Phase 1 Study Yields Improved Survival in Relapsed Pleural Mesothelioma

A Phase 1 clinical trial of a new immunotherapy drug has yielded improved survival in patients with relapsed malignant pleural mesothelioma. The drug, galinpepimut-S (GPS), is made by SELLAS, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in novel cancer immunotherapies. GPS was combined with the checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) and extended median overall survival from approximately 28 weeks on standard of care treatment to 35.4 weeks.

Small Phase 1 Study Shows Promising Results

The Phase 1 clinical study involved four male patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. One patient was identified as having Stage II mesothelioma, one was Stage IIB, and two were Stage IV. All had either epithelioid and/or sarcomatous cell types and had received and progressed with frontline pemetrexed-based chemotherapy.

Each of the mesothelioma patients in the study was dosed with GPS and Opdivo for at least one month. Their average overall survival was 35.3 weeks and average progression-free survival was 8.8 weeks. In addition to seeking information about the effectiveness of the drug combination the researchers were determining safety, and found it to be the same as that of treatment with Opdivo alone with the exception of local low-grade reactions at the injection site.

Drug Company President Expresses Optimism for Improved Mesothelioma Outcomes

In speaking of the poor prognosis generally expected in relapsed malignant mesothelioma — and particularly for those with the sarcomatoid cell type — Angelos Stergiou, M.D., Sc.D. h.c., the president and CEO of SELLAS expressed optimism, saying, “Patients treated with GPS plus nivolumab combination therapy appear to be surviving significantly longer than expected. We believe that this could potentially be due to the persistence of a residual cellular immunity-mediated antitumor effect with this immunotherapy combination. Studying additional patients along with longer follow-up of existing patients will hopefully provide further clarity on these data, which we expect to review over the next six months as the study progresses.”

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, 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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