ranges of chemotherapy treatments. Hold on, there is more. Two years on from the treatment, an estimated 33% of patients who received Imjudo were alive compared to 22% of those in the chemotherapy group.

Interestingly, Imjudo’s regulatory nod comes just days after another medtech company in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals got the green light for its own checkpoint protein-blocking immunotherapy called Libtayo. The drug was already being used as a monotherapy to treat specific NSCLC cases, but from here onwards, it can also be used in combination with chemotherapy.

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