HF10 is a weakened strain of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) that Takara Bio is investigating as a possible treatment for melanoma.

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It is usually a result of extensive exposure to ultra-violet radiation from the sun or artificial light sources such as tanning beds.

How HF10 works

HF10 is an oncolytic immunotherapy. This new approach to fighting cancer involves using oncolytic viruses to go after malignancies.

An oncolytic virus is one whose preferred target is cancer. A key advantage of using HF10 to fight cancer is that it multiplies only in tumor cells, and does not affect healthy tissue.

Another advantage is that the strong response that HF10 generates against cancer enhances the body’s natural anti-tumor activity.

HF10 in clinical trial

Takara is conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial (NCT02272855) to assess a combination of HF10 and Yervoy (ipilimumab) as a melanoma treatment.

Participants have either stage 3B, 3C or 4 metastatic malignant melanoma that surgery has failed to remove completely.

Researchers are injecting HF10 directly into patients’ tumors and administering Yervoy by IV infusion. Yerboy is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that enhances antitumor immunity.

Preliminary results indicate that HF10 substantially improves Yervoy’s effectiveness without increasing its toxicity. In addition, patients have tolerated the combination well, researchers said. The findings so far suggest that the combo could be an effective way to treat metastatic melanoma, the team said.

The trial is ongoing at several U.S. locations. It is not recruiting more participants.

A similar Phase 2 study (NCT03153085) is evaluating the combo’s ability to treat metastatic malignant melanoma patients in Japan.

Takara is also assessing a combination of HF10 and chemotherapy as a treatment for pancreatic cancer. A Phase 1 clinical trial (NCT03252808) that it is conducting in Japan involves patients with stage 3 or 4 pancreatic cancer that surgery has failed to remove completely.  Results are expected in early 2019.


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