TAVO Boosts Responses to Keytruda in Triple-negative Breast Cancer Patients, Interim Phase 2 Data Show

TAVO Boosts Responses to Keytruda in Triple-negative Breast Cancer Patients, Interim Phase 2 Data Show
Treatment with TAVO (intratumoral IL-12) appears to increase the sensitivity of previously treated advanced triple-negative breast cancers (mTNBC) to the immune checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab), interim data from a Phase 2 study show. The results highlight TAVO’s potential in this hard-to-treat population, even in patients with PD-L1-negative tumors — who are less likely to benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitors. The study, “Phase 2, open-label study of intratumoral tavokinogene telseplasmid (tavo) plus electroporation in combination with intravenous pembrolizumab therapy in patients with inoperable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC) (KEYNOTE- 890/OMS-I141)” was recently presented in a poster at the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, in Texas. Keytruda, marketed by Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada), works by preventing the interaction between the PD-1 receptor in immune T-cells and its ligand PD-L1 in cancer cells. This interaction is frequently used by cancer cells to evade anti-tumor immune responses. By preventing it, Keytruda boosts T-cells’ ability to detect and fight tumor cells. Since triple-negative breast cancers typically lack tumor-infiltrating T-cells, immune checkpoint inhibitors such as Keytruda are usually ineffective against these cancers, with fewer than 10% of patients responding to treatment. Therefore, approaches that boost the recruitment of T-cells within tumors, such as TAVO, are thought to increase clinical responses to checkpoint inhibitors. TAVO, developed by OncoSec, involves the intratumoral injection of the DNA sequence of interleukin-12 (IL-12) — an immune-stimulating protein — immediately followed by electroporation. Electroporati
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