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01
May
2019

Results from Cure Brain Cancer Foundation-funded trial show promise


Primary Investigator Associate Professor Hui Gan (L) in the lab.

 Promising preliminary results from a Phase 1 safety and bioimaging trial investigating the effects of ifabotuzumab (formerly KB004) on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – the most common and deadly form of brain cancer - have today been presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. This is the premier cancer research event in the world, where the latest and most exciting discoveries are presented and discussed.


Associate Professor Hui Gan and Professor Andrew Scott at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019 

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation funded this trial with a $500,000 grant following a competitive application process, and ifabotuzumab was provided by Humanigen, a public U.S. biotech company.

This encouraging Australian research is led by Associate Professor Hui Gan and Professor Andrew Scott at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and Austin Health in Melbourne, with collaborators including Professor Andrew Boyd and Professor Bryan Day at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and Dr Po Inglis from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Brisbane.

Background

 Ifabotuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets a specific protein (EphA3) on the surface of cancer cells and tumour-associated blood vessels (vasculature). EphA3 is present on up to 40% of all GBM cells and 100% of the GBM tumour vasculature, making it an attractive target for immunotherapy. This Phase 1 study aims to determine the safety and tolerability of ifabotuzumab in patients with recurrent GBM, its specificity for cancer cells, and to track its movement around the body using state-of-the-art imaging methods. This approach will help determine the optimal dose for future Phase 2 trials. 

RESULTS 

Preliminary results from the first patients in the trial demonstrate that ifabotuzumab selectively targets GBM tumour tissue, and not healthy surrounding brain tissue. Some side- effects were observed and successfully managed with standard supportive measures. The trial has enrolled six patients to date across two individual trial sites in Melbourne and Brisbane. The trial will enrol 12 patients.

These results offer exciting potential for further clinical trials with ifabotuzumab for patients with GBM, including delivery of therapeutic payloads directly to tumour cells.

“GBM is a disease with no cure and very few effective treatment options and an unacceptably low survival rate”, said Dr Vanessa Yenson, PhD, Research Operations Manager at Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, “Standard treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy affect healthy tissue causing collateral damage, so the fact that this antibody as a monotherapy crosses the blood-brain-barrier and solely targets the tumour and its vasculature is really encouraging. We’re excited to follow the progress of this trial as the remaining patients are enrolled”.

Read more about Ifabotuzumab