Immatics' kidney cancer vaccine extends lives in trials

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Renal cell carcinoma patients lived longer when they developed responses to peptides in IMA901, Immatics' multipeptide therapeutic vaccine for kidney cancer, according to a new study published in Nature Medicine.

The vaccine consists of 10 different antigens expressed in renal cell tumors. Patients experienced longer survival times when their immune systems showed a response to more than one of the peptides. "Our belief was, and is, that you need to have a broad attack, a multiantigen attack on the tumor," Harpreet Singh, chief scientific officer and founder of Immatics, told FierceVaccines. "It just contains very specific off-the-shelf synthetic antigens."

Using a piece of a tumor, researchers stripped off and sequenced the peptides, then selected those that were most valuable to the study. The 10 different tumor-associated peptides are all synthetic. Researchers observed that patients who had multiple immune responses--responses to two or more peptides--lived longer, Singh said.

Researchers also found two key biomarkers that may help determine which patients could reach an overall survival benefit in studies with the vaccine, according to a release. Phase III trials will focus on determining whether these biomarkers are, in fact, predictive of this.

After treating 96 people in two consecutive studies, researchers began Phase III trials for IMA901 in June 2011. First data are expected in 2014 and final data will likely come at the start of 2015.

- read the abstract
- see the release

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