Affinity Oncology reached another milestone today by enrolling its first Hepatocelluar Carcinoma (HCC) patient into a clinical trial.
Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer3. In Australia, HCC occurs most often in people with chronic liver diseases, such as cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection1. Men are three times as likely to be diagnosed as women. In 2015, 2079 people were diagnosed with liver cancer in Australia and in 2016, there were 1864 deaths caused by liver cancer.
Despite recent progress, the prognosis for HCC patients remains poor with the five-year survival rate only 18%2. Novel strategies are needed for HCC, particularly in the advanced stages.
The introduction of immune checkpoint inhibitors as an anti-cancer treatment option is one of the most successful advances in cancer drug discovery in recent times. Checkpoint inhibitors have been developed as a front-line treatment for multiple cancers, including HCC3. There are currently no checkpoint inhibitors with PBS approval for the treatment of liver cancer in Australia.
The APOLLO Study
The APOLLO study, being conducted at 6 sites in Australia, will trial an experimental checkpoint-inhibitor in combination with another experimental drug, a c-MET inhibitor. Affinity Oncology is one of two sites in Western Australia.
The APOLLO study is testing the combination of two new drugs for the treatment of HCC. A c-Met inhibitor (bozitinib; CBT-101) will be administered concomitantly with Genolizumab (APL-501; CBT-501), anti PD-1 cancer immunotherapies. Utilizing biomarkers to identify patients likely to benefit from the combination, the trial will investigate whether the combination will improve single agent immunotherapy response rates as a result of the immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment due to tumour associated neutrophils (TANs). The APOLLO study is sponsored by US Company Apollomics Inc.
About Affinity Oncology
Affinity Oncology is a dedicated clinical trial unit located in Nedlands, Western Australia. Affinity Oncology was established to meet the changing needs of cancer research in Australia and is the first privately-funded clinical trial unit of its type in Western Australia. Since opening its first trial in May 2017, Affinity Oncology has treated patients with melanoma, head and neck cancer, renal cell carcinoma and bladder cancer.
Affinity wishes to thank Dr Oliver Duncan, Dr Alex Powell, RN Tracie Ernenwein and RN Becky Leach for their hard work and dedication to supporting patients on the APOLLO trial.
1 Apollomics Inc (2019) APL-501: Anti Programmed Death-1 (Formerly CBT-501) https://www.apollomicsinc.com/pipeline-drugs/apl-501/ Accessed 07-May-2019
2 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019. Cancer in Australia 2019. Cancer series no. 101. Cat. no. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.
3 Mukaida N, Nakamoto Y. Emergence of immunotherapy as a novel way to treat hepatocellular carcinoma. World J Gastroenterol 2018; 24(17): 1839-1858