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Cancer Care Specialty Updates

October 2015

Miller-Jeffrey Consult Hem-issue-10-7-v.2

Researcher receives National Cancer Institute award

Jeffrey Miller, MD, deputy director of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, has been named a National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator. He is one of only 21 researchers selected from all U.S. academic institutions and the only one in the state of Minnesota to receive this award. Miller is internationally known for pioneering the basic research into and clinical investigation of natural killer cell-based therapeutics, which target cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. The award comes with substantial funding for ongoing research. Miller’s immunotherapy research has shown the potential to launch a novel, effective treatment modality, one which has a significantly more tolerable side-effect profile than does high-dose chemotherapy and radiation.

New clinical trial for diffuse large B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma enrolling

Masonic Cancer Center is currently enrolling patients with diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a phase 1, 2 clinical trial investigating the use of INCB7839 combined with rituximab as consolidation therapy after autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation. INCB7839 is an investigational, orally active, small-molecule inhibitor of ADAM17. A multidomain protein with metalloproteinase-like activity (a “sheddase”), ADAM17 can be expressed by diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells. Studies from cell lines grown in culture, animal models, and human malignancies suggest that ADAM17 is involved in cancer progression, likely by the unregulated release of soluble growth factors. The primary endpoint of the phase 1 trial is safety, and phase 2’s primary endpoint is 6-month, cancer progression-free survival. The principal investigator for this study is Veronika Bachanova, MD.

Two program project grants awarded

Research teams at Masonic Cancer Center have been awarded 2 National Cancer Institute Program Project grants for the support of projects ongoing over the next 5 years. The grants support broadly based, multidisciplinary research programs that have a well-defined central research focus or objective. The grant-winning projects include “NK cells, Their Receptors, and Unrelated Donor Transplantation” led by its primary investigator Jeffrey Miller, MD. The second grant-winning project is “Biology and Transplantation of the Hematopoietic Stem Cell.” The project’s primary investigator is John E. Wagner, MD.

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New Therapies for Hematologic Malignancies Show Promise

Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota trial suggests that a new treatment for refractory B-cell malignancies may be on the horizon. A separate study shows promising findings for patients with lymphoma.

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October 2015

Patient with Refractory CLL Achieves Durable Response in Immunotoxin Trial

An 80-year-old woman with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia experienced a 40% reduction in tumor size after treatment with a novel immunotoxin. At 15-months follow-up, the patient remains in partial remission.

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