The Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (RPCCC), located in Buffalo, New York, the United States, announced on October 6 that the effectiveness of Cuba´s VSSP cancer drug on metastatic kidney cancer paves the way for a new treatment of the deadly disease.
This comes as part of a collaborative effort among RPCCC researchers and Cuba´s Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) to create a new strategy to treat immune dysfunction in patients suffering from malignant tumors.
The report, which involved both lab studies and an early-phase clinical trial, showed that a new immune modulator, VSSP, can significantly reduce myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) among people with advanced kidney cancer.
Previous research has proved that the antitumor immune reaction can be enhanced by blocking MDSCs, a prominent cell type that drives immune suppression. Scientists then sought an alternative method to target them by using VSSP, a nanoparticle that has been in clinical development in Cuba for over 10 years, and has been incorporated into the formulation of three different candidate cancer vaccines currently in different stages of clinical trials.
The study, recently published in The Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, showed that administration of VSSP in preclinical trials converted MDSCs in the bone marrow into monocytes and dendritic cells, a potential result for cancer treatment in high-MDSC burden patients.
Moreover, CIM researchers also completed a VSSP early-phase clinical trial in 15 patients with metastatic kidney tumors, and found that the MDSCs amounts in patients’ blood was significantly reduced, accompanied by increased levels of monocytes and dendritic cells.
“These clinical and preclinical findings strengthen the evidence that VSSP can be used to correct myeloid dysfunction in cancer, and also provide a rationale for combining VSSP with other immuno-oncology agents,” said Jason Muhitch, PhD, co-leader of the Genitourinary Cancer Translational Research Group at Roswell Park.
“Our findings also suggest that the mechanism by which VSSP is interfering with the immunosuppressive signals coming from the tumor is at early stages of the generation of the myeloid dysfunction,” added Circe Mesa, PhD, of the Department of Immunoregulation, Immunology and Immunotherapy Direction at the CIM. “This may position VSSP as a first-in-class immune-modulating therapy to combine with antitumor therapies dampened by a dysfunctional myeloid compartment.”
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