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Silicon Valley billionaire Sean Parker — the founder of Napster and an early investor in Facebook — pledged $250 million in 2016 to bring together researchers from academic cancer centers across the country with the goal of accelerating the development of new treatments that harness the immune system to attack cancer.

On Sunday, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy is presenting clinical trial results for the first time. And those results, which come just a year and a half after the first patient was enrolled in the study, show tumor shrinkage from the multi-drug regimen administered to patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.


The new findings from the Phase 1 clinical trial were unveiled at the American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting underway in Atlanta.

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  • These MDs left some great quotes:
    “we have the opportunity to combine the scale and scope of a pharma trial with the science-driven approach of an investigator-initiated trial. It’s a more efficient way to get trials done”
    -Ummm, no. Investigator-initiated trials are by definition less scientific than standard trials. Pharma is by far closer to science than a bunch of MDs throwing as many drugs as they can at a patient and hoping they see a signal. However, I do applaud them for making their way through a conversation without referring to themselves as KOLs.

    “our weekly safety conference calls is the highest I’ve ever seen.”
    -I’m surprised he admitted this. If your study is so amazing why isn’t everyone on the call? Aren’t MDs supposed to be looking out for their patients’ safety anyways?

    I also disagree with how well they imply they ran the study. Backing out the 8mo medial followup from the timelines and 05Mar snapshot, you can see it took them 11 months to enroll 24 patients across 7 HUGE sites, with only one dose escalation. That is atrocious from a pharma standard.

    I’m not seeing a signal with ECOG zeros and an open study where the PIs interest is to put the best patients on study to make their investigator-initiated study look good.

    That said, I do hope they are able to see a signal in their next study.

  • I have pancreatic cancer and went through chemo. If the regiment can’t kill the tumor, then what good is it? Proton therapy killed mine! Now all I need to do, is keep whatever cancer cells floating around in my blood stream from metastasizing somewhere else

    • Where did you undergo proton therapy? It appears there are limited locations. UC Davis only provides ocular proton therapy. Is San Diego the only other city in California that may help a patient with pancreatic cancer?

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