One of the most important annual events in cancer research is the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). ASCO is the world’s leading professional organization for physicians and oncology professionals who care for people with cancer. At these meetings, top cancer researchers share data about the latest advances in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment that could ultimately lead to patients living longer and better lives.
“City of Hope’s commitment to investigating and delivering the most effective cancer therapies to our patients is bolstered by scientific learnings and discussions that take place each year at the ASCO conference,” said Steven T. Rosen, M.D., City of Hope’s chief scientific officer.
At the 2021 conference, held virtually in June, prominent City of Hope Newport Beach hematologist-oncologist Amrita Krishnan, M.D., director of the Judy and Bernard Briskin Center for Multiple Myeloma Research, presented updated data from a leading-edge immunotherapy study of which she is the lead investigator.
Dr. Krishnan discussed the results of patients treated with the recommended Phase 2 dose in the first-in-human Phase 1 study of teclistamab. The drug is in a new class of therapies — bispecific antibody T-cell engagers — that are not FDA approved but show great promise against multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that is diagnosed in nearly 35,000 people in the U.S. each year.
Bi-specific antibody therapy provides a double dose of powerful action against multiple myeloma, engaging the immune system and also directly targeting the myeloma cell. “One arm of the antibody attaches to the myeloma cell, and the other arm attaches to the T-cells in the patient, activating the T-cells and drawing them closer to the myeloma cells, so the patient’s own immune system also helps in killing the myeloma cells,” said Dr. Krishnan.
Approximately 160 patients received the therapy, which was well-tolerated at the recommended Phase 2 dose level and showed encouraging efficacy. The patients’ responses appeared durable and deepened over time.
“Teclistamab has been very exciting, because it has shown very high response rates in patients with advanced disease,” Dr. Krishnan said. “The way myeloma therapies generally work is, we first try them in patients who have advanced myeloma, and then we hope to rapidly study them earlier in patients’ disease course. Right now, we are in Phase 1, meaning we are still trying to establish the perfect dose and understand the side effects, but we are quickly moving it into much larger trials.”
Each year, City of Hope conducts 500 clinical trials, bringing tomorrow’s discoveries to the people who need them today.
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