Clinical trial shows promise for aggressive eye cancer treatment

pharmafile | November 3, 2021 | News story | Research and Development  

A clinical trial with University of Liverpool researchers at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre has shown great promise for an immunotherapy drug, which can prolong the life of patients with an aggressive form of eye cancer.

Dr Joseph Sacco, from the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and University of Liverpool said: “The results of this clinical trial are a first, giving a strong indication that tebentafusp can make a big impact on lengthening the survival time for patients with the metastatic form of this eye cancer, for which there was previously no standard treatment.”  

He added: “These findings validate the potential of using this drug inpatients with uveal melanoma, and it can make a real difference to outcomes.” Sacco helped lead the research.

Uveal melanoma is the most common eye cancer in adults in the UK, and many are able to be successfully treated for it with the aid of Clatterbridge’s world-leading proton beam therapy. In spite of this, for about half of patients, the cancer spreads to other parts of the body including the liver. After this spread, only around 50% of people survive for longer than a year.

The clinical trial has shown, however, that a new treatment can improve survival rates in people with secondary uveal melanoma, and also shrink tumours in a small number of patients. The trial was sponsored by biotechnology company Immunocore and shows that of the 378 patients involved, those who used tebentafusp survived on average for 21.7 months, compared with 16 months for those given an alternative therapy.

The Liverpool Cancer Research Institute (LCRI) is a newly founded strategic initiative, which aims to consolidate the existing strengths in biomedical and translational cancer research, grow its capability and accelerate the translation of research into improved patient outcomes. The LCRI links fundamental science, experimental medicine and clinical research.

Ana Ovey

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