Pembrolizumab is in clinical development for the treatment of patients with platinum pre-treated recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC). NPC is a rare type of cancer that affects the part of the throat connecting the back of the nose to the back of the mouth (the pharynx). It is often difficult to distinguish the symptoms of NPC from less serious conditions and many people do not have any symptoms until the cancer reaches an advanced stage. Therefore, there is a medical need for effective treatments for advanced nasopharyngeal cancer.
Pembrolizumab is an immunotherapy drug administered by intravenous (IV) infusion. It works by improving the activity of white blood cells (T-cells) by blocking a protein, PD-L1, thereby increasing the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells. If licenced, pembrolizumab could provide an additional treatment option for patients with platinum pre-treated recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer.
Belzutifan is in clinical development for the treatment of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease-associated clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). VHL is a hereditary disease that results in the body producing an increased amount of the protein hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) – 2α. This leads to an increased risk of tumours developing in various parts of the body including the kidney. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer. ccRCC is named as such because when this type of tumour is viewed under a microscope the cells appear clear. Currently patients with VHL disease have limited treatment options which focus on surgically removing tumours once they have developed.