Nivolumab (Opdivo) for the treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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Therapeutic Areas: Gastrointestinal Cancer
Year: 2017

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer, with approximately 15 new cases diagnosed every day. Treatment and survival depends on the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. Treatment of late stage HCC with chemotherapy and the drug sorafenib can only slow the progression of the cancer and extend survival. However if the cancer is not responsive to these treatments there are no further treatment options available.Nivolumab is a drug which blocks a protein, called the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor, on the surface of certain immune cells (called T-cells). By blocking the PD-1 receptor this triggers the T-cells to find and kill cancer cells. Nivolumab is given as a drip directly into a vein in the hand or arm. Studies of nivolumab in HCC patients are currently being conducted to determine if it may extend survival or slow the progression of the disease.If nivolumab is licenced in the UK, it could provide a new treatment option for patients with late stage HCC.