First patient recruited in Cambridge for novel cancer immunotherapy trial

A new clinical trial is being carried out by CRUK’s Centre for Drug Development to evaluate the orally available drug, HTL0039732, for advanced solid tumours.

The Phase 1/2a trial, is being led by Chief Investigator Bristi Basu (University of Cambridge, Cambridge ECMC lead and CRUK Cambridge Centre Pancreatic Cancer Programme co-lead) and Co-Chief Investigator Debashis Sarker (King’s College London).

HTL0039732, developed by Sosei Heptares, selectively blocks the EP4 prostaglandin receptor, increasing the ability of the immune system to detect and control cancer cells.
This makes HTL0039732 a potential candidate to treat patients with cancers that generally do not respond well to current immunotherapies.

If the trial results are positive, HTL0039732 could be an effective immunotherapy for patients patients with cancers that generally do not respond well to current immunotherapies, including colorectal, gastroesophageal, head and neck, and castrate-resistant prostate cancer.

Dr Bristi Basu said: “We are excited to be opening a new UK clinical trial using HTL0039732 to target a protein called EP4, a member of the prostaglandin receptor family that has been implicated in creating the immunosuppressive environment which promotes tumour growth in multiple cancer types.

“By studying HTL0039732 alone and in combination with immunotherapy, we aim to understand more about how to optimise modulation of the immune system to fight cancers. We hope that this EP4-targeting approach will deliver a promising route to improving treatment options for patients with a broad range of cancers.”

Patient recruitment has been initiated in the UK at Cambridge University Hospitals and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trusts, with additional sites across the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) network to open soon.

See the press release from Sosei Heptares and Cancer Research UK here

31 Aug 2023