Authors: Kevin Harrington (The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK)
In this interview we speak with Kevin Harrington (The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK) about his pioneering work in the development of T-VEC, the first oncolytic virotherapy that was approved by the US FDA. We also discuss the CheckMate141 trial and his upcoming work on improving outcomes for patients in whom combination treatments do not work the first time round.
What would you say has your greatest career achievement so far?
If I was looking back on a completed career at some point in the future, I guess one of the things that would give me the greatest sense of pride would be the fact that I had an involvement in the development and approval of the first oncolytic virotherapy that was approved by the FDA, subsequently by the EMA and then by other regulatory authorities around the world – T-VEC. We were involved in its development from the Phase I clinical trial and I was the UK principal investigator for the Phase II and the Phase III clinical trials and the data that accrued from that has subsequently led to the approval of this drug at a global level.
Could you tell us more about the mechanism of action of T-VEC and details of the trials you mentioned?
T-VEC is a genetically modified herpes simplex virus type I, so the cold sore virus. The virus has been modified in a number of key ways which makes it a very elegant therapeutic. The first thing that was done was a new strain of the virus was isolated from an individual who had recurrent cold sores and this virus was quite a lytic virulent virus.