What is Tecentriq and how does it work?
Tecentriq (atezolizumab) is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the activity of the programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). It received accelerated approval by the FDA on May 18, 2016, based on the results of the IMvigor 210 clinical trial. Tecentriq is manufactured by Genentech and it is the first PD-L1 inhibitor approved to treat urothelial carcinoma. It is the third approved drug that affects the PD-1 pathway; Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) and Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) block the PD-1 receptor.
Monoclonal antibodies are currently approved and used for the treatment of many diseases including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, and organ transplant patients. Antibodies are effective in the treatment of these diseases because they attach to and destroy or neutralize specific pathogens or proteins involved in inflammatory processes.
Tecentriq is a human (humanized) antibody that works on a specific pathway of the immune response thought to be involved in the development and spread of urothelial carcinoma (bladder cancer) and other types of cancers. Urothelial carcinoma is the most prevalent type of bladder cancer.
Scientists believe that bladder cancer cells produce a protein called PD-L1. PDL1 binds to two receptors, PD-1 and B7.1 receptors, found on immune cells called T-cells. When PD-L1 protein molecules bind to PD-1 and B7.1 receptors they prevent the immune system from making chemicals that fight off cancer, allowing it to grow and spread to other areas of the body. Tecentriq binds to PD-L1 and prevents it from binding to the PD-1 and B7.1 receptors which allow the cancer-fighting chemicals and cells of the immune system to attack the bladder cancer.