Last updated on October 2018

Pembrolizumab With Intratumoral Injection of Clostridium Novyi-NT


Brief description of study

Some tumors are difficult to treat with chemotherapy or radiation. One of the reasons is that areas of the tumor do not have many blood vessels, which makes it difficult for drugs to reach those areas. One way that researchers have recently tried to overcome this problem is by injecting special kinds of bacteria into the tumors. These bacteria have been genetically changed to remove the chemicals that are poisonous to humans, but are still able to cause tumor cells to break down and die. The idea is that these bacteria may be able to assist chemotherapy drugs in fighting cancer.

The goal of this clinical research study is to find the highest tolerable dose of one of these bacterial therapies (Clostridium novyi-NT spores) that can be given in combination with pembrolizumab to patients with advanced solid tumors. The safety of this drug will also be studied, as well as whether it can help to control the disease.

This is an investigational study. Clostridium novyi-NT is not FDA approved or commercially available. It is currently being used for research purposes only. Pembrolizumab is FDA approved for the treatment of melanoma and different types of head and neck and non-small cell lung cancers. It is investigational to use these drugs in combination with each other in various types of advanced cancers.

The study doctor can describe how the study drugs are designed to work.

Up to 18 participants will be enrolled in this study. All will take part at MD Anderson.

Detailed Study Description

Study Drug Dose Levels:

If you are found to be eligible to take part in this study, you will be assigned to a dose level of Clostridium novyi-NT based on when you join this study. Up to 4 dose levels will be tested. Up to 6 participants will be enrolled at each dose level. The first group of participants will receive the lowest dose level of Clostridium novyi-NT. Each new group will receive a higher dose than the group before it, if no intolerable side effects were seen. This will continue until the highest tolerable dose of Clostridium novyi-NT is found, or all 4 dose levels are filled.

During the study, the supporting company (BioMed Valley Discoveries, Inc.) and study doctors may increase the number of patients in a dose group based on the available study results. This will not change your participation while on study.

All participants will receive the same dose level of pembrolizumab.

Study Drug Administration:

You will receive pembrolizumab by vein over about 30 minutes on Day 0 and then every 3 weeks for up to 12 months.

Clostridium novyi-NT will be injected into the tumor on Day 8. This is the only injection into the tumor you will receive. Your doctors may use an x-ray or ultrasound to help place the needle into the tumor. You will be in the hospital for 7 days to check for side effects, or possibly longer if your study doctor thinks it is needed. You will be able to go home if you have no signs or symptoms of infection. If the study doctor thinks it is needed (for example, based on your tests or any infection symptoms), you may need to return to the hospital at a later time.

Starting on Day 15, you will take an antibiotic (doxycycline) by mouth 2 times a day for the rest of your life to lower the risk of further growth of Clostridium novyi-NT. This is because the study drug is a changed form of bacteria. If you miss a dose or forget to take doxycycline, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take it and you should skip the missed dose. Do not take an extra dose to make up for a missed dose.

If the doctor thinks it is needed, you will also take additional antibiotics, piperacillin/tazobactam and metronidazole. The antibiotic that is given and the length of time you need to take it will depend on your reaction to the study drug. You should still continue to take doxycycline. Your doctor will discuss this with you. You may receive piperacillin/tazobactam by vein over about 30 minutes and metronidazole by vein over about 30-60 minutes as often as your doctor tells you to, until your doctor thinks it is acceptable for you to change to taking the antibiotics by mouth. In some cases, if you need to receive antibiotics by vein for more than a week or two, your doctor may ask you to have a central venous catheter placed. A central venous catheter is a sterile flexible tube that will be placed into a large vein while you are under local anesthesia. Your doctor will explain this procedure to you in more detail, and you will be required to sign a separate consent form.

You may also be given other standard drugs to help decrease the risk of side effects. You may ask the study staff for information about how the drugs are given and their risks.

Length of Study Participation:

You may receive 1 dose of Clostridium novyi-NT and receive pembrolizumab every 3 weeks for up to 12 months. You will then have 12 months of follow-up after you receive the last dose of pembrolizumab. You will be taken off study early if the disease gets worse, if you have intolerable side effects, or if you are unable to follow study directions.

Your participation on the study will be over after the Month 12 post-dosing follow-up visit.

