In the News
Silicon Valley billionaire Sean Parker — the founder of Napster and an early investor in Facebook — pledged $250 million in 2016 to bring together researchers from academic cancer centers across the country with the goal of accelerating the development of new treatments that harness the immune system to attack cancer.
On Sunday, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy is presenting clinical trial results for the first time. And those results, which come just a year and a half after the first patient was enrolled in the study, show tumor shrinkage from the multi-drug regimen administered to patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.
The new findings from the Phase 1 clinical trial were unveiled at the American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting underway in Atlanta.
“This is the first clinical trial fully sponsored by the Parker Institute and we’re excited by the results,” the Parker Institute’s chief medical officer, Ramy Ibrahim, said in a phone call with STAT. “By pharma standards, we’re moving fast.”
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death and is notoriously hard to treat, so the Parker-funded researchers tried a novel approach. They combined standard-of-care chemotherapy with two different immunotherapies: An experimental antibody that activates immune cells, and an approved PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor that takes the brakes off the immune system.