Colon Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise in Mid-Stage Trial

Genetically engineered adenovirus doubles survival rate in subjects with end-stage disease

A genetically engineered adenovirus vaccine designed to treat patients with colon cancer has more than doubled the survival rate, with little or no toxicity, in subjects with end-stage disease, with some subjects still alive more than five years after receiving only the vaccine. The new phase 2 data were presented by Dr. Patrick Soong-Shiong at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2016 Health Care Conference, held on May 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Soon-Shiong is the inventor of the first human nanoparticle chemotherapeutic agent, paclitaxel (Abraxane, Celgene Corporation).

The investigational vaccine was tested in more than 30 patients with metastatic colon cancer who had failed more than five rounds of chemotherapy and who had an overall life expectancy of 4.5 months, according to Soon-Shiong.

He told attendees that the vaccine, a genetically engineered common cold virus (adenovirus) that displays the unique biologic signature of the patient’s carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), is injected subcutaneously like a flu shot. The vaccine finds and directs dendritic cells to activate killer T cells, thus programming the patient’s immune system to develop lifelong immunity against cancer cells. In the new trial, treatment with the vaccine more than doubled median survival in patients who had failed all standard forms of therapy and had an expected historical survival rate of less than 4.5 months.

Cancer MoonShot 2020, a clinical development program founded by Soon-Shiong, aims to initiate phase 2 trials of combination immunotherapy in a total of 20,000 patients with 20 tumor types over the next three years. The findings from these studies will inform phase 3 trials.

Source: PipelineReview; May 10, 2016.