Xilonix is a type of drug known as a true human antibody. These types of drugs use antibodies that are made in the lab rather than by a person’s own immune system. Antibody therapy works by activating the immune system to destroy the targeted antigen (a substance that causes the body to make a specific immune response), such as a cancer cell.
Xilonix targets a protein in NSCLC known as cytokine interleukin-1 alpha, which is involved in inflammation.
To study the effects of Xilonix in patients with NSCLC, researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas treated the patients with the agent and followed them for two years. Using X-ray, they watched the patients for signs that tumors were responding to treatment and also monitored changes in lean body mass and quality of life.
The study included 16 patients. All had received other treatments for NSCLC, which were not effective. Ten of these patients had received prior therapy with an EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) inhibitor. For the study, they received four infusions with Xilonix and were not pretreated with steroids or antihistamines to reduce inflammation. They were allowed to continue on the study until disease progressed, side effects became intolerable, or they chose to leave.
At two years patients who had received Xilonix had median of 7.6 months overall. Those who had previously received treatment with an EGFR inhibitor had a longer median survival or 9.4 months. The researchers were also able to see an antitumor effect on X-ray in patients who received Xilonix, as well as improved lean body mass and quality of life. The patients also reported less pain and fatigue and improved appetite.
Michael Stecher, MD, XBiotech’s Medical Director, called the evidence that Xilonix might be effective in the treatment of NSCLC “highly encouraging.” He added that these findings justify additional study of Xilonix in NSCLC, as well as other types of cancer.
[i] Texas Based XBiotech Announces Positive Clinical Trial Results in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients [press release]. XBiotech Inc website. Available at: http://bionews-tx.com/news/2015/04/08/texas-based-xbiotech-announces-positive-clinical-trial-results-in-non-small-cell-lung-cancer-patients. Accessed May 11, 2015.
[ii] Hong DS, Janku F, Naing A, et al. Xilonix, a novel true human antibody targeting the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 alpha, in non-small cell lung cancer. Investigational New Drugs [early online publication]. March 31, 2015.