High levels of hTERT (human telomerase reverse transcriptase) expression are found in 85% of human cancers, and is therefore a significant target for cancer treatment.
Therefore, Inovio Pharmaceuticals recently announced it has initiated a phase I trial of hTERT DNA immunotherapy alone or in combination with an interleukin-12 immune activator (INO-9012; also from Inovio), which will be conducted at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center.
In a previous study that looked at the activity of the drug in monkeys, who have similar TERT to humans, strong immune responses were observed and showed the potential to destroy cancer cells. The phase I trial is an open-label, dose-escalation study in patients with breast, lung, or pancreatic cancer who are at risk for relapse after surgery or chemotherapy/radiation.
The safety and tolerability of INO-1400 alone or in combination with INO-9012 will be evaluated, with a secondary objective to determine immune responses and evaluate immunotherapy-induced changes. Lung, breast, and pancreatic cancers were selected for this study because they have the first, third, and fourth highest mortality rates, and patients with these diseases often relapse despite surgery and adjuvant therapy.
The hope is that this drug will be yet another weapon in the armament of immunotherapies aimed at empowering the patient’s own immune system to fight their cancer.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced it has initiated a phase I trial of its hTERT DNA immunotherapy (INO-1400) alone or in combination with Inovio’s IL-12 immune activator (INO-9012) in adults with breast, lung, or pancreatic cancer at high risk of relapse after surgery and other cancer treatments.