Clinical-stage vaccine development firm Immunovaccine has started dosing in a Phase II clinical trial with its lead cancer immunotherapy, DPX-Survivac, in patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
The company-sponsored trial is designed to evaluate the efficacy of DPX-Survivac in combination with oral cyclophosphamide, an immune modulating agent, in these patients.
DPX-Survivac is designed to activate killer T cells of the immune system against the survivin antigen found in a variety of solid tumours and blood cancers.
Around 24 patients with recurrent survivin-expressing DLBCL will be enrolled in this open label Phase II trial, which is being conducted at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Odette-Sunnybrook Cancer Centre, with additional sites planned as the trial progresses.
Immunovaccine chief executive officer Dr Marc Mansour said: "We believe that combining our T cell activating therapy with immune modulating agents is important to achieve a robust clinical response.
"Our data to date suggest that combining DPX-Survivac with low dose cyclophosphamide has the potential to provide a clinical benefit in some cancer patients.
"With cyclophosphamide often used as a low toxicity therapy in recurrent/refractory lymphoma, recurrent DLBCL represents an excellent indication to demonstrate the efficacy of the DPX-Survivac/cyclophosphamide combination in this patient population with a high unmet medical need."
The company said that investigators for the multi-site trial will determine the percentage of patients with measurable disease who respond clinically to the DPX-Survivac therapy.
In the trial, immune responses and changes in tumour biopsies from these patients will also be monitored.
The DPX-Survivac vaccine includes survivin-based peptide antigens formulated in the DepoVax adjuvanting platform.
This vaccine is thought to work by eliciting a cytotoxic T cell immune response against cells presenting survivin peptides on HLA class I molecules.
Image: Micrograph of a large B cell lymphoma. Photo: Nephron.