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Nov 3 2014

CFCF Launches Major Immunotherapy Initiative

The Caring for Carcinoid Foundation (CFCF) announce the launch of a major immunotherapy initiative.

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After a year of reviewing the research, consulting with experts, and engaging leading immunotherapy centers, CFCF is thrilled to announce the launch of a major immunotherapy initiative. A treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, immunotherapy has led to dramatic results for some patients with other forms of cancer. We are eager to test the potential of immune-based therapy to provide similar breakthroughs for patients with neuroendocrine cancers.

The Caring for Carcinoid Foundation’s strategy brings leading experts – who have been involved in immunotherapy breakthroughs for other forms of cancer – to the cause of developing better treatments and cures for neuroendocrine cancers. It also includes a clinical trial for two major forms of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs): pancreatic and gastrointestinal (carcinoid) NETs.

 

In a further exciting development, Ron Hollander, Executive Director of the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation, announced that CFCF has received a grant of $1 million to support half of the projected cost of the initial projects in this program. “We feel a real sense of urgency to test the potential of immunotherapy to provide treatment breakthroughs for NETs,” said Ron. “The grant from the TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation serves as a challenge to CFCF and the entire NET community to rapidly raise the remaining $1 million to pursue these exciting projects. We are so grateful for the foundation’s commitment and couldn’t be more excited about this initiative.”

Specifically the initiative will initially fund projects in three major areas:

The first project will engage the team that developed a breakthrough immunotherapy technology to specifically target neuroendocrine tumors. This will include leading immunotherapy expert Dr. Carl June, and neuroendocrine tumor researcher Dr. Xianxin Hua, both from the University of Pennsylvania. They will modify CAR T-cells to target and kill neuroendocrine tumor cells, a method that has had dramatic results in patients with other cancers. Success in this project could pave the way for trials of this breakthrough technology for neuroendocrine cancers.

The second project consists of conducting a clinical trial of two immunotherapy therapies in pancreatic and carcinoid neuroendocrine patients. This project includes a multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Pamela Kunz from Stanford University, and consists of a clinical trial, combining two immunotherapy drugs that are in clinical trials for other cancers. An innovative delivery technique will also be tested to reduce the risk of adverse effects.

The third project studies the immune characteristics of neuroendocrine tumors to guide CFCF’s testing of immunotherapy treatments. This piece is essential to maximizing the chances of success in both other immunotherapy projects. CFCF is inviting immunology experts to systematically characterize neuroendocrine tumors’ immune features and genomes, and multiple grants will be awarded to study and profile these tumors.

To learn more, visit http://caringforcarcinoid.org/sites/default/files/images/Immunotherapy%20One%20Pager.pdf

For more information, contact Jamie Lacroix, Director of Communication & Outreach, at jamie.lacroix@caringforcarcinoid.org.