Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network

The Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN) strives to make promising experimental immunotherapies broadly available to people with cancer. The CITN benefits from the collective expertise of top academic immunologists to conduct multicenter research on immunotherapy agents capable of unleashing patient immunity to fight cancer.

We focus on testing novel agents in innovative early phase clinical trials. Our trials are designed to provide critical data that helps speed potential therapies from experimental stages to wide-spread use treating patients with cancer.

Promising Experimental Therapies

We conduct studies of experimental cancer immunotherapies in member clinics in North America. Explore clinical trial databases to find ongoing studies. These trials include specific requirements to join.

About CITN

Supported by the National Cancer Institute and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, CITN originated during a 2007 meeting of the world’s leading immunotherapy experts. The goal was twofold: To identify the most promising cancer immunotherapy agents that had been discovered in research labs worldwide. And to develop strategies for testing them in people. The hope was that these novel substances might help cure cancer.

Today, CITN comprises a network of top academic immunologists, clinical trial sites, laboratories and funding partners located at 36 of the foremost universities and cancer centers in North America. Relying on the collective expertise of our members, CITN designs and conducts early-stage, multicenter clinical trials of the most promising immunotherapy agents. These experimental drugs would not otherwise be available to patients with cancer.

A pioneer in immunotherapy research, Fred Hutch houses two critical components of CITN – the Central Operations and Statistical Center and the CITN Immune Monitoring Lab.

Central Operations & Statistics

Directed by Dr. Martin “Mac” Cheever, CITN’s Central Operations and Statistical Center provides overall leadership to the network as well as organizational infrastructure, protocol development, statistical design and support for trial coordination. The COSC staff coordinates the work of CITN member site investigators and research staff across North America to design and conduct leading-edge clinical trials of the most promising immunotherapy agents. Fred Hutch researchers Dr. Mary “Nora” Disis and Dr. Thomas S. Uldrick serve as co-directors.

CITN Immune Monitoring Lab

Directed by Dr. Steven Fling, the CITN Immune Monitoring Lab conducts molecular assays and genetic assessments of specimens collected from patients in CITN trials. The lab serves as a central repository for these samples. The goal is to derive insights that can be used to inform future clinical trial designs while improving the understanding of the agents, the action of tumor cells and why some people respond to specific therapies while others do not.

A Focus on T cells

T cells are potent immune cells that can identify and kill foreign cells like cancer and other foreign invaders that cause disease. Yet, cancer often destroys or evades the body's T cells, leaving patients weakened and unable to fight the disease. Because T cells are so effective at activating the immune system, CITN focuses on studying promising agents that increase the number of T cells that can recognize and kill cancer cells.

Recent Advances

CITN operates with a singular strategic focus on testing promising immunotherapy agents and advancing them into the clinic to treat patients. Our trials have been the basis for groundbreaking therapies that have changed standards of care for two cancers: Merkel cell carcinoma (a rare skin cancer) and T-cell lymphoma (the most common blood cancer). Immunotherapy agents are now recommended for the treatment of patients with these diseases.

Treating Merkel cell Carcinoma

Immunotherapy in the form of a class of compounds known as check-point inhibitors are now recommended to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer. It has been effective in some people with advanced disease who have not responded to other treatments.

Treating T-cell Lymphoma

Immunotherapy is now recommended to treat T-cell lymphoma, the most common blood cancer. These effective treatments block tumor molecules that inhibit protective T-cell responses in cancer patients.

Clinical Trials for People with HIV

Certain cancers occur more often in people with HIV, however patients with HIV have historically been excluded from clinical trials. The CITN has opened trials that test immunotherapy agents in people with HIV and cancer concurrently on antiretroviral therapy.

Clinical Trials for Children

Based on our success with trials for adults, CITN has recently expanded its reach into pediatric cancer trials. We have enlisted the top pediatric immunotherapists to conduct these trials and bring needed treatment to our most vulnerable patients.

Our Partnerships

Bringing agents in development to patients who need them requires more than just committed researchers. CITN frequently partners with outside groups to access promising immunotherapy agents, to fund our clinical trials, and to inform and advise our scientific work.

Industry Partnerships

CITN collaborates with biopharmaceutical partners to advance promising immunotherapy compounds to the clinic. We offer access to a proven clinical trials infrastructure that supports immunotherapy drug development from concept to market.

CITN provides:

  • Optimized clinical trial design, including correlative studies
  • Protocols conducted at experienced clinical oncology sites across North America
  • Milestone-driven protocol development and completion timelines 
  • Cost efficiencies driven by resources shared among participating sites
  • Data acquisition and analysis through a proven electronic data capture system 
  • Protocol adherence through clinical trial management of the participating sites
  • Regulatory oversight
  • Centralized immune-monitoring
  • Biospecimen collection and tissue banking

CITN welcomes the opportunity to discuss strategic alliances and scientific advisory roles with the biopharmaceutical industry for compounds that have demonstrated cancer immune activity.

Philanthropic Partnerships

Philanthropic contributions offer foundations the opportunity to design and co-sponsor clinical trials, which accelerates effective immunotherapy development for a variety of cancers. CITN has a strong track record of conducting robust and cost-effective trials with our centralized training, monitoring, and resource sharing.

CITN seeks partnerships with organizations that share our strategic vision—to bring critical lifesaving treatments to patients with cancer quickly and efficiently. Our philanthropic and nonprofit partners help improve the standard of care for every patient with cancer.

Our philanthropic and nonprofit partners include:

  • Melanoma Research Alliance
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Stand Up 2 Cancer

Member Login

CITN Login

Access for network members to our Concept Working Groups plus areas of our SharePoint site reserved to review and edit protocols in development.

The Cancer Trials Support Unit is a service of the National Cancer Institute designed to facilitate access to NCI-funded clinical trials for qualified sites and to support the management and conduct of those trials.

All CITN publications

Science on the horizon

Hutch News - December 27, 2019

Fred Hutch science and research highlights 2019

Hutch News - December 23, 2019

New CAR T cells with synthetic ankyrin repeats

Science Spotlight - December 16, 2019

Contact the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network

Phone: 206.667.1222
Work Location: Mail Stop E3-300

Media Contact

The Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN) strives to make promising experimental immunotherapies broadly available to people with cancer. The goal of immunotherapy is to unleash a patient’s own immune system, enabling it to fight cancer.

We focus on testing novel agents in innovative clinical trials. Our trials are designed to provide critical data that helps speed potential therapies from experimental stages to wide-spread use treating patients with cancer.

We employ the collective expertise of top academic immunologists to design and conduct cancer therapy trials with the most promising immunotherapy agents prioritized for high potential in treating cancer, in collaboration with National Cancer Institute, foundation and industry partners.

Last Modified, October 28, 2019