Mesothelioma metastasis occurs when the cancer forms new tumors in other parts of your body. It often means there has been a serious progression of the disease. A new clinical trial, A Safety and Tolerability Study of INCAGN02385 in Select Advanced Malignancies, will study whether a new immunotherapy drug can slow or reverse mesothelioma metastasis.
The study is open to patients with more than a dozen forms of cancer, showing the promise of immunotherapy to reorganize the way cancer is treated. The effectiveness of many immunotherapy treatments may depend more on the way your cancer hides from your immune system than what type of cancer you have.
This is a positive development for patients with mesothelioma metastasis, as well as patients with other rare forms of cancer. If a treatment has the potential to work against multiple cancer types, funding for research and development of new treatments is easier to find.
LAG-3 Blocker Could Attack Mesothelioma Metastasis
The clinical trial for mesothelioma metastasis involves a drug so new that it is identified only as INCAGN02385; it doesn’t yet have a brand name. This Phase 1 trial will recruit 55 patients, all of whom will receive the drug. In the first part of the study, researchers will slowly increase the dose to determine how much patients can tolerate and also to find the most effective dose. In the second half of this clinical trial, participants will receive the optimal dose, as determined by Part 1 of the study.
INCAGN02385 is an antagonist antibody of Lymphocyte-activation gene 3 or LAG-3. Like other targets of immunotherapy such as CD4 and PD-1, LAG-3 plays a role in the regulation of the immune system. LAG-3 works with regulatory T cells, or Treg, to prevent autoimmune responses and keep your immune system from attacking your body. Cancerous tumors sometimes hijack this immune regulation mechanism and use it to stop your immune system from detecting and killing mutant cancer cells.
An antagonist antibody to LAG-3 like INCAGN02385 has the potential to unleash the immune system’s cancer-fighting power. Some scientists think this may be a better mesothelioma immunotherapy checkpoint blocker than the immunotherapy drugs already on the market that target other immune system pathways. Not only does INCAGN02385 have the potential to stimulate effector T cells (as the other checkpoint inhibitor drugs do) but it can also prevent the Treg cells from suppressing the immune response. Effector T cells are immune system cells that spring into action quickly once they are activated.
What is Mesothelioma Metastasis?
Metastatic cancer, in all forms, is more difficult to treat than cancer that is limited to its original site. This is why many mesothelioma treatments aim to prevent mesothelioma metastasis.
Mesothelioma cells can spread through your lymphatic system. This is why the lymph nodes are often one of the first places that mesothelioma metastasizes. When you develop mesothelioma metastasis, the new tumor will be made of cancerous mesothelial cells, no matter where it forms in your body.
Until recently, patients with mesothelioma metastasis or any other form of metastatic cancer generally had a poor prognosis. Advances in cancer treatments have extended the life expectancy of patients with these late-stage cancers. Immunotherapy drugs such as INCAGN02385 have the potential to go further and reverse the course of the disease. A few patients have experienced amazing recoveries from cancer that had metastasized throughout their bodies thanks to cutting-edge immunotherapy and personalized cancer treatments. This upcoming clinical trial could be the first step to a treatment that can offer improved survival to even more cancer patients.
Patients with Mesothelioma Metastasis Eligible for Clinical Trial
If you have mesothelioma metastasis, you could be eligible for the INCAGN02385 clinical trial, which will only accept patients whose cancer has advanced beyond the original tumor. The trial will be conducted by the drug’s maker, Incyte Biosciences International. Participants can enroll at multiple locations around the US.
The study is only accepting relatively healthy participants. You must have an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0 or 1. ECOG is a system that researchers use to rate the health of participants in clinical trials. A grade 0 status means you can function normally and do anything you could do before your mesothelioma diagnosis. At grade 1, you can’t do anything strenuous, but you can still walk on your own and do some light work.
To qualify, your mesothelioma tumor has to be measurable on the RECIST scale for solid tumors. You may have received mesothelioma treatments of any kind, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, and still participate in this clinical trial, but you are limited from receiving certain mesothelioma treatments during the study period.
Participants in this clinical trial will receive a tumor biopsy before receiving the drug and periodically during the research. The success of the study will be determined by how long participants are free from progression or experience a reduction in their metastatic cancers. The hope is that INCAGN02385 will prevent further mesothelioma metastasis and may even shrink the tumors.
Your immune system is smarter than a chemotherapy drug. Once your T cells are activated by an immunotherapy drug, they can seek out and destroy cancer cells anywhere in your body. Your T cells can attack mesothelioma metastasis in a way that traditional treatments can’t. And your immune system can do all of this without harming your healthy tissue.
At this point, immunotherapy is still just a promise for most mesothelioma patients. Our immune system is a complex machine and scientists are unlocking its secrets one cell at a time to find treatments that work for a wider group of patients with advanced cancer. Perhaps several keys at once will be needed to unlock this door. The few cases of mesothelioma patients who have had remarkably positive results from mesothelioma immunotherapy show what could be on the other side of that door. Researchers are hard at work trying to find the keys.
Even if you don’t have mesothelioma metastasis, you can help find the key to better mesothelioma treatments when you enroll in a mesothelioma clinical trial. There are many trials recruiting patients. You can use Mesothelioma Circle’s free clinical trial matching tool to find a mesothelioma clinical trial that’s right for you.