Nivolumab boosts the body’s immune system by targeting a protein on white blood cells called PD-1. PD-1 normally maintains the balance of the immune system by shutting it down at the right time. Some cancers take advantage of this shut-down mechanism by activating PD-1, enabling them to escape attack by the body’s immune system. Nivolumab binds to and inactivates PD-1, enhancing the body’s ability to detect and destroy cancer cells.
BMS986016 is also an investigational drug designed to provoke an immune response against cancer cells. While nivolumab targets PD-1, BMS-986016 targets a protein called LAG-3. In this study, researchers want to find the highest dose of BMS-986-016 that can be given alone and in combination with nivolumab in patients with solid tumors that have spread despite prior therapy.
Nivolumab is approved for treating melanoma and some metastatic squamous cell lung cancers; its use for treating other cancers is considered investigational. Both nivolumab and BMS-986016 are given intravenously (by vein).