New Mesothelioma Drug to be Delivered into Lung Fluid According to Surviving Mesothelioma
A new drug, called GL-ONC1, has been administered to the first mesothelioma patient at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which is sponsoring the trial in collaboration with the drug's manufacturer, California-based Genelux Corporation. According to Genelux CEO Dr. Aladar Szalay, GL-ONC1 has been well-tolerated and "shown encouraging results" in early human trials against several other types of cancer. The trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering marks the first time the drug will be tested in intra-pleural delivery.
Delivering GL-ONC1 into the intra-pleural space is thought to be a way to quickly get it closer to aggressive thoracic tumors like mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancers without harming surrounding healthy tissue. About 30% of patients with these types of cancers develop a build-up of excess fluid in the pleural space, called malignant pleural effusion, which carries the seeds of malignancy. In the new trial, GL-ONC1 will be administered in a single dose to mesothelioma and other cancer patients with malignant pleural effusion.
GL-ONC1 is a modified vaccinia virus which is designed to be both therapeutic and diagnostic, via the production of green fluorescent protein (GFP) that can be tracked. Mesothelioma and other cancer patients who participate in the trial will be required to undergo Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) with pleural biopsies, so that doctors can see where GFP is being expressed. The goal of the trial will be to determine the safety and tolerability of GL-ONC1, as well as to establish the optimal dose for intra-pleural delivery. A maximum of 54 patients will be recruited for the trial.
Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer of the membrane surrounding the lungs and other organs. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type and is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.