Initial Results from Mesothelioma Clinical Trial Show Unexpectedly Positive Results

A press release issued by the immune-oncology company Targovax ASA is inspiring hope in patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. The company revealed that initial clinical results of combining their ONCOS-102 cancer virus with standard chemotherapy provided patients with significantly improved progression-free survival and disease control. 

Oncolytic Viruses Target Malignant Mesothelioma Tumors

The phase I/II trial of ONCOS-102 included 31 patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma who were being treated with standard of care chemotherapy combination of pemetrexed/cisplatin. The testing was designed to determine safety, as well clinical effectiveness and the degree of immune activation that the virus created when combined with chemotherapy. 

Twenty of the mesothelioma patients were given the ONCOS-102 and chemotherapy combination and 11 were only given chemotherapy. Five months later patient experience and outcomes was reviewed, revealing that the combination was well tolerated. Patients displayed no side effects beyond what would typically be seen from chemotherapy treatment.

Test Results of Novel Mesothelioma Treatment Go Beyond Safety

Moving beyond the important question of whether the novel mesothelioma treatment is safe, the data suggests that it is also effective. Median progression free survival for mesothelioma patients given the combination treatment was 8.4 months compared to 6.8 months for the control group. Patients for whom the combination protocol was the first treatment they received had a median progression free survival of 8.9 months.

Also notable was the overall response rate and disease control that the first line mesothelioma patients exhibited, with an overall response rate of 30% and a disease control rate of 90% in the group that received the combination. Perhaps most important of all, the combination treatment indicated robust immune activation.

Speaking of the results, Professor Luis Paz-Ares, Chair of the Medical Oncology Department at the Hospital Doce de Octubre, Madrid and Principal Investigator of the trial, said, “Mesothelioma remains a challenging disease with generally poor prognosis, and there is a large unmet medical need for new, innovative treatments such as ONCOS-102. We generally consider antitumor response difficult to measure in mesothelioma, and PFS may be the preferred early indicator of clinical efficacy. Although the data are preliminary and still maturing, it is encouraging to see signals of numerically improved median PFS in the ONCOS-102-treated group. The ORR in first line patients is as expected relative to historical control, whereas the DCR is higher than we normally see. We are continuing to follow the patients and it will be very interesting to track how the data matures over time.”

If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and need information on clinical trials and other novel treatments, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

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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