If you leave the study early, you or your family will be called every 3 months for up to 12 months to see how you are doing. These calls should last less than 30 minutes each time.

Study Visits and Calls:

For your safety, you must stay within 45 minutes driving distance from an emergency room and also have a caregiver available for at least 28 days after you receive your dose of Clostridium novyi-NT spores.

If an abscess (a swollen area of infection that contains pus) forms in the tumor and it needs to be drained, the study doctor may decide to collect some of the drainage for research tests to study the infection and test your immune system response.

Tumor biopsy samples (described below) may be collected at different times than listed, or not at all, depending on the inflammation around the tumor, the amount of tissue available, or how easily it can be collected.

On Days 0 and 1:

  • You will have a physical exam.
  • You will have an EKG to check your heart function.
  • You will have a biopsy sample collected from the target tumor before you receive pembrolizumab. The tumor sample will be used for biomarker testing, including genetic biomarkers and to check your body's inflammatory and immune responses to the study drug. Biomarkers are found in the blood/tissue and may be related to your reaction to the study drug. The type of biopsy you have will depend on the location of the disease. The study staff will describe this procedure in more detail, including its risks.
  • If you can become pregnant, you will have a blood (about 1 teaspoon) or urine pregnancy test.

On Day 8:

  • You will have a physical exam.
  • Blood (about 4 tablespoons) will be drawn for routine tests, to find out how long the Clostridium novyi-NT spores and bacteria stay in your body, and to measure your risk for bacteremia at 1 hour and 12 hours after the study drug dose.

On Days 9-15 daily:

  • You will have a physical exam.
  • Blood (about 1 teaspoons) will be drawn for routine tests.
  • You will have either a CT scan or MRI to check the status of the disease (Day 15 only).
  • If you have any skin lesions, photographs will be taken of these lesions.

After you leave the hospital and during the first 28 days after you receive Clostridium novyi-NT spores, the study staff will call you 1 time each day on the days you do not have study visits. You will be asked how you are doing. The calls should last less than 30 minutes each time.

On Days 18 and 25, you will have a physical exam.

On Days 21 and 28:

  • You will have a physical exam.
  • Blood (about 1 teaspoons) will be drawn for routine tests.

On Days 35:

  • You will have a physical exam.
  • Blood (about 4 tablespoons) will be drawn for routine tests, to check your body's inflammatory and immune system response to the study drug, to find out how long the Clostridium novyi-NT spores and bacteria stay in your body, and to measure your risk for bacteremia.

At Weeks 6, 9, 15, 24, 39, 45, and 48, you will have a physical exam.

Every 3 weeks beginning with Week 6, blood (about 1 tablespoon) will be drawn for routine testing.

Every 6 weeks beginning with Week 6:

  • You will have either a CT scan or MRI to check the status of the disease.
  • If you have any skin lesions, photographs will be taken of these lesions.

At Week 9, blood (about 1 teaspoon) will also be drawn for HLA testing.

At Week 12, you will have a tumor tissue biopsy sample collected of the injected tumor and a non-injected tumor for biomarker testing and to help learn how your body is responding to the study drug.

At Weeks 9, 24, 33 and 48, blood (about 4 tablespoons) will be drawn for routine tests, to check your body's inflammatory and immune system response to the study drug, to find out how long the Clostridium novyi-NT spores and bacteria stay in your body, and to measure your risk for bacteremia.

The tests and procedures may be repeated anytime the doctor thinks it is needed.

End of Study Visit:

After you stop receiving the study drug(s):

  • Blood (about 3 tablespoons) will be drawn for routine tests, to check your body's inflammatory and immune system response to the study drug, to find out how long the Clostridium novyi-NT spores and bacteria stay in your body, and to measure your risk for bacteremia.
  • You will have either a CT scan or MRI to check the status of the disease.
  • If you have any skin lesions, photographs will be taken of these lesions.

Follow Up Visit:

About 30 days after your last dose of pembrolizumab:

  • You will have a physical exam.
  • Blood (about 1 tablespoon) and urine will be collected for routine tests.
  • You will have either a CT scan or MRI to check the status of the disease. It will be repeated every 3 months for up to 12 months.
  • If you have any skin lesions, photographs will be taken of these lesions.

After the last follow-up visit, you or a family member will be called every 3 months for an additional year and asked about how you are doing. Each call should last about 15 minutes.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03435952

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Recruitment Status: Open


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