SINGAPORE: A search is underway for 40 liver cancer patients to participate in a trial for pioneering a new treatment strategy that combines an immunotherapy drug with radioembolisation.
Researchers hope that this approach can reduce cancer tumours by up to 40 per cent, according to Dr Choo Soo Pin, senior consultant in the division of medical oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS)and lead principal investigator of the trial.
NCCS said on Thursday (Feb 2) that the trial is expected to be completed in two years. In particular, it is looking for patients who haveliver cancer that cannot be treated by surgery and are eligible for radioembolisation.
The trial is the first in the world to combine an immunotherapy drug called Nivolumab and Yittrium-90 (Y90) SIR-Spheres microspheres radioembolisation.
Currently, Y90 radioembolisation is used for liver cancer patients who are unsuitable for surgery or a liver transplant.
Nivolumab, on the other hand, enhances the body’s immune response against cancer cells and has shown "very promising results for advanced liver cancer patients in ongoing studies", said NCCS. It added that the drug, when combined with radiation, can shrink the treated tumour.
"The aim of this trial is to show that Nivolumab can enhance the effects of radioembolisation in liver cancer and further improve outcomes for patients," said NCCS.
The trial is conducted in collaboration with three other medical institutions - the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN).
Liver cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Southeast Asia, according to NCCS. More than 70 per cent of the cases are a consequence of chronic infection with Hepatitis B.
Those who wish to participate in the trial may contact the NCCS clinical trial office at firstname.lastname@example.org.