The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), a nonprofit organization aimed at fighting the disease, has announced the opening of five additional Precision Promise adaptive clinical trial sites in the US. The company also has launched an evaluation of an investigational pancreatic cancer treatment developed by Novartis.
Pancreatic cancer is considered a particularly tough form of cancer, with an overall five-year survival rate of about 11%. Further, it is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US.
According to PanCan, the Precision Promise program (launched in 2020) is working toward advancing the clinical development paradigm for the disease by coming up with a faster, more efficient, and patient-centric approach to developing novel treatment options and improving outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients.
"The adaptive nature of Precision Promise allows us to regularly bring on innovative investigational therapies to study against the current standard of care and we are thrilled to be bringing an investigational treatment option from Novartis into the fold," said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of PanCAN.
PanCAN's novel clinical trial is geared toward evaluating the efficacy of investigational pancreatic cancer therapies, including the new drug combination from Novartis. One goal is to work more efficiently by requiring fewer patients to understand if a potential new therapy is working.
In Precision Promise, Novartis will be testing canakinumab (IL-1 beta inhibitor) and spartalizumab (PD-1 inhibitor) in combination with nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine. The therapeutic combination will be made available to patients in the trial as each site fully activates the new protocol; interested patients are encouraged to check with their cancer care providers regarding availability at the nearest site.
The five new sites bring the total of PanCAN sites to 20 in the US. At the locations, pancreatic cancer patients will be able to access the Precision Promise adaptive clinical trial. The new sites designated include:
- Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center (Dallas, Texas)
- Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
- Mayo Clinic Cancer Center (Rochester, Minn.)
- Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (Miami, Fla.)
- University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Following the activation of these additional five institutions, PanCAN expects to also add 10 more sites by early 2023, bringing Precision Promise to a total of 30 top cancer centers nationwide and doubling the footprint of the trial. A full list of institutions that are currently open and actively enrolling patients can be found at pancan.org/precisionpromise/locations. This list is updated as new sites are activated.
"Pancreatic cancer patients deserve better treatment options," said Fleshman. "We're hopeful that by expanding access of Precision Promise to more diverse populations and thirty total sites by early 2023, we'll be able to deliver results that will improve patient outcomes in the future."
During the selection promise for new Precision Promise sites, PanCAN reportedly evaluated institutions with pancreatic cancer programs, looking at institutions in different geographic regions that serve a diverse patient population in order to expand access of the trial to typically underserved communities.