PD-1 Blockade with T-Cell Activating Therapy to Treat Metastatic Prostate Cancer

About PD-1 Blockade with T-Cell Activating Therapy to Treat Metastatic Prostate Cancer
  • Therapies that use the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells have demonstrated significant life-prolongation for melanoma, lung cancer and bladder cancer patients but are less active in treating prostate cancer in clinical trials to date. Combining immunotherapies might improve the efficacy of this treatment strategy for prostate cancer.
  • Dr. McNeel and colleagues are testing a novel combination prostate cancer immunotherapy in clinical trials that combines a T-cell re-activating therapy (anti-PD1), with a vaccine against a prostate cancer target, Prostatic Acid Phosphatase (PAP). The vaccine will increase the number of tumor killing-T cells, while anti-PD1 therapy acts to “take the foot off the brakes” of the immune response. The combination therapy is hoped to increase the ability of T cells to target and kill tumor cells expressing PAP.
  • Dr. McNeel and team will evaluate the effect of the dual immunotherapy on tumor and immune responses in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). They will determine: (1)the safety and efficacy of the therapy; (2) mechanisms of therapeutic synergy; (3) whether expression of PD1 or its molecular partner, PD-L1, can be used as biomarkers that predict therapeutic response; and (4) the utility of a new molecular imaging technique, quantitative total bone imaging, in monitoring the treatment effect of this novel immunotherapy combination.

What this means for patients: Immunotherapies have led to deep and durable tumor responses in melanoma and other cancers but have failed to date to demonstrate a significant survival benefit for patients with mCRPC. If successful, this project will result in the generation of a powerful new immunotherapy treatment for patients with advanced prostate cancer, develop biomarkers that predict therapeutic response, and create a new molecular imaging technique to monitor patient response to many prostate cancer therapies.

Principal Investigator:

Douglas McNeel, MD, PhD (University of Wisconsin)


Glenn Liu, MD, Robert Jeraj, PhD, Brian Olson, PhD (University of Wisconsin), Laura Johnson, PhD (University of Wisconsin)