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Halted Mesothelioma Clinical Trial A Disappointing Setback

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Patients, physicians and researchers in the mesothelioma community suffered a serious setback last month when Aduro Biotech announced they terminated the Phase Ib clinical trial for its drug known as CRS-207. MesotheliomaHelp has reported multiple times on the “encouraging results” previously reported with the use of the experimental cancer drug in mesothelioma patients. The pharmaceutical company reported that “based on preliminary results … as well as a business and commercial assessment” they would close down the trial.

“The company has determined that it will not continue advancement of CRS-207 and will wind down each of its trials in mesothelioma, ovarian and gastric cancer,” according to a Dec. 12 Aduro Biotech press release.

In light of the disappointing news, Stephen Isaacs, chairman and chief executive officer of Aduro Biotech said, “We would like to thank the patients, their families, our clinical investigators and staff for their time and commitment to these trials, which will contribute important data to the field of oncology.”

The phase 1b study designed to “Evaluate the Safety and Induction of Immune Response of CRS-207 in Combination With Pemetrexed and Cisplatin as Front-line Therapy in Adults With Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma” was opened in August 2012 with one of the company’s first public report on the trial being presented in 2013 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting.

In 2016, Aduro Biotech reported “encouraging results” in the trial with 82% of patients with disease control, 55% achieving a partial response, and 27% with stable disease. Tumor shrinkage was observed in 77% of patients. At the time, the company planned to advance directly to a Phase 3 clinical trial.

CRS-207 is a Listeria-based vaccine engineered to induce immune system T cells to target cancer cells that express mesothelin. Mesothelin is a protein found in higher amounts in certain types of cancer cells including mesothelioma, non-small-cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the chest cavity caused by exposure to asbestos. Approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the U.S.

Although this clinical trial was cancelled, trials are still one of the best ways to find effective treatments for mesothelioma and other aggressive and hard-to-treat cancers and diseases. Mesothelioma patients should talk to their care team to see if there is a clinical trial that could benefit them.

The ClinicalTrials.gov entry for this trial had not been updated as of this posting.

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