Mesothelioma Treatment Candidate Breaks Up Tumor Cells in Lungs

Cancer peptide vaccine ONCOS-102 successfully reduced tumor sizes in 50% of patients after six months

picture of human lungs

An Oslo, Norway based biotech company reported positive results from a limited, Phase I/II clinical study.

This mesothelioma trial is an open-label, multi-center trial with a phase Ib safety lead-in of ONCOS-102 and standard of care pemetrexed/cisplatin (chemotherapy) in patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The study’s results showed Targovax's oncolytic virus platform ONCOS-102 successfully reduced tumor sizes in 3 out of 6 patients after six months.

One patient had a partial response. The disease stayed stable in the remaining 2 patients.

The patient’s immune system learns to recognize these antigens and attack other tumor cells.

Dr. Luis Paz-Ares, Chair of the Medical Oncology Department at the University Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid and Principal Investigator of the trial 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."

However, it’s important to note that the cancer vaccine candidate was only tested in six patients, too small to draw long-term conclusions. The company will now see if the treatment’s effects hold up in a larger cohort of 30 patients.

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Targovax’s ONCOS-102 works by injecting an oncolytic virus straight into the tumor, which specifically causes tumor cells to break open and release antigens.

In 2015, this peptide platform was joined by a virus-based oncolytic immunotherapy one when Targovax merged with Helsinki-based Oncos Therapeutics.

Targovax’s CMO Magnus Jäderberg, MD, believes this could be the start of an interesting trend.

“Our oncolytic virus platform doesn’t need a target though. By injecting the virus straight into the tumor, the tumor will release the specific antigens or “barcode” of each individual patient, and the immune system will then recognize these antigens as a threat, take over and kill the tumor.”

“These oncolytic viruses are the first generation of a new way to treat solid tumors, said Dr. Jaderberg

Targovax (OSE:TRVX) is a clinical-stage company focused on developing and commercializing novel immuno-oncology therapies to target, primarily, treatment-resistant solid tumors. Immuno-oncology is currently one of the fastest growing therapeutic fields in medicine.