IONIC Program

    (Immuno-Oncology with Veyonda® in Combination)

    Veyonda combined with the Bristol Myers Squibb checkpoint inhibitor (CI) Opdivo® (nivolumab) for the treatment of a range of solid tumour types.

    Objectives - to demonstrate that:

    • For cancers already known to respond to checkpoint inhibitors but are becoming resistant during the treatment – whether Veyonda combined with Opdivo can stop the development of resistance and decrease the proportion of patients with disease progression
    • For cancer types that don’t typically respond to Opdivo - whether Veyonda will increase the susceptibility to Opdivo

    The Science

    Checkpoint inhibitors (CI’s) are increasingly being used in cancer treatment. CI’s help the body’s immune cells to recognise cancer cells as foreign and attack these cells, while leaving healthy cells alone.

    Current CI’s have been found to be lifesaving for some patients, however, they are not effective in the majority of patients, and have applications in just a limited range of cancer types (e.g., melanoma and lung, kidney and bladder cancers). 

    It is hypothesised that combining Veyonda with a CI will help to overcome some of the resistance mechanisms of the CI’s and improve the response in patients, based on evidence that Veyonda may be able to restore the immune function within tumours (COLD to HOT conversion).

    A pilot Phase I study – commenced

    The Opdivo / Veyonda combination is being administered to two types of patients:

    • those with cancers known to be capable of responding to checkpoint inhibitors (eg. melanoma, lung and bladder cancers) showing mild progression after having failed to respond to a checkpoint inhibitor.
    • those with cancer types (almost all other forms of solid tumour) unlikely to respond to Opdivo and which are showing mild progression on chemotherapy or targeted therapy.

    Under the supervision of Professor Paul de Souza, this trial commenced in March 2021 and is ongoing across several Australian sites.