UK-based biotechnology company Immunocore has started its Phase I monotherapy trial of its lead programme, IMCgp100, to treat patients with uveal melanoma.

The disease causes cancer cells form in eye tissues, constituting approximately 3% of all melanomas

It is said that there are no current effective treatments on the market to address the disease.

The trial is composed of three Phase I escalation cohorts to ascertain the optimal dosage for a Phase II trial, which will commence this year at a number of leading centres worldwide.

Immunocore chief medical officer Christina Coughlin said: "Advanced uveal melanoma is a rare and devastating disease for which there are currently no effective treatment options.

"Advanced uveal melanoma is a rare and devastating disease for which there are currently no effective treatment options."

"IMCgp100 has shown some promising signs of early clinical activity in this disease setting and could be an effective treatment for this group of patients. "

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Earlier this year, Immunocore’s IMCgp100 was granted orphan drug designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of uveal melanoma, which qualifies the drug to be entitled for numerous development incentives.

IMCgp100 has delivered promising results while being administered in advanced cutaneous and uveal melanoma patients during its Phase I/IIa clinical trial.

This trial is said to have revealed the durability of the drug with five objective responses to date, two of which are partial responders in patients with uveal melanoma.

Image: Cancerous cell growth in the eye tissues indicating uveal melanoma. Photo: courtesy of The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP)