Myeloma UK has launched a ground-breaking immunotherapy trial which aims to modulate the immune system to target myeloma.

In what the charity describes as a “world first”, the Phase Ib study, called MUK eleven, will investigate Oncolytics Biotech’ oncolytic virus Reolysin (pelareorep) in combination with immunomodulatory drugs as a rescue treatment in relapsing myeloma patients.

Explaining the premise for the trial, Myeloma UK noted that Reolysin has been shown to be effective in killing a range of cancer cells including myeloma cells, and that research from the University of Leeds has suggested an increase in immune activation when the drug is combined with immmunotherapies.

In MUK eleven, the novel oncolytic treatment will be combined with Celgene drugs Imnovid (pomalidomide) or Revlimid (lenalidomide) in patients whose myeloma is progressing whilst on immunomodulatory treatments.

The dose escalation trial will assess the safety and tolerability of these combinations, and will investigate whether the addition of Reolysin extends disease control in this patient group.

“This trial, the first of its kind, is a novel way of activating a patient’s own immune system to target their myeloma (immunotherapy) using a natural virus and lenalidomide or pomalidomide, which could offer a new treatment strategy in myeloma,” noted chief investigator Gordon Cook.

The study will aim to recruit 44 patients across up to six Myeloma UK Clinical Trial Network centres in the UK.