Researchers in North Carolina published data on a injectable hydrogel drug delivery system for cancer, further supporting the work that we are doing. Over a year ago, we began using a hydrogel, combined with immunotherapy agents and Celebrex, injected directly into tumors. We have seen great success in our patients with this technique. This work was further supported by a 2016 article published in Oncoimmunology, Li, et al, researchers from China and University of Michigan (attached). These researchers demonstrated that is was the combination of a PD-1 inhibitor (such as Opdivo or Keytruda) with Celebrex in a hydrogel that resulted in 90% reduction of tumor, 56% complete resolution (cures) in the animal model. It is of interest to note that when a PD-1 inhibitor and Celebrex were used alone without the hydrogel, survival dropped to about 12%.
That is more than a 400% increase in survival by adding the hydrogel. It is important to explain that there were no cures or significant improvement of the cancer when using the hydrogel alone. Like so many things in medicine, it is this combination that is essential. It is known that local injection of NSAIDS such as Celebrex or Ketorlac can have profound effects on enhancing the immune response. This is by blocking immune inhibiting prostaglandins. This creates synergy with other immunotherapy drugs. This technique of a hydrogel, combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors (PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA-4) along with Celebrex and TLR agonist is something that we have been doing in humans, with impressive results. It is always nice to see other researchers further validate the treatments were are doing in humans, in the animal model. This work leads to continuous improvement and refinement of our current therapies.