Prospects are looking good for a company that has developed a new kind of mesothelioma treatment based on electrical fields, and for the patients who stand to benefit from it.
Headquartered on the island of Jersey in the UK, the company is called Novocure. Their new technology, called Tumor Treating Fields, uses alternating electrical fields to destabilize critical proteins and disrupt mesothelioma cell division.
Now, Novocure’s stock prices are rising and financial advisers are giving it a “buy” rating in the wake of the latest mesothelioma trial results showing longer survival for patients who received the treatment.
Tumor Treating Fields and Mesothelioma Treatment
Novocure launched the STELLAR study, a phase 2 pilot trial in people with pleural mesothelioma, after achieving positive results with Tumor Treating Fields in adults with the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma.
The mesothelioma community was encouraged when the company announced interim results of the trial at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s 17th World Conference in December 2016.
This month, the prospect of improved mesothelioma survival looks even closer after Novocure reported even-more-positive final results.
According to Novocure, the final data “exceeded the results of the interim analysis” and demonstrated “clinically meaningful improvements in overall survival and progression free survival among patients who received Tumor Treating Fields plus stand of care chemotherapy.”
Electrical Fields Impact Mesothelioma Survival
The STELLAR trial included 80 pleural mesothelioma patients who had not yet received any treatment and whose tumors were determined to be unresectable.
Patients received Tumor Treating Fields along with standard mesothelioma chemotherapy with pemetrexed (Alimta) and either cisplatin or carboplatin.
At the interim point, after 42 patients had gone through the treatment, the one-year mesothelioma survival rate was 80 percent—a major improvement over the 50 percent survival rate that is typical of mesothelioma patients who receive only chemotherapy.
In the Tumor Treating Fields group, it took a median of 7.3 months for mesothelioma tumors to start growing again after treatment, almost two months longer than typical progression-free survival in chemotherapy-only patients.
Just as significant is the fact that the device caused no serious side effects. The biggest complaint among mesothelioma patients who received Tumor Treating Fields was mild skin irritation from where the device was affixed to their skin.
May Be Marketed for Mesothelioma Treatment This Year
Based on the positive interim results, Tumor Treating Fields received Humanitarian Use Device designation from the FDA for the treatment of pleural mesothelioma in 2017.
Now that they have final data in hand, Novocure plans to apply for the Humanitarian Device Exemption, which would allow them to market the technology as a treatment for pleural mesothelioma in the US. Right now, Tumor Treating Fields in combination with chemotherapy is considered investigational for pleural mesothelioma.
“We are extremely pleased with these top-line results, which bring us one step closer to realizing the potential for a new treatment for mesothelioma patients in desperate need,” said Dr. Eilon Kirson, Novocure’s Chief Science Officer and Head of Research and Development, in a statement.
The final STELLAR data will be presented at an upcoming medical conference. Surviving Mesothelioma will bring you those results as soon as they are released.
Novocure Earns Buy Rating from Mizuho, April 29, 2018, The Lincolnian
Novocure Reports Positive Top-line Results from STELLAR Phase 2 Pilot Trial in Mesothelioma, April 17, 2018, Novocure website