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Heo J.,Pusan National University | Reid T.,University of California at San Diego | Ruo L.,McMaster University | Breitbach C.J.,Jennerex Inc. | And 24 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2013

Oncolytic viruses and active immunotherapeutics have complementary mechanisms of action (MOA) that are both self amplifying in tumors, yet the impact of dose on subject outcome is unclear. JX-594 (Pexa-Vec) is an oncolytic and immunotherapeutic vaccinia virus. To determine the optimal JX-594 dose in subjects with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we conducted a randomized phase 2 dose-finding trial (n = 30). Radiologists infused low- or high-dose JX-594 into liver tumors (days 1, 15 and 29); infusions resulted in acute detectable intravascular JX-594 genomes. Objective intrahepatic Modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (mRECIST) (15%) and Choi (62%) response rates and intrahepatic disease control (50%) were equivalent in injected and distant noninjected tumors at both doses. JX-594 replication and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) expression preceded the induction of anticancer immunity. In contrast to tumor response rate and immune endpoints, subject survival duration was significantly related to dose (median survival of 14.1 months compared to 6.7 months on the high and low dose, respectively; hazard ratio 0.39; P = 0.020). JX-594 demonstrated oncolytic and immunotherapy MOA, tumor responses and dose-related survival in individuals with HCC. Copyright © 2013 Nature America, Inc. Source

Heo J.,Pusan National University | Breitbach C.J.,Jennerex Inc. | Moon A.,Jennerex Inc. | Kim C.W.,Pusan National University | And 14 more authors.
Molecular Therapy | Year: 2011

JX-594 is a targeted and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) expressing oncolytic poxvirus designed to selectively replicate in and destroy cancer cells through viral oncolysis and tumor-specific immunity. In a phase 1 trial, JX-594 injection into hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was well-tolerated and associated with viral replication, decreased tumor perfusion, and tumor necrosis. We hypothesized that JX-594 and sorafenib, a small molecule inhibitor of B-raf and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) approved for HCC, would have clinical benefit in combination given their demonstrated efficacy in HCC patients and their complementary mechanisms-of-action. HCC cell lines were uniformly sensitive to JX-594. Anti-raf kinase effects of concurrent sorafenib inhibited JX-594 replication in vitro, whereas sequential therapy was superior to either agent alone in murine tumor models. We therefore explored pilot safety and efficacy of JX-594 followed by sorafenib in three HCC patients. In all three patients, sequential treatment was (i) well-tolerated, (ii) associated with significantly decreased tumor perfusion, and (iii) associated with objective tumor responses (Choi criteria; up to 100% necrosis). HCC historical control patients on sorafenib alone at the same institutions had no objective tumor responses (0 of 15). Treatment of HCC with JX-594 followed by sorafenib has antitumoral activity, and JX-594 may sensitize tumors to subsequent therapy with VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors. © The American Society of Gene &Cell Therapy. Source

Park S.H.,Sungkyunkwan University | Breitbach C.J.,Biotherapeutics, Inc. | Lee J.,Sungkyunkwan University | Park J.O.,Sungkyunkwan University | And 14 more authors.
Molecular Therapy | Year: 2015

Fifteen patients with treatment-refractory colorectal cancer were enrolled on a phase 1b study of Pexa-Vec (pexastimogene devacirepvec; JX-594), an oncolytic and immunotherapeutic vaccinia designed to selectively replicate in cancer cells. Pexa-Vec was administered intravenously every 14 days, at dose levels of 1 × 10 6, 1 × 10 7, or 3 × 10 7 plaque-forming units (pfu)/kg. The primary endpoint was to determine the maximum tolerated dose. Secondary endpoints were pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics as well as antitumor activity. Patients were heavily pretreated (mean 4.5 lines of therapy). All patients received at least two Pexa-Vec doses (median = 4; range = 2-4). No dose-limiting toxicities were reported, and the maximum tolerated dose was not reached. The most common adverse events were grade 1/2 flu-like symptoms, generally lasting <24 hours. During the first and last cycles, genome pharmacokinetics were unchanged. Infectious pfu could be detected in plasma up to 2 hours after cycle 1 and up to 30 minutes after cycle 4 (when antivaccinia antibody titers are known to have peaked). Ten patients (67%) had radiographically stable disease. Given the acceptable safety profile of multiple intravenous Pexa-Vec infusions in patients with treatment-refractory colorectal cancer, further trials evaluating efficacy of intravenous Pexa-Vec, as monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapeutic agents, is warranted in this patient population. © The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. Source

Breitbach C.J.,Jennerex Inc. | Arulanandam R.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | De Silva N.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | Thorne S.H.,University of Pittsburgh | And 17 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2013

Efforts to selectively target and disrupt established tumor vasculature have largely failed to date. We hypothesized that a vaccinia virus engineered to target cells with activation of the ras/MAPK signaling pathway (JX-594) could specifically infect and express transgenes (hGM-CSF, b-galactosidase) in tumor-associated vascular endothelial cells in humans. Efficient replication and transgene expression in normal human endothelial cells in vitro required either VEGF or FGF-2 stimulation. Intravenous infusion in mice resulted in virus replication in tumor-associated endothelial cells, disruption of tumor blood flow, and hypoxia within 48 hours; massive tumor necrosis ensued within 5 days. Normal vessels were not affected. In patients treated with intravenous JX- 594 in a phase I clinical trial, we showed dose-dependent endothelial cell infection and transgene expression in tumor biopsies of diverse histologies. Finally, patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, a hypervascular and VEGF-rich tumor type, were treated with JX-594 on phase II clinical trials. JX-594 treatment caused disruption of tumor perfusion as early as 5 days in both VEGF receptor inhibitor-nave and -refractory patients. Toxicities to normal blood vessels or to wound healing were not evident clinically or on MRI scans. This platform technology opens up the possibility of multifunctional engineered vaccinia products that selectively target and infect tumorassociated endothelial cells, as well as cancer cells, resulting in transgene expression, vasculature disruption, and tumor destruction in humans systemically. © 2012 AACR. Source

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