An international team of scientists looked at adding a special kind of virus called ONCOS-102 to chemotherapy drugs. They found that adding ONCOS-102 can help mesothelioma patients live a bit longer during treatment.
The Promising Treatment Partnership
ONCOS-102 is a type of virus that can help the body’s immune system attack cancer cells. Scientists wanted to see if using ONCOS-102 with chemotherapy could make this treatment work better.
The current FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma are pemetrexed with cisplatin. These drugs target rapidly growing cancer cells, but they can also affect healthy cells that grow rapidly such as blood cells.
To test ONCOS-102 with standard chemotherapy, they recruited 31 patients with mesothelioma. Some of these patients got ONCOS-102 along with chemotherapy. While others got only chemotherapy. The scientists were mainly interested in whether using ONCOS-102 with chemotherapy was safe for patients. They also looked at how long the patients lived, how fast the cancer grew, and how the immune system responded.
How ONCOS-102 Enhances Mesothelioma Therapy
The most common side effects were anemia. This is where you do not have enough red blood cells. And neutropenia, where you do not have enough white blood cells. These side effects were more common in the group that got ONCOS-102. But no one had to stop the treatment because of them.
The scientists did not see a big difference in how well the treatments worked. But, patients who had not had chemotherapy before and got ONCOS-102 lived a bit longer. They also noticed that ONCOS-102 seemed to make the environment around the tumor more ready for the immune system to fight the cancer. This was linked to better survival at month 18 post-treatment.
The scientists determined that when used with chemotherapy, ONCOS-102 was safe for patients with mesothelioma. With more research, scientists can find out how to use ONCOS-102 to make the area around the tumor more friendly to the immune system. This could be linked to better survival rates.
Ponce S, Cedrés S, Ricordel C, et al. ONCOS-102 plus pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma: a randomized phase 2 study investigating clinical outcomes and the tumor microenvironment. J Immunother Cancer. 2023;11(9):e007552. doi:10.1136/jitc-2023-007552. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10476122/