Thanks to a $1 million, two-year grant that’s part of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Challenge Award, the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at Columbia University Irvine Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian will conduct a combination immunotherapy clinical trial that was developed at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian aimed at delivering the most advanced treatments to prostate cancer patients.

The PCF Challenge Award will administer the grant along with its partners Movember and the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

The Background

Prostate Cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in the United States impacting one in nine men—it is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. In 2019, about 174,650 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the US and nearly 32,000 men are expected to die.

Immunotherapy shows significant promise to combat prostate cancer—where the patient’s own immune system is activated to fight their prostate cancer—and is a promising field of cancer research. It has been highly effective in some cancers but has yet to be optimized for prostate cancer.

The MAGIC-8 Clinical Trial

The grant funding will support the Columbia and New York-Presbyterian team’s initiative to advance the findings of the MAGIC-8 clinical trial—designed by Charles Drake, MD, PhD (principal investigator), director of genitourinary oncology at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia and Matthew Dallos, co-PI, a genitourinary oncologist at New York-Presbyterian—to deliver a novel combination therapy of an immune checkpoint inhibitor and a new drug designed to block IL-8, an immune suppressive protein. In previous research, Dr. Drake and his lab found that blocking IL-8 that is over expressed in some cancer types, suppressing the immune response against cancer, might be key to enhancing the effectiveness of immunotherapies for prostate cancer.

The Study  

In the MAGIC-8 Clinical Trial was a Phase Ib/2 study of nivolumab or nivolumab plus BMS-986253 (anti-IL-8 monoclonal antibody) in combination with intermittent Androgen Deprivation Therapy in men with hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. The purpose of the study was to determine whether immunotherapy and nivolumab (Opdivo) added to degarelix or nivolumab and BMS-986253 added to degarelix is safe and can decrease the chance that the cancer will come back. Degarelix is a standard of care drug used for the treatment of prostate cancer that works by suppressing the patient’s testosterone. They planned to include 60 patients.

Project Aims

The clinical trial investigators seek to uncover the biology and biomarkers of treatment responses, developing a new immunotherapy treatment regime for prostate cancer patients. The team will use samples from the patients on this trial to investigate key biological changes needed to re-establish anti-tumor immunity in prostate cancer and identify biomarkers that can predict treatment responses.

Prostate Cancer Foundation

One of the largest non-governmental organizations dedicated solely to funding prostate cancer research, its annual Challenge Awards are highly coveted in the scientific and medical fields. For two years in a row, the Columbia and New York-Presbyterian has been given the award.

PCF, formerly known as CaP CURE, was founded in 1993 by Michael Milken following his personal battle with prostate cancer.

Lead Research/Investigators

Charles Drake, MD, PhD (principal investigator), director of genitourinary oncology at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia

Matthew Dallos, co-PI, a genitourinary oncologist at New York-Presbyterian

Raul Rabadan, PhD (co-PI), professor of systems biology at Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of the Program for Mathematical Genomics

Call to Action: This study should be watched for those interested in immunotherapy-based prostate cancer treatments.

Source: Columbia University Irving Medical Center

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