Phase 1 First-in-Human Dose Escalation and Dose Expansion Study of KLS-1 (64Zinc Aspartate) in Patients With Cancer and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Cureus. 2022 Oct 4;14(10):e29921. doi: 10.7759/cureus.29921. eCollection 2022 Oct.


Background KLS-1 is zinc (Zn) aspartate enriched with isotope 64Zn to 99.2% mass fraction of total zinc. KLS-1 is intended as a novel therapeutic approach for patients with a variety of diseases including but not limited to different forms of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The purpose of this first-in-human study was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, and pharmacokinetics (PK) in patients with medical disorders. Methods The study was designed as consisting of two consecutive parts: the dose escalation part and the dose expansion part. Adult patients with refractory glioblastoma, primary progressive aphasia/dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease (PD), and type 1 diabetes were included. KLS-1 formulated as a 10 mL water solution containing 26.42 mg/mL of 64zinc aspartate (that is equivalent to 5.184 mg/mL of 64Zn) was administered twice weekly in two-week cycles via two-hour intravenous (IV) infusion at various dose levels during the dose escalation part and twice weekly during five subsequent weeks in the dose expansion part. The study was conducted at Pan American Cancer Treatment Center (Tijuana, Mexico) in 2020 and had a duration of 10 months. Results A total of eight patients (all white/Caucasian) were enrolled in both parts of the study. A total of four patients who participated in the dose escalation part were dosed twice weekly at 1, 2, and 4 mg/kg in two-week cycles for each dose level with the dose increased to the next higher level in the subsequent cycle. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were defined at dose level 4 mg/kg due to treatment-emergent reversible adverse events that required medications for symptomatic relief. The most common drug-related toxicities that occurred in two or more patients (≥25%) were weakness (five patients), fatigue (four patients), dizziness (three patients), nausea (two patients), poor sleep (two patients), and abdominal discomfort (two patients). In the dose expansion part, a dose of 2 mg/kg administered twice weekly was investigated for five continuous weeks in four patients and was established as recommended phase 1b/2 dose. Systemic exposure to KLS-1 (area under the curve (AUC) and maximum serum concentration (Cmax)) increased from 1 to 4 mg/kg and showed a linear relationship. Conclusions Multiple doses of KLS-1 ranging from 1 to 2 mg/kg administered twice a week via intravenous infusion for up to five continuous weeks were safe and well tolerated in patients with different types of therapeutic conditions including but not limited to a few forms of cancer and Parkinson's disease, and the evaluated pharmacokinetic parameters exhibited favorable profile.

Keywords: 64zinc aspartate; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; glioblastoma; light isotopes; neuro-oncology; neurology and neuro-oncology; oncology clinical trials; supportive oncology; zinc; zinc aspartate.

Grants and funding

This investigator-initiated study was supported by research funding and study drug from Vector Vitale, Inc.