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1 April 2020 Near infrared photoimmunotherapy: a new type of immune theranostic technology for cancer
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Near infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT) is a recently developed cancer-targeted theranostic technology that produces a therapeutic immune response. Conventional immunotherapies, such as immune-activating cytokine therapy, checkpoint inhibition, engineered T cells (e.g. chimeric antigen receptor or CAR-T cells) and suppressor cell depletion do not directly destroy cancer cells, but rely exclusively on activating the immune system. NIR-PIT not only selectively destroys cancer cells but also activates anti-cancer immune reactions that kill cells that escape direct killing. NIR-PIT can be applied to a wide variety of cancers either as monotherapy or in combination with other immune therapies to further activate anti-cancer immunity. The first NIR-PIT Phase 3 clinical trial targeting EGFR uses the antibody-photoabsorber conjugate (APC), cetuximab-IR700 (RM1929/ASP1929) and is now underway for recurrent and advanced head and neck cancer in North America, Asia and Europe ( NIR-PIT has been given fast track status by regulators in the US and Japan. A variety of imaging methods can be used to monitor NIR-PIT therapy including optical methods such as direct IR700 fluorescence imaging before and during therapy with fluorescent endoscopy systems or a special camera using the therapeutic light as excitation. Other optical, PET and MR methods may be useful as well. NIR-PIT is a versatile method of treating cancers and will likely acquire specific roles for treating various cancers particularly those presenting with localized or locally advanced disease even with distant metastasis.
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Hisataka Kobayashi "Near infrared photoimmunotherapy: a new type of immune theranostic technology for cancer", Proc. SPIE 11362, Clinical Biophotonics, 113620S (1 April 2020);

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