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Imugene advances search-and-destroy cancer mission

Updated: Apr 19


Imugene has added the first patient with bile tract cancer to its ongoing clinical trial in the United States. Credit: File

An Australian-based medical mission to flesh out and kill cancerous cells in humans has received a boost after ASX-listed medtech Imugene intravenously dosed its first patient diagnosed with bile tract cancer as part of a clinical trial.


The patient, engaged in the intravenous monotherapy arm of the trial, was dosed at the City of Hope medical facility in California with Imugene’s “onCARlytics CD19” virus technology, which it says has the potential to target and eradicate solid tumours.


While CD19 is currently only known as a marker in blood cancers, Imugene’s virus is injected into a patient with a view to replicating the marker in solid tumours and forcing it to the surface so that it can be hunted down and destroyed.


The trial, known as OASIS, is targeting adult patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumours and aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy of both intratumoural (IT) injection and intravenous (IV) infusion. The trial is considered a world-first in combining a CD19-expressing oncolytic virus with a CD19-targeting drug.


The patient was dosed using the IV infusion and the company plans to recruit a total of 52 patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumours for the trial across multiple sites in the United States.


Management is aiming to provide the lucrative health industry with its first approved, off-the-shelf CAR T-cell cancer therapy with its Azer-cel treatment. The company previously reported positive feedback from the United States Food and Drug Administration on its proposed trials and commercial manufacture of Azer-cel to treat patients with certain blood cancers.


We’re pleased to see onCARlytics continue to advance in the clinic after the first patient on the trial was dosed in late October, and this move into intravenous administration marks another milestone in our mission to bring innovative cancer treatments to patients in need. With the combination arm of the study still to come, we eagerly await the chance to see more on the potential onCARlytics holds.
Imugene managing director and chief executive officer Leslie Chong

In pre-clinical trials on triple-negative breast, pancreatic, prostate, ovarian, brain and head and neck cancers in mice, onCARlytics in combination with CD19-targeting cell therapy has shown greater potency against solid tumours than either CF33 or CD19-targeting therapy alone, according to the company.


It says research showed mice were cured of their solid tumours with the onCARlytics in combination with CAR T-cell therapy. Previous trials revealed that once the immune system eradicates the tumours with the combination treatment, it builds a memory response shielding the mice against tumour recurrences.


In September last year, Imugene positioned itself as one of the most cashed-up medtechs on the ASX after raising a further $18.2 million from a share placement plan (SPP) to add to a previous $35 million placement.


Management revealed it had shored up its $35 million placement through strong interest and support from Australian and international investors, including specialist biotech institutional investors. With the SPP, it took its total raise to $53.2 million.


Imugene believes that together with leading specialists and medical professionals, its immuno-oncology therapies will become foundation treatments for cancer.


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