Clinical trials are being conducted by Ludwig Cancer Research (Ludwig) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) to evaluate Durvalumab, a checkpoint blockade antibody, alone and in combination with Tremelimumab, an anti-CTLA-4 antibody, for the treatment of brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and several solid tumours.
The trials are being performed by the Cancer Vaccine Collaborative Clinical Trials Network together with Ludwig and CRI, in collaboration with MedImmune, the division of AstraZeneca working in biologicals’ research and development.
The glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) clinical study is a Phase 2 trial evaluating the effects of the checkpoint blockade antibody durvalumab (MEDI4736), developed by MedImmune, in individuals with GBM, the most aggressive and fatal adult brain tumor. This trial will include 3 groups of individuals that were recently diagnosed with GBM, had recurrent tumors or tumors that develop resistance to standard therapy.
Jonathan Skipper, executive director of technology development at Ludwig, explained in a recent news release that GBM is a fatal cancer that until now has been resistant to all therapies available in the market. He added researchers are expecting the outcome of this trial will lead to a promising immunotherapy for GBM.
Durvalumab is an experimental human monoclonal antibody targeting programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). The signals resultant from PD-L1 ligation enable tumours to evade the immune system. This human monoclonal antibody will inhibit such signals, counteracting the strategies of tumoral immune evasion. The antibody belongs to a novel group of immunotherapies called checkpoint inhibitors, which have the capacity to avoid exacerbation of immune responses on normal cells.
Adam Kolom, managing director of CRI’s venture fund and Clinical Accelerator, said this will be the first time an immunotherapeutic drug will be tested against the fatal glioblastoma multiforme tumor. Both clinical trials belong to a wider clinical research program supported by Ludwig and CRI to investigate novel tumour immunotherapies, alone or combined with other cancer agents.