Based on ‘compelling data’ and promising early results, researchers are expecting to move a mesothelioma drug to a phase 3 clinical trial next year.
Early findings from a clinical trial of immunotherapy vaccine CRS-207 for mesothelioma were presented at the 40th European Society for Medical Oncology last month (September). The lead investigator Raffit Hassan, MD of the National Cancer Institute said that CRS-207 appears to improve the odds of surviving mesothelioma in inoperable patients.
Dr Hassan said: “The data in this trial continue to be impressive in the front-line treatment of mesothelioma. We are encouraged by the high disease control rate in patients treated with this combination and will continue to evaluate and track the durability of the responses, which are on-going.”
In the current clinical trial, CRS-207 is given with chemotherapy to patients with inoperable pleural mesothelioma. Out of the 34 trial patients, 32 showed positive control of their mesothelioma. In 20 of those patients, mesothelioma tumours shrank and in the other 12 the tumour growth was at least stabilised. The responses lasted for a median of 5.3 months.
The report says that biopsies on three of the patients revealed that CRS-207 seemed to attract immune system cells to the mesothelioma. The immune cells then work together with the chemotherapy drugs to destroy the mesothelioma cells. There were no serious side effects.
Mesothelioma is a terminal lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. The cancer usually develops in the lining of the lungs between 10 and 50 years after exposure. There is no cure and treatments are limited, although research into, and awareness of the terrible cancer, are improving. Based on the latest projections of annual mesothelioma deaths by the Health and Safety Executive, the Department for Work and Pensions predicts that 53,000 people in the UK will die over the 25-year period (2013-2037) as a result of developing mesothelioma.
“Aduro Biotech Announces Phase 1b Mesothelioma Trial Featured in Spotlight Poster at ESMO/ECC”, September 26, 2015, Aduro Biotech website