Updated on 29 September 2015
Cavatak is an investigational novel cancer immunotherapy
Singapore: Australia based Viralytics has initiated a clinical trial to assess its oncolytic virus, Cavatak, in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in late-stage melanoma patients.
Phase 1b open-label study is designed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of the established dose of Cavatak in combination with Keytruda in 30 patients with advanced melanoma. Investigators will also assess evidence of anti- cancer activity, including response rates and bio-markers of anti-tumour immunity.
The lead investigator for the trial is Dr Howard Kaufman, associate director, clinical sciences, Rutgers Cancer Institute, New Jersey, New Brunswick. Dr Kaufman, whose research is focused on finding new treatments for melanoma and other related skin cancers, currently serves as the President of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer.
He was also an investigator in the recently concluded Phase 2 CALM trial assessing CAVATAK as a monotherapy in late-stage melanoma patients.
"Based on the positive results of the CALM trial, including data from the CALM extension study showing Cavatak's ability to increase the number of cancer-fighting immune cells present in tumour tissue, I am eager to explore the combination of CAVATAK and Keytruda in human trials," said Dr Kaufman. "Although Keytruda and other checkpoint inhibitors represent a major advance in the treatment of melanoma, there is great interest in the potential of oncolytic viruses such as Cavatak to improve upon these outcomes in patients with melanoma."