First Patient Enrolled in Clinical Trial of Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) Inhibitor TSR-011

Tesaro, an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company, announced earlier today that the first clinical trial of its proprietary Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) inhibitor, TSR-011, has, for the first time, been used in a patient at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare, a partnership between Scottsdale Healthcare and the TGen, the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center is first major cancer center in greater Phoenix (Arizona), offering comprehensive cancer care and research through Phase I clinical trials, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and support services in collaboration with leading researchers and community oncologists.

Abnormal ALK-fusion proteins are thought to be a key driver of certain types of cancers. ALK-gene fusions that result in constitutive activation of ALK are associated with sub-sets of certain cancers including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).  Abnormal ALK proteins are also associated with sub-populations of other cancers including lymphoma and neuroblastoma.  ALK is generally not expressed in normal adult tissue and therefore represents a promising molecular target for the development of a cancer therapeutic.  

Lung Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, over 1.6 million new lung cancer cases are identified worldwide annually, of which over 200,000 of these new lung cancer cases are in the United States.  Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Lung cancer is typically divided into two groups based upon the histologic appearance of the tumor cells—small cell and non-small cell lung cancer, each of which is treated with distinct chemotherapeutic approaches.

According to the American Cancer Society, NSCLC accounts for approximately 85% of lung cancer cases, with approximately 75% of these patients being diagnosed with metastatic or advanced disease.

Despite the introduction of new therapies patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC have five-year survival rates of just 24% and 4%, respectively, according to the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results program of the National Cancer Institute.  ALK is believed to be a key driver of tumor development in approximately 5% of all NSCLC patients.

A promising targeted anti-cancer agent

TSR-011 is an orally available ALK inhibitor (targeted anti-cancer agent) that will be studied in patients, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, with ALK+ tumors.  Tesaro plans to expand the Phase I/II clinical trial of drug candidate to multiple clinical trial sites in the U.S. and Europe. 

“TSR-011 has the profile of a promising targeted anti-cancer agent and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to investigate its potential in patients,” said Glen Weiss, M.D., Director of Thoracic Oncology at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare and Clinical Associate Professor at TGen.  

Following identification of the maximum tolerated dose of TSR-011 in patients with advanced cancer during the dose escalation phase of the trial, Tesaro plans to evaluate TSR-011 in three parallel cohorts of patients in the phase II portion: those with ALK+ NSCLC who have not been previously treated with ALK inhibitors, those with NSCLC who have progressed during treatment with other ALK inhibitors, and those with other tumor types expressing ALK.  The potential therapy for non-small cell lung cancer was in-licensed from Amgen in the spring of 2011. Amgen’s oral, small molecule ALK inhibitors are highly potent and selective, and possess desirable pharmaceutical properties.

“We are very pleased to have progressed TSR-011 into a human clinical trial and look forward to identifying a dose that may be utilized in the expansion phase of the study which will assess both the safety and efficacy of the compound,” said Mary Lynne Hedley, Ph.D., Tesaro’s President and Chief Scientific Officer.  “ALK is a key driver of subsets of NSCLC, and may also contribute to the growth of neuroblastoma, lymphoma and other cancers.  In order to maximize the commercial potential of TSR-011, we plan to study TSR-011 in multiple treatment and tumor settings.”

Tesaro focuses on personalized medicine approaches to cancer therapy, targeting certain defined populations of patients.

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Tags: ALK-fusion, ALK-gene, Lung, NSCLC, Piper, TGen, TSR-011, Tesaro, cancer, chemotherapeutic, More…proteins

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