GWN323 is a new investigational treatment being developed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals for advanced solid tumors and lymphomas.

Lymphoma is a broad class of blood cell cancers originating from white blood cells or lymphocytes. In healthy people, these cells are responsible for conducting the body’s immune responses to fight off infections and other diseases. In cancer, their uncontrolled multiplication poses a danger to other cells, organs, and tissues.

How GWN323 works

GWN323 is a monoclonal antibody against the human protein receptor GITR (glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor), which is found on the surface of many different types of T-cells (a type of white blood cell). Once bound to the GITR receptor, GWN323 stimulates the immune system by activating and multiplying a specific type of T-cells called Teff (tumor-antigen-specific T effector cells). In addition, the binding of GWN323 to the GITR receptors located on another type of T-cells called Tregs (regulatory T-cells) suppresses the functions of these cells if they were previously activated. The combined effect of these two activities of GWN323 enhances the anti-tumor activity of the immune system and leads to the eradication of tumor cells.

GWN323 in clinical trials

GWN323 is being investigated in a Phase 1/1b clinical trial (NCT02740270), as a single agent or in combination with another drug called PDR001 to assess activity, tolerability, and safety in patients with advanced solid tumors and lymphomas. This is a non-randomized, open-label study that currently is recruiting patients with metastatic and/or advanced solid tumors or lymphomas that cannot be treated by surgery. The study aims to enroll 264 patients at several clinical centers.

PDR001 is an antibody against a receptor called PD-1, which is located on the surface of T-cells. The binding of PDR001 to the receptor blocks its interaction with its ligands and thus prevents PD-1-mediated signaling. The consequence of this binding is activation of T-cells and the induction of an immune response against cancer cells mediated by T-cells. It is thought that the use of PDR001 in combination with GWN323 may further enhance the anti-tumor response of the immune system.


Lymphoma News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lymphoma News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Lymphoma.