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Positive Early Phase 2 Lung Cancer Data Buoy Heat Bio

By Allan Maurer, NC Biotech Writer

Heat Biologics (Nasdaq:HTBX) has reported early positive results in a Phase 2 trial of its immunotherapy lung cancer treatment.

The report followed positive results from a Phase 1b trial a week earlier, in which the therapy met safety and efficacy end points.

The Phase 2 trial results of Heat’s combination treatment of non-small cell lung cancer involved its HS-110 vaccine combined with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s Opdivo (nivolumab), reducing tumor size and showing T-cell activation in a significant number of patients. It demonstrated the potential to increase the effectiveness of checkpoint inhibitors in lung cancer patients.

Cancers evade the human immune system with “checkpoints” that block its effectiveness. Inhibiting them can restore immune system attacks. Combination therapies that synergistically stimulate the immune system (such as Heat’s) and simultaneously take away cancer’s defenses (checkpoint inhibitors) are more effective than either alone.

Heat CEO Jeff Wolf tells the Biotech Center, “We are encouraged by these preliminary results, especially as they appear to further validate the ability of our vaccine to generate a robust T cell immune response to enhance efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors for the lung cancer patients least likely to respond to these therapies [alone].”

In the Phase 2 trial, five of 15 patients had tumor reductions and showed immune response to Heat’s HS-110 vaccine combined with the checkpoint inhibitors.

Heat’s treatment uses modified lung cancer cells to boost a patient’s own immune system. It’s ImPACT (Immune Pan-Antigen Cytoxic therapy) treatment is a cell line engineered to make the altered cells pump out a potent anti-cancer immune system enhancer.

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