Oncolytics Biotech Inc. announced a new investigator-sponsored triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) study to be managed by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. The phase 2 trial, known as IRENE, will investigate the use of pelareorep in combination with Incyte's anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor retifanlimab (INCMGA00012) in patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic TNBC.
"We are very excited to evaluate pelareorep in TNBC, as prior clinical data show it has the potential to address a pressing unmet need in this challenging indication," said principal investigator Mridula George, M.D., medical oncologist, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "Checkpoint inhibitors targeting interactions between PD-L1 and PD-1, while commercially successful, are ineffective in up to 80% of TNBC patients. This is often due to an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Checkpoint inhibitors are beneficial in patients who have upregulation of PD-L1 expression in the tumor environment. Clinical data show that systemic pelareorep administration can upregulate PD-L1 expression in tumors across multiple breast cancer subtypes, highlighting its potential to substantially increase the percentage of patients who respond to checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Through the IRENE study, we aim to explore how pelareorep-induced adaptive immune responses synergistically interact with PD-1 inhibition to improve patient outcomes in TNBC."
The newly announced IRENE study represents an expansion of Oncolytics' lead breast cancer program into a new disease subtype (TNBC). In addition to investigating the safety and efficacy of pelareorep-anti-PD-1 combination treatment in TNBC patients, the study will also evaluate changes in PD-L1 expression and correlations between treatment outcomes and peripheral T cell clonality, a previously identified biomarker of pelareorep response that may enable the success of future pivotal studies by facilitating the patient selection process. The trial will take place at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, and is co-sponsored by Oncolytics, the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Incyte.
The IRENE (INCMGA00012 and the oncolytic virus pelareorep in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer) study is a single-arm, open-label, phase 2 study evaluating the combination of pelareorep and INCMGA00012 for the treatment of unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. The study will enroll 25 patients and will be conducted at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Study participants will receive pelareorep intravenously on days 1, 2, 15, and 16 of 28-day treatment cycles. INCMGA00012 will be administered on day 3 of each cycle, with treatment cycles continuing until disease progression is observed. The co-primary endpoints of the study are safety and objective response rate. Secondary endpoints include progression free survival, overall survival, and duration of response. Exploratory endpoints include peripheral T cell clonality and pre- vs. post-treatment change in tumor PD-L1 expression.
Pelareorep is a non-pathogenic, proprietary isolate of the unmodified reovirus: a first-in-class intravenously delivered immuno-oncolytic virus for the treatment of solid tumors and hematological malignancies. The compound induces selective tumor lysis and promotes an inflamed tumor phenotype through innate and adaptive immune responses to treat a variety of cancers and has been demonstrated to be able to escape neutralizing antibodies found in patients.
Oncolytics is a biotechnology company developing pelareorep, an intravenously delivered immuno-oncolytic virus. The compound induces selective tumor lysis and promotes an inflamed tumor phenotype -- turning "cold" tumors "hot" -- through innate and adaptive immune responses to treat a variety of cancers.