CITN and ION operate 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 the 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.
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. For example, twenty-three patients had at least one documented radiologic or clinical assessment of response. Fifteen of 23 evaluable patients (65%) responded (4 complete responses and 11 partial responses). Two additional patients had stable disease and 6 had progressive disease as best response.
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.
Certain cancers occur more often in people who have acquired HIV, however patients with HIV have historically been excluded from clinical trials. CITN developed one of only two trials that tested a checkpoint inhibition agent (anti-PD-1 in people with HIV and cancer concurrently on antiretroviral therapy (HART). Test results have shown that the tested agent has an acceptable safety profile to date in patients with cancer and suppressed HIV on CITN-12, with no evidence of increased HIV VL over 6 weeks of therapy.
Based on our success with trials for adults, CITN was asked to expand its reach into pediatric cancer trials. We have enlisted the top pediatric immunotherapists to conduct these trials at major cancer centers in the U.S. and Canada to bring needed treatment to our most vulnerable patients.