Oncolytics Announced Updates On Clinical Trials Of New Treatment For Triple-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer

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In early December, Oncolytics Biotech Inc. ONCY presented the latest news on its Phase 2 study of the breast cancer treatment it’s developing at the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The biotech company has been working on its lead drug candidate, pelareorep, in partnership with a handful of industry leaders in the cancer therapy space.

IRENE, a Phase 2 study investigating the use of Oncolytics’ pelareorep in combination with Incyte Corp.’s INCY retifanlimab, was first announced in June 2020, and the initial doses were administered to patients in late August 2020. 

Now, Dr. Mridula George of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey  has presented the latest safety data at the annual breast cancer symposium. 

The Purpose of the IRENE Study 

The primary objective of the study is to measure safety and efficacy of combined treatment with retifanlimab and pelareorep in patients with triple-negative metastatic breast cancer (TNBC) who failed prior chemotherapy. Researchers are also tracking quality of life, overall survival and progression-free survival — the length of time a patient lives with the cancer without getting worse.  

About 10% to 20% of breast cancers are TNBC, an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer that frequently doesn’t respond well to existing treatments. The 25 patients with TNBC expected to be enrolled in the study will each receive intravenous treatments of Oncolytics’ pelareorep on four separate dates over a 28-day treatment cycle (days 1, 2, 15, and 16). In between pelareorep treatments on day 3, they will receive Incyte’s retifanlimab, also administered intravenously. 

As long as no severe adverse reactions or toxicity occurs, patients will repeat these treatments every 28 days and will complete periodic follow-ups over the course of two years after treatment. 

What To Expect From the IRENE Update

The data on pelareorep from Oncolytics’ other clinical trials have suggested the biotech’s lead drug candidate is well-tolerated and capable of producing a statistically significant benefit in the treatment of other types of metastatic breast cancer.

Phase 2 data from its metastatic breast cancer clinical trial IND-213 showed improved survival in patients receiving combined treatment with pelareorep and paclitaxel. The median overall survival of patients treated in IND-213 showed a 7-month improvement to 17.4 months in patients who received pelareorep and paclitaxel compared to 10.4 months in those who received paclitaxel alone.  

If the IRENE study is successful, it will reinforce the positive results of the IND-213 study and will provide even more reason to be optimistic about the potential of the biotech’s lead drug candidate to enhance the efficacy of many cancer therapies on the market today.

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