At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, doctors recently conducted a mesothelioma clinical trial to determine whether a Wilms Tumor-1 (WT1) vaccine will serve to delay or prevent malignant pleural mesothelioma from growing back after surgery. The doctors at MSKCC have just begun another clinical trial for patients who have pleural mesothelioma and pleural effusion.
Pleural effusion is the buildup of fluid between the thin layers of tissue that line the lungs. If this fluid contains cancer cells, it is called malignant plural effusion. Roughly 30 percent of pleural mesothelioma or lung cancer patients suffer from this complication, according to the doctors at MSKCC.
The treatment of the first patient in the Phase I trial which will evaluate a drug known as GL-ONC1 was announced by Genelux Corp. Genelux is a biopharmaceutical company that develops vaccinia virus-based cancer therapies. This is a growing area of medical research in which modified viruses are used to target and destroy cancer cells.
The new trial will test the safety of the GL-ONC1 vaccinia virus at different dosages and to study the effects of the drug on the patient and the malignant pleural effusion. The vaccinia virus will be administered directly through the lung cavity.
“We are very pleased that researchers at MSKCC have initiated this important trial,” Dr. Aladar A. Szalay, founder and CEO of Genelux Corp., said in the press release. “For the first time, this will allow us to examine the feasibility and effects of administering GL-ONC1 directly into the chest cavity to some of the most aggressive cancers of the thoracic cavity—including mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer.”
Executive Director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Nurse Practitioner Mary Hesdorffer, encourages patients with mesothelioma to participate in clinical trials, stating, “Novel approaches based upon newly developed scientific strategies may lead to more effective treatments and ultimately a cure in this rare and aggressive disease.”