New Cancer Treatments Show Promise in Clinical Trials

Groundbreaking cancer treatments offer hope: Immunotherapies, targeted therapies, and innovative approaches show promise in improving survival and quality of life for patients with advanced or difficult-to-treat cancers.

Sakchi Khandelwal
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New Cancer Treatments Show Promise in Clinical Trials

New Cancer Treatments Show Promise in Clinical Trials

Several recent breakthroughs in cancer research are providing hope for patients with advanced or difficult-to-treat cancers. Clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of new immunotherapy drugs, targeted therapies, and innovative treatment approaches in improving survival and quality of life.

AstraZeneca's IMFINZI (durvalumab) in combination with standard chemotherapy showed clinically meaningful long-term overall survival benefit for patients with advanced biliary tract cancer in the TOPAZ 1 Phase III trial. At a median follow-up of over 3 years, the combination reduced the risk of death by 26% compared to chemotherapy alone. These results represent the longest survival data ever reported for a global randomized Phase III trial in this patient population.

The FDA granted accelerated approval to lifileucel (Amtagvi) for treating adults with unresectable or metastatic melanoma who have progressed on other therapies. Lifileucel is an adoptive T cell therapy that uses tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes extracted from the patient's own tumors. In the Phase 2 C-144-01 trial, lifileucel demonstrated an objective response rate of 31.5%, including complete responses in 4.1% of patients.

Researchers at Osaka University developed a new compound called L687 that can deliver antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) into cancer cells by opening calcium-permeable channels on the cell surface. The combination of L687 and ASOs showed enhanced uptake and efficacy in laboratory studies and mouse tumor models. This delivery system could potentially expand the use of ASO therapies to treat cancers beyond the liver and central nervous system.

Why this matters: Despite advances in cancer treatment, many patients still face poor prognoses and limited options. The development of new targeted therapies and immunotherapies is paramount for improving outcomes and quality of life for these patients. The promising results from these clinical trials offer hope and may lead to new standard of care treatments for difficult-to-treat cancers.

CancerVax, Inc. announced that its UCLA research team has created a promising bispecific antibody vaccine for treating recurrent Ewing sarcoma, a rare and deadly bone and soft tissue cancer affecting children and young adults. The vaccine targets Ewing sarcoma cells and attracts the body's natural killer T-cells to destroy the tumors. Based on successful laboratory studies, CancerVax plans to proceed with FDA Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies to seek approval for human clinical trials.

Innate Pharma and Sanofi have initiated the Phase 2 dose expansion portion of a trial evaluating SAR443579, an investigational trispecific anti-CD123 NK cell engager, as monotherapy for blood cancers with high unmet needs. The progression to Phase 2 follows promising efficacy and safety data from the dose-escalation phase, which were presented at the American Society of Hematology 2023 Annual Meeting.

Dr. Noah Federman, Director of the Pediatric Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Program at UCLA, stated, "There are currently no treatment options for recurrent Ewing sarcoma, which has a near 100% mortality rate. The vaccine developed by our team has shown very promising results in the lab, and we are excited to move it forward into clinical trials to potentially provide a new treatment option for these patients."

Key Takeaways

  • IMFINZI+chemo improved survival in advanced biliary tract cancer
  • Lifileucel, a T-cell therapy, approved for unresectable melanoma
  • L687 compound enhances uptake of ASO therapies in cancer cells
  • CancerVax developing bispecific antibody vaccine for Ewing sarcoma
  • Innate Pharma and Sanofi advance trial of NK cell engager for blood cancers