Choroidal melanoma therapy offers promising treatment option
PHILADELPHIA — A choroidal melanoma therapy has been shown to reduce tumor thickness and preserve best corrected visual acuity in patients participating in a phase 1b/2 study, according to a speaker here.
AU-011 (Aura Biosciences) has been administered to 30 patients with choroidal melanoma, demonstrating 87% tumor control in subjects with a single cycle treatment up to 6 months, Carol L. Shields, MD, said at the Wills Eye Conference.
“This is a safe treatment for both single and multiple administrations. Inflammation is manageable, and we have seen reduction in tumor thickness. One case actually had fine needle aspiration biopsy at 8 months, and there was complete tumor necrosis. No melanoma was left in the needle biopsy,” Shields said.
According to Shields, AU-011 is a light-activated viral nanoparticle that is delivered by intravitreal injection and targets melanoma cells in the choroid. The nanoparticles bind to modified heparin sulfate proteoglycans on the tumor cell surface, and a 689 nm laser is used to activate the drug. When activated, the drug disrupts the tumor cell membrane and leads to immediate necrosis, she said.
The study results showed no severe adverse events, and visual acuity has been preserved in patients followed for more than 6 months. In addition to the 87% of participants who exhibited tumor control, 20% had some level of tumor reduction, Shields said.
The durability of the tumor response was observed for more than 12 to 18 months at subtherapeutic doses, she said.
The nanoparticle therapy will be further evaluated in two phase 3 sister trials in 2020. It is also being evaluated as a potential therapy for choroidal metastases. – by Robert Linnehan
Shields CL. Aura 011 nanoparticle therapy for uveal melanoma. Presented at: Wills Eye Conference; March 7-9, 2019; Philadelphia.
Disclosure: Shields reports she is a consultant/scientific advisor for Aura Biosciences.