A US trial of T-cell immunotherapy for mesothelioma patients is showing promising results with minimal side effects.
Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos. Currently, there is no cure, and treatment aims to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for as long as possible. The standard treatment for mesothelioma in the UK has always been chemotherapy, together with surgery, if the patient is well enough. However, there have been many clinical trials showing positive results for immunotherapy treatment and some forms of immunotherapy are now available on the NHS.
Immunotherapy is a biological therapy which harnesses the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells. There are a number of different types of immunotherapy, some work by making cancer cells easier to find and target, some work in a similar way to vaccines and some change the genes in white blood cells, this is how T-cell therapy works.
T-cell immunotherapy uses genetic engineering to alter the genes in a patient’s white blood cells, helping them to identify and destroy the cancer cells. Researchers at TCR2 Therapies have been studying a type of T-cell therapy using a drug, TC-210.
In Phase I of their trial, there were four mesothelioma patients and one patient with ovarian cancer. They had all already had various treatments for their cancers but nothing had stopped tumour growth.
The aim of this phase was to test the safety of the drug and to establish the best dose, in preparation for the next phase of the trial.
In all five patients in Phase I, there was regression of their tumours. Two patients experienced at least a 50% decrease in tumour size and two had no tumour growth for six months.
The results are extremely promising and the President and CEO of TCR2 Therapeutics is pleased with the study so far; “We are delighted that our very first dose of TC-210 induced consistent tumour regression and clinical benefit in heavily pre-treated cancer patients.”
Phase II is now recruiting participants in the US. They are looking for patients with advanced mesothelioma and patients with mesothelin-expressing tumours. Further details can be found here.
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TCR² Therapeutics Announces RECIST Responses with First TC-210 Dose Tested in Advanced Mesothelin-Expressing Solid Tumors”, July 26, 2020, News Release, TCR² Therapeutics website, https://investors.tcr2.com/news-releases/news-release-details/tcr2-therapeutics-announces-recist-responses-first-tc-210-dose