Experimental drug helps immune system fight multiple myeloma

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic identified an experimental drug that boosts the immune system to fight multiple myeloma.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have identified an experimental drug that has the potential to treat multiple myeloma tumors, based on the results of a small preclinical trial. Photo courtesy of the Mayo Clinic
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have identified an experimental drug that has the potential to treat multiple myeloma tumors, based on the results of a small preclinical trial. Photo courtesy of the Mayo Clinic

In a recent study, the drug, LCL161, stimulated the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells, leading to tumor shrinkage in patients with multiple myeloma.

“The drug, LCL162, was initially developed to promote tumor death,” Dr. Marta Chesi, a biochemist at the Mayo Clinic, said in a press release. “However, we found that the drug does not kill tumor cells directly. Rather, it makes them more visible to the immune system that recognizes them as foreigner invaders and eliminates them.”

Researchers treated 25 patients with LCL161 in a preclinical trial, and plan to conduct another small trial with an inhibitor of immune checkpoints to determine if it is a viable treatment option for multiple myeloma patients.

“The model for preclinical studies to predict with great accuracy which drugs would work in the clinic was developed a decade ago,” Chesi said. “And it has been instrumental in the prioritization of which experimental therapeutics should be tested in patients with multiple myeloma.”

By Amy Wallace