This will be a very basic overview. Quick, simple, and will I not write pages and pages to explain everything. I will just give you a very simplified version. When we say Anti-PD-1 we are really talking about PD-1 which is an expression or signal that is used by cancer cells to suppress the immune system. So when we add the Anti to Anti-PD-1 we are saying the inhibition of the signal that suppresses the immune system. Pretty simple right? Check out diagram below.
So a drug like Lambrolizumab is called Anti-PD-1 because it inhibits PD-1. Anti-PD-1 changes the Micro-environment of the tumor. It allows immune t-cells to enter and attack the cancer. Otherwise t-cells are given a negative signal which suppresses an immune response making it difficult to infiltrate. That means the immune system can’t reach the cancer. This is an overly simplified explanation of Anti- PD-1. But it gives you a clear understanding of what the term means and what the drugs mode of action is. It’s important that you understand the basics. After that you can dive in deep for more information. Never a bad idea to learn more.
Most successful immunotherapy so far.
Anti-PD-1 is one of the very first successful attempts at immunotherapy that shows activity in many different solid tumor types. It is still only in clinical trials but can still help certain cancer patients who are eligible until it is FDA approved. Please search for available clinical trials in your area or ask your doctor.
Update: This treatment has been approved by the FDA for Melanoma. More approvals are sure to follow very soon. Will update as soon as data is available. Check back often.