In a nod to the research that is being done at Atlantic Health, seven Atlantic Health System Cancer Care physicians were the lead or co-authors of seven original studies to be presented and published this week at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.
The event, held virtually this year, is considered the world’s leading venue for presenting original clinical research on cancer.
Dr. Eric Whitman, the medical director, said the meeting is another example of how Atlantic Health System Cancer Care is one of the nation’s most innovative cancer programs, with access to many clinical trials that are generally only available at major academic medical centers.
“These novel clinical trials offer more treatment options for our patients and enable us to provide early access to these promising therapies,” Whitman said.
Whitman, who also is the founding director of the Atlantic Melanoma Center, said the studies cover some of the most exciting areas of cancer research today, including a therapy that “supercharges” patients’ immune T-cells to fight Stage IV melanoma; an investigational vaccine for patients whose prostate cancer has recurred; a type of CAR T-cell therapy for lymphoma, which harnesses patients’ immune systems to attack their cancers; and the first clinical trial of an investigational therapy that targets proteins involved in advanced solid tumors and lymphoma.
Studies presented at the ASCO meeting are co-authored by Whitman, whose study is being presented orally; Dr. Angela Alistar, medical director of GI medical oncology and the Breakthrough Treatment Center at Morristown Medical Center, who is lead author on one of four studies; Dr. Mohamad Cherry, medical director of hematology for Atlantic Health System; and Dr. Sandip Prasad, Morristown Medical Center urologic oncologist.
Below are links to the study abstracts and a brief descriptions of the studies:
Whitman and colleagues will present the first reported long-term data on Cohort 2 of the ongoing global phase 2, multicenter clinical trial of a new type of investigational cancer treatment known as lifileucel (LN-144) for advanced (Stage IV) melanoma.
Alistar and colleagues will discuss a newly opened study that will test Q702, a novel immune checkpoint inhibitor — a drug that blocks certain proteins from protecting tumors from immune attack — in patients whose advanced solid tumors (tumors that do not contain liquids) have not responded to current standard-of-care treatments and need new therapeutic options.
This phase 1 study looked at the safety and tolerability of VMD-928 for adults with advanced solid tumors and lymphoma who were already heavily pretreated with other drugs, and helped determine the recommended dose for a phase 2 clinical trial.
Alistar and colleagues will report on a phase 1 study of BDB001, an immune modulator that showed a robust immune system response against cancer in an earlier study.
ARTISTRY-2 is an ongoing phase 1/2 clinical trial of nemvaleukin alpha, a novel engineered cytokine (protein involved in cell signaling) that binds to receptors that activate certain types of immune cells to function as a cancer immunotherapy.
Concerns about adverse events related to CAR T-cell therapy have resulted in this therapy being given primarily on an inpatient basis. Outreach evaluates safety and efficacy of liso-cel (Breyanzi) — a type of CAR T-cell treatment — for patients with relapsing/remitting large B-cell lymphoma, across inpatient and outpatient settings at non-university medical centers.
Vaccines targeting prostate cancer antigen — a protein that is on the surface of cancer cells — may be viable approaches to treating relapsed and metastatic prostate cancer, when combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors.