Making Sarcoma History

May 31, 2024

The MD Anderson tagline is “Making Cancer History”, which applies to sarcoma investigator and MD Anderson Associate Professor, Dr. Anthony P. Conley. The man of the moment, Dr. Conley is spotlighted in a just-released MD Anderson newsletter entitled Newest Research in Sarcoma. Click on the link to read it.

Dr. Conley entered rarefied air after his selection out of some 7000 submitted abstracts for an oral presentation (Abstract 2506) at the upcoming 2024 ASCO conference, the largest and most prestigious conference in all of oncology.

As lead investigator, he will present potentially practice changing clinical results from a Phase 2 trial called BETA PRIME that features AdAPT-001, a pan-anticancer agent, that is preferentially active in sarcomas both alone and when combined with an immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI).

Think of lead EpicentRx therapy, AdAPT-001, as a sponge, that, because of the TGF-β trap, which it expresses, “soaks up different forms of TGF-β. This then allows your T-cells, which are an important part of the immune system, to now activate, recruit other cells and damage the tumors”, said Dr. Conley. TGF-β is at the apex of immunosuppressive cytokines, and its overexpression correlates with immune “cold” tumors and resistance to ICIs.

The main takeaway from BETA PRIME is that the AdAPT-001-mediated neutralization of TGF-β made these “cold” tumors, mostly sarcomas, “hot” and newly susceptible to ICIs, even ICIs that were previously tried and found to be ineffective. According to Dr. Conley, “It was a small study, but we found some really interesting results. For example, in several cutaneous sarcomas treated with the combination therapy, the tumors visually looked better in scans — smaller and less irregular.” These visual improvements also applied to distant, non-injected tumors.

Plans for an MD Anderson- and Dr. Conley-led confirmatory Phase 2/3 trial in sarcoma are underway.

The hope from this much larger trial is, of course, that the combination of AdAPT-001 and an ICI will make sarcoma history.