ROCHESTER, Minn. — A phase I clinical trial of nivolumab found that the immune-boosting drug is a highly effective therapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The multi-institution study, led by Mayo Clinic, indicated that the drug was safe and led to an 87 percent response rate in patients who had failed on other treatments. Results of the study appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The findings support further development of nivolumab, which enhances the immune system’s ability to detect and kill cancer cells. The drug has already demonstrated benefit in the treatment of other cancers, particularly melanoma, renal cell cancer, lung cancer and bladder cancer.
“Nivolumab is a very promising agent that is reasonably well-tolerated and can easily be combined with other agents in the future,” says Stephen Ansell, M.D., Ph.D., a hematologist and co-lead author of the study. “There is evidence now that you can fight cancer by optimizing your immune function, either by enhancing signals that stimulate the immune response or blocking signals that dampen it.”