LOS ANGELES — City of Hope hospital in Duarte is running a clinical trial for a promising new drug that can be an alternative to chemotherapy for certain types of blood cancers.
It’s called mosunetuzumab, a chemotherapy alternative that uses bi-specific antibodies that activate the body’s own immune system to seek and destroy cancer cells.
“Unlike conventional antibody drugs that only bind to one target or antigen, like bacteria or cancer cells, bi-specific antibodies are engineered to bind to two targets: cancer cells and T cells. This remarkable type of immunotherapy engages the T cells to recognize and destroy the cancer cells, while also acting as a bridge between the two, pulling the tumor cells closer to the activated T cells, making it easier for them to seek out and kill the cancer. Because the process for destroying the cancer cells is so targeted, the rest of the body is often spared the kind of side effects one might experience with chemotherapies.”
Budde said that, for patients with follicular lymphoma, mosunetuzumab has already proven that it outperforms chemotherapy.
“With just pure immunotherapy, without any chemo at all, 80% of patients derived benefits, and 60% continued to remain in complete remission,” Budde said.
Mosunetuzumab received accelerated approval from the FDA in Dec. 2022. It is currently in clinical trials for use as an injection, testing its use earlier in the lymphoma treatment course or in combination with other drugs to further improve its efficacy.