Dr. Angela Alistar, medical director of GI medical oncology at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center recently spoke at the Morristown Women in Business Monthly Meeting in November. A pioneer in pancreatic cancer research, she addressed attendees as to the tremendous progress being made in pancreatic cancer treatment research including the results from a recent Phase I study she conducted.
Progress but still Danger
Tremendous progress has been made with research and development in the pancreatic cancer field. Dr. Alistar noted to the audience that there have been so many positive advancements that novel treatments are considered first reported Tapinto. Pancreatic cancer is still a deadly illness, with a five-year survival of 9% and nearly 1,500 new cases are diagnosed in New Jersey every year—1,191 people will die from the disease in New Jersey.
Phase I Pancreatic Cancer Research
Dr. Alistar reported on the results of a Phase I pancreatic cancer-focused clinical trial. The study team used a novel agent called CPI-613 in combination with chemotherapy as a treatment protocol. Notably the average survival of participants markedly increased from 11 months on standard treatment to 22 months on the investigational approach. Several of the participants have been alive for ongoing years she noted.
The New Jersey-based physician and clinical investigator noted that that there are not good screening tests for the disease and often the problem isn’t caught till an advanced stage.
This Phase I study is sponsored by Atlantic Health System. As Principal Investigator, Dr. Alistar is leading this single arm, open-label study of CPI-613 in combination with gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel for patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer never treated with systemic chemotherapy. The study protocol called for 24 patients.
What is CPI-613?
Produced by Rafael Pharmaceuticals as part of their proprietary Altered Metabolism Director (AMD) drug platform, the investigational compound is a first-in-class therapeutic agent targeting cancer cell metabolism. It was discovered at Stony Brook University. CPI-613 is designed to target the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, an indispensable process essential to tumor cell multiplication and survival, selectively in cancer cells.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given Rafael approval to initiate pivotal clinical trials in pancreatic cancer and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and has designated CPI-613® as an orphan drug for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, AML, Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), peripheral T-cell lymphoma and Burkitt’s lymphoma. The EMA has granted orphan drug designation to CPI-613® for pancreatic cancer and AML.
New Morristown Medical Center Pancreatic Cancer Program
Dr. Alistar emphasized to attendees to advocate for themselves in the healthcare arena—they know their bodies and health more than anyone. She is preparing to open up a pancreatic cancer program that supports patients and family members, who face higher risks for developing the disease. The program, based on a holistic multidisciplinary approach, will include a clinical registry involving participants as well as patient-centric care including what may be the best screening methods for specific members within the population.
Empowering Attendees with Knowledge
Many of the event’s attendees, women in business, had family members that have struggled and even passed away from pancreatic cancer. The event brought women from the community who seek to gain health knowledge so they can become more empowered in the health system. There were different stories but all sought to become more knowledgeable, aware and empowered to help and support their families.
Dr. Angela Alistar, medical director of GI medical oncology at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center
Call to Action: Do you live in New Jersey and have a loved one diagnosed with pancreatic cancer? Consider scheduling an appointment at the Atlantic Hematology Oncology at Morristown Medical Center, or to make an appointment go to the following website.