eClinical Technology and Industy News

Promising Personalized Approach to Liver Cancer Therapy Made Possible by DNA-based Neoantigen Research Designed at The Wistar Institute

Geneos Therapeutics, Wistar, and Collaborators Translate Personalized DNA Vaccine Technology into Clinical Outcome Based on Mistakes Tumors Make

Excerpt from the Press Release:

PHILADELPHIA — (Tuesday, April 30, 2024) — Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or liver cancer, is an aggressive malignancy with limited treatment options. An immunologically cold cancer — meaning the tumors can effectively hide themselves from the immune system — liver cancer can escape or not respond to first-line treatment options, resulting in a poor prognosis. The results of a new clinical trial published in Nature Medicine show that a novel, personalized neoantigen vaccine therapy demonstrated promising anti-tumor efficacy in patients with liver cancer who failed their original front-line treatment. The foundational biomedical research leading to this important study and important outcome originated from research in the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center at The Wistar Institute.

The clinical trial was directed by the Philadelphia biotherapeutics company, Geneos Therapeutics — along with a scientific team of collaborators including The Wistar Institute — in the paper, “Personalized neoantigen vaccine and pembrolizumab in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: a phase 1/2 trial.”

Of the 36 participants enrolled, 34 were evaluable (i.e., able to be studied under the trial guidelines) among these, eleven demonstrated tumor regression by clinically defined Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST), resulting in a tumor regression rate of 30.6% — supporting a response to their therapy. Of those eleven, eight had partial vaccine responses (meaning their tumors decreased in size, with one such patient’s tumor shrinking enough to be surgically removed), and three had complete responses — meaning their observable tumors were eliminated. An additional 9 patients exhibited stable disease under treatment. While not a direct clinical endpoint, these patients’ disease appeared to stop progressing.

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