Joined the team: 2014
Focus: IMPRESS study
Special interests: Wellness programs and Wednesday lunches
NewLink constantly challenges me to think outside the box. Words of wisdom I received from Dr Link: ‘We need people that can be one step ahead of the needs of our team.’ Those have been words that [I’ve] come to live by.
Pancreatic cancer: Long overdue for a new treatment approach
Despite advances in treatments for other cancers, mortality rates in pancreatic cancer have remained unchanged for more than 30 years. For all stages combined, 5-year relative survival is just 7%.1
Algenpantucel-L (IMPRESS trial) is in Phase 3 clinical trials for pancreatic cancer2,3
Promising Phase 2 study results4
|Algenpantucel-L + standard
of care therapy*
|Disease-free survival (DFS)
300 million cells/dose
|Overall survival (OS)
300 million cells/dose
|Grade 4 adverse events||0||—|
|Grade 3 adverse events (fatigue, injection site reaction, pain, lymphopenia)||<12%||—|
*Same regimen as control arm.
†Regine WF, Winter KA, Abrams RA, et al. Fluorouracil vs. gemcitabine chemotherapy before and after fluorouracil-based chemoradiation following resection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2008;299(9):1019–1026.
Multicenter, open-label, dose-finding phase 2 trial evaluating algenpantucel-L in addition to chemotherapy in the adjuvant setting in 69 patients with resected pancreatic cancer. Within 6 weeks postsurgery, patients received either 100 million cells/dose or 300 million cells/dose given intradermally according to a specified treatment schedule with gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 and chemoradiotherapy + 5-FU 250 mg/m2. Patients completing therapy received up to 14 doses of algenpantucel-L. Disease assessments were taken at completion of therapy and then every 3 months for 1 year, every 6 months for 2 years, and then annually. The primary objective was disease-free survival defined as the percentage of patients with no disease recurrence 12 months postsurgery. Secondary objectives included overall survival and toxicity.4
HyperAcute® Cellular Immunotherapy product candidates, such as algenpantucel-L, are allogeneic, whole-cell immunotherapies that educate the immune system to target and destroy a patient’s own cancer cells.5 Algenpantucel-L consists of 2 modified pancreatic cancer cell lines (HAPa-1 and HAPa-2) that have been modified to express alpha-gal.4
|Once administered, algenpantucel-L is believed to be immediately targeted by pre-existing anti-alpha-gal antibodies and destroyed5|
|Algenpantucel-L cell debris is rapidly taken up and processed by the immune system.5|
|Because cancer-specific antigens within algenpantucel-L are shared by cancer cells in the patient, patient cancer cells are believed to be targeted by the immune system.5|
Algenpantucel-L is currently being studied in combination with standard of care treatment in two Phase 3 trials.
Immunotherapy for Pancreatic Resectable Cancer Survival Study2
Pancreatic Immunotherapy with Algenpantucel-L for Locally Advanced Non-Resectable)3
1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures. 2015. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-044552.pdf. Accessed October 3, 2015. 2. National Institutes of Health. Immunotherapy study for surgically resected pancreatic cancer. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01072981. Accessed October 3, 2015. 3. National Institutes of Health. Immunotherapy Study for Surgically Resected Pancreatic Cancer. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/record/NCT01836432. Accessed October 3, 2015. 4. Hardacre JM, Mulcahy M, Small W, et al. Addition of algenpantucel-L immunotherapy to standard adjuvant therapy for pancreatic cancer: a phase 2 study. J Gastrointest Surg. 2013;17(1):94-100. 5. Rossi GR, Vahanian NN, Ramsey WJ, Link CJ. HyperAcute vaccines: A novel approach to cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Immunotherapy: Immune Suppression and Tumor Growth. 2nd ed. 2013:497-516.