A newly approved drug for the leading form of the number one cancer killer, lung cancer, does improve patient survival, a new study confirms.
The immunotherapy drug Tecentriq, or atezolizumab, was approved earlier this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancers, or NSCLC, which comprise up to 85% of all lung tumors.
Tecentriq targets a protein known as PD-L1 that lies on the surface of tumor cells. Normally, this protein signals the body’s immune system T cells not to attack. However, by targeting PD-L1, Tecentriq unleashes the body’s natural T cells to target and destroy these cancer cells, researchers at Yale Cancer Center explained.
Tecentriq “has already shown excellent activity in patients who progress on frontline chemotherapy, but this study confirmed that the drug is active in selected patients who have not yet received any treatment for lung cancer,”