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Verastem Announces New Research Published in the Journal Cell That Highlights the Potential of FAK Inhibition to Enhance the Efficacy of Anti-Tumor Immunotherapy
The paper discusses results from preclinical research showing that focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a protein which is often overproduced in tumors, enables cancer cells to evade attack by the immune system. In this study, researchers discovered that FAK inhibition can modulate the balance of immune cells in the tumor enabling an immune response to destroy the cancer cells.
The research, which was carried out in mice with squamous cell carcinoma, showed complete T-cell mediated tumor regression when the mice were administered the FAK inhibitor. This research is the first to demonstrate that FAK inhibition increases the presence of cytotoxic T cells in the tumor and decreases the presence of immunosuppressive T regulatory cells.
“This is a ground-breaking paper which shows that FAK inhibitors can
induce tumor regression through a T cell-mediated mechanism,” said
The research was funded by
The full press release from
The paper, titled “Nuclear FAK controls chemokine transcription, Tregs and evasion of anti-tumor immunity,” can be accessed at http://bit.ly/1KTb3mW.
VS-6063 (defactinib) is an orally available compound designed to target cancer stem cells through the potent inhibition of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Cancer stem cells are an underlying cause of tumor resistance to chemotherapy, recurrence and ultimate disease progression. Research has demonstrated that FAK activity is critical for the growth and survival of cancer stem cells. VS-6063 is currently being studied in the registration-directed COMMAND trial in mesothelioma (www.COMMANDmeso.com), a “Window of Opportunity” study in patients with mesothelioma prior to surgery, a Phase 1/1b study in combination with paclitaxel in patients with ovarian cancer, a trial in patients with KRAS-mutated non-small cell lung cancer and a trial evaluating the combination of VS-6063 and VS-5584 in patients with relapsed mesothelioma. VS-6063 has been granted orphan drug designation for use in mesothelioma in the U.S. and EU.
VS-4718 is an orally available compound designed to target cancer stem cells through the potent inhibition of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). VS-4718 is currently being studied in a Phase 1 dose escalation study in patients with advanced cancers.
This press release includes forward-looking statements about the
Company’s strategy, future plans and prospects, including statements
regarding the development and activity of the Company’s product
candidates, VS-6063 and VS-4718, and the Company’s FAK program
generally, and the potential for combination of FAK inhibitors with
immuno-oncology agents. The words “anticipate,” “appear,” “believe,”
“estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,”
“target,” “potential,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “continue,”
and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking
statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these
identifying words. Each forward-looking statement is subject to risks
and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially
from those expressed or implied in such statement. Applicable risks and
uncertainties include the risks that the preclinical testing of the
Company’s product candidates and preliminary or interim data from
clinical trials may not be predictive of the results or success of
ongoing or later clinical trials, that data may not be available when we
expect it to be, that enrollment of clinical trials may take longer than
expected, that our product candidates will cause unexpected safety
events, that the Company will be unable to successfully initiate or
complete the clinical development of its product candidates, that the
development of the Company’s product candidates will take longer or cost
more than planned, and that the Company’s product candidates will not
receive regulatory approval or become commercially successful products.
Other risks and uncertainties include those identified under the heading
“Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year
Brian Sullivan, 781-292-4214