Mesothelioma may have just got a new treatment contender. On January 2nd, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted an investigational drug application for SEL-403 from Selecta Biosciences, Inc.
Selecta is a biopharmaceutical company that is located in Watertown, Massachusetts. The company’s goal is to discover the full potential of biologic therapies without bringing any harm to a patient’s immune system.
Every year in the United States approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for this asbestos-caused disease.
There is hope in Selecta’s creation, SEL-403. Researchers believe that it exhibits qualities that may be successful in treating pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients.
What is SEL-403?
SEL-403 is a combination of SVP-Rapamycin and LMB-100. Both of these drugs have been created by the Selecta company.
- SVP-Rapamycin is an anti-drug antibody that is still at a clinical-stage. It works by targeting specific antigens in the immune system.
- LMB-100 is a man-made protein that targets mesothelin. It binds to tumors and attacks and kills cancer cells.
In preclinical research conducted in 2016, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) discovered that SVP-Rapamycin combined with LMB-100 has the potential to extend a mesothelioma patient’s treatment cycles. Researchers also believe that this combination may be capable of enhancing a patient’s anti-tumor activity.
Treating Mesothelioma with SEL-403
Currently, Selecta is planning a Phase 1 trial at NCI in Bethesda, Maryland. This trial anticipates to consist of about 18 participants.
Some patient qualifications for this trial are:
- Diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma
- Peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis
- Completed at least one round of chemotherapy
Mesothelioma warriors that become enrolled in this clinical trial can expect to receive up to 4 treatment cycles of SEL-403. The objective of this study is to evaluate the safety and tolerance of the drug combination in patients.
Targeting Mesothelin in Mesothelioma
Mesothelin is a protein found on the surface of some cancer cells. Malignant mesothelioma tumors often express a large amount of mesothelin making it an attractive target for experimental therapies. LMB-100 is just one of many investigational drugs currently used in clinical trials today.
Other immunotherapies targeting mesothelin include:
- Immunotoxin – SS1P
- Vaccine – CRS 207
- Chimeric Monoclonal Antibody – Amatuximab
- Antibody-Drug Conjugate – Anetumab ravtansine
- Anti-Mesothelin CAR T cells