Featured at the breakfast were presentations by NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center Deputy Director Jeffrey Weber, MD and PhD, and medical oncologist Matthew Hellmann, MD, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Weber and Hellmann discussed present and anticipated future advances in the field of immuno-oncology combinations for treating solid tumors, including recent developments presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. A question and answer session followed.
An overview of Mirati Therapeutics’ product pipeline was also presented by the company’s management team, especially combination therapies, such as Mirati’s clinical-stage immuno-oncology programs combining checkpoint inhibitors with their novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor, sitravatinib.
Mirati said sitravatinib has demonstrated potent inhibition of a closely related spectrum of tyrosine kinases, which are key regulators of signaling pathways that lead to cell growth, survival, and tumor progression.
Another promising combination therapy is Mirati’s mocetinostat — an oral HDAC inhibitor currently being studied in a Phase 2 trial in a combination therapy with the FDA approved cancer drug Imfinzi (durvalumab), targeting the programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway.
Mirati reported that in preclinical models, the mocetinostat/Imfinzi combination has demonstrated significant reductions in tumor volume compared with either agent alone.
Weber is a specialist in cancer immunotherapy at the Perlmutter Cancer Center at the NYU-Langone Medical Center, where he works with a multidisciplinary team of medical and surgical oncologists, dermatologists, and pathologists to treat patients with melanomas.
Weber also serves as co-director of the center’s melanoma research program, with oversight of work in experimental therapeutics at the forefront of new immunotherapy ideas for treating patients with melanoma, and management of autoimmune side effects associated with these novel therapies.
Weber has been involved in a range of clinical trials, and is principal investigator of several ongoing National Cancer Institute-funded studies, including trials for melanoma vaccines, protocols involving adoptive cell therapy, and trials of immunotherapies for melanoma patients. He previously served as principal investigator and director of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for skin cancer and melanoma research from the National Cancer Institute.
“I am dedicated to identifying better treatments for people with all stages of disease and to providing compassionate care for patients and their families,” Hellman states on his MKCC website. “My research focuses on developing innovative and effective ways to harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer.”
Hellmann is a member of the Immunotherapeutics Group which designs and leads early-phase clinical trials of immunotherapies for patients with various types of cancer, and is actively involved with several ongoing clinical trials for patients with NSCLC and metastatic solid tumors.