Credit: Stand Up To Cancer
LOS ANGELES – Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is launching teams of experts to lead innovative attacks on two types of cancer that have defied conventional treatment: triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in women and metastatic prostate cancer in men. The $6 million effort supported by SU2C Catalyst Founding Collaborator, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, is the latest fruit of SU2C’s collaboration with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry under the SU2C Catalyst® initiative.
“We are pleased to continue our collaboration with Genentech to address areas with critical unmet needs,” said Raymond N. DuBois, MD, PhD, dean of the College of Medicine of the Medical University of South Carolina and chairperson of the SU2C selection committee that recommended the teams. “The treatments being investigated by these teams have the potential to improve and even save the lives of many patients facing these forms of cancer.”
Through SU2C Catalyst, Genentech has offered more than a dozen approved or investigational medicines to be studied in combination with other treatments, including medicines from other pharmaceutical companies, in support of clinical trials focusing on new uses. Genentech medicines to be used in these projects include atezolizumab (Tecentriq®), a cancer immunotherapy designed to bind with a protein called PD-L1 that is FDA-approved in the United States for certain types of metastatic bladder, lung, and breast cancers, and ipatasertib, an investigational medicine that inhibits a key component of the PI3K/AKT cellular signaling pathway.
“We are grateful to Genentech for enabling us to set up these clinical trials with these medicines that may have tremendous potential to benefit cancer patients,” DuBois said.
SU2C Catalyst is a collaborative program that leverages the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostic, and devices industries to accelerate the development of new treatments, and combination therapies, to patients as rapidly as possible through early-phase clinical trials or translational research. These teams bring the total number of SU2C Catalyst Research Teams to 16. SU2C’s Scientific Partner, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), will provide grant administration for these teams.
The teams announced today are investigating:
Combination of Ipatasertib and Atezolizumab To Prevent Recurrence In Triple-negative Breast Cancer
The team is led by Elizabeth A. Mittendorf, MD, PhD, director of the breast immuno-oncology program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston, with Angela DeMichele, MD, co-leader of the breast cancer research program at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, as clinical lead.
The team’s goal is to prevent recurrence of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is a disease in which the cancerous cells have tested negative for three receptors: hormone epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), estrogen receptors (ER), and progesterone receptors (PR). The lack of receptors in the cancer cells means that hormone therapy and certain medicines that target the receptors are ineffective in treating the disease.
TNBC is very aggressive and prone to spread from the breast after initial treatment with radiation, chemotherapy, and/or surgery, leading to metastatic disease for which no cure has been developed. The team plans to use blood analysis (“liquid biopsy”) to detect micrometastatic disease before it can take hold in distant organs and treat it with a combination of medicines.
The team will test a combination of ipatasertib and atezolizumab.
“Our goal is to find those patients for whom the existing therapy isn’t enough and who are at high risk of having the cancer recur after initial treatment,” Mittendorf said. “We hope to target microscopic cancer cells with medicines that are specifically designed to help inhibit immune escape mechanisms or signaling that leads to proliferation of cancer.”
Atezolizumab, Abiraterone, and SBRT in Hormone-Sensitive Prostate Cancer
The team is led by Sean M. McBride, MD, a radiation oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York, with Dana E. Rathkopf, MD, a medical oncologist at MSK, as clinical lead.
The team is seeking to improve therapy for men with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, which is now usually treated with hormone therapy; however, this treatment in most cases only delays progression in what is often a fatal disease.
The team will conduct a clinical trial of a new, three-pronged treatment including:
- Hormone therapy with the drugs leuprolide and abiraterone acetate to reduce the patient’s production of testosterone, which feeds the cancer.
- Stereotactic body radiation, which uses high doses of radiation very precisely targeted to the tumor, over a relatively short period of time compared with standard radiation therapy.
- A cancer immunotherapy (atezolizumab) designed to bind with the protein PD-L1.
“With prostate cancer, the amount of baseline immune activity is very low, so we feel like we need to add other therapies in addition to the immune therapy, to have the body’s immune system recognize the cancer as foreign and attack it,” McBride said.
About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by media and entertainment leaders who utilize these communities’ resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, to increase awareness about cancer prevention, and to highlight progress being made in the fight against the disease. As of June 2019, more than 1,600 scientists representing more than 180 institutions are involved in SU2C-funded research projects. Under the direction of a Scientific Advisory Committee led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, SU2C operates rigorous, competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and ensure collaboration across research programs.
Current members of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) include Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Kathleen Lobb, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela Oas Williams, and Ellen Ziffren. The late Laura Ziskin and the late Noreen Fraser are also co-founders. Sung Poblete, PhD, RN, serves as SU2C’s president and CEO.
For more information on Stand Up To Cancer, visit http://www.
About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 42,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 120 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 22,500 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit http://www.
Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.
Jane E Rubinstein