Company: Pharmexa, KAEL GemVax, Cancer Research UK, Roche
Phase: Phase III
Scoop: Earlier this year a flurry of articles were published on GV1001, a pancreatic cancer treatment developed Korea-based developer KAEL-GemVax with funding from Cancer Research UK. The vaccine, called GV1001, is currently in late-stage trials at 53 hospitals in the U.K. in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who are not candidates for surgery, as is the case with most patients with the aggressive tumors. The TeloVac Study, as it is called, closed in May 2011 after enrolling over 1,100 patients.
GV1001 is made of fragments of the protein telomerase, which is present on the surface of cancer cells. The vaccine is designed to prime immune system cells to recognize telomerase by injecting small amounts in the vaccine. With the immune system trained to recognize the proteins, researchers hope the body will work with standard chemotherapy to find and destroy pancreatic cancer cells. Patients are dosed with a growth factor called GM-CSF 15 minutes before administration of GV1001, which researchers say boosts the vaccine's effectiveness.
The TeloVac trial compares patients who received GV1001 plus gemcitabine and Roche's cancer drug Xeloda to those who received standard care. Definitive analysis will be undertaken next year, Cancer Research UK tells FierceBiotech in an email, with results expected in late 2012. Studies of the vaccine are ongoing in the U.S. and Norway. GV1001 is being studied as a treatment for other cancers and a trial of the vaccine for lung cancer is expected to commence this year.