Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to conduct Phase I study of Durvalumab to treat pediatric cancer

18th August 2016 (Last Updated August 18th, 2016 18:30)

The Children’s Centre for Cancer and Blood Diseases (CCCBD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will conduct the first-in-pediatrics Phase I study of Durvalumab to treat children with solid tumours, lymphoma and central nervous system tumours.

The Children’s Centre for Cancer and Blood Diseases (CCCBD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will conduct the first-in-pediatrics Phase I study of Durvalumab to treat children with solid tumours, lymphoma and central nervous system tumours.

The aim of this Phase 1 trial is to test the safety, tolerability and metabolism of the drug Durvalumab in pediatric patients.

Durvalumab is also being investigated in several kinds of adult cancer and is known as a checkpoint inhibitor.

A checkpoint is a molecule that is activated or inactivated to enable the body’s immune system to attack foreign cells whilst leaving normal cells intact. However, cancer cells often find ways to avoid these checkpoints so they do not get attacked by the immune system.

"By shutting off the signal by inhibiting PDL-1, Durvalumab in essence allows the body’s own T-cells to recognise the cancerous cells as foreign and attack them."

Drugs such as Durvalumab can target these checkpoints and improve the immune response against cancer cells.

PD-1 is a checkpoint protein found on T-cells that sends signals to the T-cell to turn off its immune response.

When the PD-1 gets attached to PD-L1, which is found on cancer cells, it enables the cancer to avoid immune attack.

CHLA Children’s Centre for Cancer and Blood Diseases deputy director and head of oncology Leo Mascarenhas said: “By shutting off the signal by inhibiting PDL-1, Durvalumab in essence allows the body’s own T-cells to recognise the cancerous cells as foreign and attack them.”

The study looks to enrol between 18 and 24 young cancer patients.

This research is supported by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.