AstraZeneca Reports Top-Line Result of Tremelimumab Monotherapy Trial in Mesothelioma

“AstraZeneca and MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, today announced that DETERMINE, the Phase IIb clinical trial of 10 mg/kg tremelimumab monotherapy in second or third-line treatment of unresectable malignant mesothelioma, did not meet its primary endpoint of overall survival.

“Robert Iannone, Senior Vice President, Head of Immuno-Oncology, Global Medicines Development at AstraZeneca, said: ‘We are disappointed that tremelimumab monotherapy did not demonstrate a survival benefit in this patient population with no approved medicines beyond first-line treatment. However, we remain confident in tremelimumab’s clinical activity in combination, as shown in our recently published Study 006 trial of tremelimumab and durvalumab in non-small cell lung cancer.’ ”


Checkpoint Inhibitors Show Promise in SCLC, Mesothelioma

“Immune checkpoint inhibitors have demonstrated encouraging results for patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and mesothelioma, two aggressive thoracic malignancies with few options, according to a presentation by M. Catherine Pietanza, MD, at the 10th Annual New York Lung Cancer Symposium.

“ ‘The antibodies to CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1 can be safely given to these patients. Responses are seen and are durable. There is a benefit in both platinum-sensitive and platinum-refractory SCLC,’ said Pietanza, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“Chemotherapy has traditionally been the treatment of choice for most patients with SCLC and mesothelioma beyond the frontline setting. However, outcomes are poor with these therapies, specifically for SCLC, where the median survival following second-line therapy ranges from 6 to 9 months.”


OK for Flu Shot With Nivolumab, Other Checkpoint Inhibitors?

“The cancer treatment strategy of immune checkpoint blockade has produced unprecedented results in melanoma and lung cancer, as well as in experimental settings with other tumor types, including renal cell carcinoma and mesothelioma.

“Clinicians are not alone in taking notice, according to Niesha Griffith, MS, RPh, a pharmacist at the James Cancer Hospital of The Ohio State University in Columbus.

“Multiple patients at her center have requested these drugs for off-label use, and offered to pay upfront and out-of-pocket for the expensive therapies, she said. Such offers were rare before the advent of cancer immunotherapy, but now occur regularly.”


New Statistical Model May Help Predict Patients Most Likely to Benefit from Surgical Treatment for Mesothelioma

“A new statistical model may help predict which patients are most likely to receive life-extending benefits from surgical treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), according to an article in the September 2015 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

“MPM is an aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the chest cavity (pleura). The main cause of mesothelioma is believed to be repeated exposure to asbestos, which is a naturally occurring group of minerals found in soil and rocks around the world. Asbestos was previously used to make fireproof materials, such as theater curtains, insulation, flooring, and workers’ gloves, and is still used in some products today. About 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the US each year, with many more worldwide. There is frequently a lag time of twenty years or more between exposure to asbestos and the development of the disease.

“Currently, there is no cure for advanced stage mesothelioma, and the 5-year survival rate is only about 10%.”


FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation to MTG-201 for Malignant Mesothelioma

“The FDA granted orphan drug designation to MTG-201 for the treatment of patients with malignant mesothelioma, according to a press release.

“MTG-201 (MTG Biotherapeutics) is an advanced biologic therapy that targets Dickkopf-3 gene defects in various cancer types. The Dickkopf-3 gene produces the REIC protein, without which cancer cells can not die.

“MTG-201 directly attacks mesothelioma cancer cells and induces immune system response, and may be used in combination with anti–CTLA-4 therapies in development for the disease.

“In addition, MTG-201 is under development for the treatment of prostate cancer, and ongoing preclinical programs are evaluating MTG-201 as a potential treatment for liver and bladder cancers.”


ACTION ALERT: Mesothelioma Bill in Congress for Patient Registry

“We have big news and need your help! Today, the ‘Mary Jo Lawyer-Spano Mesothelioma Patient Registry Act of 2015’ was introduced in Congress by Congressional Representatives John Katko (R-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Chris Collins (R-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ). This bipartisan bill would establish the nation’s first formal federal registry to track mesothelioma patients. This would provide scientists with adequate clinical data to assist in their research.

“This bill came about as a result of our March 2015 Symposium’s Advocacy Day when Meg Meccariello and her mother Elizabeth Lawyer met with Congressman Katko. The Lawyer family has been greatly impacted by mesothelioma. Meg, who is a mesothelioma patient herself, has lost her father Charles Lawyer and her sister Mary Jo Spano (after whom this bill is named) to mesothelioma. Another one of her siblings has also been recently diagnosed.”

“ ‘Unlike many chronic and rare diseases, there is currently no national registry available for mesothelioma patients,’ said Rep. John Katko. ‘These registries collect and consolidate information about individuals who suffer from the disease and provide health care professionals, researchers, and patients with the ability to search information about diagnosis, as well as track disease trends, risk-factors, and treatment availability.’ “


The CAR T-Cell Treatment: Will It Work for Solid Tumors?


Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a new, immune system-based cancer treatment that has garnered recent media attention. In a clinical trial, CAR T-cell treatment left no signs of tumors in 70% to 90% of children and adults with the aggressive blood cancer acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). ALL is almost always fatal, and the results observed with CAR T-cell treatment are nothing short of spectacular. Continue reading…


Genelux Announces Promising Data from Two Phase I Trials of GL-ONC1 in Head and Neck Cancer and Mesothelioma

“Genelux Corporation, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of vaccinia virus for oncolytic immunotherapy, today announced that data from two Phase I trials evaluating its lead oncolytic virotherapy GL-ONC1 in head and neck cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma demonstrate a favorable safety profile and support further investigation of the therapy in both indications.

“The results will be presented by lead investigators from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center at the upcoming 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, being held May 29-June 2 in Chicago, IL.”


PharmaMar Announces New Advances in Oncology at ASCO 2015 for Its Compounds YONDELIS® and PM1183 in Small Cell Lung Cancer, Soft Tissue Sarcoma, and Mesothelioma

“PharmaMar announces that it will present several clinical studies to showcase the data obtained in various tumor types, including SCLC, soft tissue sarcoma and mesothelioma during the 51st American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago (ASCO; May 29-June 2). Abstracts have been selected for oral presentation, poster discussion session and general poster presentation. The studies presented by the Company will include the first-in-class drug YONDELIS® (trabectedin), and the second-generation of this class, PM1183 (lurbinectedin). PM1183 is an inhibitor of the transcriptional machinery and a DNA repair complex, which have proven to be crucial in different tumor types, including SCLC, soft tissue sarcoma and ovarian cancer. In addition, these drugs have been shown to have an effect on the tumor microenvironment by targeting tumor-associated macrophages, which is relevant for cancers such as mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, in which chronic inflammation seems to be a hallmark of the disease.”