Elios Therapeutics, LLC recently received FDA approval of its Investigational New Drug (IND) application and its randomized phase IIb trial planned to enroll 120 stage III and IV (resected) melanoma patients to assess the ability of a personalized vaccine to prevent recurrence. The trial will be conducted at a dozen leading academic cancer research hospitals in the United States.
The Elios melanoma vaccine to be assessed in this pivotal trial will deliver personalized immunotherapy developed from the patient's cancer cells and dendritic cells to create a specific immune response in hopes of destroying any remaining cancer cells after surgery and thereby prevent recurrence of melanoma and improve overall survival rates. Qualifying trial patients must be in stage III or IV and considered disease-free after definitive surgery and completion of standard of care therapies.
“The Elios vaccine has shown effectiveness in metastatic patients, and delivered even more promising results in the adjuvant setting. Further, the vaccine has the safety profile to allow for treatment in a preventive setting,” explains George E. Peoples, MD, FACS and Chief Medical Officer, Elios Therapeutics, LLC. “Stage III and IV melanoma patients do not currently have an option for a safe, non-toxic, and effective adjuvant therapy. Melanoma at this stage recurs at an approximately 60-70 percent rate in two years, and once that happens, patients will very likely succumb to their disease. We believe that our vaccine technology can cut that rate significantly, preventing recurrence and death.”
The Elios Therapeutics' prospective, randomized, double-blind trial (NCT#02301611) is enrolling patients now, and it is anticipated that all 12-15 sites, to include the lead site at John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California, will open early in 2015. The trial is expected to conclude in 2018.
The vaccine being studied was developed by Elios Therapeutics' Thomas Wagner, PhD.
“Our approach is completely different than others, in that we don't need to identify a specific mutation or create a new drug to treat each type of cancer,” explains Dr. Wagner. “This vaccine utilizes a particular patient tumor's unique antigenic and molecular profile and a novel delivery mechanism to set the immune system to defeat that patient's disease. Our therapy is applicable to any patient, with any tumor.
“The adjuvant therapies available for melanoma today to prevent recurrence are highly toxic and largely ineffective. We believe our vaccine has the potential to make a real impact in this setting by targeting and killing remaining metastatic cells without causing any dangerous side effects,” says Dr. Wagner.