Nivolumab is in development for the treatment of a type of bladder cancer that is at high risk of spreading beyond the lining of the bladder into the surrounding muscle. Bladder cancer starts when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow out of control. As more cancer cells develop, they can form a tumour and, with time, spread to other parts of the body. Urothelial cancer is the most common type of bladder cancer. High risk invasive urothelial cancer is when there is a greater chance for the cancer cells spreading to the lymph glands around the bladder and therefore patients have a reduced chance of cure.
Nivolumab, is a monoclonal antibody, a type of protein that has been designed to recognise and attach to a receptor (target) called PD-1 found on certain cells of the immune system called T cells. Cancer cells can produce proteins (PD-L1 and PD-L2) that attach to this receptor and switch off the activity of the T cells, preventing them from attacking the cancer. By attaching to the receptor, nivolumab prevents PD-L1 and PD-L2 from switching off the T cells, thereby increasing the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells. If licenced for the adjuvant treatment of high risk invasive urothelial carcinoma, nivolumab has the potential to increase the length of time until the cancer comes back.
Brigatinib is a medicinal product that is being developed for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease have progressed following treatment with alectinib or ceritinib. NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer although a small proportion of NSCLC patients have a rearrangement in the ALK gene. Locally advanced or metastatic cancer means cancer has spread outside the lungs where it started, to other parts of the body and cannot be cured. Current treatment with drugs such as alectinib or ceritinib are effective in slowing the disease and helping patients to live longer, although some patients eventually develop treatment resistance and will require other therapies.