Background GEN-009 is an adjuvanted personalized cancer vaccine containing up to 20 neoantigens selected by ATLAS™, an ex vivo bioassay screening autologous T cells to identify both neoantigens as well as Inhibigens™ empirically and without in silico predictions. Inhibigen-specific T cells suppress immunity and have been shown to accelerate tumor progression in mice. Inhibigens are avoided in GEN-009. Previous data from patients treated with GEN-009 monotherapy showed 99% of selected peptides generated immune responses including ex vivo CD4+ and CD8+ fluorospot responses specific for 51% and 41% of immunized peptides respectively.
Methods GEN-009 is being evaluated in patients (pts) with advanced cancer who received standard-of-care (SOC) PD-1 inhibitor as monotherapy or in combination therapy during vaccine manufacturing; they subsequently received 5 vaccine doses over 24 weeks in combination with the PD-1 inhibitor. Patients who progressed prior to vaccination could receive alternate therapy followed by GEN-009 combined with an appropriate salvage regimen. Peripheral T cell responses were evaluated pre-and post-vaccination by dual-analyte fluorospot assays measured both directly ex vivo and after in vitro stimulation.
Results As of August 18, 2020, 15 pts received GEN-009 in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor. Their median TMB was 1.37Mut/mb (range 0.31–6.55), with a median of 24 (6–99) neoantigens and 16 (1–86) Inhibigens. The number of neoantigens in each manufactured vaccine ranged from 4–18 (median 13). GEN-009-related adverse events were limited to Grade 1 injection site reactions. Ex vivo T cell responses peaked after the third vaccination for IFNγ and some patients showed evidence of epitope spread. The initial 5 patients are evaluable for antitumor activity with at least 3 months follow up after first vaccination. Three patients experienced early tumor responses followed by stabilization on PD-1 inhibitor SOC and demonstrated a further reduction in tumor volume after GEN-009 vaccination (figure 1). One patient experienced a complete response prior to vaccination and the 5th patient had progression on SOC, but had a Partial Response to salvage and remains stable after vaccination.
Conclusions Vaccination with GEN-009 in combination with PD-1 CPI is feasible for patients with advanced solid tumors with little additive toxicity. Preliminary data demonstrate induction of robust, neoantigen-specific immune responses and a potential expansion of stimulatory targets with epitope spreading in the presence of PD-1 inhibitor. Possible additive antitumor activity in combination with PD-1 inhibitors is suggested by tumor shrinkage following GEN-009 dosing. More mature response and immunogenicity data on 10 additional patients is anticipated for November.
Trial Registration ClinicalTrials. gov NCT03633110
Ethics Approval The study was approved by Western Institutional Review Board, approval number 1-1078861-1.
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