U.S. scientists have developed a new therapy that forces the immune system to kill bone marrow cancer cells. Clinical trials conducted by researchers at the Icahn Mount Sinai School of Medicine confirmed that the treatment was effective in 73 percent of patients. The results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine and are summarized in a press release on MedicalXpress.
The therapeutic agent talcetamab is a bispecific antibody that can bind to two different molecules – receptors on immune T cells and GPRC5D receptors on multiple myeloma cells, a type of bone marrow malignancy. The efficacy of the drug was demonstrated even in patients whose disease was resistant to all approved treatments for multiple myeloma.
The phase 1 clinical trial enrolled 232 patients at several cancer centers around the world between January 2018 and November 2021. The efficacy and safety data from the phase 1 study were confirmed in the phase 2 study, which included 143 patients who received the weekly dose and 145 patients who received the higher dose every two weeks. More than 30 percent of the cancer disappeared completely, and nearly 60 percent had a significant reduction in malignant tissue.
Side effects were relatively frequent but mostly mild. The researchers said very few patients (5 to 6 percent) discontinued treatment with talketamab because of side effects.
All participants in the phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials had previously been treated with at least three different therapies without achieving long-term remission, suggesting that talketamab may offer new hope for patients with intractable multiple myeloma.