The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer say they’ll jointly evaluate new combinations of three investigational immunotherapies and other agents to treat various solid tumors and blood cancers.
The clinical agreement covers five studies, for now. An MD Anderson/Pfizer joint steering committee will oversee the initiative.
Pfizer’s investigational therapies to be used in the trials include Bavencio (avelumab), a PD-L1 inhibitor; Glasdegib (PF-04449913), an investigational oral, smoothened (SMO) inhibitor; Mylotard (gemtuzumab ozogamicin), an antibody-drug conjugate; PF-04518600, an investigational OX40 agonist, and Utomilumab (a non-proprietary name for PF-05082566), an investigational CD137 agonist.
The first study is expected to enroll up to 188 patients with solid tumors, included in seven treatment groups of therapeutic agents alone or in combination with radiotherapy.
“This alliance aims to define patients with solid tumors who may benefit from immunotherapy and to develop therapy resistance strategies,” Dr. Aung Naing, associate professor of investigational cancer therapeutics at Houston-based MD Anderson and head of the solid tumor program, said in a press release. “The studies are designed to hone in on specific combinations and tumor types, and explore unique mechanisms of response and resistance to immunotherapies. Our comprehensive approach will allow us to study new combinations of immunotherapy and standard therapies for patients with solid tumors in need of new treatment options.”
The second study, designed to enroll 159 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), will have eight different treatment arms. In addition, three other studies will evaluate Pfizer agents in blood cancer patients.
“This series of Phase 1b trials will involve an accelerated series of combination immunotherapy trials for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and solid tumors,” said Dr. Naval Daver, associate professor of leukemia at MD Anderson and leading investigator at the blood cancer clinical trial. “Our aim is to deliver new therapeutic solutions to our patients through this uniquely designed clinical trial program.”
Most of the trials are anticipated to be initiated before the end of 2017.
“Pfizer believes that meaningful treatment advancements for patients with blood cancers will come from novel combinations of immuno-oncology agents and targeted therapies,” said Dr. Chris Boshoff, senior vice-president and head of immuno-oncology, early development and translational oncology at Pfizer. “We are delighted to work with MD Anderson — one of the world’s best cancer research institutions — to explore unique combinations that may have a significant impact for patients.”