Imugene’s novel cancer treatment enters new phase in MAST trial

Go to Colin Hay author's page
By Colin Hay - 
Imugene ASX IMU solid tumour cancer biotech pharma VAXINIA

Imugene (ASX: IMU) continues to expand its phase 1 MAST (metastatic advanced solid tumours) trial evaluating the safety of novel cancer-killing virus CF33- hNIS (VAXINIA).

The clinical stage immuno-oncology company has now successfully increased dose rates with the first patients in each arm of the higher dose cohort as part of the phase 1 study.

Cohort 5 of the trial’s intratumoural and intravenous stage have received the monotherapy dose escalation.

Imugene managing director and chief executive officer Leslie Chong said the combination study, which features the administration of VAXINIA with pembrolizumab, also continues to actively recruit new patients with 13 patients enrolled to date.

Initial results encouraging

“Following the positive news on VAXINIA’s early signals and FDA fast-track designation to end 2023, we are pleased to start the new year by announcing the ongoing progress of the MAST trial as we continue to see no safety issues with the drug,” Ms Chong said.

“We also look forward to expanding the trial to take a closer look at bile duct cancer where we’ve seen early encouraging results.”

On January 17, Imugene reported positive initial results from the phase 1 MAST trial, with 38 patients receiving VAXINIA during the continuing dose escalation phase as either monotherapy or in combination with pembrolizumab..

The multicentre trial began by delivering a low dose of VAXINIA to patients with metastatic or advanced solid tumours who have had at least two prior lines of standard-of-care treatment.

The City of Hope-developed oncolytic virus has been shown to shrink colon, lung, breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer tumours in pre-clinical laboratory and animal models.

Early positive results from phase 1 have included the eradication of lesions on a number of patients.

Clinical benefits derived

It was also found that patients who received prior checkpoint blockade therapy derived clinical benefit with and without pembrolizumab.

Overall, the study aims to recruit up to 100 patients across approximately ten trial sites in the United States and Australia.

The trial commenced in May 2022 and is anticipated to run for approximately 24 months while being funded from existing budgets and resources.