Clinical Study of Combo, Avelumab and Defactinib, in Advanced Ovarian Cancer Begins

Clinical Study of Combo, Avelumab and Defactinib, in Advanced Ovarian Cancer Begins
A Phase 1/2 clinical trial evaluating the investigational drugs avelumab, a PD-L1 inhibitor, and defactinib, a FAK inhibitor, in patients with advanced ovarian cancer has dosed its first patient, Verastem announced. The study is expected to enroll up to 100 patients at possibly 15 sites across the U.S. It is currently enrolling participants, and information is available on its clinical webpage. “Patients with late-stage ovarian cancer are in dire need of effective new treatments. We are eager to review the results of this important study as we continue to investigate the potential of avelumab to address the unmet needs for this hard-to-treat cancer,” Dr. Alise Reicin, head of Global Clinical Development at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany’s biopharma business, said in a news release. [Verastem is conducting the study in collaboration with Merck (EMD Serono in the U.S. and Canada) and Pfizer.] The focal adhesion kinase (FAK) protein, which is found at high levels in several tumors, is thought to aid in tumor immune evasion. Studies have shown that blocking this protein can lower the numbers of immunosuppressive T-cells and increase those of killer T-cells, suggesting that combining a FAK inhibitor with immune checkpoint inhibitors could be a promising approach for cancer patients. “Our goal, through this collaboration, is to increase our understanding of FAK inhibition, and further demonstrate the alliance’s commitment to exploring a diverse range of no
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Inês Martins holds a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on blood vessels and their role in both hematopoiesis and cancer development.

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