The news just keeps getting better for the virus-based immunotherapy treatment ONCOS-102.
Norweigian drug maker Targovax recently released the final survival data from a two-year study of ONCOS-102 in people with malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Eighteen months into the study, it looked like some of the patients on the immunotherapy treatment would live longer than two years. Now that the ONCOS-102 study has passed the two year mark, researchers say median survival may be even longer.
Average survival is a year or less on standard mesothelioma therapies. This makes the news about ONCOS-102 especially exciting.
Standard of Care Versus Immunotherapy Treatment
Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive malignancy with a poor prognosis. Even patients in overall good health face a grim outlook. Chemotherapy is usually the first line of defense against pleural mesothelioma. Most patients receive a combination of pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin.
These drugs may slow the cancer down but they rarely stop it. In most cases, chemotherapy alone only extends life by a few months.
But immunotherapy treatment is different. Instead of trying to kill mesothelioma cells directly, immunotherapies aim to activate the immune system. Many researchers believe that immune system activation is the most promising path to long-term mesothelioma survival.
Last year, the FDA approved a combination of immunotherapy drugs for first-line mesothelioma treatment. A Phase III trial showed patients on Opdivo and Yervoy had a median survival of 18.1 months. That compared to 14.1 months for patients on standard chemotherapy.
ONCOS-102 is an investigational immunotherapy treatment made from a modified virus. The virus helps the treatment target mesothelioma cells while leaving healthy cells alone. The ONCOS-102 mesothelioma trial is a phase I/II trial combining ONCOS-102 with standard chemotherapy. Researchers tested the combination as either a first- or second-line treatment.
Unprecedented Mesothelioma Survival with ONCOS-102
Thirty-one patients enrolled in the ONCOS-102 mesothelioma trial. Twenty received a combination of ONCOS-102 injections and standard chemotherapy. Eleven patients had only chemotherapy.
Targovax released data on the immunotherapy treatment trial at 12 months, 18 months, and 21 months. Now that two years of follow-up are complete, it is clear that ONCOS-102 and chemotherapy can dramatically extend mesothelioma survival.
Final overall survival for patients who received the immunotherapy treatment and chemotherapy will be 21.9 to 25 months. Patients who received standard mesothelioma chemotherapy alone had a median survival of 13.5 months.
Analysis of the tumor tissue from ONCOS-102 recipients showed “broad and powerful ONCOS-102-induced remodeling of the tumor microenvironment”. The tumors were surrounded by immune system cells.
“The overall survival is very encouraging, particularly since the outcomes can be linked to ONCOS-102-induced immuno-modulation,” says Luis G. Paz-Ares, MD, PhD, who led the trial of ONCOS-102 at Madrid’s 12 de Octubre University Hospital. “These early results clearly support further clinical development, and we look forward to participating in future trials with ONCOS-102 in mesothelioma.”
Øystein Soug, CEO of Targovax, says ONCOS-102 may even boost the efficacy of immunotherapy treatment with Yervoy and Opdivo. “ONCOS-102 is ideally positioned for combination with checkpoint inhibitors and, as demonstrated in our melanoma trial, to reactivate checkpoint resistant tumors,” Soug said.
Targovax’s ONCOS-102 mesothelioma 24-month data shows class-leading median overall survival, June 10, 2021, Targovax News Release, https://www.targovax.com/en/targovaxs-oncos-102-mesothelioma-24-month-data-shows-class-leading-median-overall-survival/