“Kite is committed to realizing the full potential of Yescarta and other cell therapy technologies across a range of cancers,” David Chang, MD, PhD, worldwide head of research and development and chief medical officer at Kite, said in a press release. “We are pleased to collaborate with Pfizer on this study with utomilumab, which adds to the growing number of combination approaches we are exploring with Yescarta for patients living with lymphoma.”
Yescarta, the second chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy to be approved anywhere in the world, and the first for lymphoma patients, uses a patient’s own re-engineered immune cells to fight cancer.
It is indicated for patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma who received at least two prior therapies. This includes diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, high-grade B-cell lymphoma, and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma.
In the Phase 1/2 ZUMA-1 trial (NCT02348216), 40 percent of patients with large B-cell lymphoma whose disease had progressed following at least two prior lines of therapy saw a complete eradication of their tumors after receiving Yescarta, after a median follow-up of 15.4 months. An additional 2 percent also are responding to a single infusion of the therapy.
Findings from the ZUMA-1 trial were presented last month at the 59th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting.
Utomilumab, formerly known as PF-05082566, is an agonist of 4-1BB, a member of the tumor necrosis factor family. The medicine is a humanized antibody that binds the 4-1BB receptor and activates its signaling.
In preclinical studies, this investigational therapy enhanced T-cell mediated anti-cancer immune responses. Research suggests that utomilumab could potentially increase the proliferation and activity of Yescarta, which is composed of engineered T-cells.
The new Phase 1/2 trial will test the best combination for these therapies and determine whether utomilumab actually enhances the effects of Yescarta.