IL-12 Therapy Elicits Encouraging Response Rates in Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Immunopulse IL-12 monotherapy and in combination with pembrolizumab was associated with encouraging response rates and safety data in patients with melanoma who may not respond to anti-PD-1 therapy, according to a press release.

“The findings were presented at the 9th World Congress of Melanoma — A Joint Meeting with the Society for Melanoma Research. The data include a phase 2 Immunopulse IL-12 (OncoSec) monotherapy study with 51 patients and a phase 2 study of the immunotherapy in combination with pembrolizumab, which included 22 patients.”

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Immune-Stimulator Boosts Pembrolizumab in Melanoma Patients With “Cold” Tumors

Excerpt:

“Adding the immune stimulator ImmunoPulse IL-12 to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) produced promising activity among patients with melanoma identified as unlikely responders to anti–PD-1 therapies.

“Data from the phase II OMS-I102 trial presented at the 2017 World Congress of Melanoma showed that the combination induced an overall response rate (ORR) of 50% (n = 11) among 22 patients with baseline biomarker data suggesting they would not respond to anti–PD-1 therapy.”

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FDA Grants Fast Track Designation to ImmunoPulse IL-12 for Melanoma

Excerpt:

“The FDA granted fast track designation to ImmunoPulse IL-12 for the treatment of metastatic melanoma that progressed during therapy with pembrolizumab or nivolumab.

“ImmunoPulse IL-12 (OncoSec Medical) is an intratumoral anticancer gene therapy that expresses interleukin-12 (IL-12).

“ ‘With the number of melanoma patients now being treated with either pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merck) or nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol Myers Squibb) in either the first- or second-line settings, there will be an increasing number of patients who will not respond to therapy,’ Punit Dhillon, president and CEO of OncoSec, said in a company-issued press release. ‘Thus, there is a clear need for treatments that can rescue these patients and help them benefit from these immunotherapies.’ ”

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New IL-12 Delivery Method Shows Success in Melanoma Treatment

“Intratumoral plasmid interleukin-12 electroporation was associated with local necrosis and increased tumor infiltrating lymphocytes and can lead to systemic tumor regression in melanoma, according to study results presented at the HemOnc Today Melanoma and Cutaneous Malignancies meeting.

“These benefits warrant the study of plasmid interleukin (IL)-12 electroporation in combination with anti-programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) monoclonal antibodies, Alain Algazi, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, said during his presentation.

“ ‘IL-12 is a key cytokine, and might be really important in terms of stimulating an anti-tumor immune response, but if you give it systemically, it is toxic,’ Algazi said. ‘This is a way that you can give a concentrated amount of IL-12 into the tumor, with a focal intervention that is more tolerable.’

“Algazi and colleagues developed a platform for treatment where researchers inject plasma DNA into the tumor and then give an electric current to the site in order to make holes in the tumor cells. The tumor can then take up the plasma and start expressing IL-12.”


OncoSec Reports ImmunoPulse May Prolong Survival Based on Analysis of Long-Term Survival Data from Phase I Study in Melanoma

The gist: A new treatment called ImmunoPulse has shown promise for improving the long-term survival of metastatic melanoma patients. ImmunoPulse delivers instructions for making a protein called IL-12 into a patient’s tumor; the patient’s cells then make IL-12, which boosts the immune system to kill cancer cells. It was tested in 24 volunteer patients in a clinical trial in 2007. Now, long-term follow-up data has been analyzed. The researchers found that the median length of time patients lived after treatment was 23.9 months.

“OncoSec Medical Inc. (OTCQB: ONCS), a company developing DNA-based cancer immunotherapies, released long-term survival results from its Phase I study in patients with metastatic melanoma, evaluating a single treatment cycle of intratumoral plasmid IL-12 (pIL-12) injection with electroporation (EP). Dr. Robert Pierce, Chief Scientific Officer at OncoSec, a co-author of the abstract presented these data today at the Melanoma Bridge 2014 conference in Naples, Italy.

