Blocking IDO in cancer patients

By: Special to The Times
Courtesy photo This is a 3D rendered illustration of the pancreas.

SPARTANBURG — When it comes to caring for a patient with cancer, Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute searches for the best treatment options, which may include the use of clinical trials.

Gibbs, a division of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, has been involved in multiple clinical trials — making the most advanced cancer treatments available to the Upstate. Most recently, Gibbs opened new clinical trials for pancreatic cancer: NewLink Genetics NLG 2104 which adds adding the experimental drug Indoximod, an IDO inhibitor, to standard chemotherapy in the fight against this deadly disease. Indoximod activates the immune system against pancreas cancer cells potentially improving the efficacy of chemotherapy.

Indoximod is an oral medication that blocks an enzyme called IDO. Studies show that tumors sometimes use the IDO enzyme to escape attack by the body’s immune system. Blocking this IDO enzyme may help the body attack tumor cells more effectively.

“Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers and progress through research is desperately needed,” said Gibbs oncologist/hematologist, Caio Rocha Lima, MD. “This research will pave the way to innovation and better outcomes in pancreatic cancer management and survival.”

Physicians at Gibbs look at all possible treatment options from their first meeting with a patient, making clinical trials an option from the very beginning. This allows patients to be enrolled in the clinical trials sooner.

Patients meeting the following criteria are eligible for the NLG 2104 study:

• Confirmed metastasis of pancreatic cancer.

• Initial diagnosis of metastatic disease must have occurred less than or equal to eight weeks prior to entry in the study.

• Life expectancy of greater than three months.

• Patients must have received no previous radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or investigational therapy for the treatment of metastatic disease.

• Prior treatment with gemcitabine and/or nab-paclitaxel in the adjuvant setting is allowed, provided at least six months have elapsed since completion of the last dose and no lingering toxicities are present. The patient who had surgery to treat the pancreatic cancer followed by gemcitabine and/or nab-paclitaxel chemotherapy could be a potential candidate as long as six months or more have elapsed since completing the last dose of chemotherapy and no lingering side effects remain that were caused by the chemotherapy.

• Patients who have not received any other immunomodulatory therapies (including vaccines) as treatment for this or any other cancer.

• Patients cannot have any active autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammatory condition, or any condition requiring concurrent use of any systemic immunosupressants or steroids for any reason.

• Patients cannot have known brain metastases.

• Patients cannot have lymph node only metastasis even if considered M1 disease by official staging criteria.

For more information, please call Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute at 1-855-DNA-GIBBS.

About Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute

Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute is a nationally recognized cancer treatment and research facility associated with the National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Center program and the Medical University of South Carolina. Named for benefactors Marsha and Jimmy Gibbs and with locations in Spartanburg, Gaffney, Union and Greer, Gibbs is a proven leader in providing effective cancer treatment through advanced technology, professional expertise and an exceptional level of personalized care. Gibbs’ oncology program, which also includes the Bearden-Josey Center for Breast Health, has been recognized by the Commission on Cancer, a program of the American College of Surgeons, as offering high-quality cancer care. In 2012, Gibbs joined forces with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System to expand world-class oncology services and clinical research in the Upstate. In 2013, the Gibbs expanded its research efforts by opening a 7,500-square-foot state-of-the-art facility at Pelham Medical Center.

About Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) offers a full spectrum of services through four hospitals: Spartanburg Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center, Spartanburg Hospital for Restorative Care and Union Medical Center. SRHS also includes Ellen Sagar Nursing Center, a 113-bed long-term care, skilled nursing facility that offers nursing care and rehabilitation services. SRHS provides unparalleled oncological care through the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute. The multidisciplinary Medical Group of the Carolinas has more than 300 physicians across seven counties in two states. SRHS employs nearly 6,000 associates and offers outpatient surgery centers, a vibrant post-acute division, a Level I Trauma Center, and Advicare, a licensed Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Advicare provides Medicaid services to residents throughout South Carolina. U.S. News and World Report ranked Spartanburg Medical Center the No. 1 regional hospital in South Carolina in 2014-15. The Commission on Cancer gave Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute its Outstanding Achievement Award.

Courtesy photo This is a 3D rendered illustration of the pancreas. photo This is a 3D rendered illustration of the pancreas.
Gibbs opens clinical trial for pancreatic cancer

Special to The Times

This story was submitted by the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

This story was submitted by the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.