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Biotech Co. Opens First Clinical Trial of Its Kind for the Treatment of Mesothelioma

A Biotech Company known as Curis, Inc. has opened the first clinical trial of its kind for the treatment of mesothelioma. The study is designed specifically to examine the patient population characterized by a protein found in around 90% of malignant mesothelioma tumors.

The target is a surface protein Known as VISTA, which inhibits the immune system from functioning properly, thus allowing mesothelioma to thrive.

The drug being studied, CA-170, is an orally-available, small molecule antagonist of VISTA and PD-L1 immune checkpoints. The drug inhibits VISTA, so ideally cancer growth would be inhibited and the body’s immune system would be better equipped to attack the cancer. While CA-170 isn’t considered a cure just yet, researchers say the hope for now is that the drug would help patients control the mesothelioma.

Curis is focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and the company is engaged in a collaboration with Drug Discovery Services company Aurigene, for discovery and development of drug candidates in the area of immune-oncology and precision oncology.

The Company's collaborators, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, or Roche, and Genentech Inc., or Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, are commercializing Erivedge (vismodegib) for the treatment of patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma, or BCC.

The Curis clinical trial offers new hope for the medical community and patients, not only as a standalone treatment, but in combination with other drugs such as Keytruda. Research suggests that CA-170 could help Keytruda work better in a larger percentage of mesothelioma patients. Today, only a small number of mesothelioma patients benefit from the drug.

In addition to Keytruda, some currently approved drug treatments for mesothelioma include Alimta and the combination Gemcitabine-Cisplatin. Alimta may also be used in combination with other drugs and many new forms of treatment, such as targeted therapy, photodynamic therapy, other immunotherapies, gene therapy vaccine therapy, are currently being tested.

However, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery still remain the top options for treating mesothelioma. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), these standard treatments may provide the most promising option for some patients.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to your doctor about new or experimental drugs such as CA-170. A new or experimental drug could be helpful in treating your specific type of mesothelioma, so talk to your doctor about participating in a clinical trial today.


Sources Aurigene Discovery Technologies, 2019. Web. 17 Mar. 2019. Curis, Inc., 2019. Web. 17 Mar. 2019.

"Drugs Approved for Malignant Mesothelioma." National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 17 Sep. 2014. Web. 17 Mar. 2019.

"IRAK4." Wikipedia, 17 Sep. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2019.

“What’s New in Malignant Mesothelioma Research?” The American Cancer Society, 16 Nov. 2018. Web. 17 Mar. 2019.