An experimental therapy for melanoma patients has shown anti-tumour activity in an ongoing Phase 1 study. The therapy, called pegzilarginase (AEB1102) is being developed by Aeglea BioTherapeutics. For more information about the study, click here to view the source press release on Aeglea’s website.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in cells called melanocytes. Melanoma is often diagnosed after people notice new moles or changes to moles, such as alterations to their shape, size, and colour.
The Phase 1 Trial
A Phase 1 study is investigating the effects of pegzilarginase (an investigational drug) as a single agent in patients who have advanced cutaneous melanoma and uveal melanoma. The patients who took part had been heavily pre-treated.
Some cancers don’t produce certain amino acids, and so need to get them from the blood. Pegzilarginase is thought to work by reducing the levels of the amino acid arginine in the blood. This may starve cancers that rely on blood supplies of arginine of the amino acid, and pre-clinical research suggests that this may reduce proliferation, cause cell death, and promote immune responses that are anti-tumour. You can read more about pegzilarginase and how it works here.
Aeglea BioTherapeutics presented interim data from the study at the European Society for Medical Oncology’s 2018 Congress, which took place in Germany. According to their announcement, the researchers found that pegzilarginase was associated with anti-tumour activity. Out of the twenty-eight patients who took part, one patient showed a partial response and eight had stable disease. Six of the patients were still being treated when at the data cutoff date. Patients who had tumours that didn’t show ASS1 expression appeared to have more anti-tumour activity, in line with predictions from pre-clinical studies. Overall, the drug is reported to have a manageable safety profile, with treatment-related adverse-events being grade three or lower.