on Wednesday, modern (Nasdaq stock code: MRNA) Announcing the encouraging results of a clinical trial of an experimental cancer vaccine. When combined with Keytruda, treatment with the messenger RNA-based candidate gene mRNA-4157 can shrink tumors in five tenths of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. Two of these patients achieved complete remission.
Keytruda is a successful cancer immunotherapy, derived from Merck (New York Stock Exchange: MRK) HNSCC patients have been approved as single-drug therapy. Moderna did not include a control group for comparison, but we know that the FDA approved Keytruda to only shrink tumors in 1
Unfortunately, treatment with mRNA-4157 and Keytruda did not shrink any tumors in 17 patients with advanced colon cancer that were not driven by microsatellite instability mutations. Keytruda is approved to treat patients versus These mutations have not been successful in a large number of colon cancer patients who are not in this category.
In a large range of colon cancer patients, some encouraging responses will help support the idea that mRNA-4157 is an effective treatment. Before assuming that Moderna’s cancer vaccine candidates are responsible for the observed early response, it is best to wait to see if this impressive response rate can be maintained as more HNSCC patients join the study.
Since Keytruda was approved in 2014, there has been almost no one month without at least one clinical-stage biotechnology company reporting the impressive early response rate data generated by its experimental therapy combined with Keytruda or similar drugs. This combination prevents the immune system from working, so they can fight cancer. So far, no one has been approved by the FDA.