A new mesothelioma drug trial is now underway. The trial will test a brand new type of immunotherapy medication called CA-170.
“CA-170 has demonstrated favorable safety and tolerability as well as preliminary anti-tumor activity in patients across multiple tumor types,” the company said in a statement.
Mesothelioma Drug Trial Focuses on VISTA
That is because cancers like malignant mesothelioma survive in part by evading detection by the immune system. They do this in a variety ways that doctors are just beginning to understand.
One way that mesothelioma cells protect themselves from attack is by releasing the protein VISTA. VISTA stands for V-domain Ig-containing Suppressor of T cell Activation.
VISTA overexpression is a resistance tool used by several types of cancer including mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, gastric cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. It is the focus of the new mesothelioma drug trial because about 90 percent of mesothelioma cells express high levels of VISTA.
Another tumor-protecting protein is PD-L1. PD-L1 is the protein targeted by the immunotherapy drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab).
Some research suggests that VISTA may be one of the reasons why Keytruda does not always work.
CA-170 blocks both VISTA and PD-L1, making it a promising focus for the new mesothelioma drug trial.
Early Start for the Mesothelioma Drug Trial
The new mesothelioma drug trial is the first to target a cancer that highly expresses VISTA.
Curis, the company that makes CA-170, originally planned to start the mesothelioma drug trial later this year.
But company President James Dentzer says strong first quarter earnings made it possible to start early. Curis now expects to to have initial results from the mesothelioma drug trial by the second half of 2019.
Mesothelioma patients in the trial will take CA-170 by mouth. Different groups of patients will take different doses.
Researchers will evaluate each dosing level. Their goal is to see what dose of CA-170 offers the most benefits to mesothelioma patients with the fewest side effects.
“First Mesothelioma Patient Dosed in CA-170 Study”, January 31, 2019, News Release, Curis, Inc., https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/first-mesothelioma-patient-dosed-in-ca-170-study-300783484.html