A new therapy that makes the immune system kill bone marrow cancer cells was successful in as many as 73 percent of patients in two clinical trials, according to researchers from The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
The therapy, known as a bispecific antibody, binds to both T cells and multiple myeloma cells and directs the T cells — white blood cells that can be enlisted to fight off diseases — to kill multiple myeloma cells. The researchers described this strategy as “bringing your army right to the enemy.”
The success of the off-the-shelf immunotherapy, called talquetamab, was even seen in patients whose cancer was resistant to all approved multiple myeloma therapies. It uses a different target than other approved therapies: a receptor expressed on the surface of cancer cells known as GPRC5D.
Talquetamab was tested in phase 1 and phase 2 trials. The phase 1 trial, which was reported in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), established two recommended doses that were tested in the Phase 2 trial. The results of the Phase 2 trial were reported at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting on Saturday, December 10. The study participants had all been previously treated with at least three different therapies without achieving lasting remission, suggesting talquetamab could offer new hope for patients with hard-to-treat multiple myeloma.
“This means that almost three-quarters of these patients are looking at a new lease on life,” said Ajai Chari, MD, Director of Clinical Research in the Multiple Myeloma Program at The Tisch Cancer Institute and lead author of both studies. “Talquetamab induced a substantial response among patients with heavily pretreated, relapsed, or refractory multiple myeloma, the second-most-common blood cancer. It is the first bispecific agent targeting the protein GPRC5d in multiple myeloma patients.”
Nearly all patients with myeloma who receive standard therapies continually relapse. Patients who relapse or become resistant to all approved multiple myeloma therapies have a poor prognosis, so additional treatments are urgently needed. This study, while an early-phase trial designed to detect tolerability and find a safe dose, is an important step in meeting that need.
Source: Read Full Article