Biopharmaceutical Company Partners With Memorial Sloan Kettering for Mesothelioma Test

A clinical biopharmaceutical company has announced that it is partnering with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on a new clinical study looking at the impact of its drug in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. The company, SELLAS Life Sciences Group, focuses on novel cancer immunotherapies, and the test will look at combining its immunotherapeutic agent with Opdivo.

First Mesothelioma Patient Enrolled in Study

The clinical study will be looking at how GPS, a Wilms tumor-1 (WT1)-targeting peptide immunotherapeutic agent, works on patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma when combined with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s anti-PD-1 therapy, nivolumab.

Patients being recruited for the study are those whose malignant pleural mesothelioma has either relapsed or has proven extremely resistant to the standard-of-care multimodality therapy of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Principal Investigator is Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Expert

The lead investigator for the mesothelioma study is Marjorie G. Zuderer, M.D. The co-director of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Mesothelioma Program and Associate Attending Physician in the hospital’s Thoracic Oncology Service spoke of the study, saying, “There is significant preclinical and translational science evidence that PD-1 inhibitors may enhance the anti-cancer activity of cancer vaccines, with immuno-biologic and pharmacodynamic synergy from the combination of two such agents. By mitigating the negative effects of tumor microenvironment factors on immune response, PD-1 inhibitors, such as nivolumab, potentially allow for a patient’s immune cells to destroy cancerous growths that may be sensitized by GPS against WT1. I believe that WT1 serves as an ideal target for directly immunizing therapies in MPM, and I look forward to evaluating the combination of GPS and nivolumab in the clinic.”

Speaking on behalf of SELLAS, Angelos Stergiou, MD, ScD h.c., President and Chief Executive Officer said, “We are pleased to be collaborating with Memorial Sloan Kettering on this Phase 1 trial and excited to have expanded the clinical evaluation of GPS in combination with nivolumab to patients with advanced MPM. There are few effective therapies for mesothelioma, a disease which is characterized by high expression of the WT1 antigen, and we believe that the combination of GPS and nivolumab could be promising for patients with MPM, due to the combination’s potential synergistic immune-based mechanisms for anti-tumor activity. We look forward to gaining further insights on the safety and clinical outcomes of this combination in MPM.”

Mesothelioma patients who are interested in learning more about available clinical trials can contact the Patient Advocates at at  1-800-692-8608 for more information.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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