Clinical Trial Testing Novel Treatment With Standard-of-Care Chemotherapy in Patients With Pancreatic Cancer Expands to New Location


Four sites across the United States are enrolling patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer to see if a novel drug combined with standard-of-care chemotherapy bests chemotherapy alone in survival outcomes and responses to treatment.

Astera Cancer Care, a community oncology practice in East Brunswick, New Jersey, announced that it recently treated its first patient with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer as part of the ongoing QUILT-88 trial.

Astera, which is approximately one-hour north of Philadelphia and one-hour south of New York City, becomes one of four sites assessing the safety and efficacy of combining PD-L1 targeting high-affinity natural killer (NK) cells with aldoxorubicin HCl, N-803 and standard-of-care chemotherapy agents versus standard-of-care chemotherapy alone in this patient population.

“Astera Cancer Care is very excited to be able to offer the hope of CAR NK cell treatment to our patients,” Dr. Phillip Reid, a hematologist-oncologist at Astera Cancer Care and the site’s lead investigator, said in a news release. “The field of oncology has been revolutionized over the past several years as we have learned to harness the power of the immune system in the fight against cancer. We hope that CAR NK cell therapies will become part of the immune therapy revolution and give patients an effective treatment option that is not associated with overly burdensome side effects.”

The phase 2 QUILT-88 trial comprises approximately 328 patients aged 18 years or older. The main goal of the study is to assess progression-free survival (the time during and after treatment when the patient lives without disease progression) outcomes across a variety of treatment regimens. Moreover, the authors aim to analyze overall survival results, as well as quality-of-life improvements and objective response rates (the proportion of patients who had a complete or partial response to treatment).

In this trial, patients are being randomized to be administered a variety of treatment regimens. Potential treatment plans include, but are not limited to, a regimen of:

  • stereotactic body radiation therapy plus gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel.
  • N-803, aldoxorubicin HCl, nab-paclitaxel, gemcitabine, cyclophosphamide and stereotactic body radiation therapy.
  • N-803, aldoxorubicin HCl, PD-L1 targeting high-affinity NK cells, nab-paclitaxel, gemcitabine, cyclophosphamide and stereotactic body radiation therapy.

Astera, according to the news release, is the only site enrolling patients on the East Coast. The other three sites are in California and South Dakota.

The plan is to open more clinical trials in the future to study the effects of these regimens in patients with other cancer types, including triple-negative breast cancer, brain cancers and Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare type of skin cancer.

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