Victor Levin, MD, attending physician at Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Medical Center, recently discussed the STELLAR trial which is assessing eflornithine in combination with lomustine (Gleostine) in patients with recurrent anaplastic astrocytoma. If successful this will be the first precision therapy for this specific patient population.
What is Recurrent Anaplastic Astrocytoma?
These are rare, malignant brain tumors that arises from astrocytes, the supportive cells in the nervous system. According to the UCSF Brain Tumor Center, they are relatively rare perhaps representing 1 to 2% of all brain cancers. In 2017 an estimated 1,570 new cases were diagnosed.
The STELLAR Trial
Sponsored by Orbus Therapeutics, Inc., the STELLAR Trial has been designed to compare the efficacy and safety of eflornithine in combination with lomustine taken alone, in treating patients whose anaplastic astrocytoma has recurred/progressed post radiation and temozolomide chemotherapy. A Phase III trial, the sponsor is targeting 340 patients at 103 sites. The study is scheduled to complete during June, 2020.
Who is Orbus Therapeutics?
Founded in 2012, the San Francisco Bay Area-based emerging biotech venture has raised over $45 million according to CrunchBase. They focus on rare diseases including brain cancers. Eflornithine is an irreversible inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) that delays or freezes tumor growth by inhibiting production of the enzyme that can cause the growth to occur.
The Dr. Levin Interview
Dr. Levin attended the 24th Annual Meeting and Education Day of the Society of Neuro-Oncology and spoke with Targeted Oncology about the STELLAR trial. See the link to the source to read the entire interesting interview. Dr. Levin noted that “We have not had approval of any drug for primary gliomas since the alkylating agents.” He continued, “There are no other drugs available today to treat gliomas other than alkylating agents, so this would be a real game changer because it would add an new drug, a new mode of action, and an agent with a limited toxicity profile. It would provide the neuro-oncology community an opportunity to…create new combinations based on the mode of action of eflornithine. “