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New Immunotherapy Drug Stops Mesothelioma in Half of Patients Tested

An encouraging new study says that when combined with certain chemotherapy drugs, an innovative immunotherapy drug stops mesothelioma in half of patients tested. Known as ONCOS-102, the drug, a purposefully engineered human serotype 5 adenovirus optimized to induce systemic anti-tumor T cell responses in cancer patients, is the lead adenovirus-based pipeline product by clinical stage immuno-oncology company Targovax.

The study, a randomized phase I/II open label trial of ONCOS-102 and pemetrexed/cisplatin, the current standard of chemotherapy care in patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), consisted of a six-patient lead-in cohort. In a press release announcing the results of the trial, Targovax said that the goal of the study was to “assess safety and tolerability, immunological activation and overall response rate of the combination of ONCOS-102 and chemotherapy compared to chemotherapy alone.”

In February, the company reported that the “independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) had assessed the safety data from the lead-in cohort, and recommended the trial continue into the randomized phase without modifications. In addition, innate and adaptive immune activation was observed in the first patients analyzed.”

Now, explains Targovex, “overall response rate has been evaluated for all six patients in the safety cohort after six months. Three out of the six patients (50%) responded, with one patient showing a partial response and two patients showing stable disease, according to the Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors guidelines, RECIST 1.1.” This is the first time a clinical response has been observed for ONCOS-102 in combination with chemotherapy.

Based on the previous DSMB recommendation and this early sign if efficacy, researchers are now recruiting patients for the randomized part of the trial.

In the release, principal investigator of the trial Dr. Luis Paz-Ares said, "mesothelioma is a challenging disease to treat, with few patients surviving beyond 12 months from diagnosis. The three clinical responses observed in the safety lead-in cohort of the ONCOS-102 trial are encouraging. We look forward to entering the randomized part of the trial, which will further evaluate the potential of this novel, innovative treatment to benefit more patients in the future."

The trial will include 30 patients when fully recruited, with 20 patients in the experimental group (including the safety cohort) and 10 patients in the control group.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to your doctor about participating in a clinical trial for innovative drug combinations such as ONCOS-102 and pemetrexed/cisplatin. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, newer treatments such as this could be effective in treating your specific type of mesothelioma.

 

Sources

"Adenovirus-based Cancer Immunotherapies: ONCOS-102." Targovax. Targovax, 2018. Web. 22 May 2018.

"Targovax Announces Early Signal of Efficacy in ONCOS-102 Trial in Mesothelioma." GlobeNewswire. GlobeNewswire, 02 May 2018. Web. 22 May 2018.