Rutgers CINJ doing clinical trial for metastatic kidney cancer

In conjunction with the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (BTCRC), Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has opened a clinical trial for patients with kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic).

The study, known as BTCRC-GU14-003, is examining a combination of pembrolizumab, a type of drug known as a PD-1 or “checkpoint” inhibitor, with bevacizumab, a therapy that targets blood vessel formation in tumors, for the treatment of patients with metastatic kidney cancer.

Pembrolizumab works by targeting a receptor on the surface of T cells called PD-1.This receptor turns off T cells and prevents them from killing cancer cells. Pembrolizumab blocks that action, allowing T cells to remain active and have an immune response against cancer.

Eric A. Singer, M.D., M.A., FACS, urologic oncologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute and assistant professor of surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is the lead researcher on the study at the Cancer Institute.“For patients with advanced stages of kidney cancer, effective treatment options are limited. By exploring therapies that harness one’s own immune system, there is an opportunity to address an unmet need in this patient population,” he said.

The aim of this Phase II trial is to determine what effects pembrolizumab in combination with bevacizumab has on patients who have not received prior therapy for metastatic kidney cancer. Accepted participants will be followed by the study team for up to two years. Patients aged 18 and older who are diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer are eligible to take part in the clinical trial. Other criteria must also be met. Prior to being accepted into the study, participants would be required to undergo a number of tests including blood work and a physical exam.

For more information on how to take part in this trial, individuals can call the Cancer Institute’s Office of Human Research Services at 732-235-8675 or email cinjclinicaltrials@cinj.rutgers.edu. Additional information, including full eligibility criteria, is available at www.clinicaltrials.gov (clinical trial # 02348008).

Clinical trials, often called cancer research studies, test new treatments and new ways of using existing treatments for cancer.At the Cancer Institute, researchers use these studies to answer questions about how a treatment affects the human body and to make sure it is safe and effective. There are several types of clinical trials that are currently under way at the Cancer Institute, including those that diagnose, treat, prevent, and manage symptoms of cancer. Many treatments used today, whether they are drugs or vaccines, ways to do surgery or give radiation therapy, or combinations of treatments, are the results of past clinical trials.

As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cancer Institute offers patients access to treatment options not available at other institutions within the state.The Cancer Institute currently enrolls more than 1,200 patients in clinical trials annually, including approximately 17 percent of all new adult cancer patients and approximately 70 percent of all pediatric cancer patients. Enrollment in these studies nationwide is fewer than 5 percent of all adult cancer patients.