KOL Event: Emerging Role of Biomarkers and Oncolytic Viruses in the Treatment of Cancer

What do we mean by an “on-treatment” predictive biomarker for immunotherapy?

Dirk Arnold MD, Ph.D., Executive Board Member of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) & Chief of Oncology at Asklepios Klinik Altona, recently spoke with investors about the importance of biomarkers in developing immunotherapies. Below is an excerpt from the discussion: 

“The traditional interpretation of biomarkers is that we use them before even beginning treatment. These are prognostic—or predictive—biomarkers, which help to initially characterize the disease and tell us whether a drug may work or not. Yet, with on-treatment biomarkers, we can also get biomarker information while a patient is undergoing treatment. We can use this information from the first days or weeks of treatment, extracting the findings and understanding if it will be a successful journey for the patient with this treatment. And most importantly, these biomarkers can be easily detected in blood and in tissue.”

Why is T-cell clonality an ideal on-treatment biomarker?

CEO Matt Coffey explains why he is excited about T cell clonality as an on-treatment biomarker for predicting responses in patients receiving pelareorep in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor:

“We can now validate the T cell clonality biomarker in two or more tissues, and it can become a standardized agnostic primary endpoint for studies going forward. One of the KOLs we are speaking with said to me, ‘Matt, I don't think you've grasped how important this is.’ There’s nothing stopping us from pursuing any tumor type, other than toxicity.

There’s a lot of promise in what a simple blood draw offers: We now have a means of identifying who will respond to our treatment. While patients are able to get told at baseline whether they're likely to respond and whether they have adequate immunological reserve, we can now confirm it for them. This gives them the peace of mind that they've either benefitted or haven't, allowing them to get onto a different therapy that hopefully that does benefit them. This truly is an era of personalized medicine, and it’s phenomenal.”

Check out the replay of Dr. Arnold’s and Dr. Coffey’s talks at a recent investor meeting in NY here.