Medical Research Council (MRC) Grants Funding for Bermekimab as Part of its Support for “Outstanding Clinical Programs in the United Kingdom”
AUSTIN, Texas, July 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- XBiotech (XBIT) announced today that the Medical Research Council (MRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, has awarded funding to study bermekimab therapy in a Phase 2 multi-center study in advanced cancers. The MRC will provide funding for all clinical costs of the Phase 2 study to treat patients with advanced lung, pancreatic and ovarian cancers. The MRC uses leading medical researchers to evaluate and award grants based on the mission “to improve human health through world-class medical research.” [https://mrc.ukri.org/]
The phase 2 study will be conducted at multiple cancer centers across the UK. Patients will receive eight weekly doses of bermekimab and be assessed for tumor-related wasting and other quality of life symptoms (using the EORTC QLQ-C30). The study was developed in conjunction with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cancer & Nutrition Collaboration and the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Supportive and Palliative Care Group.
Barry J. A. Laird, M.D., Senior Lecturer in Palliative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh’s Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, and Consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh will head the study. Dr. Laird commented, “In patients with cancer, loss of weight, decreased activity and impaired quality of life are often regarded as inevitable with limited treatments available. Using immunotherapy to abrogate this disease process is a new approach. We are grateful to the MRC and to XBiotech for supporting this trial.”
John Simard, President & CEO of XBiotech, commented, “We are pleased that the medical experts at the MRC have committed resources to the bermekimab program in oncology. We are grateful to Dr. Baird for his work in advancing a novel clinical protocol and for bringing this important immunotherapy to patients in the UK. Bermekimab has proven to significantly benefit patients with advanced cancer. We are eager to provide bermekimab in support of the planned clinical study and to help patients suffering from advanced cancer.”
Bermekimab targets the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1a and has been used in other innovative oncology studies. The Company previously met its primary endpoint in a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study with bermekimab for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer. The primary endpoint in the study was a novel symptom cluster, which assessed a combination of physical symptoms—pain, fatigue, anorexia and muscle wasting—that are key measures of patient quality of life and predictors of survival. Patients treated with bermekimab were significantly more likely to achieve the primary endpoint compared to placebo (33% vs 17%, respectively); moreover, patients who achieved the primary endpoint had one-fifth as many serious adverse events, were twice as likely to have stable disease (according to RECIST criteria), showed significant and clinically relevant improvement in all life quality measures, and had almost three-fold increase in survival compared to failures.
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