I think it’s an interesting topic because it deals with the drug development and the development of new drugs in targeted therapy in a new field which is the field of germ-cell tumours. Basically we presented the early results of the phase II study which is ongoing with brentuximab vedotin which is an antibody drug conjugate targeting CD30 in CD30 positive patients, CD30 positive germ cell tumours, mainly embryonic carcinoma. We presented data from nine patients who represented the first stage of the study which is a phase II study, a two-stage phase II study. Interesting signal responses based on a marked decline in almost all patients and RECIST responses in two out of these nine patients were observed. So it’s a clear signal of activity of this drug which was quite tolerated on the other side.
This is, of course, a signal that warrants further investigation for the conclusion of the study and probably further investigation with this drug in this disease, probably in other settings. Actually we are treating patients who are very highly with chemotherapy, with high dose chemotherapy, and probably the challenge in the next future will be to define a better disease setting, a better clinical setting, probably in an earlier disease phase for these patients.
What is the end goal?
This setting, the challenge due for new targeted therapies is they are mainly based on few numbers, the small numbers that we are dealing with, small numbers. Testes cancer is a rare disease so developing new drugs in this disease is very, very difficult. But in terms of the lives lost, of active life lost, in testes cancer ranges up to the first place among solid tumours so it’s important, in my view, to develop new drugs in the few patients who have refractory disease who are not being cured with chemotherapy, with conventional chemotherapy.