An immunotherapy that targets a specific antigen in mesothelioma cancer seems to help patients with late-stage cancer.
The treatment, called galinpepimut-S, was part of a study involving eight patients with stage 2, stage 3, or stage 4 pleural mesothelioma. All patients had either relapsed after standard treatment (chemotherapy or immunotherapy) or were unresponsive to standard treatment. These cases usually don’t survive for more than a few months due to how fast mesothelioma spreads.
The study paired galinpepimut-S with Opdivo, the brand name for the immunotherapy drug nivolumab. Opdivo and Yervoy (ipilimumab) are approved for pleural mesothelioma as immunotherapy drugs. Seven of eight patients received at least three doses of galinpepimut-S, and the last dose also included Opdivo.
The eight patients had a median survival of 9.4 months, which is better than usual for patients after a relapse of mesothelioma. The seven patients who had galinpepimut-S and Opdivo survived for an average of 10.5 months.
The median progression-free survival was three months. This is how long the tumors did not begin growing again due to these particular forms of mesothelioma immunotherapy working.
More Information About Galinpepimut-S
Galinpepimut-S is a targeted therapy that focuses on a specific antibody in cancer. This type of immunotherapy is called a “cancer vaccine.”
It targets the Wilms Tumor 1 antigen, shortened to WT1. It’s one of the most common cancer antigens and often is found on mesothelioma tumors. The National Cancer Institute lists WT1 as the top target among cancer antigens for immunotherapy vaccines. NCI believes research involving WT1 should be the priority to advance new therapies.
Opdivo is an immune checkpoint inhibitor. It blocks two proteins, PD-1 and PD-L1, from binding together. Preventing the proteins from binding helps T cells notice cancer cells in tissue. T cells are in charge of protecting the body from diseases and infections, including cancer. The binding of these and other proteins tricks the T cells into believing cancer cells are harmless.
The combination of galinpepimut-S and Opdivo attacks mesothelioma from two directions: killing cells expressing WT1 and unlocking the tumor-killing power of T cells.
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