PROVIDENCE – Researchers at Roger Williams Cancer Center said a recently completed initial phase trial involving immunotherapy showed “encouraging results” for cancer patients.
Cancer immunotherapy seeks to activate a patient’s immune system to attack and destroy cancer cells. Last year, the journal Science called the approach the “breakthrough of the year,” based on work that began at the University of Texas.
Roger Williams Researchers presented their results at a meeting of the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO). They said six patients with stage IV colon cancer and liver metasteses that was not responding to traditional treatments had modified T-cells injected directly into their livers’ arterial systems.
The treatment was shown to be well tolerated among the six patients who received it, researchers said. Tumor markers showed decreases and liver tumor biopsies demonstrated evidence of patients who had also been treated with multiple lines of chemotherapy. One patient has survived more than 12 months following treatment.
Dr. Steven Katz led the research team, which also included Dr. Richard Junghans and Dr. N. Joseph Espat.
"This is an important advance for the treatment of liver metastases,” Katz said in a statement. “We are combining a potent immunotherapeutic tool with a powerful and rational delivery strategy to minimize side effects and optimize clinical effect. Our platform is still at an early stage and we look forward to future clinical trials to define the best immunotherapy strategy for liver metastases."
Roger Williams said work will continue in its Immunotherapy Laboratory,with funding provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).