In February 2023 Gritstone bio and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of NIH announced a collaboration to evaluate an “autologous T cell therapy expressing a T cell receptor targeting mutated KRAS in combination with Gritstone’s KRAS-directed vaccine candidate”. The Phase I study will be led by Dr Steven A Rosenberg of the NCI’s Centre for Cancer Research. 

Combination therapy 

The vaccine candidate, SLATE-KRAS, is an “off the shelf” neoantigen vaccine that “demonstrated early evidence of efficacy” in an ongoing study. Based on these results, Gritstone is initiating a separate, randomised study evaluating SLATE against a KRAS mutation driven tumour type.  

Through this agreement, NCI will identify patients with metastatic cancer who are eligible for adoptive cell transfer “based on the presence of a G12V or G12D KRAS mutation”. Gritstone will provide the vaccine for the trial.  

Dr Andrew Allen, Co-founder, President, and CEO of Gritstone bio is “privileged to establish this collaboration”.  

“To date, cell therapy’s success in treating blood cancers has not translated to the more common solid tumours. There is a mechanistic synergy in having cell therapy and cancer vaccines in combination.” 

Dr Allen is “thrilled” to test the programme in patients and looks forward to a “promising study”.  

A rational approach 

Dr Karin Jooss, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D at Gritstone bio described the “use of neoantigen vaccines to enhance the potency of neoantigen-directed T cell therapy” as an “attractive concept”. The KRAS-directed vaccine has a demonstrated ability to ‘induce and expand KRAS mutation-specific T cells” and “drive them into solid tumours”.  

“Combining this modality with autologous KRAS mutation-specific TCR transduced T cells…is a rational approach to augmenting therapeutic efficacy”.  

We look forward to hearing more on efforts towards cancer vaccines from Dr Andrew Allen at the World Vaccine Congress this April. To join us there get your tickets today.