Northwestern leads rare cancer treatment trial
Northwestern University is leading a "novel" clinical trial aimed at helping people with rare cancers through a unique method that works to reactivate their immune systems.
In the so-named DART trial, eligible patients will receive a combination of ipilimumab and nivolumab to determine if the treatment stimulates the body to fight and shrink tumors.
DART stands for Dual Anti-CTLA-4 & Anti-PD-1 blockade in Rare Tumors.
“The DART trial offers a vital safety net for people with rare cancers who currently often fall between the therapeutic cracks,” Northwestern's Dr. Frank Giles said. “Patients with less common cancers have traditionally been a relatively neglected group.”
Approximately 20 percent of cancers are considered rare, diagnosed at a rate of less than six per 100,000 per year. In many cases, the patients aren't eligible for targeted therapies. If traditional chemotherapy doesn't kill the cancer cells, there might not be an effective alternative.
“This trial is unusual because it bridges two exciting revolutions in anti-cancer developmental therapeutics: molecular targeted therapy and immune-modulation,” Giles said. “These therapies re-energize and re-engage the patient’s own immune system in the fight against their cancer.”
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