June 6, 2016 • 2 Min

Patients Needed for Clinical Trial/Research Study of Treatment Targeting Immune System

Big blue gloves handling lab samples

IBBL; Flickr

The Lustgarten Foundation is funding efforts related to a clinical trial/research study being led at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, in connection with one of our Distinguished Scholars, Dr. Bert Vogelstein, and his colleagues Luis Diaz and Dung Le.

The clinical trial/research study will test the effectiveness of Merck’s pembrolizumab* immunotherapy drug in patients whose tumors have a unique mutation.

What is MSI?

This mutation can only be identified through testing of tumor tissue for a characteristic genetic signature called MSI (microsatellite instability), found in approximately 2 percent of pancreatic cancer patients. A recent research study led at Johns Hopkins demonstrated that patients with a variety of advanced cancers whose tumors had this unique genetic signature responded to pembrolizumab, even when other forms of therapy were not effective.

Participating in This Trial

Pancreatic cancer patients interested in this clinical trial/research study should speak with their physicians about having their tumors tested for MSI by ProPath. The Lustgarten Foundation has agreed to pay for this testing.  Moreover, those patients who test positive and whose disease is resistant to other therapies may be eligible for this clinical trial/research study at Johns Hopkins using pembrolizumab. Patients will receive tumor testing, treatment, and clinical care free of charge. However, patients may incur other costs. The clinical trial/research study may be limited, so patients who test positive for the MSI mutation will be evaluated on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information about this clinical trial/research study, please contact ProPath at or The Lustgarten Foundation at 1-866-789-1000.

Please check back for additional updates on our patient recruitment efforts!

*Note: Pembrolizumab is not yet FDA approved for the treatment of MSI pancreatic cancer.

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