Older melanoma patients have better response to immune checkpoint blockade therapy
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PHILADELPHIA — (June 13, 2018) — Patient age correlates with response to immunotherapy in melanoma and depleting regulatory T cells in young patients may have a therapeutic potential to enhance response in younger patients, according to research from The Wistar Institute. Study results were published online in Clinical Cancer Research.

Immune checkpoint blockade therapy has been recently approved for treatment of melanoma based on its ability to produce durable disease control. Not all patients benefit from this therapeutic approach and some responders eventually develop resistance, highlighting the need for biomarkers that could help predict patient benefit and guide therapeutic choices.

“We have shown that the characteristics of the aged tumor microenvironment in older patients promote resistance to melanoma targeted therapies, highlighting the importance of considering patient age when predicting response to therapy,” said Ashani Weeraratna, Ph.D., Ira Brind Associate Professor and co-program leader of the Immunology, Microenvironment and Metastasis Program at Wistar and corresponding author of the paper.

Based on this consideration, Weeraratna and collaborators set to analyze the impact of age on response to immunotherapy. “We were initially surprised to find that older patients fare better on immune checkpoint blockade therapy,” she added.

The researchers analyzed a multi-national,

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