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Nebraska Cancer Specialists Enrolls First Patient Worldwide in New Vaccine Study

Tuesday, November 26, 2019  |  Filed under "NCS in the News"

Omaha, NE (October 1, 2019) – Two patients at Nebraska Cancer Specialists are receiving a cutting-edge, phase I cancer trial, and they are the first two patients in the world to receive this treatment.

Only three other sites in the country are recruiting patients for this trial located in Michigan, Ohio and Texas. Nebraska Cancer Specialists was the first of the four U.S. sites to enroll not just one, but two, patients for this trial that just opened in August 2019.

The trial is targeted towards patients who have advanced stage cancer in an area of the body in which the cancerous tumor can be injected with the drug by means of ultrasound guidance. The treatment type is referred to as oncolytic virus therapy, and it is administered in collaboration with an interventional radiologist who performs the intra-tumoral injection.

An oncolytic virus is administered to attack and kill the tumor cells. When the virus infects a tumor cell, the virus reproduces until it bursts the cancer cell. The bursting cell releases materials that allow the cancer to then be recognized by the body’s immune system. In addition, the virus “hijacks” the cell’s DNA system to make molecules that attract the immune cells to the tumor. To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one other oncolytic virus therapy used for treating melanoma. Although this new phase I trial being offered by Nebraska Cancer Specialists is in the same type of drug class, it must go through all the phases of trials and be deemed safe by the FDA for widespread use.

Phase I trials are controlled, and generally evaluate the safety of a new drug or new combinations of drugs. Typically, they involve a small number of patients for whom standard therapies have proven ineffective and seek to determine a safe dosing level and obtain a preliminary assessment of efficiency. For patients whose disease is advanced, and have exhausted other measures, the possibility of qualifying for a new phase I trials brings hope for prolonging or improving their quality of life.

This new phase I trial at Nebraska Cancer Specialists is currently being offered at the Midwest Cancer Center location along with other phase I, II and III studies.

Patients, or referring physicians can learn more at Nebraska Cancer’s robust Research Department by visiting https://nebraskacancer.com/research/. For inquiries, use the online form on this page, or call NCS’s Director of Research, Megan Meays, M.A., CCRC, at (402) 691-6971.

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