The mesothelioma study we’ve been waiting for is finally going to happen.

Targovax, the manufacturer of the complex ONCOS-102, is teaming with the maker of the well-known immunotherapy drug Keytruda for a clinical trial. The phase 2 study is explicitly using ONCOS-102 and Keytruda for people with pleural mesothelioma.

The trial, which will enroll up to 100 patients, tests a combination of Keytruda, ONCOS-102 and standard chemotherapy. Targovax, which is based in Norway, said the study will involve United States locations.

“The aim is to start enrolling patients into the trial within 12 months,” the company’s press release reads.

If you’re interested in participating, reach out to our medical staff. Our patient advocate Jenna Campagna can help you apply for this or other clinical trials. There is no fee to reach out and explore your treatment options. Please contact her via email at jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com.

 

Why ONCOS-102 and Keytruda Can Work Together

Researchers believe combining ONCOS-102 and Keytruda will make each of them more effective as mesothelioma treatments. Both are used to help the immune system fight mesothelioma. The therapies just go about their aid in different ways.

ONCOS-102 is a combination of virotherapy and immunotherapy. It’s an adenovirus that transmits immune-stimulating proteins into the body. The adenovirus breaks up the tumor cells, and the proteins signal for help to the T-cells.

When the tumor cells break apart, they release antigens into the disease environment. These antigens serve as fingerprints, which helps T-cells to locate other tumors.

In a recent mesothelioma study, ONCOS-102 was paired with standard chemotherapy. Researchers compared its effects to just using chemotherapy. ONCOS-102 plus chemotherapy showed across-the-board benefits:

  • Improved progression-free survival of patients by two months
  • Boosted the disease control rate by 7%
  • Raised the one-year survival rate by 14%

Keytruda, the brand name for the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab, is an “immune checkpoint inhibitor.” It blocks cancerous proteins that suppress the immune system. Keytruda stops PD-L1 (cancer protein) from communicating with PD-1 (immune system T-cell protein). Doing so allows the T-cells to attack tumors.

Keytruda recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for limited use in treating pleural mesothelioma. The FDA granted permission for cases with a high level of PD-L1 protein expression, as research has shown that Keytruda helps these patients.

The combination of Keytruda and ONCOS-102 makes sense. ONCOS-102’s primary goal is to get T-cells into the tumor environment. Keytruda will help those T-cells register mesothelioma cells as dangerous.

“Keytruda is the market-leading checkpoint inhibitor and thus our preferred choice of partner,” said Øystein Soug, the CEO of Targovax. “We are hopeful that the combination … will lead to improved outcomes for patients with this challenging disease who currently have few treatment alternatives.”

Targovax is testing ONCOS-102 with an immunotherapy drug for peritoneal mesothelioma patients as well. The company is hosting a phase 2 clinical trial that combines ONCOS-102 with durvalumab, which is also a PD-L1 inhibitor therapy.

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Devin Goldan image

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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Show Author

    Devin Golden

    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.