NovoCure Ltd., based in Switzerland, has just announced that its Phase III LUNAR trial has successfully met its primary endpoint in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The trial demonstrated that the use of Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) in combination with standard therapies resulted in a significant improvement in overall survival when compared to standard therapies alone. This exciting news has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for patients with NSCLC.
TTFields, a revolutionary form of electric fields, have been shown to be highly effective in boosting survival in cancer patients. Not only do these fields kill cancer cells by disrupting cell division, but they also interfere with cell migration, suppress cells’ DNA damage response and even enhance the immune system’s anti-tumor activity. Combining TTFields with immune checkpoint inhibitors has proven to be a powerful combination in the fight against cancer.
The LUNAR trial, a pivotal, randomized and open-label study enrolling more than 270 stage 4 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients, aimed to explore the impact of TTFields, a novel cancer treatment that leverages differences in electrical properties, division rate and morphology to spare healthy cells and reduce off-target effects. Could this cutting-edge approach enhance the efficacy of existing cancer therapies?
NovoCure’s TTFields technology has been found to possess anti-cancer activity, and the safety of the electric field intervention was also demonstrated in the LUNAR trial. Results revealed that the therapy was well-tolerated. NovoCure is now preparing to submit a Premarket Approval application to the FDA later this year, and full results and analyses from the trial will be presented at a future medical conference.
Enhancing a Competitive Therapeutic Space
NovoCure’s electric field-based intervention is not intended to be used as a standalone therapy, but rather as a complement to existing standard-of-care cancer treatments, such as Merck’s blockbuster Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Genentech’s Tecentriq (atezolizumab). This is particularly true in the NSCLC space, where new treatments are being developed and launched on a regular basis.
Jemperli (dostarlimab), GSK’s innovative checkpoint inhibitor, has recently soared to success in its Phase II PERLA trial, producing a highly favorable objective response rate and progression-free survival in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
Rumors of a possible buyout were swirling last month when California-based Mirati Therapeutics achieved a major milestone: an accelerated FDA approval of its KRAS inhibitor adagrasib, now marketed as Krazati. This new drug expands the therapeutic options for patients with non-small cell lung cancer beyond just immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Krazati has been given the regulatory green light to treat NSCLC patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease and the G12C mutation in the KRAS gene. However, the cancer also faces its fair share of trial failures, with Jounce’s vopratelimab-pimivalimab combo and Novartis’ canakinumab failing to demonstrate superior efficacy in August.