Cancer cells are notoriously good at evading detection by the immune system, but Clevegen has been designed to recognise the tumour cells and break their protective shell.
One of the patients currently enrolled in the trial has the most common form of colorectal cancer – called MSI-low – and has seen a “significant shrinkage” in lung metastasis.
That person, who has been treated with six other treatments in the past without success, has also shown further signs of their immune system starting to get to grips with the disease.
Although the three other patients have also reacted well to Clevegen so far and demonstrated an ‘immune switch’, Faron wants to narrow its focus on MSI-low colorectal patients going forward.
Most likely to respond
“With this patient demonstrating a clinical partial response and expected immune switch, Faron is confident it has identified one group of patients who are thought to most likely respond to treatment and demonstrate an immune switch in these immunosuppressive Clever-1-positive tumour associated macrophages (TAMs).”
MSI-low colorectal patients represent around 90% of all colorectal cancers and there are over one million new cases of the disease around the world every year.
More of those patients will be enrolled into the trial once Faron has figured out the optimal dose of Clevegen.
It has given the four recruited subjects doses of 0.3mg/kg and 1.0mg/kg without any problems, and it has now upped this to 3.0mg/kg.
Assuming that is also well tolerated, the plan is to move up to 10.0mg/kg, which will be the maximum dose.
Boss 'encouraged' by early data
“We are encouraged by the data gathered so far from the MATINS study, particularly the tumour imaging report from a colorectal patient in whom all other treatments have failed, which demonstrates a partial response according to RECIST already in nine weeks,” said chief executive Markku Jalkanen.
“This information further supports our belief that Clevegen has the ability to function as a novel macrophage checkpoint immunotherapy for patients with currently untreatable solid cancers.”
He added: “Advancing MATINS into the cohort expansion stage later this year indicates our commitment to rapidly advance the development of this potential therapy for patients in need of new treatment options.”