From the blog

New Clinical Trial Underway for Immunotherapy Treatment; CA-170

Published: February 21, 2019

A new immunotherapy treatment that has recently been administered to a patient suffering from mesothelioma has researchers and scientists optimistic that if results are positive, this treatment could be more effective than Keytruda, the immunotherapy treatment that has had major success in non-small cell lung cancer  The name of the treatment is CA-170, and while clinical trials have been underway for this drug since 2016, it has only just recently been administered to a patient suffering from mesothelioma. Results are still pending, as the study is slated to continue through early 2020.

Mesothelioma cells produce a protein known as VISTA, which stands for V-domain Ig-containing Suppressor of T cell Activation. VISTA is a type 1 transmembrane protein. These proteins allow substances to move across membranes that cover the cell, constantly changing to be able to do so. VISTA levels become heightened in a tumor environment and are specifically released from mesothelioma cells. T-cell (a subtype of white blood cells that plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy, strong immune system) responses become suppressed  by this, and leave the body in a weakened state, unable to fight off cancer. Ninety percent of mesothelioma cells have high levels of VISTA. CA-170 blocks both VISTA and PD-L1, another protein found over expressed on cancer cells (and what is targeted by Keytruda).

What Exactly Is Immunotherapy?

Chemotherapy has long been the standard for cancer treatment, but in the last few decades, immunotherapy has become more prominent, and plays a vital role in the future of treating cancer. The purpose of immunotherapy is to boost the body’s own immune system, so that the cancer can be fought in a more natural way. This is done by either stimulating the immune system to attack cancer cells, or by giving the immune system a man-made “boost,” (often a type of protein) to kick the immune system into high gear. One of the draws to immunotherapy is the lack of harsh side effects, as is typically seen with chemotherapy. Healthy cells are able to remain healthy and are otherwise unaffected by treatment with immunotherapy, whereas with chemotherapy, the healthy cells many become weakened.

Early results for CA-170 for those with advanced tumors and lymphomas showed T-cell proliferation and cytokine production.  This multi-center, open-label, Phase 1 trial administers CA-170 orally in adult patients in a once or twice daily schedule.

Criteria for those to participate is as follows:

  • Males and females ≥ 18 years of age;
  • Life expectancy of at least 3 months;
  • ECOG PS ≤ 1;
  • Acceptable bone marrow and organ function at screening;
  • Ability to swallow and retain oral medications;
  • Negative serum pregnancy test in women of childbearing potential;
  • Measurable disease;
  • Tumor for which standard therapy, including approved anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 therapy, when applicable, does not exist or is no longer effective. For patients enrolling into backfill of dose levels at or below the MTD/RP2D, patients with tumor types known to have a high VISTA expression (such as metastatic malignant pleural mesothelioma of epithelioid histology).

More information about Phase I Clinical Trial

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