A Netherlands-based biotechnology company has announced progress on its phase II/III mesothelioma study, looking at the impact of its dendritic cell therapy on patients diagnosed with the rare and deadly asbestos-caused cancer. Amphera B.V.’s entire focus is on dendritic cell therapy, and is currently planning three different clinical trials: this is its first, which will focus on pleural mesothelioma patients, while its second will look to the effectiveness of the treatment on peritoneal mesothelioma and third has not yet been announced.
Dendritic Cell Therapy Is Based on Vaccine Science
The basic theory behind dendritic cell therapy, whether it is used on mesothelioma or any other cancer, is to create a tailored cancer vaccine that uses a patient’s own cancer to enhance their immunity against its return. By isolating a fragment of mesothelioma and then combining it with blood from the patient which has gone through a special filtering process, the company isolates a part of the immune system that fights cancer. These cells are then exposed to the fragment of the cancer in the lab and then returned to the patient’s body to protect against the cancer’s spread.
Study Recruits 230 Pleural Mesothelioma Patients
Amphera’s phase II/III study is called DENIM, which stands for DENdritic cell Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma. The company has already recruited 230 pleural mesothelioma patients, half of whom will receive 3 bi-weekly injections of the company’s drug MesoPher following chemotherapy, followed by supportive care and then more injections at weeks 18 and 30. The control group will simply receive supportive care. The two groups will be compared for the duration of their overall survival as well as progression free survival. The patients were recruited from several different mesothelioma centers across Europe.
Speaking of the importance of the study, Amphera’s CEO Rob Meijer said, “The number of pleural mesothelioma patients is on the rise and to date there is only one therapy registered with limited clinical benefit. As such, new approaches to treating mesothelioma are much needed to improve the prognosis for these patients.”
Every day scientists are creating new ways to fight malignant mesothelioma. Though this therapy is still in the testing phases, there are others that are available to provide victims of asbestos-related diseases with improved quality of life and survival times. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.