Peritoneal cancer is a rare malignancy that develops in the peritoneum, a membrane that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity and rests on the abdominal and pelvic organs. Whether originating from a primary tumor within the peritoneum or a metastatic tumor elsewhere in the body, peritoneal cancer is a terminal disease with a poor prognosis.
Patients with peritoneal metastases are in urgent need of new treatment alternatives, as standard-of-care chemotherapy currently provides only modest survival benefits. The median survival of patients with peritoneal metastases differs based on the location of the primary tumor, but is frequently poor, with survival rates of 2.9 months, 6.5 months, and 6.9 months reported for cancers of pancreatic, gastric, and colorectal origins, respectively.
Earlier this year, Sheba and Enlivex, a biotech company specializing in macrophage reprogramming immunotherapy, launched a Phase I/II clinical trial for a new cancer treatment called Allocetra.
Allocetra is a novel immunotherapy in which billions of early apoptotic cells are injected into the patient’s bloodstream, using the body’s own natural regulation mechanisms to rebalance an unbalanced immune system without immunosuppression. With infusion, the body’s macrophages and dendritic cells can feed on these early apoptotic Allocetra cells, causing them to produce fewer cytokine alerts, thus averting a cytokine storm.
Allocetra, designed specifically for the treatment of patients with peritoneal cancer, is used in conjunction with chemotherapy in patients with peritoneal metastases arising from solid tumors.
Prof. Aviram Nissan, M.D., Director of the Department of General Surgery and Surgical Oncology at Sheba and Principal Investigator of the trial, explained: “As part of the trial, Allocetra is administered following pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy (PIPAC), which allows for efficient delivery of therapeutics directly to the peritoneum. We hope that the combination of chemotherapy and Allocetra, a next-generation cell therapy, will generate a breakthrough in the treatment of peritoneal metastases, which are not treatable in most patients today. We are eager to test this new approach with the hope of changing the lives of patients with peritoneal metastases.”