publication date: May. 11, 2018

In Brief

ACS and MRA award $2.6 million for research focused on reducing immunotherapy side effects

The American Cancer Society and the Melanoma Research Alliance selected the first group of scientists to receive newly established research grants to investigate how to reduce side effects resulting from cancer treatments with checkpoint inhibitors.

Last June, MRA and ACS formed a joint grant-making partnership with the goal of finding ways to better predict, prevent, and/or minimize the side effects of this game changing treatment approach.

Two researchers were granted the first ACS-MRA Multidisciplinary Team Awards:

Kai Wucherpfennig, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, will conduct a clinical trial to discover whether it is better to treat patients’ ipilimumab-induced colitis with steroids or the immunosuppressant infliximab. Ipilimumab is the first FDA-approved drug for metastatic melanoma patients. Some patients experience a variety of side effects, including inflammation in the colon (colitis), which if left untreated can be life-threatening. This study is designed to develop a better treatment for colitis that preserves the activity of the immune system against the cancer and to assess the cells and inflammatory molecules they produce which cause colitis that could be targeted in patients who do not respond to current therapies.   

David Gerber, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, will conduct a large, multi-center clinical trial to determine if pre-existing, often clinically unknown autoimmunity, increases the risk of immune-related adverse events to immunotherapy. Gerber’s goal is to build on data from a small pilot study in patients taking immune checkpoint inhibitors, which suggested that baseline levels of certain antibodies and proteins in the blood may be associated with risk of immune related adverse events. The goal is to improve treatment outcomes, possibly … Continue reading ACS and MRA award $2.6 million for research focused on reducing immunotherapy side effects

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