Wiesbaden, Germany – Last night Bavarian Nordic dropped the unfortunate news that the phase 3 PROSPECT trial exploring the PROSTVAC vaccine in combination with GM-CSF in asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) was futile.
Source: Bavarian Nordic
Once you miss the overall survival (OS) endpoint, that’s it folks – there’s no other choice but to say the therapy failed, harsh though that may sound.
There are, however, a number of important points to consider from here that are worthy of further discussion.
Here, we post an analytical review and look at a number of factors that could have impacted the outcome. It’s rarely one simple thing because the immune system is highly complex and multi-faceted.
Hopefully there will be important learnings from this study that will advance the IO and prostate cancer fields.
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Greetings from continental Europe!
ESMO Madrid Conference Center
We have a LOT of data to discuss today from ESMO and have also included an interview with one expert that was conducted under embargo on an important topic.
Of course, the usual in-depth analyses on new targets and early compounds in development will duly follow in the post-meeting output, but there’s plenty of practice changing data to consider and also some results that may trigger alternative thinking from where we are now.
We also received questions from BSB readers on certain trials and some of these are answered in today’s update on the road…
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Dr James Gulley is Chief of the Genito-Urinary malignancies branch and Director of the Medical Oncology service at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the National Institutes of Health. He’s a world-leading GU cancer expert and at the forefront of pioneering research to make cancer immunotherapy work in prostate cancer.
We last spoke to him at ASCO 2015 (See post: The future of prostate cancer immunotherapy). You can listen to excerpts from this interview on Episode 4 of the Novel Targets podcast (See: The non-inflamed tumour show).
Almost two years on, and new research by Dr Gulley and colleagues from the NCI shows that the STING pathway may have an important role to play in prostate cancer immunotherapy. Activation of this pathway through a novel mechanism could turn a cold non-inflamed tumor into a more inflamed or hotter one in men with advanced prostate cancer. How cool is that?!
At the 2017 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) that was recently held in Washington DC, Dr Gulley graciously spoke to BSB about some of the novel trials that are underway at the NCI, with the aim of making cancer immunotherapy work in men with advanced prostate cancer.
Dr Jim Gulley, NCI at AACR17
This is the seventh expert interviews in our series from AACR17 where we explore the conundrum:
How does Dr Gulley plan to light the immune camp fire in prostate cancer?
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We have been following the results of the checkpoint inhibitors for several years now, first with ipilimumab (Yervoy) and lately with anti-PD1 and PD-L1 inhibitors such as nivolumab, pembrolizumab and MPDL3280A. Irrespective of the antibody used, the best results we’ve seen have in melanoma, lung and bladder, but some tumour types such as colon and prostate cancers have barely been responsive at all.
Why is that?
Can we find ways to make non-responsive solid tumours responsive to immune therapies, and if so, what strategies could we employ to enable improved responses and outcomes?
At the ASCO Genitourinary (GU) meeting in Orlando this weekend there were some interesting hints of what might be possible in the not too distant future.
To learn more about this phenomenon, we conducted an interview with a leading cancer immunologist to find out what they are doing to make a difference in the GU space.
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