“The Phase 1 dose-escalation study, which completed enrollment in February 2007 and was first published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (Daud et al., 2008), established that a single treatment cycle of intratumoral pIL-12 EP, administered on Days 1, 5 and 8, has an acceptable safety profile and is well-tolerated. Escalating concentrations of pIL-12 were administered in cohorts of three patients. No dose-limiting toxicities, treatment-related serious adverse events, or treatment-related Grade 4 or 5 adverse events were reported. Importantly, the study also demonstrated that local intratumoral pIL-12 EP can induce systemic responses, as evidenced by stable disease or objective regression in non-injected, non-electroporated lesions. Moreover, pIL-12 EP monotherapy was shown to achieve objective responses in this initial Phase 1 trial in patients with metastatic melanoma, with three complete responses (CRs) observed after only one treatment cycle.

“OncoSec collected data from long-term follow-up and determined that the median overall survival for the patients in the Phase 1 study was 23.9 months. In addition, a statistically significant difference (p = 0.0054) was observed when comparing overall survival between patients who had a best overall response of at least stable disease or better (median OS = 49.1 months) versus patients who only had disease progression while on study (median OS = 10.9 months).”


ASCO 2014: Highlights for People Dealing with Melanoma


Every year, new cancer treatment insights are shared at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Here are some of the most notable recent developments in melanoma treatment, gleaned from researchers’ presentations at ASCO last month: Continue reading…


OncoSec Medical Presents Positive Phase 2 Interim Data Evaluating ImmunoPulse in Melanoma

“OncoSec Medical Inc. (OTCQB: ONCS), a company developing its ImmunoPulse DNA-based intratumoral cancer immunotherapy, announced interim data from its Phase 2 melanoma study at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 50th Annual Meeting in Chicago. The abstract, titled “Systemic anti-tumor effect and clinical response in a Phase 2 trial of intratumoral electroporation of plasmid interleukin-12 in patients with advanced melanoma” (ASCO Abstract #9025), was presented by Adil Daud, M.D., OncoSec’s Chief Clinical Strategist and Principal Investigator of the Phase 2 melanoma study, and selected for discussion during a poster highlights session for melanoma/skin cancers led by Axel Hauschild, M.D., Ph.D.”

Editor’s note: This article describes a promising immunotherapy treatment that boosts a patient’s own immune system to fight melanoma. 


IL-12 Therapy May Shrink Melanomas Not Directly Treated

An experimental immunotherapy that delivers interleukin-12 (IL-12) directly into a melanoma tumor may also shrink tumors elsewhere in the body. Called ImmunoPulse, the treatment entails injecting a tumor with interleukin-12 DNA and delivering electric shocks to make the tumor cells absorb this DNA. These cells then produce IL-12, boosting the immune response against the tumor. In an ongoing phase II trial of 21 people with melanomas that were treated with ImmunoPulse, tumors shrank in 8 of them (38%) and disappeared for at least 6 months in 2 more of them. Moreover, untreated tumors also shrank in about 60%. The possibility of body-wide effects is encouraging because, in contrast to systemic IL-12 therapy, ImmunoPulse treatments have yet to cause serious side effects.


New Immunotherapy May Turn IL-12 On and Off in Melanomas

Doctors may someday be able to adjust interleukin-12 (IL-12) levels in melanomas at will, according to results of an ongoing clinical trial presented at Melanoma Bridge 2013 Conference in Naples, Italy. IL-12 is an immune system protein that can shrink melanomas, but also has nasty side effects. The experimental immunotherapy entails injecting tumors with a virus that does not cause diseas, and that has been engineered to produce the IL-12 when people take a drug called veledimex. In the phase I/II trial of 21 people with melanomas that had been injected with this engineered virus, IL-12 production turned on when they took veledimex and turned off when they stopped. Depending on the dose, veledimex increased IL-12 production by 1,000 to 100,000 times.