The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently funded an initiative, the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), to further the development of these promising treatments, and just within this past week they announced that CITN will be launching their first clinical trials later this year.
CITN is a network of pioneering researchers in cancer immunotherapy from 27 top U.S. cancer centers and universities. Together, they work to identify the chemotherapeutic potential of agents with known and proven biologic function, and subsequently design and run early phase clinical trials to evaluate their ability to provoke an immune response in a way that can treat cancer. And they do this while combining academic peer-reviewed hypothesis-driven studies with the rigor and efficiency of industry trials.
The first trials will evaluate CP-870,893, a Pfizer-developed monoclonal antibody, as a presurgical treatment in patients with operable pancreatic cancer, and IL-15 (interleukin-15). IL-15 is being tested in human cancer patients for the first time this year as well in a study just launched that tests it as a treatment for melanoma and kidney cancer.
Immunotherapy has long been an area where researchers hoped to make progress. This effort may open the door to new treatment options for these very difficult cancers.
Guest Editor: Dave Schlosser, Patient Navigator LLC