New Drug Targeting WT1 Found to Be Effective as Post-Transplant Myeloma Therapy for High-Risk Patients
Treating high-risk multiple myeloma is a challenge and new drugs are being developed to address the needs of this patient population. Progress on a new drug called galinpepimut-S (GPS), which targets the WT1 pathway was recently shared at the 44th Annual European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) Meeting.
Stem cell transplant is typically suggested for high-risk patients and post-transplant treatment (also called "consolidation") is typically given. Today, these consolidation therapies usually include an immunomodulatory drug or proteasome inhibitor or a combination of the two. This new drug could improve outcomes as a consolidation treatment.
“High-risk multiple myeloma is a disease subset with high potential of short-term disease progression following autologous stem cell transplants, providing opportunities to improve on this limited clinical outcome. We are seeing an encouraging signal from GPS in our Phase 2 study with progression-free survival (PFS) exceeding historical outcomes with standard therapies,” stated Guenther Koehne, M.D., Ph.D., the Principal Investigator on the study.“Currently, post-transplant maintenance therapies for these difficult-to-treat patients are seemingly limited, with PFS rarely exceeding 12-14 months.”
In the Phase II study, 19 high-risk patients who had been given an autologous stem cell transplant and had achieved stable disease (but still had detectable disease) were enrolled. The patients were given the new WT1 gene-targeting direct immunizer as consolidation therapy to potentially stimulate a highly-specific immune response against WT1 to prevent or delay myeloma progression.
The results showed that median progression-free survival (PFS) in the high-risk disease setting was 23.6 months, compared to historically inferior outcomes of patients on an immunomodulatory drug (IMID) or proteasome inhibitor post-autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) maintenance.
WT1 is known to be overexpressed in many cancers and is not found in normal tissue and has been ranked by the NCI as a top priority target among cancer antigens for immunotherapy. GPS is a multi-peptide cancer immunotherapeutic agent derived from the WT1 protein.
Sellas President and CEO Angelos M. Stergiou said:
“These results are encouraging particularly given the patients’ poor prognosis due to their high-risk cytogenetic profile at disease presentation and their still harboring minimal residual disease prior to GPS treatment. The improved PFS at 23.6 months in this setting instills further confidence in our advancing GPS development as an important immuno-therapeutic treatment option for aggressive multiple myeloma.”
To see Dr. Koehne's full EBMT presentation, click here.