LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- USA News Group – An 'exceedingly low' percentage of patients with cancer enroll in clinical trials as the first course of therapy, according to results of a study conducted at Penn State College of Medicine and published in Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
"There just aren't that many clinical trials available for patients when they're first diagnosed with cancer," Nicholas G. Zaorsky, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology at Penn State College of Medicine, said in an interview.
The news comes at the same time as many new and potentially effective cancer treatments are emerging. One company leading the way is Oncolytics Biotech Inc., (NASDAQ: ONCY) (TSX: ONC), a development stage biotech company developing an immuno-oncology virus (called pelareorep). Pelareorep is a safe and well-tolerated treatment that has the potential to kill cancer cells. It is being studied now for potential combination with Opdivo® from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY), Roche's Tecentriq®, Pfizer's and Merck's KGaA's Bavencio® (NYSE: PFE), as well as Keytruda® from Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK).
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New Methods Emerging Quickly
Cancer grows in our bodies when our immune systems do not recognize tumors as foreign or a threat. The cancer tells the immune system and T cells to leave the tumor alone instead of directly attacking it. Immunotherapies – which includes checkpoint inhibitors – encourage our immune systems to recognize and kill cancer. But as low as 1 in 5 patients respond to checkpoint inhibitors.
That's where pelareorep comes in. Pelareorep has the potential ability to increase the percentage of patients who respond to immunotherapy. Pelareorep comes with compelling metastatic breast cancer survival data.
The primary objective of Oncolytics is to obtain regulatory approval for pelareorep as quickly as possible. The company's secondary objective is to expand pelareorep into commercially valuable new treatment areas with pharmaceutical partners.
Oncolytics has established a successful partnership with Adlai Nortye in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. As per the relationship, there is involved upfront and milestone payments of up to $86.6 million, with $65 million tied to potential development expansion.
Trials Are Needed to Make the Systems Work
In the meantime, the medical industry continues to pursue new trials of cancer treatments.
"There may be trials available for patients whose disease comes back, but not as many for patients just diagnosed. For the trials that do exist, there are some preferences for the patients who will be enrolled," said Dr. Nicholas G. Zaorsky from Penn State.