Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT) and Imperial College London (ICL) have recently reported a significant breakthrough in the ongoing global Mobilize trial, as the first patients in the UK received an experimental mRNA therapy designed to combat melanoma, lung cancer, and other solid tumour cancers.

Administered at the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s Imperial Clinical Research facility located at Hammersmith Hospital, the Phase I/II Mobilize trial is a collaborative effort sponsored by Moderna and undertaken through the Moderna-UK strategic partnership.

The trial aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the innovative immunotherapy mRNA-4359, specifically tailored to combat various types of cancer.

In the UK, where approximately one in two individuals will face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, existing therapies such as chemotherapy and immune therapies have demonstrated success. However, challenges arise when certain cancer cells develop resistance to drugs, making tumours more difficult to treat.

mRNA-4359, heralded as a therapeutic cancer immunotherapy, is uniquely crafted to address specific cancer types. This experimental treatment works by presenting common tumour markers to the immune system, training it to identify and combat cancer cells expressing these markers. The ultimate goal is to eliminate cells that might suppress the immune response.

The Mobilize trial is primarily focused on assessing the safety and tolerability of mRNA-4359 when administered alone or in conjunction with Keytruda (pembrolizumab), an immune checkpoint inhibitor developed by Merck & Co, known as MSD outside the US and Canada.

Researchers are also exploring the potential of this combination therapy to reduce tumour size in patients with specific lung and skin cancers, offering a promising new option for addressing challenging-to-treat cancers.

Dr David Pinato, clinician scientist at ICL’s department of surgery and cancer and consultant medical oncologist at ICHT, expressed optimism about the trial’s progress, stating, “This trial is laying crucial groundwork that is moving us closer towards new therapies that are potentially less toxic and more precise.”

Back to News + Insights