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Targovax initiates clinical immunotherapy trial to treat RAS-mutated cancer
20 April 2017 • Author: Niamh Marriott, Junior Editor
Targovax, a clinical stage company focused on developing immune-oncology therapies to target solid tumours, has recruited the first patient in an exploratory Phase Ib clinical trial of TG02 in patients with locally recurrent RAS-mutated rectal cancer scheduled to have surgery.
The trial is being conducted at clinical sites in Australia and New Zealand.
In this open label, non-randomised trial, ten patients will receive TG02 as monotherapy and then followed by ten patients receiving TG02 in combination with pembrolizumab, a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor. The trial’s primary objective is to investigate the safety and immune activity in peripheral blood and at the tumour level.
TG02 is the second TG cancer immune activator to enter the clinic from the company’s peptide-based immunotherapy platform. It contains a proprietary mixture of eight synthetic peptides representing fragments of the most frequent RAS mutations seen in rectal cancer.
Studies to date have shown that the company’s lead immune activator for RAS-mutated cancer, TG01, induces immune responses in cancer patients with resected pancreatic cancer, which may translate clinically to a survival benefit.
Mutations in RAS, a family of structurally related proteins that regulate cell growth, are seen in about 50% of colorectal cancers, and nearly all patients with recurrent disease. They are associated with a limited response to chemotherapy and poor prognosis.
Mutation specific immune response
Previous and ongoing clinical studies have shown that TG peptides are able to induce RAS mutation specific immune responses. Targovax is the only company with RAS-mutated specific immune activators in clinical development.
Magnus Jaderberg MD, Chief Medical Officer at Targovax said, “This will be the first time our TG02 immune activator will be tested in humans and, while the study’s primary objective is to study safety, we will also be looking at signs of anti-tumour immune activation, thus providing important mechanistic data not just for TG02 but for the entire TG technology platform.”
“In addition, it will give us an indication on how this novel immunotherapy can be enhanced in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor.”
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