A new therapy, gavocabtagene autoleucel, seems to shrink mesothelioma tumors and help survival.

The new therapy was featured at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress last month. Precision Oncology reported the news, which centered around a small trial of 16 patients with mesothelin‑expressing tumors. Mesothelin is a protein common for numerous cancers, including malignant mesothelioma.

The phase 1 trial, which included MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, used gavocabtagene autoleucel to harvest T‑cells and engineer more to fight mesothelioma. The therapy is called “gavo‑cel” for short.

Gavo‑cel turns the body’s T‑cells into T‑cell receptor fusion construct T‑cells, or TRuC‑T cells. These modified T‑cells hunt for the mesothelin protein and kill any cells carrying it. Fortunately, non‑cancerous cells rarely express mesothelin. It’s usually a biomarker for cancer.

The 17 patients received gavo‑cel as a one‑time infusion treatment. All needed detectable levels of mesothelin on at least half of their tumors based on immunohistochemistry tests. Of the participants at MD Anderson Cancer Center, 12 had mesothelioma.

All but two patients had tumor shrinkage after gavo‑cel treatment. Six patients achieved partial response and one had complete response. The overall response rate was 25% and disease control reached 81%. Disease control means the tumors didn’t grow or spread after treatment.

The median overall survival was 11.2 months and median progression‑free survival was 5.9 months. This length of time is around equal to standard chemotherapy for mesothelioma.

TCR2 is the manufacturer of gavo‑cel therapy. Alfonso Quintas‑Cardama, TCR2’s chief medical officer, said he believes the results are encouraging. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted orphan drug status to gavo‑cel for mesothelin‑expressing cholangiocarcinoma. A similar sort of designation could happen for mesothelin‑expressing mesothelioma cases.

    Sources & Author

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About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

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