“The First Rule of Fight Club Is…”

Mar 13, 2024

As any true fan of the Brad Pitt and Edward Norton movie based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel of the same name knows – and endlessly references and repeats, “The first rule of Fight Club is… you don’t talk about Fight Club.”

The same was – emphasis on was – true of the Fight Club involving the lead EpicentRx oncolytic adenovirus, AdAPT-001, which expresses a TGF-β trap, versus cancer.

At first almost no one talked about it.

Or even knew about it.

Which was not at all surprising since over the years many oncolytic viruses have come and gone, falling by the wayside after largely failing to live up to expectations as game-changing immunotherapeutics, so the initial lack of awareness and fanfare about AdAPT-001 made perfect sense. Not to us at EpicentRx, but to almost everyone else who didn’t know, like we did, what AdAPT-001 could do based on preclinical experiments in immunocompetent mouse models with and without checkpoint inhibitors.

It was only at the end of 2023, almost one year after the start of the Phase 1 clinical trial that AdAPT-001 began to shed its cloak of anonymity and attract notice with across-the-board durable responses in hard-to-treat tumor types like sarcoma and triple negative breast cancer both alone and in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor.

Like the Brad Pitt alpha male/Edward Norton beta male dissociative personality in the Fight Club movie, AdAPT-001 splits itself between cancer cells, which it harms, and histologically normal, cancer-adjacent tissue, which it does not.

Also like the Svengali-like Brad Pitt character, Tyler Durden, who recruits disaffected men to his anarchistic/terroristic cause, AdAPT-001 redirects cytotoxic T-cells to its anticancer crusade.

Considering all this promising activity, part of which is published in the Cancer Gene Therapy article entitled BETA prime: a first-in-man phase 1 study of AdAPT-001, an armed oncolytic adenovirus for solid tumors, the first rule of AdAPT-001 Fight Club…you TALK constantly about AdAPT-001 Fight Club! All day, every day.

Which we, and investigators like Dr. Anthony P. Conley at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, continue – and will continue – to do.