From the blog

ONCOS-102 Update: Mesothelioma Patients Responded after Phase II Clinical Trial

Published: May 16, 2018

Advancement in mesothelioma treatments over the past decade has been relativity stagnant, according to Targovax  – a Norwegian immune-cology company dedicated to the study and research of immunotherapy treatments. However, those suffering from mesothelioma have hope, as continuing phases of clinical trials are showing positive results; the latest being ONCOS-12, an immunotherapy treatment that showed early success in a Phase II clinical trial.

After passing initial safety concerns in the Phase I clinical trial of ONCOS-12, scientists and researchers moved forward with Phase II by combining it with chemotherapy to help gain further knowledge of how this treatment affects the immune system.  ONCOS-12 was tested with traditional chemotherapy treatments for mesothelioma – cisplatin and pemetrexed.  This immunotherapy is based on engineered oncolytic viruses, which are viruses that kill cancer cells. When these cancer cells are destroyed, particles are released that destroy the remaining tumor(s). In addition to destroying the tumor, these viruses are thought to help fuel anti-tumor immune responses.

The randomized Phase II clinical trial consisted on six total patients, with three of the patients having unresectable pleural mesothelioma (cancer that cannot be entirely removed with surgery). Divided into two groups, three of the patients received this combination treatment of ONCOS-12 and chemotherapy as their first line treatment, meaning that these patients had not received any other sort of treatment beforehand. The other group of three received the same combination treatment, but had previous treatments administered at some point before they participated in this clinical trial.

After six months, results showed a response in two of three patients who received the combination therapy as their first line treatment, and response in one of the three patients who had been treated previously.  Even though only six individuals were a part of this Phase II clinical trial, a 50 percent response rate is encouraging and provides enough incentive to move forward with more trials and larger pools of patients.  The second phase of a clinical trial is meant to focus on the procedural aspects and also provide information about the safety and health benefit of the treatment at hand. Phase II of ONCOS-12 will continue, with the next study set to include 30 total patients, 10 of them in the control group.

Even though asbestos is heavily regulated in the United States, thousands of people each year are diagnosed with asbestos-caused diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. There is no cure for mesothelioma, the only known cancer caused specifically by asbestos exposure. With the advancement of immunotherapy treatments, those suffering may be able to extend their survival while reducing symptoms of this fatal disease.



P&T Community, “Targovax Announced Early Signal of Efficacy in ONCOS-102 Trial in Mesothelioma,” Targovax ASA (May 2018). [Link]

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