WVU Cancer Institute participating in immunotherapy clinical trial

WVU Cancer Institute participating in immunotherapy clinical trial

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Cancer Institute is recruiting participants for an immunotherapy clinical trial for patients with metastatic melanoma or recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

The trial will evaluate the effectiveness of the immunotherapy drug SD-101 in combination with the biological Pembrolizumab in varying dosages.

“Because cancer cells are mutated cells from normal body’s cells and look similar, the immune system often cannot distinguish the cancer cell from self,” Joanna Kolodney, M.D., hematological oncologist at the WVU Cancer Institute, said. “Immunotherapy helps the immune system recognize the cancer cells and kill them. This combination of immunotherapy and a biological agent not only reveals the cancer to the immune system but provides a target for the immune cells.”

The use of immune therapy has grown in recent years and has become a front-line treatment for some cancers. 

According to Dr. Kolodney, immune therapy can be used independently or alongside traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation. The side effects from this therapy are different from traditional treatments and can be similar to autoimmune issues, such as Crohn’s disease, because it can cause the body to attack itself.

“The WVU Cancer Institute is dedicated to researching new treatments in order to expand the field of knowledge of cancer treatment,” Kolodney said. “Clinical trials help us come closer to finding curative treatments for our patients.”

For more information on clinical trials at the WVU Cancer Institute, visit www.wvucancer.org/clinical-research

For more information: Heather Sammons, Communications Specialist, 304-285-7256