Can a new immunotherapy drug be effective for advanced pancreatic cancer?
Conventional chemotherapy is designed to kill cancer cells, but it can also induce a state called cellular senescence, in which the cells stop dividing but do not die. In response to this dormant state, senescent cancer cells can create an environment of immunosuppressive inflammation, which in turn enables some of the cancer cells to re-enter the growth cycle and emerge stronger and more resistant to therapy. This could lead to cancer relapse, metastasis, and resistance to the chemotherapy being used.
In order to counter this senescence cycle in pancreatic cancer patients treated with chemotherapy, researchers are testing a new immunotherapy drug, HCW9218. This drug is capable of both stimulating the immune system and fighting immunosuppression, resulting in reduced senescence.
Researchers hope that this approach will maximize the anti-tumor efficacy of chemotherapies and minimize their negative side effects on normal tissues.
How the Trial Works
The purpose of this phase Ib/II study is to evaluate the safety and tolerability of HCW9218 in patients with advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer.
The phase Ib portion of the trial involves dose escalation, to determine the maximum tolerated dose and to designate a dose level for phase II.
In phase II the trial will be expanded to include more patients, who will receive HCW9218 at the dose established in the first part of the trial. An additional independent group of patients will receive HCW9218 along with the chemotherapy drugs gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel.
How to Participate
The study is open to patients with advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer that has progressed on standard treatment; patients who have been unable to tolerate standard treatments may also join.
We encourage you to consult your physicians for clinical trials that may be right for you. The website ClinicalTrials.gov provides more details about this trial as well as many others. You can visit the EmergingMed Trial Finder for a list of all active pancreatic cancer clinical trials.