Imugene (ASX:IMU) targeting treatment of solid tumours via onCARlytics

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Imugene (ASX:IMU) targeting treatment of solid tumours via onCARlytics

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Imugene to kick start clinical trial of onCARlytics in 2022
Image source: Company Website

Highlights

  • Imugene Limited (ASX:IMU) expects the first clinical trial of onCARlytics to start in 2022.
  • The Company anticipates the Phase 1 CF33 oncolytic virus studies to accelerate the development of onCARlytics.
  • CAR T cell therapies are emerging as an exciting breakthrough in the treatment of cancer, specifically with hematologic malignancies.

Towards the end of 2021, Imugene Limited (ASX:IMU) collaborated with Eureka Therapeutics, Inc. for the treatment of solid tumours. The collaboration aimed at exploring the potential of a combination of the Company’s CD19 oncolytic virus onCARlytics (CF33-CD19) in combination with Eureka’s anti-CD19 ARTEMIS® T-cell therapy for treating solid tumours.

Must Read: Imugene partners with Eureka Therapeutics for solid tumour treatment, stock jumps

Notably, the first clinical trial of onCARlytics is expected to start in 2022. The trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of CF33-CD19 in combination with CAR T therapy in patients with solid tumours. Moreover, the Company anticipates the Phase 1 CF33 oncolytic virus studies to accelerate the development of onCARlytics.

Encouraging results from pre-clinical trials

In pre-clinical trials that included triple-negative breast (TNBC), ovarian, brain, pancreatic, prostate, and head and neck cancers, onCARlytics in combination with CAR T cell therapy has shown it is more potent than CF33 or CD19 CAR T therapy alone against solid tumours.

Pre-clinical trials of onCARlytics in combination with CAR T cell therapy

Moreover, ARTEMIS® T-cells have demonstrated reduced cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and other cytokine-related toxicities compared to CAR-T cells, potentially improving the safety and efficacy of a combination approach.

The pre-clinical trials also showed that mice already cured of their solid tumours with CAR T cell and the onCARlytics combination demonstrated prolonged protective anti-tumour immunity. Once the immune system eradicates the tumours with the initial combination treatment, it builds a memory response shielding the mice against tumour recurrences.

Market opportunity

As per Imugene, CAR T cell therapy has demonstrated substantial success and potential in a short time, with KYMRIAH®, YESCARTA®, TECARTUS®, and BREYANZI® securing FDA approvals. These four FDA approved CD19 CAR T drugs are only successful in blood cancers- solid tumours remain the holy grail. The onCARlytics technology makes the treatment of solid tumours by CAR T drugs viable.

Moreover, blood cancer diagnoses that were once thought of as terminal, with no other options to explore, are now observing meaningful and durable remissions for patients treated with CAR T. CAR T cell therapies are emerging as an exciting breakthrough in the treatment of cancer, specifically with hematologic malignancies.

Also Read: Imugene makes giant strides on novel technology platforms in 2021

Unfortunately, blood cancers represent only about 10% of all cancer types. Therefore, the great and unmet need is for treatments that attack the other ~90% of cancers.

How onCARlytics work?

Although T cells hold the potential to destroy abnormal cells within the body including cancerous cells, cancer cells evade the body’s defences by generating signals on their cell surface that shield them from recognition by the immune system. Thus, the cancer research community is focusing on enhancing the immune system to recognise, attack, and destroy cancer cells.

Also, there is a limited success of CAR T therapy in solid tumours due to the lack of selective targets on solid tumour cells, such as CD19 (present on blood cancer cells). However, OnCARlytics utilises the CF33 oncolytic virus to deliver CD19 antigens to solid tumour cells, enabling CAR T therapy to target and treat solid tumours that are otherwise difficult to treat with CAR T therapy alone.

Imugene shares are trading at A$0.30 as of 12:00 PM AEDT, with a significant rise of about 9.8%.

In Case You Missed: Imugene Limited tapping breast cancer market via oncolytic virus CHECKvacc

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