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SCCA Leads Nation in Innovative Lung Cancer Treatment Options

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11-25-2013 SCCA Leads Nation in Innovative Lung Cancer Treatment Options (96kb)
Anti-PDL-1 and UW-OncoPlex are changing the future of lung cancer treatment
SEATTLE – Lung cancer steals more lives each year than colorectal, breast and prostate cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) experts are dedicated to reducing this alarming statistic by developing and offering breakthrough diagnostic tests and treatment options to patients through clinical trials. Patients are currently benefitting from SCCA’s next- generation genetic testing and revolutionary immunotherapy treatments, leading to improved cure rates while decreasing damaging side effects from traditional treatments. Both anti-PDL-1 and UW-OncoPlex are changing the way doctors treat lung cancer, bringing renewed hope to patients fighting this challenging disease.
“Lung cancer patients are often diagnosed when the disease is in an advanced stage, making it more difficult to treat. However, with early detection and advanced technologies such as anti-PDL-1/PD-1 and UW-OncoPlex, SCCA is changing the future of lung cancer treatment,” said Dr. Renato Martins, Medical Director, Outpatient General Oncology/Hematology at SCCA and Medical Director, Thoracic/Head and Neck Oncology at the University of Washington. “The patient response we’ve seen from these treatments is extraordinary. We are very optimistic.”
Supported by research from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, doctors in the SCCA Lung Cancer Program provide patients with access to a broad range of lung cancer care options. One of the most promising treatments currently available to SCCA patients is anti-PDL-1/PD-1. Part of a new treatment strategy to strengthen immune cell function, anti-PDL-1 causes a patient’s own immune system to respond more vigorously against cancer cells. This treatment has shown convincing results with limited side effects for patients with advanced solid tumors in Phase I and II clinical trials.
Researchers from SCCA presented results of the Phase I study at the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago. In the study, they tested an antibody that targets PDL-1 (programmed death ligand 1), a protein that plays a major role in suppressing the immune system, and blocks it from binding to the PD-1 receptor found on activated immune cells. The PD-1 receptor is a regulator – a kind of brake – on the immune system. When PDL-1 binds to this receptor, it reduces immune cell function and prevents the immune system from destroying cancer cells. The antibody, anti-PDL-1, prevents PDL-1 from binding to PD-1, resulting in a more aggressive immune response against cancer cells.
In the Phase I trial, the anti PDL-1 antibody was given intravenously once every 14 days for up to 96 weeks. Patients were seen every six weeks for CT scanning. Response to the treatment resulted in tumor shrinkage of greater than 30 percent on average and no new tumor growth. While anti-PDL-1 has proven effective for multiple cancers, the response in lung cancer patients has been especially impressive. Considering lung cancer has not previously been thought to be immune sensitive, experts are encouraged to see a positive response rate for lung cancer patients of 20 percent. SCCA researchers continue to study anti-PDL-1 and are currently researching ways to improve the rate of patients who respond.
In addition to anti-PDL-1, UW-OncoPlex has advanced the fight against lung cancer. Researchers at UW Medicine developed UW-OncoPlex, an advanced gene sequencing test that has allowed SCCA doctors to analyze genetic mutations found in some cases of lung cancer to identify the most targeted individualized treatment regimens. Driven by high-powered, next-generation genetic sequencing technology, UW-OncoPlex analyzes 200 genes for driver mutations, or genetic abnormalities. Unlike other genetic sequencing tests, UW-OncoPlex is capable of detecting whole gene abnormalities, including deletions, duplications, amplifications, and rearrangements. By identifying the driver mutations that cause tumors to behave differently on a molecular level, doctors can choose the therapy that is known to be most effective in destroying or controlling the patient’s specific tumor type, sparing the patient from the physical and emotional wear and tear of undergoing treatments that do not work or, in some cases, may actually be harmful.
Available to patients at SCCA since the fall of 2012, UW-OncoPlex results have helped doctors to make treatment decisions for over 100 lung cancer patients. In lung cancer, UW-OncoPlex can identify mutations in three different tumor genes that already have FDA-approved therapies that promote tumor shrinkage two to three times more effectively than chemotherapy. Additionally, UW-OncoPlex can identify mutations in over 20 genes that qualify some lung cancer patients for investigational drugs.
To learn more about SCCA’s Lung Cancer Program visit: www.seattlecca.org/diseases/lung-cancer-overview.cfm.  
About Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is a cancer treatment center that unites doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s. Our goal, every day, is to turn cancer patients into cancer survivors. Our purpose is to lead the world in the prevention and treatment of cancer. SCCA has five clinical care sites: an outpatient clinic on the Hutchinson Center campus, a pediatric inpatient unit at Seattle Children’s, an adult inpatient unit at UW Medical Center, a medical oncology clinic at EvergreenHealth, and medical and radiation oncology clinics at UW Medicine / Northwest Hospital & Medical Center. Additionally, proton therapy services are provided at SCCA Proton Therapy, A Procure Center. For more information about SCCA, visit www.seattlecca.org.
Media Contact:
Katie Carroll
Nyhus Communications for Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

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