ERC1671 is in development for the treatment of high grade, recurrent gliomas. Gliomas are the most common type of primary brain tumour. They develop from the glial cells that support the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and most malignant of all high grade gliomas. Gliosarcoma is a rare, malignant and fast-growing type of glioma, all classified as high grade tumours. High grade gliomas are very difficult tumours to treat due to the problems in completely removing the tumour and their resistance to radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
ERC1671 is composed of whole tumour cells and cell fragments taken from the patient and three other donors with the same type of cancer. By receiving tumour cells from different people, the patient’s immune system is exposed to several different tumour-associated antigens (TAA), or proteins, minimizing the chance that tumour cells might escape from the body’s defences. It also is believed this approach will trigger a stronger immune response against the TAA on the patient’s tumour. This strategy in combination with the immune response inherent in the patient’s own cells may lead to the elimination of glioblastoma cells and offer an additional treatment option for high grade glioma patients who currently have few effective therapies available.
Pembrolizumab is an immunomodulatory medicinal product, meaning that it helps the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. It is administered by intravenous infusion and is currently licensed in the UK for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and urothelial cancer – amongst others. If licensed, pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, would offer an alternative treatment for those with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.