“Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know”

May 15, 2024

So said Lady Carolyn Lamb about her lover, the Romantic poet, aristocrat, infamous lady killer, and original rebel with a cause, Lord Byron.

The same could be said of the hopefully soon-to-be-infamous tumor killer, AdAPT-001, an experimental oncolytic adenovirus which is under evaluation in a Phase 2 clinical trial with a checkpoint inhibitor for the treatment of sarcomas and in a soon to start Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with the checkpoint inhibitor, atezolizumab, and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor, bevacizumab.

AdAPT-001 intensely expresses, not emotions like a Lord Byron poem, but a transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) trap that binds to and neutralizes the immune suppressive protein or cytokine, TGF-β, which tumors upregulate to prevent an antitumor T-cell response.

Data from the Phase 2 clinical trial is promising with several complete and partial responses when AdAPT-001 and a checkpoint inhibitor are combined, even in patients that previously did not benefit from checkpoint inhibitors. Moreover, to date, no dose limiting toxicities or related serious adverse events (SAEs) have been observed either with AdAPT-001 as a single agent or in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor, which is surely welcome news to long-suffering cancer patients.

Byron himself, who passionately hated injustice of any kind, having joined the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, might have had a name for this promising anticancer activity.

Poetic justice.